Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Barely Bacon

Next up, spaghetti carbonara with Quorn Bacon Style Pieces £2 for 250g bag (found in the freezer section).

I originally wanted to do steak and chips with roasted vine tomatoes and a glass of red using Quorn Peppered Steaks but my local supermarket was ‘fresh’ out. I have since checked them out online, though, and the ‘serving suggestion’ shows steaks served up alongside some chips and vine tomatoes…typical!

Once I’d gotten over my initial disappointment of not sampling the veggie version of a bistro classic I picked myself up and, after almost freezing my fingertips off rifling through the contents of the meat-free freezer section (new territory to me), happened upon the Bacon Style Pieces. I immediately thought of carbonara and low and behold on the back of the package there was a recipe provided for carbonara! I wonder if Quorn are hiring…

This little discovery was actually double whammy in terms of my research, not only did I get to try the product but I would eat it in a way recommended by the manufacturer. Speaking of which, I did actually have a mooch around the Quorn and Cauldron websites and there appears to be some decent enough recipes listed such as Samosas, Stroganoff, Malaysian Curries and pasta dishes.

‘Simply Carbonara’ by Quorn
(Serves 2)

100g Quorn Bacon Style Pieces
175g dried spaghetti
2 Eggs
2-3 tbl sp Vegetarian Italian Style Hard Cheese, finely grated
2 tbl sp crème fraiche
Pinch of nutmeg
1 tbl sp parsley, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Fry the Bacon over a medium heat for 6 minutes

Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the spaghetti and cook according to the pack instructions

In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, cheese, crème fraiche, nutmeg and parsley. Season to taste.

Drain the pasta, reserving 2 tbl spoons of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pan adding the bacon and cooking liquid, mix together.

Stir in the egg and crème fraiche mixture using a fork to ensure even distribution.

Serve immediately with extra cheese and freshly ground black pepper.


I heated a little oil in the pan before adding the bacon pieces as fat won’t render out of it the way it would with real bacon lardons or chorizo, for example. I felt it needed a shove in the right direction.

Once again, my supermarket was bereft of veggie parmesan so I opted for a Cheshire cheese that promised to be savoury with citrus notes and a dry crumbly texture.

When tasting the sauce, remember it contains raw eggs so use eggs you feel confident about and that are as fresh as you can find.

Other than a few tweaks I followed the recipe to the letter and it was decent enough. I made sure I used the best full fat crème fraiche and the cheese worked well in the place of parmesan.

One less than desirable quality was that after about 10 minutes or so on the plate it did begin to seize up and turn claggy. Carbonara should be silky and sumptuous, not grainy and sticky!

Now, enjoy that recipe as it’s the last of its kind. I doubt highly that I will be treating myself to anymore synthetic, watery, additive laden foods again for a while! In the interest of being fair I did try other products along the way such as Quorn Mini Savory Eggs pack of 12 £2.28, Quorn Deli Style Turkey and Stuffing 100g £1.44 (watery with a gritty texture), Batchelors Beanfeast dried chilli (tasted like a cuppa soup with bigger chunks and more powder) and a Linda McCartney Meatballs With Pasta microwave meal 400g £1.89 and none of them have inspired me to cook or write. In fact, they’ve given me a bout of indigestion and writers block!

When I sit down to share my many, many views on an ingredient, recipe or dining experience I can go on for ages – previous posts will confirm this.

This ‘mission’ not only exposed me to a world of fake food but it took me to a place lacking in any inspiration or creativity; it’s tough mustering passion for food you don’t believe in.

I could easily sit here and wax on and on about the food and how you could do different things to it to stop the taste/texture/smell of coming through but I would be mugging us all and with this thought fresh in my mind I must now wave the white flag, abandon the mission and go back from whence I came – a world of analysing not just how food tastes but how it makes us feel and the places it can take us...I’ll leave decoding packet ingredients and value for money to someone else as it sure as hell aint my bag!

Normal business will resume shortly….

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