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Mmm…Pasta

This week we’ve been eating lots of yummy food. One of my favourites that we ate last weekend is “vodka penne”, it’s very simple, in case anyone would like to try it out, here’s the “recipe” I use – most quantities are approximate as this isn’t a formal recipe:

Skirty’s Vodka Penne (serves 2 adults and a toddler)

Ingredients

1 onion, sliced
3 slices of bacon chopped into small pieces
a large splash of vodka
cooking oil of your choice
a knob of butter
some cream (I use double cream – only a little goes in so 2 to 3 tablespoonsish – this depends on your taste)
enough of your favourite pasta for 2 grownups and a small person
some parmesan (flaked or grated)

Base Sauce

2 tins of tomatoes (chopped or whole, doesn’t really matter)
some fresh basil (I have made this with rosemary before, yummy also!)
cooking oil of your choice (I use locally produced virgin rapeseed oil)
a glug of balsamic vinegar (tablespoonish quantity)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped or sliced roughly
1 onion, chopped roughly

Instructions

First, make the base sauce. This can be done in advance or on the same day. To make it I chop up the onions and garlic roughly, and soften them up gently in a saucepan with some oil over a gentle heat. When they’re soft, I chuck in 2 tins of tomatoes, a glug of balsamic vinegar, a little salt and black pepper, and some of the basil, and simmer for a few hours (the longer the better). Some tomato puree can also be added to increase the tomato flavour. When this is cooked down the sauce changes colour to a rich, dark red. When this is cooked enough, add some more basil and “whizz” using a food processor or hand blender. Put aside until required for the vodka penne. If this is not to be used on the same day it can be refrigerated for a few days, or frozen for a week or so (beware that the longer it’s in the freezer, the less flavour it will have when used).

You can either time the pasta so that it’s cooked when you’re finished with the sauce, or cook it in advance and cool it down with some cold water.

When you’re ready to cook your bacon take a large saute pan or another saucepan with a large wide base, heat a little cooking oil and add the bacon pieces. I like to add a knob of butter at this point also. Cook the bacon gently until it’s cooked through and going brown, then add the sliced onion and cook until that’s going soft. Now splash the vodka in and let it bubble up and cook down for a minute or so (if it evaporates really quickly, you can add a little water to stop everything burning) before adding the base sauce. Heat this through thoroughly, if the pasta is cold, add it now to heat through also. Add cream to taste, a small amount at a time, and if the pasta wasn’t cold, add it and serve with grated or flaked parmesan sprinkled on top.

It’s delicious, the vodka gives it a peppery flavour and I love this dish. It’s not exactly the same as that from a proper Italian restaurant, but it’s a good enough substitute, and the toddler adores it too.

Om nom nom, as they say!

Last weekend I dyed some yarn using kool aid and food colouring.

The first was created by pouring dye into yarn in the slow cooker (crockpot):

Skirtydyed Orangey Red

The second was re-skeined into a very long skein, and then “dip dyed” with increasing concentration of dye:

Skirtydyed Kool Aid Dipped Blues

The second one has already been teamed up with some undyed yarn to create my son a tank top (vest):

Dipped Blues Vest

I’ve yet to decide what to make with the orangey-red, although I’m leaning towards some sort of accessory type item.

The weather is a little colder this week, although it’s been mostly dry. No snow here, unlike the UK. My Mum’s garden in Scotland was covered in snow earlier in the week. Our seedlings are poking up through the soil and a small boy has been ensuring that they get plenty of water. Maybe these will survive our ever-changing weather and provide us with some yummy food later in the year.

Skirty

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