Antonio Carluccio’s spaghetti carbonara

I used to wonder how best I could get my carbonara not to scramble; then I stumbled across Antonio Carluccio’s guide on YouTube. Follow his simple (and engaging) recipe and you will never cook your carbonara like this for the rest of your life! The residual heat from the saucepan is the key, plus, it means you retain some pasta water in case you want to loosen it all up slightly. Thanks, Antonio…

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Jamie Oliver’s quick crispy chicken with tomatoes and asparagus

If you were to compare the image alongside Jamie’s recipe to mine, you would not think they were the same dish. I did plate it differently, as well as far less elegantly, but the flavours were there!

I have to say that the standout thing on the plate is the basil, olive, butter, tomato and wine sauce. It is absolutely delicious. I will use it again with other chicken dishes.

This is a really good recipe, and actually works well adapted for lunches on top of some couscous, as it soaks up all the buttery/winey sauce.

Oh, and I added a poached egg to the asparagus because they needed using up!

You can access Jamie’s recipe, here.

Novice avocado and pancetta salad with pine nuts and balsamic dressing

This is a delicious salad that will visually impress your family and friends, as well as tasting great. Quick, simple and tasty – the novice chef’s mantra! The below recipe makes six portions

Ingredients

  • 12 pancetta slices (don’t by the cubes, they don’t really work for this)
  • 50g of pine nuts
  • balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • 6 ripe avocados
  • 4 handfulls of spinach leaves

Cost

Avocado’s aren’t the cheapest item, but you can get six for around £4. The pancetta, depending on the quality, can be bought for £2-£3 – so while this isn’t the cheapest salad, you’re getting more than a garden salad, and serves six people.

Method

  • Peel and quarter your avocado, if you don’t know how to do this, there is a good video by Chef Rich Jacobs on YouTube. Lay your avocado on a serving plate. You may wish to spread this out over two plates – your salad your rules.
  • Fry your pancetta in a frying pan until crispy and set to one side to cool. Turn the heat down and lightly toast your pine nuts in the same pan.
  • While the nuts cook, on top of the avocado, place your spinach leaves. Don’t be tight with your spinach, but don’t bury the avocado.
  • Place the pancetta neatly, or however you like, on top.
  • Your nuts should now be cooked, so sprinkle them on top of the salad and pancetta.
  • Drizzle over a good quality olive oil and some balsamic and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  • How good does that look?