garlic, lemon and parmesan linguine

Argh! My well-meaning neighbour has inadvertently vexed me, at the end of a rubbish day. Our general waste bin was missed by the council so we put it outside today and arranged for them to come and empty it. Great! Got home today to find the bin neatly stood next to the back door and a note saying ‘It’s not bin day so I brought your bin in’ – bah. He’s the nicest guy in the world though, so I can’t get too vexed.

I was told today that I have a lovely telephone voice, which was pleasant – although I was always under the impression that as soon as I pick up a phone, my voice actually deepens and goes a bit more Geordie than I’d like. Paul tells me that I have no discernible accent – which is lucky, as a strong Geordie accent (to an outsider) sounds like Brian Blessed yelling nuclear launch codes into a Toblerone tube. All went well when Paul first met my parents, aside from afterwards when he turned to me in the car, ashen-faced, and confessed that he’d spent the last two hours nodding politely at my dad and being completely unable to decipher the accent. My dad has a mild Geordie accent but the state of Paul’s confused face would suggest he sounded like a water-damaged cassette recording of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

Actually, I’ve enjoyed good luck with my voice throughout my life. I certainly didn’t go through the mandatory six months of sounding like failing car brakes when I was a teenager – I seemed to go to bed sounding like a Snowman-era Aled Jones and woke up again sounding like Madge out of Neighbours. In fact, puberty was great fun for me – whilst a lot of my peers were awash with spots and ‘taches like they’d stuck a few errant pubes on their top lip, I could grow a pretty manly beard right from the get-go. Clearly such high levels of testosterone (and it helped that my levels were kept regularly topped up, EH, AM I RIGHT, NUDGE NUDGE WINK WINK) didn’t lead to any especially manly pursuits, though I was fairly decent at rugby, presumably because I looked like someone had driven a minibus onto the pitch and stretched a Matalan jersey over the top of it. Ah well.

Tonight’s recipe is simplicity itself. but bloody impossible to take an interesting photo of…


to make garlic, lemon and parmesan linguine, you’ll need:

PLEASE don’t dismiss this because it looks boring or if you don’t like mushrooms – it tastes fantastic and you can leave out the mushrooms and still enjoy (Paul did). Plus, it takes 5 minutes to make (as long as the linguine takes to cook) and uses only four ingredients (five if you add mushrooms). Give it a whirl!

ingredients: two/three cloves of garlic, one lemon (you’ll need three tablespoons of juice), packet of linguine (we used half a standard pack for two large servings) and a good parmesan (30g as a HEA per person but it’s only a syn per level tbsp if you want more) (i.e. you’re a greedy fucker like me). If you like mushrooms, buy a pack of nice mushrooms rather than button, fry them gently and add on the top at the end. But let’s presume you don’t like mushrooms and crack on, shall we? If I can stress one thing – buy good ingredients here. Decent linguine is better than spaghetti and costs next to nothing. A large, unwaxed lemon will yield plenty of juice. Better to have less parmesan than more cheddar, and a little goes a long way (plus you can save whatever is left in the freezer and blitz it into soups). A garlic clove will taste better than any powder! I’m not one to normally nag about ingredients but really, when there is so little on the go, make it count!

to make garlic, lemon and parmesan linguine, you should:

recipe: fill the biggest, meanest pan you’ve got about two thirds full with water, and chuck in salt with gay abandon. Get the linguine boiling. Whilst that’s cooking, you’ll want to get your lemon juice – so pop the lemon in the microwave first for fifteen seconds, then squeeze it out – three tablespoons worth. Microwaving will allow you to get a lot more juice from any citrus fruit, trust me! Next, grate your garlic and your parmesan. Now, you can do this with a bog standard grater but it won’t be quite fine enough. I use one of these microplane graters (click the link to be taken to Amazon) and it’s a godsend, not least because it’s sharp and makes it fine enough to mix in with the pasta. I use it for plenty of other things but mainly grating parmesan or chocolate. Drain your pasta, keeping half a cup of the cooking water to one side. Make sure it’s drained well, then chuck into a bowl and mix with the parmesan, lemon juice, garlic and keep adding enough of the cooking water to make it easy to mix. Stir together well, stir it a bit more, and when you’ve lost feeling in your left arm, man up and use the right one.

Serve hot and fresh, with a bit more parmesan on the top and plenty of black pepper. If you like mushrooms, chuck them on! And that’s it!

extra easy: yes, easily. Aside from the cheese that you can use a HEA for, it’s all good! Perhaps a note of caution – it doesn’t contain your third superfree that you’re supposed to have, but have a wee fruit salad on the side for after if you’re that keen!

Please give this one a go. Adjust the lemon, garlic or cheese to your liking but trust me, it’s a simple quick recipe that actually tastes decent.



PS: who knew David Guetta looked like a down-on-her-luck Jennifer Aniston? Not me until just now…