Good Eatin’: Proper Carbonara

List Item: Try 500 of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die

It has been a while since I visited Borough Market (aka one of my favourite places to go on a Saturday morning) so I arranged to go with my mum on a rather sunny morning. After a bit of a false start with me sleeping past 10 and missing the agreed 10:01 train (oops) we managed to get there for around 11am. Which meant it wasn’t too busy yet but it was starting to get there.

Food Item: Ostrich

First order of business was breakfast (which became brunch) and I feasted on a rather delicious ostrich burger. I would have sprung for cheese if it wasn’t for the ability to ask for ‘all the sauces’ which included cranberry relish and mustard. I was told by the very nice burger woman that this would be slightly gamey (a word people use that I still don’t quite know what it means in terms of taste). To me is tasted of a very rich and flavourful beef burger. If this is what it means to be gamey then I am sold.

Food Item: Feijoa

As I browsed the beautiful selection of fruit and vegetables at Turnips I was faced with the classic dilemma. What new fruit or vegetable am I going to buy. Today I was torn between buying a tamarillo and getting a feijoa. I only went for the feijoa since this was the first time I had seen one and it had that novelty factor.

In terms of taste it was rather unusual and it reminds me of some wintergreen chewing gum that I once had during a visit to the States. It had the same slightly granular texture of guava (hence its other name of pineapple guava) but I was not able to see the similarities to pineapples when it came to flavour.

Food Items: Chanterelle Mushrooms and Guanciale

Guanciale is something that I have been trying to find for years. One of the dishes that I make the most often is my version of carbonara and I have always been aware that by using smoked bacon or pancetta instead of the traditional cut of guanciale I would not really have an authentic tasting carbonara.

For the uninitiated, guanciale is a cut of pork made solely of the cheek or the jowl. It originates from Central Italy (with Umbria being a major manufacturer) and is actually really hard to find in the UK unless you go somewhere specialist. At £2 per 100g I was not going to pass this chance up and mentally altered my dinner plans to make carbonara instead.

I also picked up some Scottish chanterelles from a nearby stall figuring that it was about time that I tried to cook with mushrooms that were more unusual looking.

I ate some guanciale fried by itself and it was very VERY salty. It was also a chewier cut than I was used to, but thinking about the origin of the meat on the pig it makes sense. The flavour was stronger than bacon or pancetta and in the carbonara it was perfect… and might have ruined my regular non-guanciale carbonara for me forever.

As for the chanterelles I sautéed them in butter and finished them with some white wine and lemon juice. They were utterly gorgeous and really picked up the flavours from the cooking. They also had a slight sweetness to them and were remarkably tender. For only £1.05 for 80g I will probably try and get some more before the season is over.

Progress: 166/500

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