Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Result - Chicken Dhansak and Spaghetti with Bacon Pangratatto

You would be forgiven for thinking that Britain is enjoying a renaissance in good food. Our shelves groan under the weight of celebrity chef cookbooks and every night on TV there is a programme dedicated to food. Farmers markets have sprung up in most areas and we can tell the difference between Gloucester old spot bacon and Danepack in a taste test. Its utter nonense of course. Well it is for the vast majority of society. This new gastroporn has created a myth that sourcing and eating food in the UK is on a par with the Europeans. But sadly, this 'renaissance' is largely enjoyed by a tiny minority of people or 'foodies' as they are sometimes known.

Getting good food in Britain is difficult - for lots of reasons. This is especially true for 'ordinary' people. I read a shocking report recently saying that in Swansea, my home town, there is a 13 year gap in life expectancy between the wealthiest and poorest electoral wards. There were many factors and one of them was the problem of obesity. Read the report here:

So, I think, without getting too depressed about it, good food should be for all of us. But boy is that a challenge and in my opinion we need to start with the kids. As you know I have set myself a challenge - to feed my kids good homemade food everyday. And on a tight budget. So far so good but if you read yesterdays blog you will know that Louis is coming for tea. Parents seem to love giving kids, as a 'treat', turkey dinosaurs or something equally delicious for their tea. Why do we do this? Why can't we give little guests what we think is good for them and enjoyable.

I took a gamble and made my kids favourite meal ever - Spaghetti with Bacon Pangratatto. I needn't have bought the emergency Hotdogs as he loved it. This made me very happy and optimistic. Kids do like good food but we have got a fight on our hands to make sure they are influenced by people who love them and not mega corporations who have junk to sell.

As a final note, my school kids had a gorgeous homemade Chicken Dhansak with basmati rice today. They have no idea that I put lentils and 2 kilos of mashed butternut squash in it!

Spaghetti with Bacon Pangratatto

Serves 3 and costs about 70p per portion

2 - 3 Rashers of thick cut bacon or pancetta, cut into cubes
300g spaghetti
100g breadcrumbs, a bit of stale bread whizzed up in a processor
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and pureed with the back of your knife
A handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil

1) Cook your spaghetti according to the instructions on the packet.
2) While this is happening, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large non stick frying pan and cook the bacon until crisp. Now add the breadcrumbs and stir often until they start to colour. Now add more oil and the garlic and stir in. you are looking for a golden colour but watch it doesn't go too for or the garlic will taste bitter. Transfer to a bowl and add the parsley.
3) Drain the spaghetti and coat with a little olive oil. Place a portion of spaghetti in a bowl, spoon over the pangratatto, grate over some parmesan and serve. Great with a simple green salad.

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