Hello folks;

Earlier this week there was a slight incident in the Clement household which has since been referred to as “nuclear pasta”. Now, I know you all like a good recipe so I thought I would pass on such wisdom as was gained during the course of this incident.

It was heading for time for tea, and I fancied something particularly nice that day. Specifically, I had a bit of a yen for something involving pasta. There is a recipe I often use which involves egg, chorizo, spring onions, and mushrooms not to mention – and this is the vital ingredient – smoked paprika, which I use a lot. It’s a favourite, and particularly as the weather gets cold, it fits nicely into the category of comfort food. We did had a particularly harsh day, and it seemed to fit the bill, so I assembled the ingredients and began to cook. However it did not entirely go to plan.

Instead of making my normal variant which is known as “not-carbonara”, what we ended up with was dubbed “nuclear pasta”- and as it was not entirely dissociated with the activities of a certain lordly Lurcher of our acquaintance, herewith find the recipe for disaster – or at least for nuclear pasta, which is not far from being the same thing.

Nuclear Pasta

Ingredients:

A two-inch section of soft chorizo

Dried pasta spirals

Six spring onions

Six medium-sized mushrooms

Two eggs

An offensive amount of garlic

One finger chilli (whole)

Grated cheese.

Instructions:

1. Fill a pan with water and set it to boil. Add far more pasta than you can justify.

2. Set a frying pan on high heat with a knob of butter in it. Burn the butter but don’t set fire to it (this would be superfluous anyhow).

3. Chop the spring onions and fry till caramelized. Turn down the heat partway through to let the pan cool a bit.

4. Move the butter away from the edge of the counter and tell the dog it’s not for him.

5. Chop the garlic and chorizo. When the pan isn’t quite so superheated, add them in and bring the heat down to low. Fry at low heat till all the paprika-ed oil seeps out the chorizo (but stir it so you don’t get meat biscuits).

6. Sneak a bit of the chorizo. Yummy! On consideration, cut a tiny piece for the dog, to be redeemed by performance of one of his tricks. Fuss the dog.

7. Wash your hands. Now run into the front room in pursuit of said dog who is making off with the remainder of the chorizo packet. Admire the way he is sitting sedately on the sofa, paws crossed, the very corner of the plastic nipped gently in his mouth, not making any attempt to actually eat it – just giving you a look that says “Did you want this, human?”. Retrieve the chorizo packet and return to the kitchen. Check the pan in a mild panic. All well? Continue.

8. Look in the pan. Did you put the chilli in yet? You did not. Add the chilli in its entirety; finger chilies are quite hot so don’t chop it up unless everybody present is up for melting their soft palate.

9. Chop the mushrooms into chunky pieces and drop them in the pan. Give them a good stir; they will soak up most of the juices so you will need to keep an eye on them for the first couple of minutes until they start letting their own juice out. Don’t burn it all on the bottom of the pan!

10. Take the top off the smoked paprika. Scatter it in lightly and pause halfway through to check whether it is sweet or hot. This is an important point and best to check in advance as the hot has the same beautiful smoky taste as the sweet stuff but is considerably more fiery and so should be used with much more caution. Look up and noticed the dog stealing the grated cheese with great melodramatic flair. At this point the wary among you may have taken the opportunity to stir up the paprika with a knife to make sure there are no big lumps perched on the brim, ready to fall out. The wary among you may feel justifiably smug at this point. The rest of us may watch the small landslide of paprika with some alarm and not have time to do anything about it because we have to rush after the dog.

11. Run into the front room in pursuit of said dog who is making off with the grated cheese. Admire the way he is sitting sedately on the sofa, paws crossed, the very corner of the cheese bag nipped gently in his mouth, not making any attempt to actually eat it – just giving you a look that says “Did you want this, human?”. Retrieve the grated cheese and return to the kitchen.

12. This is the point at which you discover that the small paprika landslide has become mixed in with all the juices of the sauce and is not going to be retrievable. Pick up the packet. This is also the point where you discover that it is actually the hot smoked paprika, not the sweet stuff as you had thought. This is going to be considerably spicy, and not all of your guests are into hot food.

13. Go to the fridge and extract the plain yoghurt. Add some and taste. Eat some more of the plain yoghurt in a hurry. Add all the rest of the plain yoghurt. Add a considerable amount of grated cheese. In some desperation, also add two eggs, some Philadelphia, and the remnant of a packet of ground almonds as they are also supposed to make things less fiery.

14. Dish up and serve to your guests with all the necessary provisos. Should the finger chilli fall into your own plate as originally planned, it would be wise to fish this out. Should you not fish this out it would be wise to chop it into small pieces. Should you not chop it into small pieces, it would be wise not to forget about it entirely, assume it is an over-large piece of spring onion and consume it whole.

15. Go and fetch a fresh box of tissues to mop your weeping eyes and those of your guests. Go back and fetch any milk related product you can find. Consume it until your mouth does not appear to be melting. Collect the plate belonging to your guest and put it in the kitchen, returning with some kind of sandwich or a snack for them to have in lieu of dinner. Finish your own bowlful because you’re clearly a lunatic.

16. Watch in some amazement as the dog comes over to investigate the bowl of the nuclear pasta, licks it clean of the remainder of the sauce, and begs for more. Give him cheese on the assumption the dog should not eat chilli.

17. Go and get an outsize portion of ice cream and deal it out to each guest. Take one for yourself and put a small one out for the dog, who is apparently unfazed by the nuclear nature of the chilli, but does like a good spoonful of ice cream when the occasion permits.

18. Bring a second box of tissues for the mopping up of streaming eyes and general weeping. Keep an eye on the dog as left to himself he will pull out each individual tissue and then shred the lot until it looks like the sort of front room Bing Crosby would be happy in during December.

19. Make a note of the recipe and resolve never to use it again.

So there you go. What can I say? Except possibly

#BestAvoided

#HappyToHelp

#IDoTheseThingsSoYouDon’tHaveTo

#IUsedToHaveASoftPalateOneUponATime

#MischievousDogStrikesAgain

So can you beat that?

What’s your most notorious cooking disaster? Challenge me if you can…!

JAC

Advertisements