Carbonara (a healthier version)

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There’s always been something about carbonara that’s freaked me out a little. I think it might be the just cooked egg that’s still slightly mushy. Nevertheless, I can understand why people love it; what’s not to love? There’s bacon, pasta and handfuls and handfuls of cheese. Unfortunately, those handfuls and handfuls of cheese come with bucketloads and bucketloads of calories, so even if carbonara was desired at chez Rose it would have been well off the menu.

Until now.

Upon browsing Pinterest I discovered a recipe for a one pot creamy garlic pasta from yupitsvegan.com. I tried the recipe as per their website and, as we were eating it, the ‘this could be a really healthy carbonara’ discussion started. A few tweaks and variations later and we’ve arrived at what I think is a bloody tasty and much less calorific version than the original Italian dish.

I’ve found that this serves 2 biggish portions (with a bit left over for the baby). I’m greedier than the people at yupitsvegan!

Ingredients 
1 teaspoon of coconut oil
2 teaspoons of garlic puree
1 white onion chopped quite finely
2 cups of vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups of almond milk
1 teaspoon salt
8ozs of wholegrain spaghetti
Smoked bacon medallions (or regular smoked bacon and trim the fat off)
250g chestnut or cup mushrooms
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of oregano
A few twists of black pepper
Chopped fresh basil (for serving)
Parmesan cheese (for serving)

Method

  1. Melt the coconut oil in a big saucepan. Add the garlic and the onion and cook until the garlic is soft and the onion is turning translucent.
  2. Add the vegetable stock, the almond milk, the salt, the red pepper flakes and the oregano. I sometimes do this earlier in the day and let it sit. The flavours infuse into the liquid that way and it’s even tastier!
  3. Add the pasta to the liquid and make sure it all submerges.
  4. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Leave the lid off the pan. It should take about 20 minutes for the liquid to reduce into a sauce.
  5. Whilst the pasta is cooking, cook the bacon and mushrooms in a frying pan with a little bit of coconut oil. Add these to the liquid when it is almost ready.
  6. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve with the fresh basil and a grating of parmesan.

We’ve also tried this with spinach in with the mushroom and bacon and that was a delicious addition.
If you try it, let me know.

Happy healthy cooking.

Around the Corner Fitness.

 

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A little bit about me to get started

I’m currently setting up this blog, hiding away in our English office with Ofsted due to go on a school tour in 30 minutes. I have 15 minutes until I have to leave this comfy chair and wander into En3 to teach a bunch of Year 11 students, who have their exam in less than a week, that think the poem ‘Belfast Confetti’ is set in Brazil. This is my fifth year of teaching and I’ve just about had enough. I don’t know whether it’s all the new government changes, whether I’ve had enough of being a prison officer rather than a teacher, or just whether I’m sick of my brain cells streaming out of my ears as I go over the same novel for the 100th time, but it’s time to think of an alternative. I need an exit strategy.

After mulling over possible plans with family and friends, and coming to the conclusion that being the next Beyoncé isn’t going to happen, I’ve decided to follow the path that’s of most interest to me.

Now back in my youth I used to be a sprightly (never sporty) slim girl. I never really cared much about what I was eating and did so much dancing and was so active it didn’t matter anyway. Then I went to university. And I got fat. I don’t just mean I put on a little bit of weight; I got FAT! I was having whole tubs of ice-cream for pudding after dinners of chicken kievs and piles and piles of pasta. A whole box of Frosties for breakfast wasn’t uncommon. At home there’d always been someone policing what I was eating, but at university I was in charge! I didn’t know how to cook and I didn’t really understand what food was for. It tasted nice so I just shoved it in my mouth.

Since then I’ve had a bit of a difficult relationship with food and my weight has fluctuated significantly. I had a spell at Weight Watchers a few years ago and lost close to 3 stone, but it wasn’t maintainable. It got to the stage where I was eating an apple for breakfast, a dry salad for lunch and something minimal for dinner. I remember my mindset being: ‘if I can get down to goal weight by the summer I’ll treat myself with a Waitrose picnic’. Chronically unhealthy. After that I did teacher training and the binge eating that came with the stress of that caused those 3 stone to leap back on. It’s been up and down since then: I lost a stone after a miscarriage and gained some back after falling pregnant with my little boy. These ups and downs didn’t just come with food, exercise also played a part and I’ve run a fair few 5Ks and 10Ks now.

Now I’m at the stage where I’ve grown up a bit. I’m 30 and this unhealthy relationship I have with food and exercise can’t go on. To sort it out (and to hopefully combine it with an exit to teaching) I’ve enrolled in a personal training and nutrition course. I’m hoping I can sort myself out first and then inspire others to do the same. I want to use this platform as a way to monitor myself and to provide recipes, insight and little anecdotes that might inspire others to join me on this journey.

I don’t have much to go. 1 stone would be nice to lose. But this time, I’m going to do it properly.