Speedy Suppers #2: Creamy Bacon Pasta

  

Friday 15th May

We swap the Friday afternoon scrum at the sweet shop for the after school Nepalese-fundraising bake sale. Daisy joins the throngs to buy back one of the cakes she made last night. Ollie worms his way to the front and is served immediately thanks to one of his Year 6 contacts, Beth. He emerges triumphant with a huge chocolate muffin. 

Sometimes doing the school run with Ollie is like being in the presence of a local celebrity; he seems to know everyone. 

“Hi Vanessa!” he shouts to the school cleaner before stopping to chat about the weather. 

“Hello Marcus!” he calls to one of my Year 4 drama crew, before high-fiving him. 

In the playground, Annabelle from Daisy’s year comes along to pick Ollie up (a daily ritual), and Ollie squeals with delight. 

Who Ollie doesn’t know, isn’t worth knowing. I have no worries about him starting school in September. He has contacts in all sectors of school-life, from the girls in Year 2 who will look out for him at break-time, to Daisy’s old Reception-Year teaching assistant who’s always had a soft spot for him. 

We amble along to the park. There’s been a cold wind today, but in the sun it is warm enough to peel off some of the layers. 

Daisy has a friend to play with, but she would prefer to plonk herself down on my lap and ear-wig on the adult conversation. The information she gleans makes great writing material (for her), no matter how careful I am about what I say. 

Sometimes I find with horror discarded notes around the house containing fragments of conversations overheard from the top of the stairs and then quickly jotted down. 

At the park, Ollie has latched on to a Year 3 boy and they are cavorting around as pirates having sword-fights with big sticks. 

On the way home I remember it’s Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day: his campaign to create a movement to get all children educated about food, and to inspire families to cook again. http://www.foodrevolutionday.com/#urIKDupJC5CR95Wd.97

I read through the whole website last night and felt so passionate about what he is trying to do, that I found my finger hovering over the Be A Food Ambassador button. 

Fortunately I pulled myself back from the brink, but I decide the kids can cook tea for us tonight. As the weather is good, we christen a little kettle barbecue that’s been kicking around in the shed. 

This is Daisy’s favourite dinner and it’s very easy to make. I allow her to light the barbecue (under my watchful eye), then I look back at the photo with horror. It’s like one of those pictures you get at school: Spot All The Fire Hazards……The little brother standing too close; the long hair not tied back…… These things are hurriedly rectified.

For dinner, the children start by shelling the broad beans:

 

They add these plus the peas to the pasta pan (being held by me):

   
 

Ollie grates the cheese:

  
And Daisy adds the cream once the pasta has been drained:

  

Then Ollie pats the cheese into the pan (not strictly the method, but we all have our own cooking styles):

  
A stir and a quick heat through and dinner is ready:

   
 

This is a very adaptable, delicious dinner which is ready in under twenty minutes. 

ingredients (serves two)

  • pasta, 120g (penne, fusilli etc)
  • bacon lardons/ham, 100g
  • olive oil, 1tbsp
  • frozen peas and/or broad beans, 60g
  • double cream, 75ml
  • grated Cheddar cheese, 20g

Method

Place the pasta in a large pan of boiling water. Cover and reduce the heat leaving it to simmer. Cook as per the packet instructions – usually 12-15 minutes. Add the frozen peas/broad beans approximately five minutes before the pasta is cooked. 

Meanwhile, if using lardons heat a frying pan with a tbsp of olive/vegetable oil and fry the bacon pieces over a medium heat until cooked. 

Once the pasta and peas have cooked, drain them then return them to the pan. Add the bacon, using a slotted spoon to remove from the frying pan, or ham if using that instead. 

Stir the cream, then the grated cheese, into the pasta over a low heat. Serve when it’s heated through. 


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