Welcome to this week in my kitchen…I am doing a lot of testing at the moment for my cookbook so those recipes will be revealed when I have finished testing and writing in the meantime I am cooking meals which we love and for me are quick and easy to cook…
Carbonara is one such meal and then I get egg whites so the request was for a lime meringue pie…Limes because they are grown here and plentiful.lemons not so much and they are generally imported so bearing in mind my eat local pledge I use limes but I also prefer limes…
I have seen so many versions of Carbonara and tasted a few as well..some were to die for and some quite frankly I felt like killing the chef!
I was watching Masterchef’s “The Professionals” a while ago and one of the quickfire tests they were given was to make a Carbonara in 15 mins. What an eye-opener these were trained chefs so it’s no wonder that some of us do not know the proper way to make Carbonara folks that included ME!
Not any longer I set to and made one the right way…NO CREAM…..The outcome was everyone loved it! Since then I have made it this way although I have slightly adapted it…I just use just egg yolks and not a combination of whole eggs plus extra yolks. If I can get pancetta I use pancetta if not I use cooked ham or bacon.
A good traditional Carbonara does not need cream just egg yolks and a little of the pasta cooking water.
Ingredients: Serves 2
- 130 g spaghetti
- 2/3 clove garlic finely chopped
- 2 egg yolks
- 100 g of cooked ham.
- 30g fresh grated parmesan cheese
- Freshly cracked black pepper
Separate the eggs and put egg yolks into a bowl, finely grate in 30 gm of Parmesan, season with pepper, then mix well with a fork and put to one side.
Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of boiling salted water until al dente..remove the pan from the heat.
Peel a clove of garlic, then chop finely, add it to the pan and leave it to flavour the fat for 1 minute. If I am using pancetta I just crush the garlic if not I just gently cook my finely chopped garlic and then remove the pan from the heat until I am ready to heat up the ham.
If you use ham instead of Pancetta then cook very lightly as ham is already cooked so really you are just warming it through.
I don’t discard the garlic as in the traditional recipe…I leave mine in the pan…I also sometimes add chilli or a few sliced mushrooms…Just because I can…
Drain the pasta reserving some of the cooking liquid and add the spaghetti to the pan. Toss well over the heat so it really soaks up all that lovely flavour, remove the pan from the heat.
Make sure you remove the pan from the heat as if the pan is too hot then the eggs WILL scramble.
Add a splash of the cooking water to the pan and toss well, season with pepper, then pour in the egg mixture – the heat from the pan will help to cook the egg gently, rather than scrambling it. Toss well, adding more cooking water until it’s lovely and glossy.
Serve with a grating of Parmesan, an extra twist of pepper and a little chopped flat-leaf Parsley.
A little tip which I did this time was to add a little of the cooled pasta water to the egg yolk and parmesan mixture it just makes it easier to stir into the pasta as it becomes quite thick when you add the parmesan to the egg yolks which may be why the original recipe used whole eggs as well…I find using just the yolks makes the sauce richer and this is how everyone likes it…
Now to use the egg whites…
Lime/ Lemon Meringue Pie.
Prepare your pastry making sure you use ice-cold water from the fridge and wrap in clingfilm and put in the chiller for at least 20 minutes.
- 225g plain flour
- 100g butter, diced
- pinch salt
Sift your flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add your iced water a little at a time how much depends on the flour you use. Draw the mix together with your fingertips shape into a round and then wrap and put in the chiller for at least 20 minutes. I aim to work my pastry as little as I have to something my mother taught me.
Remove from the chiller and roll out your pastry to fit your pie dish, line your dish.
Some prebake at this point and some don’t …I have done both depending on the time I have or what my filling is…If I don’t prebake I stand the dish on a baking tray so as to make sure there are no “soggy bottoms”
For this pie, I pre-bake the pie case…I cook the pie case on 190 degrees for about 25-30 mins if you just lightly scrape the edge of the pie it should just flake away.
