Kind of Carbonara

It’s been a while, and I have lots to tell you. A new home, a belly that is 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant, a job that is no more, and so many little things besides.

But for tonight, a recipe made on a rainy Saturday evening, inspired, however unlikely it may seem, by watching Question Time this week.

I rarely see it any more as I am too sleepy, but seeing Kirstie Allsopp was on, I watched it on the iplayer at a more sociable hour. Alongside Kirstie was a lady called Jack Monroe. I was vaguely aware that she had started a blog when she was cooking for herself and her toddler son on an incredibly tiny budget, and that his had led to a cookbook.

Having watched the programme, I looked her book up on amazon, and read a sample…there is a thought provoking and utterly heartbreaking part at the beginning, in which she recounts the story if giving her son the last weetabix for breakfast, mashed with some water. After eating it, he asks for some more, or some bread and jam. But there is no more, there is no bread, and there is no jam.

I can barely type that without tears in my eyes. My Mum was on her own with me and my sister for several years, and although I don’t remember us wanting for things, I know she had to sell her things to feed us at times, and keep us warm. So it brings back if not memories, a lot of empathy.

And then as my baby squiggles in my tummy, I can’t imagine what it would be like for her to hungry, and for me not to be able to do anything about it. It is all compounded, I think, by this being the first day of not being employed since I was 14, as my redundancy started yesterday.

Now I am so lucky I know, as with my redundancy and maternity pay I can afford to be off work for a year, contributes to our household bills and pay myself some pocket money besides. But somehow, being unemployed, although voluntarily has hit me a bit harder than I thought. Perhaps if the baby was here already I wouldn’t feel so ‘between’ roles.

Anyway, when it came to dinner time this evening, I realised that there wasn’t much in the cupboards. I have defrosted one of the home-made ready meals I have stashed in the freezer ready for when the baby comes, but that feels like cheating somehow. I could have waddled down to the corner shop and bought something, but having read that piece by Jack Monroe, I felt it would be squandering the housekeeping, as would have getting a takeaway.

So instead, I had Elvis singing Lawdy Miss Clawdy over the sound of the rain, and made what I can only describe as a Kind of Carbonara using odds and ends from the cupboards and fridge.

Kind of Carbonara

Set a saucepan of water to boil, and while you are waiting slice a red onion and start to soften it in a little hot oil.

Empty the last of the packet of tagliatelle into the water, and put the timer on for 10 minutes.

Stir the red onion slices, and add a clove of crushed garlic.

Rummage in the fridge for the red pepper that was the last if a multipack, de-seed, slice into strips and add to to the onion and garlic. Stir around for a a bit.

Go back to the fridge, and find a couple of rashers of bacon. Snip them up and throw them into the pan. Stir as they crisp up.

When there is only a minute or two left for the pasta to boil, throw Ina good shake of frozen peas, the small carton of cream that came free with some strawberries, the last cream cheese triangle, and the last shakings from the packet of grated cheese.

Just before you drain the pasta, take out about half a mug of the cooking water and stir it into the sauce. Drain the pasta, then tip into the pan of sauce, stir around and serve.

Feel surprised by how tasty it is, and pleased at how it came together out of bits and bobs that could have gone unused.

I think I will try and see what I can make out of what I happen to have more often…a bit like the master chef invention challenge!

And now to bed, and my nightly prayer that the baby will come soon. I know she will be here when she is ready, but I have waited so long to meet her, that everyday it feels almost further away than ever. I just cant wait!

Tomorrow I will show you round the darling little Victorian Terrace that we now call home! (Unless the baby comes in the night, but in that case, I am sure you will forgive me!)

I have missed blogging…it feels good to be back!


4 thoughts on “Kind of Carbonara

  1. I was so happy to see you had posted – I enjoy your blog so much and wish you a safe delivery! Look forward to more postings….

  2. Hello Mimi! Glad to hear you are doing well. The Carbonara sounds wonderful. My mom was single for quite a few years, with 3 children (me, my brother and baby sister) and while we never went hungry, money was in short supply because mom didn’t earn much money as a waitress. Mom was an amazing woman and how she managed, without complaint or showing fatigue, is beyond me. Soon your baby girl will be here and you will adore her. When I was given both of my babies the first time, for a split second they seemed like strangers, and I felt a panic, but in a flash that motherly love exploded and in an instant I became the fierce mamma bear. You have so many wonderful things ahead of you. Praying that you have an easy labor and safe delivery.

  3. Hello Mimi!

    I too have heard of Jack Monroe and felt similarly dire at the prospect of people going hungry in this day and age; it sounds like something from a Victorian novel. Apparently we can send men into space but not feed our own people adequately – what does that say about our politicians’ priorities?! I have no doubt that you will do everything in your power to feed, clothe and raise your little girl very well indeed. I can imagine that you’re desperate to meet her, but at 40w3d, by hook or by crook you will have her in your arms within the next couple of days 🙂 I hope that you have the birth you have been planning and that it all goes swimmingly well. I can’t wait to hear all about her – and I hope to see a photo too 🙂

    Best wishes,
    P.s. Don’t forget to forward me your new address

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