Cheat’s Carbonara

My word, this last week has flown past like a bloody juggernaut. Seriously, how is it already Sunday evening?!

The English summer has been as typical as you can possibly imagine this weekend. Gloomy, grey and rather miserable. Which is why my evening meal tonight was focused on filling comfort rather than the salads and cold meats I’d expect to be feasting on mid-June.

My cheese of choice this evening is Comté. In this country it still retains an allure of mystery. It is one of France’s most popular cheeses. And I love it! It’s hard, delicious, with a warm flavour all of its own.

Similar to cheddar it makes a wonderful combination with many other foods. Such as this, my Cheat’s Carbonara! I apologise to any Italians who don’t think this is worthy of the name, but personally I think it does the trick very nicely! Especially if you’re tight for time and energy.

Cheat’s Carbonara

Ingredients:

  • Spaghetti for 2 people (I have one of those handy spaghetti measuring instruments. Yes, insane. But useful!)
  • 1 courgette, chopped into thin slices
  • Handful of green peas
  • 6 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons of crème fraîche
  • Handful of grated Comté cheese

Put a pan of water on the stove with a dash of olive oil and salt and set to boil. As soon as the water is bubbling add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, or however you prefer it.

Whilst your spaghetti is cooking slice the bacon and shallow fry. Set a small pan of water onto boil, once the water is bubbling add your courgette and peas. These should take about 5 minutes.

In a bowl stir your egg until it is a smooth yellow, then add the crème fraîche and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Add half the grated cheese.

Once the bacon is crispy remove it from the pan and lay it on paper towel to remove as much excess oil as possible.

Once the spaghetti is sieved and ready, add your cheese, egg and crème fraîche mixture and stir.

Then add your bacon, peas and courgette and mix well.

Finally, season with lots and lots of black pepper and the remaining Comté.

And enjoy!

cheat's carbonara

Saturday steak night

Today has been a bit of a blur thanks to a hangover earned from a night out with both sets of Olds. A delicious Chinese meal was washed down with several vats of beer and white wine. In the past this might have meant consignment to the sofa for the day, eyes fixed on the telly and domino’s pizza on demand. With an 18-month-old however, things are different. Instead of lazing around we spent the afternoon at our local Carnival. A quintessentially English activity with rides, arts & crafts stalls and classics like Punch and Judy. Needless to say, K loved it. Especially the taste of his first 99.

Now that we’re old boring married people with a baby chances are we will be home on the weekend. Which is the perfect excuse to eat something deliciously naughty. Nothing says saturday night to me quite like steak. My preference is always fillet, and yes, I know that probably makes me boring and clueless but what the hell. Potatoes covered in cheese? Yes please. Especially Roquefort.

Roquefort is a true gem. Rumoured to be over 2,000 years old in origin it has been protected since the year 1411. It has a longer history than America! In 1926 it was also the first cheese to be granted appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) status. Made from ewes milk, rather interestingly Roquefort is matured deep in the limestone caves of Cambalou in Southern France. That’s right, all Roquefort becomes so melt in the mouth delicious from hanging around in a damp cave. Wow. I wonder if you can visit. Can you imagine the smell!? Plus, if this article is to be believed Roquefort even holds the key to a long life.

This recipe is my version of one by Rachel Khoo. For the last few months every time I visited the Olds I found myself drawn to the same cooking book The little Paris Kitchen. I enjoyed the TV programme, there is something about Rachel’s style and culinary choices that I really like. So I finally gave in and bought it, and I am so glad I did!

It is one of those cooking books that you can almost read for pleasure. French cuisine is one of my absolute favourites after all. Plus, there is a hell of a lot of frommage to be found within! I highly recommend this cookbook.


 

Here is my version of Rachel’s dish:

Steak with Galette aux pommes de terre et poires avec Roquefort & tomato salad

Ingredients:

2 steaks (I bought fillet steak from my local butcher)

Potato dish:

  • 3-4 waxy potatoes (I used Charlotte)
  • 1 pear
  • A very healthy portion of Roquefort cheese, roughly two handfuls

Tomato & Onion Salad:

  • Handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 6 basil leaves
  • Sprinkling of olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Peel the potatoes and cut into 2mm thick slices. Cover a baking tray with grease proof paper (although I couldn’t find any so instead used tin foil, smeared with butter) and overlap the potato slices as tightly as you can, making 4 rectangles. Peel the pear and cut into small cubes, then cover the potatoes with the pear. Finally, cover each rectangle with crumbles of Roquefort. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes turn golden brown and crisp round the edges.

Whilst the potatoes are in the oven sear the steak on a very hot griddle pan. Cook on each side for five minutes, shorter or longer depending on how you like it served. Leave to rest for ten minutes.

Chop the tomatoes and onion and basil and mix together, with a sprinkling of olive oil.

And enjoy!

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