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A dish whose principal ingredients are eggs and bacon was always going to be a shoo-in for the British palate: certainly spaghetti carbonara was a regular in my dad's repertoire when pesto was only a glint in a supermarket buyer's eye. As with so many Italian foodstuffs, it has a disputed history , although most people accept that carbonara probably originated in, or near Rome. It's apparently named after the carbonai, or charcoal burners, allegedly because it was a favourite of these grimy men who spent months deep in the Apennines, relying on foodstuffs that could be easily transported, stored and then prepared over a fire.
This is one of the first dishes I ever learned to make on my own. It was also the first that I stopped needing a recipe to cook, and the first that actually received compliments from my dinner companions. And it's still one of my standby recipes! This simple tomato sauce hits all the requirements for a weeknight dinner: easy, versatile, and ready in about thirty minutes.
Let's face it, you might as well be in the kitchen. The biting cold and flint grey skies are not good for much – except maybe a 10-minute constitutional to bring on a raging appetite for something savoury and comforting. Or perhaps motivate you to teach yourself a new skill from which you can reap the heartiest of rewards. If you've never made your own pasta before, perhaps now's the time to start. I realise there are quite enough noisy chefs out there waving the Italian flag, and you really don't need me to join the olive oil-gargling, bunched fingertip-kissing, mamma mia-shouting throng. But I do make my own pasta once in a while.
Millet is an ancient seed, originally hailing from Africa and northern China, and it remains a staple in the diets of about a third of the world's population. Rich in iron, B vitamins and calcium, millet has a mild corn flavor and is naturally gluten-free. Sure, on first glance you might be tempted to think that raw millet looks like birdseed. But these little yellow beads have a really lovely and light texture when cooked, are relatively quick-cooking because of their small size, and are incredibly versatile in dishes ranging all the way from breakfast to dinner. More