Happy New Year! I had every intention of kick starting the new year with some kind of clean eating, raw blog post. Then I realised that this is exactly what this blog is not meant to be about. Over the Christmas period I had a bit more time on my hands and caught up on a lot of blog reading and also came across many new and interesting food bloggers. But what struck me is this unhealthy obsession with eating everything clean and raw. To be honest, I now don’t want to hear the words clean or raw again.
I should start with the fact that yes I do eat courgetti, yes I do cook meals that happen to be gluten free, dairy free, vegan or even sugar free. I do respect the work of food writers such as Deliciously Ella, Helmsley & Helmsley and Madeleine Shaw who have also inspired and taught me to experiment with different ingredients to create healthier and alternative recipes, but I am not behind following this kind of completely raw diet 100% of the time. Especially when it is only a small % of the world’s population that actually does suffer from a gluten or lactose intolerence. In this case, the rest of us claiming to have to avoid gluten because they could end up on death’s door is quite frankly insulting to those who genuinely are allergic. Of course you feel bloated if you eat pasta every night, sandwiches all day, toast for breakfast and cheese and biscuits as a snack. It is all about moderation and exactly what I want this blog to be about.
Another topic in line with this that caught my eye is the expense of following the clean and raw crowd. I have noticed this before and I am fortunate enough to be able to afford to do my weekly shop packed full of fresh veg and fruit. But if you were to take just one of Deliciously Ella’s books for example and take her recipes for a whole week, all of a sudden the average shopping bill is 3 or 4 times more expensive. Recently I have noticed more about people starting to worry about the increase in their weekly shopping since following a new food trend or diet. This is a huge strain when there is no real evidential findings that a Wednesday night Spaghetti bolognese or a mid-week chilli is going to destroy our health and mind because it has a bit of pasta or the ‘wrong’ type of vegetable. These are recipes that have fed families, students, couples for years and years, recipes that have fed a crowd on a budget but still a good home cooked meal and recipes that have filled the freezer for when we are short on time. Deliciously Ella’s book is fine if you are home all day and can splash the cash. But it isn’t a realistic approach to eating for the everyday people out there.
And so, as the start of 2017 is here I want to focus this blog on real food. And what better way to kick start the year than with a recipe that still brings families and couples together over a meal after a long day and is nourishing and comforting – one of my favourites, Spaghetti Carbonara. I am a big fan of adding extra vegetables when possible so I make this with spinach and leek that I usually have in the fridge leftover from another meal. This Leek and Spinach Spaghetti Carbonara is a quick and easy meal. The eggs and parmesan add plenty of creamy texture. I will still be eating my courgetti, brown rice pasta, sugar free treats but I won’t be afraid to eat a bit of gluten or cream.
Here’s to 2017 and a more realistic and affordable approach to food and healthy eating!
- 100g pancetta (finely diced)
- 70g grated parmesan
- 3 large free range eggs
- 350g dried spaghetti
- 2 handfuls of fresh spinach
- 1 leek (finely chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
- Salt/ Pepper
- Olive oil
- Cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions.
- In the meantime heat a dash of olive oil in a large/ deep frying pan. Add the diced pancetta and garlic and cook for 1-2 mins. Then add the leeks and cook for a further 4-5 mins until the pancetta starts to turn golden and crisp up.
- Beat the eggs into a separate bowl. Then add the parmesan and mix well until combined.
- Drain the spaghetti (keeping some of the cooking water). Add to the pan with the bacon and leeks and then add the spinach. Pour in the egg mixture and a splash of the cooking water from the pasta and keep the pan on a medium heat. Mix everything together and keep tossing while the egg is cooking to prevent it from scrambling. This should take only a minute. Take the pan off the heat and add one more splash of the cooking water (this will give it a nice creamy texture). Mix everything together again and season with salt and pepper. Serve right away.