Carbonara (the countdown)

Sunday is marathon day.


I’ve been training for months.  But not quite as hard as I could have, perhaps.  The longest run I’ve done in preparation is 18 miles.  People keep telling me that’s fine: if I can do that in training, I can do the extra 8.1 miles on the actual day.  I choose to believe them…   I desperately want to believe them.  But if the worst comes to the worst and I just can’t run anymore, I will walk, hobble or crawl over that finish line!  Whatever it takes to honour the £2555 my family, friends, colleagues and blog readers have donated to Cancer Research UK.

The other thing I’ve been doing for months is eating pasta.  Am I sick of it?  Hell, no.  I could survive on the stuff.  Though perhaps not on carbonara.  If I tried to survive on that, I’d get really fat, really quickly. Carbonara is a treat.  One which I am having tonight, as it happens.  This is how I like to make mine…


(serves 2)

Olive oil

1 onion, sliced thickly

100g bacon lardons

2 egg yolks

50ml single cream

Handful of parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

175g tagliatelli

1/2 small lemon

  • Fry the onion gently in olive oil until golden brown.  Set aside.
  • Increase the heat and fry the bacon lardons until crispy. Drain and set aside.
  • Add the egg yolks, cream, a little salt and a good pinch of pepper to a bowl and whisk gently to combine.
  • Cook the pasta in plently of boiling salted water.  Drain and toss immediately with the cream mixture, the cheese and a little squeeze of lemon.  Stir through the onions and bacon.

P.S.  There’s still time to sponsor me for the Loch Ness Marathon.  Just visit:


Rosemary Roasties

Excuse my prolongued absences recently.  My head is full of running and working and other non-food/blog related stuff.  That might change after next weekend though…

Until then, here’s David’s favourite potato dish, at the moment.   They’re like a cross between chips and roast potatoes.  No bad thing at all!

Rosemary Roasties

Floury Potatoes

Rosemary, chopped and bashed about to release oils

Salt & pepper

Olive oil

  • Peel the potatoes and cut into 2cm chunks.  Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary.
  • Scatter on a baking tray.  Don’t crowd them or they won’t crisp properly.
  • Cook in a 200 oC oven for 30-40 mins (turning occasionally) until golden brown.

Loch Ness Marathon

There’s only two weeks left until I run the Baxter’s Loch Ness Marathon.   Off out this morning to run 13 miles, the last of my longer training runs, then I’ll mostly be relaxing and psyching myself up for the big day.

As I’ve said before, my main reason for running is to raise money for Cancer Research UK, as per my mum‘s request.  So far, I’ve raised a whopping £2,300. If you too would like to sponsor me, please visit my Just Giving page:


Sweet Potato Parcels

I was saving this barbeque idea until the warm summer weather arrived and now autumn is here.

It’s warm somewhere in the world, right?

Rosemary & Sweet Potato Parcels

Cut the sweet potatoes in to 1.5cm chunks.  Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Double over some tinfoil, approximately 20cm square, and pop a pile of sweet potato chunks in the centre along with a sprig of rosemary.  Cook over hot coals for 25 mins, shaking frequently to prevent burning.


Settling into a new job and training for a marathon has led to a lot of pasta being eaten in this house lately.  One of our favourite dishes at the moment is the following courgette, garlic and chilli pasta.  It’s super-easy, super=quick, carb-tastic and (hooray!) helps us use up some of our garden courgettes.

Courgette, Garlic and Chilli Pasta

(serves 2)

2 tblspn olive oil

2 garlic cloves

A pinch of chilli flakes

2 medium courgettes, julienned (if you can do this without a mandoline, I am mightily impressed)

200g wholewheat pasta

Parsley and Parmesan to serve

  • Bring a large pan of water to the boil.  Add the pasta.
  • Add the oil, garlic and chilli and heat gently.  Once the garlic becomes fragrant and starts to sizzle, add a good pinch of salt and pepper followed by the courgette.  Stir well to combine.  Increase the heat and cook until the courgette is tender.  This won’t take long.
  • Drain the pasta and combine with courgette.
  • Serve topped with parsley and Parmesan cheese.

