Tag Archives: no cream

Easy and light carbonara 


Easy carbonara with streaky bacon, eggs and cheese

We all love an easy and quick pasta dish. This recipe uses staples of the pantry and fridge, which means it can be whipped up anytime. Perfect for the flat and family, as it is easy on the wallet. It cooks in 15 minutes or less (mise en place done and water boiling). It has neither cream nor milk. Only eggs and cheese to make it creamy and cheesy. It tastes so much better than store bought sauces that you would silently marvel at its simplicity and wonder why you didn’t know this years earlier. Well in my case, I wondered out loud.

Better late than never, eat up!

Ingredients

Serves: 4

  • 400g spaghetti
  • 250g prosciutto or streaky bacon, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 whole eggs and 2 yolks (save the whites for making macarons, meringues and marshmallows)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup grated cheese, mozzarella, Edam, anything you like really!

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add a tablespoon of salt when the water starts to boil.
  2. In a large bowl, lightly whisk eggs, a tiny tiny pinch of salt and the grated cheese. Set aside.
  3. Add the pasta to the water and cook till it is nearly al dente (about 8 minutes)
  4. While the pasta is cookingfry the diced prosciutto or bacon in a thick based pan until coloured. Add minced garlic and fry for another minute.
  5. The key point is to cook the pasta and meat simultaneously, and not letting the pasta over cook. Better let the meat wait for the pasta, than the pasta for the meat.
  6. Reserving most of the pasta water, remove the pasta from the pot and put it in the pan together with the meat and stir to combine. Add a cup of the pasta water to the pan.
  7. Take the pan off the heat and pour in a quarter of the cheese and egg mixture. I usually add that closer to the side of the pan closest to me. Working really quickly with tongs, I vigourously stir the cheese and egg mixture in with the pasta until the sauce is smooth and clings to the pasta. If done quick enough, the sauce will be silky and creamy, and shouldn’t be eggy nor lumpy.
  8. You may need to add more pasta water – make sure this is added to the opposite side of the pan where you add the cheese and egg mixture. Repeat step 7 until all the cheese and egg has been added.
  9. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.

    It might take you several times to master the speed and action to achieve the perfect silky sauce. I promise you once you’ve got it, you (and your family) will be very glad you’ve mastered this recipe.

    Chocolate hazelnut mousse entremet


    What’s more delicious than a pot of velvety chocolate mousse?” I asked J, my 5 year old daughter. She looked puzzled, not that she didn’t understand me, but that it was already quite up there on her ‘best food moments’ list I think.

    One decorated with all sorts of chocolatey bites and pearls, perhaps?” I offered and her eyes lit up like the time she got Movenpick ice cream at a buffet and realised she could go back for more.

    Yes!!!!” She said, grabbing onto my arm and shaking it excitedly, “we could put those little pearls and even gummies!

    Next, we were both in the pantry looking for all sorts of things to use to decorate our little pots of black gold…

    I gave J creative freedom to do what she wanted to the pots while trying to explain the concept of ‘less is more’ – I think I failed. I must be kidding myself to think I could persuade a 5 year old to put less chocolate on!

    (After thought – for adult versions, do exercise control over how much more chocolate you add. As the mousse is already quite sweet, adding too many more sweet elements to it may just tip the balance!)

    Biscuit base
    250g nice biscuits, blitzed into crumbs
    125g unsalted butter, melted

    Hazelnut spread layer
    Leoine or Nutella hazelnut spread

    Chocolate Mousse
    180g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
    170g unsalted butter, cubed
    1/4 cup (60ml) dark-brewed coffee (optional)
    4 large eggs, separated
    4 + 1 tablespoons sugar
    6 tablespoons Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) (or use Cointreau for orange-flavoured mousse)

    Textural component / Decoration (optional)

    • Valrhona chocolate pearls (for crunch)
    • Dark or milk chocolate squares – for artistic/structural representation
    • Chocolate spheres – I used ones with blueberry pieces in it
    • Candy gems – for texture and children  (or the young at heart)
    • Edible soil – cocoa powder or blitzed chocolate biscuits
    • Fresh As freeze dried raspberry powder – for colour and taste contrast

    1. Mix the melted butter with the biscuit crumbs. Divide into serving bowls or pots and push with finger tips to form a firm base. Place in fridge to firm up.

    2. Heat a saucepan one-third full with hot water, and in a bowl set on top, melt together the chocolate  and Frangelico (also add coffee now if you are using), stirring over the barely simmering water, until smooth. Add the cubed butter in and mix gently. Remove from heat.

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    3. Beat the yolks of the eggs with 4 tablespoons of sugar for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick.

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    4. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks. Let it cool.

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    5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold their shape. Whip in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff.

    6. Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites until just incorporated.

    7. Remove your serving bowls from the fridge. Spread hazelnut chocolate (I used Leoine, you can use Nutella if you wish) onto the surface of the crumb layer.

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    8. Pour the mousse into the serving bowls, layering alternately with a biscuit crumb layer and more mousse.

    9. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm.

    10. Add your textural components before serving – I’ve chosen chocolate squares, pearls, biscuit crumbs, blueberry-in-chocolate balls and freeze dried raspberry powder for added taste and textural comparison. The sharpness of the raspberry powder cuts through the sweetness of the mousse which is my 5% magic for this mouth watering dessert. (Why oh why am I giving this away?!?!?!)

    11. These are served in tiny pots here, you can equally plate them in larger vessels. Trust me, no one will complain!