Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Jamon and Truffle-infused Pecorino

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On an ordinary jaunt to the shops we discovered a new fruit shop and thought we would get bananas. Once inside we discovered the formagerie and after some very enthusiastic sampling on our part walked out with a washed rind tallegio, 150 grams of aged Jamon and this incredible truffle Pecorino.

With these ingredients in my hot little hands I remembered that I had eggs and spaghetti at home and came up with a plan. I had been reading a lot of blogs about making the perfect cream-free carbonara so I decided to jump in.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara
Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Soooooo good! Here’s how I did it

350 grams spaghetti
75 grams of Jamon cut into chunks
quarter of a cup Grated truffle Pecorino
half a cup Grated parmesan
4 Eggs at room temperature
Cracked pepper
Salt

Cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and reserve a cup of the water. Meanwhile in a frying pan on medium-high heat fry the Jamon until crispy. Crack eggs into a bowl and gently whisk, add cheese to eggs. Add the spaghetti and some of the water to the Jamon pan, stir until most of the water absorbs – you don’t want too much liquid. Remove from heat, stir in egg and cheese mixture quickly. Keep is moving so you don’t get scrambled eggs! Season with salt and pepper. Serve and relish!

Ziggy vs the eccentric neighbour

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We have a rather eccentric neighbour living next door… I use the word eccentric, rather than crazy, for several reasons: 1) it is smarter and makes me sound clever; and 2) it is a bit less judgmental. So, my elderly eccentric neighbour likes to stop on the street and impart useful nuggets of wisdom, commentary and (at times) criticism. They are equal parts confusing, offensive and very amusing.

The first encounter of note with our favourite neighbour was about 2 months after Ziggy was born and we had just gotten back from a long walk when she stopped me and very helpfully pointed out that I was ‘too fat’. Now, there is a definite language barrier here but these two words were crystal clear and open to no interpretation. There was even some helpful pointing at my stomach to really ram the point home when I stared at her in a dumbstruck way, just to make sure I hadn’t misunderstood. Helpful, thank you.

Our next installment in the world’s most entertaining neighbour series was the winning ‘why baby cry?’ episode which I gave the full wry, caustic and at times (hopefully) amusing treatment in a previous blog post.

The latest tale of wonder came about a week ago when she stopped me as I was putting Ziggy into his pram from the car and she sticks her head right into the pram for a good look, then pulls back with a frown and says ‘don’t feed baby so much!’ and then pantomimes by gabbing her own cheeks to indicate that Ziggy does, in fact, have some sizable cheeks on him. Yes, yes he does. Ziggy was born with epic cheeks, the cheeks are a force unto themselves and nothing can stop them. They are the runaway freight train of cheeks, the Incredible Hulk of cheeks, the Cassius Clay of cheeks! They are amazing! I pointed out that I was breastfeeding and not actually force feeding my son in order to artificially enlarge his cheeks to gargantuan proportions and she seemed to accept that and proceeded to call him a ‘good baby.’ Thanks so much… very helpful as always.

There are countless more stories to be told about our delightful neighbour including ‘the random peanuts in tinfoil’, ‘the pruning of the traffic island’, ‘the fight with the bin man’ and ‘the pruning of the tree… that was actually ours’, but I am going to save them for a later post. In the meantime here they are in all their glory, the cheeks!

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Ziggy and the eternal unanswered question

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I was out walking with Ziggy about a week ago and we were on the home stretch, our wee semi-detached inner west house in my keenly honed sights and all of sudden, inexplicably, Ziggy started to cry. Now, I was so close to home that I figured my best approach was to pick up the pace, say some nice comforting things to the Zig and basically just ride it out for the short time it would take me to get home. 

With my game plan sorted I was power walking the last few meters home when a (seemingly) well meaning neighbour stops me and asks me the eternal unanswered question… “Why baby cry?”

Oh my… 

As much as I appreciate the concern and accept the fact that she didn’t realise that stopping to ask me that was not only stupid but also prolonging my baby’s distress, it really does pose an important question… ‘why baby cry’? To all the people (most of whom had children quite some time ago and seem to have forgotten that their baby ever cried or did anything untoward) who feel the need to pose this question to a virtual stranger I would like to convey this simple answer: “I DON’T HAVE A BLOODY CLUE”. My child (much like yours 30 years ago, I am sure) does not have the power of speech. He is only 5 months old. He can’t tell me what is wrong. It could be any or none of the following:

1. He is hot

2. He is tired

3. He is hungry

4. He is bored

5. He got bitten on the butt by an angry ant

6. He wishes I put the blue t-shirt on him instead of the green

7. He is still upset that Tony Abbott won the election.

So do yourself a favour and avoid getting knifed by an angry, sleep deprived new mother and don’t stop her on the street to ask her the world’s stupidest question… ‘why baby cry’?

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Ziggy vs Moo & Toby

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You live your whole life getting hugs whenever you feel like it, told how gorgeous and loved you are and generally made to feel like the centre of the universe and then all of a sudden, one day, it all changes. For Moo and Toby, my much beloved dogs, the arrival of Ziggy was a rude and brutal awakening. I mean, for a decade Moo had been my best mate, with me through thick and thin and then this small, noisy thing arrives and she finds herself on the wrong side of the playpen looking in. What the?

