Hey guys! Thank you so much for all the amazing feedback and love on my recipes! I think it's been super fun for me because I get to cook out for my family and we all get to enjoy our favourite meals. I particularly love Italian food and that's where we are going this week!
So to give some background on my family, my dad's mother was adopted when she was very little after her mum died suddenly. She was of Italian heritage and although her past was very difficult and we didn't really know a lot, we found out after she passed more about her history. This has happened with both my grans who were adopted, but I definitely feel a strong affinity with Italian culture and food.
So carbonara is classically one of those meals you think of as for the meat eaters of the world, it's cream and cheese with egg and ham and everything I do not eat, so whilst my parents were all having a traditional version I would play with a vegan alternative. A roux is a vegans base, because you can manipulate in so many ways and it does not involve any kind of dairy. You can literally make it so easily with three basic ingredients and I tried and tried to create a tasty version. Some vegan cheeses you can grab in your supermarkets today are very artificially cheesy and don't melt, so I've been playing with ways to make it a different texture with way more interesting taste.
- Vegetarian/Vegan Bacon
- Dairy Free Cheese
- White Flour
- Green Olives
- Green Onion
- Liquid Smoke
- Pine Nuts
- Coconut Oil
- Dairy Free Plain Yogurt
- Bread Flour
- Sundried Tomatoes
- Instant Yeast
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Olive Oil
So let's start off with the bread, now bread is a very easy recipe for most people, you can make it as simple as a yeast sachet, some salt, some strong bread flour and warm water. I have done a particular recipe which I'll share later on but it is no way near as confusing as it sounds, and is phenomenal with Italian food. I made a very small amount of dough, you can use gluten-free but be SUPER careful not to get the balance off because it can taste waxy and stodgy. This isn't a gluten-free flour today because I fancied an easier recipe aha. You basically just whip it up into a small bowl and keep it moving for the first five minutes, the more you work it then the more stable it is. The dry ingredient ratio should be 5:3. So if you have 500g of flour you put 300g of warm water with it.
Leave it under a moist cloth or paper towel in the bowl to rise for half an hour. If you're obsessed with fluffy textures you knock it into shape at that point and leave for the following half an hour. You can make a larger batch, just remember to multiply that ratio by what ever and leave it accordingly. It rises like a beast.
So here is the pasta ingredients! So we're going to start with vegetarian or vegan bacon, you can find this in most supermarkets today but it's veryyyy hit and miss. Some vegetarian bacon turns rubbery and the taste is kinda off. I tested this out years ago on my mum and sister and they both said that it was like elastic bands so over the years, I've got it to a point where they don't gag at the thought, so that's saying a lot LOL! It's something that you have to work with to get it tasting right and I've combined it with two other alternatives that bring a fuller texture. Pine nuts and green olives. Green olives are not as sweet as black olives, they have a slight fruityness to them which works, and toasted pine nuts to give that crisp edge that vegetarian bacon never has. So you have to cook these in sequence. Don't throw them all in at once cos they all have different cooking times. This is when you throw some spaghetti of your choice on for about ten minutes, I'm using gluten free today and make sure it's moving cos it will stick to itself, unlike the regular version.
So with the bacon, slice and dice the bitch & throw in some liquid smoke. Liquid smoke is an additive they use in a lot of productions that enhance the flavour of bacon, all those bbq snacks. It smells like smokey richness. It fizzes in a hot pan so prepare yourself for splash back but it transforms the bacon taste from rubbery blandness to something closer to the real deal. With the pine nuts toasted off in onion salt, you can tell when they are getting there because the onion salt blackens before they do, so use that as a signal so they remain brown and not black. Throw them in a side bowl. Chop the green olives and throw them in too and if you fancy fry off some white onions and keep them to one side too. So you have four parts that give the meal some dynamic.
Next, let's go back to the roux! So I posted this in detail from my last few recipes and I wanted to explain a little bit more about the differences you can work into the sauce base. You start with a butter or an oil, you then add white flour. They need to be of equal measurements so you can increase the amount to your taste. 1:1. So you cook them in a hot pan until they form a sauce, then you begin to add your liquid to expand the base. So you can actually use water, oat milk, soy milk, oat yogurt or whatever! It gives different tastes. Whereas in the first three images which I took from last recipe, we added olive oil, today as seen in the right we added coconut oil and the colour changes. Instead of just adding a milk, I added a soy yogurt and we are left with this really gorge, paler base.
Add your dairy free cheese of your choice, I used Sainsburys own which has onions in it and has a stronger taste, this works better for anything creamier as it really enhances the other flavours.
Throw some olive oil on a baking tray, throw the bread as rustically as you like. I added sun dried tomatoes to this recipe and formed it into a loose shape and put it in the oven for 30 minutes! The sauce should be still in the pan, drain the spaghetti once it's cooked to your taste, season with salt and pepper, combine the ingredients.
I threw on some chilli in oil ontop to give it some spice at the end, it's in vinegar so cuts through the richnes of the sauce. Serve the bread with some balsamic vinegar and share with your fam! I decided to have some diet coke cos I'm low key addicted and here we are. Totally a treat!
Hope you all enjoy it! Let me know if you make it and we have a couple more different pasta dishes to come this week.