Sunday, December 19, 2010

Food babies all round

Fresh pasta in the fridge equals a week of indulgent carb loading equals food babies all round. This week I very happily cultivated a little pasta tum courtesy of the tagliatelle that I bought for comforting Monday evening bacon and blue cheese pasta. One of the many joys of pasta is that the options are limitless, though the other side of that is that I can become utterly overwhelmed when faced with a great deal of choice and very often just retreat from the wealth of options at hand and opt for a safe old reliable. To avoid this scenario, I decided to limit myself to flicking through Antonio Carluccio's Simple Cooking for a recipe, and soon found something that ticked the necessary boxes: speedy to make, no meat, fairly minimal ingredients. Mushroom noodles seemed just the thing to put a satisfied smile on my well-fed face without too much effort, after a long day that ended with a visit to the blood clinic to donate blood.

I get very excited when a recipe calls for something that I've been meaning to try out but haven't ever gotten round to using, and in this instance the ingredient was dried porcini: ceps. I soaked them for twenty minutes to rehydrate them before chopping them up for some intense mushroomyness.

I was ragin that there were no funky, exotic, fancy mushrooms in the supermarket when I was doing the ingredients grab on my way home, but my hunger was far far greater than that particular quibble. Choppity chop.

Six minutes on the pan for these while I hopped impatiently about the place with hunger, insofar as I actually could in my teeny weeny kitchen.

Then on with the mushrooms for fifteen minutes. My stomach grumbled on impatiently.

I distracted myself by using the mushroom cooking time to brave the cold out in the garden and grab some parsley. I cannot convey the satisfaction that comes with growing such a crucial ingredient in your own garden, it really is most fulfilling. And the brightness and springiness of fresh parsley from the garden could never be equalled by that packety stuff from the shop.

It's plain to see why my cookbooks end up all food-spattered and crinkledy - I leave them wide open slap bang in the middle of all the action, where they inevitably get caught in the crossfire.

Admittedly the ceps were a tad slime-ified after the soaking, but they were excitingly pungent and chopped up nice and small.

Ooooo, the excitement is is the noise coming from my stomach.

LOVE it when a plans comes together. Especially when that plan includes pasta and occurs within a 25 minute timeframe.

And can I just please give myself some credit here: though I was highly tempted to lump the whole lot on my plate and eat what is clearly about three portions all for myself, I exercised some uncharacteristic restraint and left half of it to eat as lunch the next day. This is an uncommon occurrence and one milestone that I feel should be acknowledged in order to encourage me to be less greedy on future occasions.

I absolutely love mushrooms, but I have never before managed to create quite such a flavour as I did with these ceps. It was quite, quite stunning and I'll have my eyes peeled for future occasions to use them. Next time I hope to accompany that mushroomy intensity with the delightful textures of some slightly more interesting fungi.

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