Now let’s make the filling…
For the filling:
- 1 1/2 cups of sugar
- 1/2 cup cornstarch/Arrowroot
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice or lemon juice
- 1 egg yolk
- 2tsp butter at room temperature
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2tsp lime zest.
Combine sugar, cornstarch or Arrowroot if using, water and lime juice. Whisk until smooth.
Stir in butter and egg yolks. Then gradually add boiling water.
Bring the mix to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 mins.
The mix should be fairly thick and glossy, if you want to add green colouring at this point then you can.
I didn’t so my filling was a lemon colour because of the egg yolks.
Pour into the pre-baked pastry case.
- 3 Egg whites
- 3/4 cup sugar.
Beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Add half of the sugar and beat until stiff and then fold in rest of sugar. Put on top of lime/lemon filling and make sure edges are sealed.
Bake in preheated oven on 175 until the top is golden. About 10/15 mins depending on your oven.
National Soup Month…
I have been seeing all these lovely pictures of snowy scenes although I am sure the reality is that it is freezing…Which means soup is on your menu…If you would love to share your favourite soup recipes then, please do…
Gumbo… is a dish where anything can go into it and ideal for sitting on the stove and having a bowl when you can snatch the time.
It is the national dish of the state of Louisiana and can be made with meat, seafood or both and it has its roots in many cultures French, Spanish, West African and Choctaw.
Originating in Southern Louisiana during the 18th century and whether it is meat, shellfish or a mixture it contains what the Louisianians call ” The Holy Trinity of vegetables” namely celery, bell peppers and onions.
It is a thickened stew using either Okra, a roux( flour and fat) which is the French influence or the Choctaw spice called file which is dried, ground Sassafras leaves.
Anise and arrowroot can be used as a substitute just use anise sparingly...The file powder is a thickener and added when you add the tomatoes and again at the end of cooking…If you are using anise keep tasting and use sparingly you can always add you cannot take away so tasting as you go is key…I have seen it for sale online…
There are many variations of this dish and everyone will tell you theirs is the original and passed down through the generations but they are all tasty and often unique to the locality.
- 1 cup of flour
- 3/4 cup of bacon drippings
- 1 cup coarsely chopped celery
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 chopped green bell pepper
- 3/4 cloves of garlic chopped/crushed
- 1 lb andouille sausage sliced (or sausage of your choice)
- 6 beef bouillon cubes or 3 quarts homemade stock
- 3 quarts of water if using stock cubes
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Salt to season
- 2 tbsp Tabasco sauce
- 1/2-1 tsp of cajun seasoning
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 2 tsp file powder
- 1 can tomatoes
- 1 can of tomato puree
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 lb okra chopped in inch pieces.
- 1 lb crab meat
- 3 lb shrimp
- 2 tsp file powder.
To make roux whisk the flour into 3/4 cup bacon drippings, whisking and cooking until the roux turns a deep brown 20/30 minutes. Be very careful that you do not burn it or you have to start again.
When you remove the pan from the heat continue to whisk until the roux has stopped cooking.
Put your chopped celery, onion and bell peppers into the roux as well as the chopped sausage bring the roux to a soft simmer and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the veg is soft. Set to one side.
In a large pan bring the water or stock to the boil whisking until the bouillon cubes have dissolved if you are using them.
Mix in the sugar, Tabasco sauce, cajun, bay leaves, thyme, tomatoes and tomato puree. Simmer for 1hr in total but at 45 minutes stir in the 2 tsp file gumbo powder.
Meanwhile, melt the remainder 2 tbsp bacon drippings in a pan and add the Okra with the vinegar. Cook over medium heat for 15 mins.
Remove the Okra with a slotted spoon and add to the gumbo mixture. Mix in the crab, the prawns and Worcestershire sauce simmer for 45 minutes.
Just before serving stir in the remainder 2 tsp of file gumbo powder.
Serve with steamed rice.
If you have homemade stock then you can use that and also instead of sausage or fish you can use chicken, in fact, you can use any mixture of meat/fish that you choose.
I hope you have enjoyed the recipes if you have any questions please just ask…Thank you for joining me today I hope to see you again soon for some more tried and tested recipes xx