Thursday, May 6, 2010
What would you like to eat?
Nothing gets me more excited than food. I love thinking about what I am going to make for my next meal. I get endless inspiration from walking in the supermarket, by visiting Farmers Markets and specialty stores like continental delis and even those annoyingly snooty and pretentious up market 'Providores'. Cookbooks outnumber novels in my book collection. I have an international subscription to a food magazine. I watch endless shows on television about food and cooking. Whenever I travel, I love to try the native cuisine - even if it means eating a Deep Fried Oreo!
Food is a wonderful thing. It warms the heart, nourishes the body and soul. Sharing food is sharing a part of yourself. I get great pleasure from cooking a meal that I have made with love for the people I love and care about. That pleasure is doubled when you see the appreciation and enjoyment you have given to others.
I want to share with you some of my favourite things to eat. Along with some of my favourite food memories. I am a lover of many different cuisines. My favourite is Italian (pretty much a given) - even though I am not remotely Italian - maybe my Botticelli-like curves could help me pass... I love everything about the food and the Italian culture. Especially that food is such a strong a part of the culture.
As a kid, I would sometimes go with my Dad on some of his plumbing jobs. I always loved it when he had to do a job for 'Leo', an Italian man who owned a restaurant. Going to 'Leo's' always meant I got to eat ravioli bolognese and lemon gelato. I remember my Dad would often bring home bowls of rigatoni with napoli sauce, or pickled peppers, or bread sticks - there was always a little something sent home from Leo for my little sister and I. It was great, our family felt like part of his family - we even got invited to parties and passed as Italians! (Even if the only Italian word my Dad knew was 'Bongiorno')
Leo gave me lots of inspiration in my formative cooking years and showed me how to make one of the first dishes I learned to cook and still cook today - Spaghetti Boscaiola.
Spaghetti Boscaiola for 2 (or 1/2 now, 1/2 tomorrow)
1 tbs olive oil
125g short cut bacon sliced
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1clove garlic, crushed
150g button mushrooms, sliced
Handful of baby spinach
150ml thickened cream
Chopped fresh parsley
1/2 packet of Spaghetti
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add pasta and cook until 'al dente'. While the pasta is cooking (for dried pasta this should take between 8-10 minutes), heat oil in a large frying pan. Cook the bacon, onion and garlic, until onions are translucent and bacon is beginning to brown. This should take about 5 minutes.
Add mushrooms and cook for further 5 minutes. Add spinach. Turn heat down to low and add spinach. This will wilt considerably. Add cream, being careful not to keep the heat low (or even turn it off at this stage), or the sauce will split and the cream will turn into oil . Season well to taste. If the sauce is too thick, you might want to thin it down a little with some cooking water from the pasta.
Add your cooked and drained pasta to pan with sauce, add chopped parsley and toss until well combined. Scatter over some shaved Parmesan and serve with a nice crusty bread.
Until next time...