PS  It’s only four weeks until I take part in the Loch Ness marathon raising money for Cancer Research UK.  If you would like to sponsor me  you can do so at:


The Terriers

These two deserve a post all of their own.

West Coast Sky

Happy weekend to you all.

I’m off to the Borders for a couple of days.  Wanted to share this beautiful time-lapse with you before I headed off though.  It was captured by a friend (who has some stunning photos here) and I can’t stop watching it.

The Marathon

Just three months after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, my mum, Beth Harrison, died earlier this year.   Though those months were horribly difficult for her, Mum faced her illness with tremendous courage and, as always, never stopped thinking of others.

Just one example of this was her request that I run a marathon to raise money for charity.  Quite honestly, I’m not convinced she entirely understood how far 26 miles is!

“That’s like running from Aberdeen to Insch, Mum,” I explained.

“Yup.  That’s fine.  Do that,” she replied breezily.

And so that’s what I’m going to be doing: running all 26.2 miles of the the Loch Ness marathon on 2nd October, 2011.  Gulp.

The charity I’m raising money for is Cancer Research UK.  Again, this was chosen by Mum.  She selected this charity on the advice of the wonderful community nurses who cared for her in her final weeks.  More research could result in reduced cancer rates, earlier diagnosis, improved treatments, increased comfort for terminal patients and more people making a full and lasting recovery.

I’m very proud to be supporting Cancer Research UK and am going to do my very best to reach my target amount.  One Pound, One Euro, One Dollar… If you are at all able to contribute, I’d be extremely grateful.   This is my Just Giving page where you can donate easily and safely:


Watch this space for updates on training and fundraising progress!

Post-Run Smoothie

Today I’m off to run the Nairn Half Marathon.  13 miles is a distance I’ve done a few times now but I always feel a little nervous about running in events beside real runners.  I still feel like an impostor runner, for some reason.  Why is that???   I mean I move at a pace considerably faster than a walk. I sweat.  I pant.  I even make my own recovery smoothies, for Goodness’ sake!  So why don’t I feel like a proper ‘runner’?

I don’t know.  What I do know is that this is my favourite post-run smoothie and I’ll be having one today.

Post-Run Smoothie

(very rough amounts)

1 banana

250ml milk

50ml yogurt

1 tblspn peanut butter

1 heaped tblspn rolled oats

1 tspn honey

  • Whizz all ingredients together in a blender or with a hand-blender.
  • That’s it.

I’ve left this post rather late.  Raspberry season (and summer) is fast coming to an end.  There are still a few berries to be found in the raspberry hedges though and bramble time is just around the corner .  Brambles would work perfectly here too, I’m certain.

Light and fluffy, sweet and pretty, these little desserts are like a cross between a soufflé and a meringue.  Just make sure your serve them right away so their puffiness is at its best.  :)

Pretty Raspberry Soufflés (adapted from Nigel Slater’s Real Fast Puddings)

(makes 4)

400g raspberries

25g caster sugar

4 medium egg whites

50g caster sugar


Icing sugar


  • Use a food processor to whizz together 350g of the raspberries and 25g of caster sugar.  Strain through a sieve.  Reserve juice and discard seeds.  Set aside.
  • In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Add the sugar a little at a time, whisking very briefly after each addition.
  • Pour half of the raspberry juice into the egg whites and fold gently.  Do not fully combine!  You want a ripple effect rather than a uniform raspberry flavour/colour.
  • Spoon the mixture into buttered ramekins and bake in a 180 oC oven for 10-15 mins until risen and golden on top.
  • Serve drizzled with the remaining juice and sprinkled with mint and the leftover raspberries.

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