Would you like to read a list of all the Christmas presents I've received? No, I thought not.
So here's a description of just the most charmingly quirky one. It's called 'Giulios [sic] Spaghetti Carbonara', and consists of a little wooden box containing small amounts of eight different herbs and spices (including sea salt and peppercorns), plus a shopping list and recipe. When I got back home yesterday, I couldn't resist trying the recipe (the alternative being to get back in the car and go up the supermarket, which may or not have been open by then - and luckily I had eggs, parmesan, spaghetti and, as one does, pancetta in stock). I have to report that it was possibly the best carbonara I have ever made, and I speak as a self-proclaimed expert in this deceptively tricky dish. (The hard bit is keeping the whole thing hot whilst not scrambling the eggs, as Giulio clearly knows.)
But the best bit is the blurb on the accompanying leaflet, which reads, in part, as follows:
'A much contested noodle dish.
'Once by the children of the world.
'Second by the top chefs of the Italian gastronomy.
Giulio took us to a divine pasta palace.'
It's almost haiku-like, isn't it?
Carbonara was supposedly invented by an Italian peasant cook who was asked by some American troops, in 1943 after the invasion, for bacon and eggs. Whether this is true or not, I doubt whether she put cumin in it ... Nice touch, Giulio.
Happy New Year to all!