On Tuesday, we decided to open up a cheap bottle of red wine we'd been given as a gift, only to discover that the cork was made of some sort of resin that the cork screw slid into and out of, without bringing the cork with it.
Cue mild panic.
We abandoned the wine in favour of a bottle of Stella, because dinner was about to burn.
On Wednesday morning, Neil's van was robbed and he lost his smart phone, a wad of cash, all his construction cards, his house keys and his car key...
Cue more mild panic.
On Wednesday evening, after dealing with the fallout from Neil's burgled van - we took a hammer to the imprisoned bottle of wine.
I had to sieve the wine through kitchen roll into a jug, to ensure there was no glass in it and we had to drink the entire jugful, because there was no cork big enough to stick in it.
Cue mellowed out, happy, happy.
Dinner was big pants though. Not even the wine could disguise the fact that I'd grabbed a load of convenience foods out of the freezer, whacked them in the oven, forgot about them whilst trying to emancipate the wine from it's prison, slightly singed everything and then stuck a tin of baked beans with it...
... I would absolutely love to be able to sell you a lifestyle, where everything goes swimmingly and we live in a beautiful bubble of fresh food and vegetables, ikea furniture and, like... totally fab dinner parties. But the reality is that we're living a life, not living a life style.
I don't cook decent, fresh food every single day. I've never been to ikea and even though I do throw like, utterly, totally and completely fab dinner parties... it's usually for just the two us.
On Thursday, I had time to make up for Wednesday's debacle of a dinner and thought I'd experiment with a butternut squash and a bit of bacon. I was going to make a "pasta bake" because you guys tend to love them (my traffic stats said so, so it must be true), but I had half a tub of creme fraiche to use up (no spinach, lucky you), so threw together a carbonara and hoped for the best.
You'll have to judge for yourselves though. I didn't cook enough for all of us.
DISCLAIMER: No wine was severely harmed in the making of this blog post.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Butternut, Bacon and Bell Pepper Carbonara Recipe
Prep time - 10 minutes
Cooking time - 20 minutes
Total time - 30 minutes
You will need
A large skillet/frying pan with lid
A pot for pasta
9oz/250g smoked streaky bacon - diced
1 tbsp fresh rosemary - chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 butternut squash - peeled, deseeded and diced
1 yellow bell pepper - deseeded and diced
7oz/200g dried pasta (I used orecchiette)
10.5 fl oz/300ml low fat creme fraiche
4 egg yolks
3.5oz/100g Parmesan - grated
chopped fresh chives to garnish (optional)
- Heat the skillet and dry fry the bacon and rosemary until beginning to turn golden and crispy (about 3 minutes), remove from pan with slotted spoon and set aside.
- Put the pasta on to cook, following the packet instructions. When cooked, drain and reserve some of the cooking water.
- While the pasta is cooking, add the olive oil to the skillet, turn the heat to low-medium and chuck in the butternut, pop the lid on and gently sweat for 7 minutes remembering to stir occasionally.
- Add the bell pepper and pop the lid back on. Cook for another 4 minutes, again remembering to stir occasionally.
- When the butternut and bell pepper are beginning to take on a little colour, throw the bacon back into the pot to warm through. Leave the lid off.
- In a bowl combine together the egg yolks, creme fraiche and 3/4 of the Parmesan.
- Remove the butternut skillet from the heat, add the drained pasta and eggy mixture and stir gently to combine.
- If the pasta is too thick and sticky add a splash of reserved pasta water to loosen it.
- Serve scattered with remaining Parmesan and chopped chives.
NOTE: For a slightly more savoury meal, substitute an onion for the bell pepper or try this recipe for Chorizo and Chestnut Mushroom Carbonara.