Saturday 8 September 2012

Carbonara and Plums

With just a small part of my stomach left and a need to avoid gluten and lactose its not always easy to find something to eat that is both appealing and fits the bill. I always had a good appetite and enjoyed most foods and taste experiences. My grandson is also gluten and lactose sensitive and I now realise the need to become more creative with food and make nutritious meals that the whole family will enjoy.

Today I made a loose take on Pasta Carbonara. Instead of cream I used soya milk, thickening the sauce with cornflour and lactose free cheese and completely forgot to add egg! The cheese was quite strong so I didn't need much - just a couple of tablespoons of grated cheese was enough. I cooked gluten free pasta until it was cooked through but still firm, drained it and poured boiling water over it to refresh.

I hate waste so I used the single rasher of bacon that had been left idling in the fridge for days and a slice of cooked ham from another opened packet. Chopped them both up into small pieces and fried them in olive spread, adding chopped mushroom and a good mix of home grown yellow cherry tomatoes and red baby plum tomatoes. I like a coating sauce best so I added enough soya milk to amply wet all the fried ingredients without letting them swim, then thickened with a heaped teaspoon of cornflour mixed previously with a drop of milk to make a creamy paste. Just as you would do when making custard before instant custard became the norm. Brought the mixture to the boil and allowed to simmer for a minute or so, stirring all the while. 

I added some torn coriander leaf at the end of cooking time, mainly to add a bit of colour but in hindsight, for extra flavour I wish I had added either a touch of garlic or some green pesto during the cooking process. I was able to divide it up into four small portions for myself but otherwise it would make two regular size portions or one large portion for those with big appetites.

My husband tasted it and said that it reminded him of something he'd had abroad and yes he would have some if I made it as a family meal. So I took that as a compliment!

While all this was going on I had a wok full of plums from the garden simmering in water, demerara and white sugar, ground ginger and cinnamon. The smell was divine! I let the liquid reduce to a syrup consistency and when it has cooled will pack it into zipped storage bags for freezing. It will come in very useful for making cobbler or crumble desserts in the future, though I have yet to master the technique of using gluten free flour!

Bon Appetit for now.

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