Soul Food: Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti carbonara is one of those simple dishes that is so difficult to get right. Here’s my version. I believe I have it to a pretty high standard – must be my 25% Italian genes 🙂

Use bacon with fatty strip. Brown those and a few cloves of garlic in some butter in a large heavy pan.

Whilst that’s browning, cook spaghetti according to packet instructions (I normally add a drizzle of olive oil and some salt).

Prepare the carbonara sauce by stirring together a cupful of cream, six egg yolks, freshly grated parmesan cheese,  salt and pepper.

When the pasta is cooked, drain and pour into the frying pan. Stir well to coat the strands with the bacon fat. Turn off the heat. Pour the carbonara sauce over it and stir again until properly mixed.

Serve immediately.

Starting the day right

Eat like a king in the morning, a prince at noon, and a peasant at dinner

Maybe it is because I am a ‘professional’ mother that I put great store in getting my family to eat right, especially the first meal of the day (I accept that they will lapse during the day, be it at the canteen, tuck shop or restaurant at lunchtime).

A good breakfast regulates the blood sugar and energy levels. It also stops children feeling hungry before lunch, which can be quite distracting.

The British Dietetic Association said the findings added to the growing body of evidence in support of eating breakfast every morning.

“There is a lot of scientific evidence behind this,” spokeswoman Catherine Collins told BBC News Online.

“Obviously the traditional fry-up is too fat and calorie rich to aid weight control, but cereals and toast are of benefit.

“Breakfast can be a very good source of vitamins. Many processed cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals which people can find it difficult to get elsewhere if they are just having two meals a day.”

The study was presented at the American Heart Association’s annual conference in Miami.

Here’s what we had this morning: poached egg on a bed of wilted spinach and tomatoes. It is quick, easy and nutritious.

Note: please do read up on Egg Safety first before serving soft eggs: https://raisinghappystrongkids.com/2014/08/21/food-safety-eggs/

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Food safety: Eggs

eggs

On of the most disquieting things I heard in recent months is a 9 year old girl developing breast cancer. Of course, the causes of cancer are multifactorial, namely genetic, environmental, lifestyle and nutritional, to name a few. There is no one culprit that we can definitively lay the blame squarely on for making the C-word mainstream. But there is no doubt about it: more and more pharmaceutical by-products are seeping into our food chain, chemicals that are not meant for human consumption.

In eggs that you buy in supermarkets, for example. Eggs are good sources of nutrition. They are versatile, delicious, and an affordable source of protein. But it is so difficult to find organic eggs that are free from growth hormones and antibiotics. These are more expensive that the normal ones, sure, but are still reasonable cost-wise compared to other sources of proteins. I bought eggs with a particular strong branding implying that the products are healthy and green, but a perusal into the company website showed that the eggs are not free from stuff that I do not want in my body (especially my growing child’s). In the tropical paradise of Phuket, ‘clean’ eggs are not easy to find.

What are clean eggs by my definition? I want eggs that are cage-free (I don’t want them laid by hens in battery-cages), antibiotics-free and hormones-free. If possible, I want eggs that are organic as well, namely the laying hens are not fed with animal byproducts or genetically modified (“GMO”) crops but are fed with feeds that have been produced on land that has been free from the use of toxic and persistent chemical pesticides and fertilizers for a minimum of three years. Apparently, the supermarket in Central is one of the few places (other than specialised organic shops) that one can find these pure eggs, though I am not sure how rigorous the organic certification in Thailand is.

Click on this link for the US standards :http://www.uspoultry.org/faq/faq.cfm

 

But I was very happy when my neighbour Richard Boyle presented me with a dozen. Now that I know where I can lay my hands on them, I will be cooking up a storm with these babies. Stay posted for yummy recipes! The eggy treat shown below is from a previous post: Spinach and eggs, German-style. Served with truffle butter on warmed toast, it is sheer decadence.

egg and spinach

 

Here’s another wonderful, healthy recipe with eggs: energy pancakes

pancake

And finally, don’t forget the simple omelette.  Load it with sweet Spanish onions, mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes for a wonderful, protein-filled treat (gluten-free too).

omellete

Tip for egg safety: wash all egg shells, store eggs at 40F or below, in the interior of the refrigerator, rather than the door, which is subject to variable temperatures. Cook eggs – yolks and all – to a temperature of 160F if you are pregnant or vulnerable. I love runny yolks so I take the risk 🙂

Scrambled eggs: Cook until firm, not runny.

Fried, poached, boiled, or baked: Cook until both the white and the yolk are firm.

Egg mixtures, such as casseroles: Cook until the center of the mixture reaches 160 °F when measured with a food thermometer.

NOTE: SALMONELLA KILLS.