The day we brought Zig home all hell broke loose on an epic scale, with Zig’s cries sending Moo into a frenzy. It was a mind-bending cacophony of noise, stress and fear that had everyone in tears except for Zig, who fell asleep, such a legend. Things have improved dramatically and now Ziggy and the dogs often embark on long and thoughtful staring contests and Ziggy likes to grab their noses. Mutual affection notwithstanding there is still a level of resentment within the puppy sector of our house which at times leads to rebellion. Moo & Toby are nothing if not tenacious and creative creatures and I am always both appalled and amused by their ability to insinuate themselves where they know they are not allowed without me even realising… it is quite impressive. Some examples of these minor mutinies in pic form below…

A few weeks ago Moo snuck onto the couch (where she is not allowed) and snuggled up with some of Ziggy’s toys… naughty, but cute, which is Moo’s specialty…

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Ziggy’s favourite toy is his piano mat, which is apparently also very very comfy if you are a puppy dog and it is a hot day, nice work Toby…

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Well played pups, take the little wins where you can because before you know it Ziggy is going to be running around, pulling your tails and generally bossing you around. Good times…

 

Ziggy’s adventures in Wellington Pt. 1

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Ziggy loves airports, he thinks they’re great and fascinating, which is very unexpected as he hates shopping centres… but he was very smily while waiting to board our plane, slept most of the way there and pretty much the whole way home. Best baby ever!

On to our trip itself, apart from two small grumpy patches (one when we first arrived and Zig was all ‘what the?’) the Zig was pretty fond of NZ. He toured Wellington, checking out the waterfront, the hills, the museum (ok yeah, he slept in his pram through most of this) and some pretty great restaurants. Ziggy’s most profound discoveries while in NZ:

1. He really likes TV… 

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4. Ziggy loves Daddy’s beard..

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3. He digs helicopters and planes but does NOT like it when mum puts the pilot’s headphones on him…

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Stay tuned for more on Ziggy’s adventures in Wellington…

 

Ziggy gets ready to jet set

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Undertaking a plane trip with a small child and expecting it to go smoothly is delusional optimism on par with those people who buy a tiger kitten and expect it to still be cuddly and friendly when it grows up and are genuinely astonished when it mauls them.

So, we are on our way to New Zealand. Wellington to be more specific, and it is only a 3.5 hour flight but I am not a huge fan of flying, the landing freaks me out, so I am not sure I can expect the four month old Zig to be coolmaster flash and not blink an eye when I am all in a flummox. So I am approaching this challenge with my usual mix of cynicism and a tendency towards melodrama… the way I see it there are 3 likely ways this high flying adventure will go:

1. Ziggy sleeps the whole time and barely realises anything has happened

2. Ziggy is a bit restless on take off and landing, cries for a little while but then has something to eat and a little nap

3. Ziggy loses the plot on an epic scale and screams to the point where for a second or two no sound comes out and then all hell rains down, he can’t remember how to open his eyes and blood vessels start to pop on his cute little face.

In scenario three I also imagine people on the plane getting more and more annoyed to the point where there is pointing and yelling and it’s like a bad dream, and I may (or may not) have clothes on.

Here’s hoping Zig is simply fascinated by what is going on around him and charms the flight attended with his big blue eyes and enormous cheeks and we get free beer and peanuts!

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Ziggy’s mum loses her cool

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As soon as you become a mum any semblance of cool you had dissipates the second the colostrum comes in. All of a sudden you are careening around town with a giant pram that limits where you can go, what you can do and most of all (and sometimes in a fun way when you are feeling evil) annoys the hell out of everyone who comes across your path. Not only that but you also have this tiny time bomb of awesome with you at all times who can be an adorable angel that makes strangers go ‘awww’ or, even more likely, a screaming banshee that has strangers looking at you with one of the following expressions:

1. Pity

2. Scorn

3. Fear

The first comes from anyone who has had a baby of their own within the last ten years, the second comes from older people who had kids but seem to have conveniently forgotten how hard it is and are convinced that ‘in my day kids knew how to behave’, the third look comes from anyone who is either too young to have considered the idea of kids without abject terror or those who have chosen to never have them.

So with an all terrain vehicle to negotiate and the tiny time bomb of awesome in tow it is pretty hard to look cool in any way whatsoever. This particular mum’s last ditch attempt to hang on to a teeny bit of street cred comes in the form of music – more specifically going to gigs and buying new music so that I don’t end up being that person who says ‘who?’ five years after a great band has released a break through album. In an effort to pursue this seemingly surmountable goal I bought a ticket to a festival, featuring one of my favourite musos, M Ward. So I was a new mum, but it was ok because in November I was going to Harvest… Less than a month later and news spread that Harvest was cancelled. Disappointing… but that’s ok, Homebake is announced and day 3 looks great, so to Homebake I will go!

After receiving the news yesterday that Homebake was also cancelled it is hard not to think that the universe is trying to tell me to give up and accept my new-mum lack of cool and stop trying so hard… Or is it more a ‘if at first you don’t succeed’ scenario? 

With Laneway winking seductively at me I am very tempted to tempt fate. But it has been made abundantly clear that life sure ain’t as easy as it used to be, good thing Zig is so cute. Here he is with his new toy Unadkat…

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