day one! rustic cooking, penne carbonara, bouillabaisse and saffron mayo.

Today’s recipes are going to be italian,&french as they’re very close to my heart. Rustic,comforting,home-made pastas,bakes,soups and sauces – you really can’t go wrong with that. It’s a little bit fatty and yes it will probably make your toosh and thighs bigger, but really, who cares? To me life is about good food and enjoying it! So, ladies, gentleman- today’s recipes : classic and timeless pasta carbonara,  french fish stew-Bouillabaisse and one of my favourite additions to this lovely soup-french saffron mayonaisse

Pasta Carbonara(penne) portion for 3 people.
500g of pasta of your choice-I’m using penne, but that’s only because I am always messy with my pasta,so I go for the shorter kinds, like fussili,farfalle, but you can chose any type you like.
3 eggs-whisked roughly with a fork.
1 cup of heavy cream- yes,yes it’s full of callories, I know. But it’s also luciously delicious!
1,5 cup of grated cheese- now, you can chose parmigiano reggiano or pecorino romano, it’s all up to you- you can also you a mixture of both.
About 250 grams of pancetta (italian bacon) it can be easily replaced with normal,smoked bacon.
Black pepper- to taste.
A bit of olive oil- about 2 tbsp.(I use garlic scented oil)
And my twist – a tbsp of parsley per person.( optional ).
Notice- we don’t use salt, that’s because pancetta or bacon are pretty salty, also the cheese we use is salty as well. We don’t want to overseason the pasta, or it’ll be inedible. We will however season the pasta water.
Here we go, let’s get cookin’.
1)      boil water for pasta, ratio- 1l per 100g. season the water after it’s started to boil, salty water has a higher boiling point, and we don’t want to wait that long 😉 – mix the cream,cheese and eggs in a bowl now. Season to taste with pepper- you’ll be able to just use it when you need it asap.
2)      when the water boils, throw the pasta in, and stir gently. Let it come to boil again.
3)      While the pasta is cooking ( I usually take a minute off the time printed on the package, we want our pasta al dente) we can start preparing are sauce. Heat up the pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil, and throw in the diced bacon. Fry off till golden brown and it releases some lovely bacony juices.
4)      By the time the bacon has browned nicely, pasta should be ready. Drain it and throw it into the pan with bacon- now we need to work quickly, toss the pasta to coat it with bacony juices and oil.
5)      Turn off the heat under the pan, poor in the egg-cheese-cream mixture. And toss. Don’t worry, the heat in the base of the pan and in the pasta itself, will cook the mixture.
6)      Finish off with parsley and some extra cheese on top if you wish. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper for the visual effect. Serve immediately.

Now, onto our next dish- the french fish soup- Bouillabaisse. Don’t let the name scare you. It’s easy to make, it’s delicious and healthy. A perfect soup for a summer’s eve. Reminds me of vacation, sea and lovely warm south of France every single time.
So let’s get crackin’.
                   3 red mullets, descaled
·                                 450g/1lb of monkfish fillet
·                                 1 x 900g/2lb sea bass descaled
·                                 12 raw large tiger prawns
·                                 5 tbsp olive oil
·                                 2 onions finely chopped
·                                 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
·                                 2 leeks finely chopped
·                                 1 bulb fennel, finely chopped (reserve the tops)
·                                 675g/1½lb tomatoes, chopped
·                                 1 tsp of fennel seeds
·                                 1 tsp tomato paste
·                                 1 small bunch freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
·                                 3 sprigs fresh thyme
·                                 2 bay leaves
·                                 2 strips orange peel
·                                 500ml/1pt fish stock
·                                 2L/3½pt bottle mineral water
·                                 1 tsp saffron stamens
·                                 5-10g/1-2tsp salt
·                                 2 tbsp pernod, or similar
·                                 36 mussels
bare in mind- this serves at least 6-7 people, so the amounts are big! It’s still worth it, even though it might seem like a huge amount of work. Now, preparation method.. here it goes: 


1.                               Remove the heads from the prawns, cut along the length of their backs with a sharp knife and remove the intestinal tract. Set aside. Cut the monkfish into 4cm/1½in chunks. Fillet the sea bass and red mullet, reserving the head and bones.Cut each fillet of sea bass into three pieces.
2.                               Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the onion, garlic, leek, and fennel. Cook gently for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft, but not coloured.
3.                               Stir in the tomatoes, fennel seeds, tomato purée, all the prawn shells and fish trimmings, the chopped parsley, thyme and bay leaves. Add the orange zest, fish stock and mineral water and finally the saffron. Bring to the boil and simmer gently, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes skimming the surface occasionally to remove any When the fish broth has reduced to about 1.7L/3½pt, remove from the heat and strain into a clean pan. Add the pernod, taste and season accordingly. Return to a simmer and add the monkfish, mussels, sea bass and red mullet. Bring back up to a simmer and add the prawns. Cook for a further 2 minutes or until the mussels have opened and the prawns have turned pink.
4.                               Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fish to a warm serving plate and pour the soup into a tureen. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately

Now- according to me a real bouillabaisse needs a rustic garlic toast and french saffron mayo. – it’s optional, you do not have to make it – it’s only a fancy addition ( it’s delicious though! )
serve a spoon-full on top of the bouillabaisse.
here’s how to make it : dip a pinch of saffron in warm water. (about 3-4 tbsp.) let it ooze colour and flavour to the water. whisk it into the may0- you can buy a good quality french mayo or make it yourself. (cool the mixture in the fridge for about 20 min before serving).

disclaimer- I am not the author or owner of any pictures added in this blog.

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