“Spaghetti Cake” from “Superfood Family Classics”

img_9483I read a lot. (This is germane to this post. Honest. Just stick with me.) For the last several years, it’s averaged out to at least a book a week. I’ve even kept a record of all the books I’ve read, which is either smart or sad, depending on how you feel about keeping track of things. Because I read so much and because I am nearly incapable of giving up on a book I’ve started, I have found myself “Hate Reading” books a few times a year.

Hate Reading is the literary equivalent of Hate Watching a television show. Hate watching is when you’ve devoted time to a series you love, which has taken a turn for the worse but you continue watching it to see how bad it can be. I’ve done the same with books, thus, Hate Reading.

Now I’ve done the same with this cookbook. But instead of Hate Watching or Hate Reading, I’m Hate Cooking from it. I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed a cookbook on this blog that has forced me to Hate Cook from it. Several times in the past I’ve given up on a cookbook, but I’ve never persevered with one out of pure hate. Until now.

So today’s offering is “Spaghetti Cake.” We love spaghetti cake. I made it before from “Two Hungry Italians” but they called it the far more lyrical, “Frittata di Maccheroni.” We loved it. In fact, if I had to say one nice thing about this version, it’s that it reminded me how much we love Spaghetti Cake, so I will make another [good] version for Meat Free Monday very soon.

Since I was Hate Cooking from this cookbook, I also decided that I don’t have to follow the recipes to the letter anymore. Usually we are pretty strict with ourselves that we stick to the recipes as closely as possible for the cookbooks we’re testing, but given that I already hate this cookbook, there’s no point in giving it a proper test any more. In this case, I ignored Jamie’s entreaties to get wholewheat spaghetti (there’s just no way) and I also used some of the leftover 7-Veg Tomato Sauce rather than making the spaghetti sauce from scratch, as called for in the recipe. But I don’t think following his instructions to the letter would have made it any better.

How was it? It will surprise no regular readers of this blog to find out that it was disappointing. Like I said, we already made a better version once before, but this one definitely fell short. It wasn’t nearly as interesting or fun as the previous version from the two Italians. It seemed that there weren’t nearly enough eggs added to bind it as a cake. It tasted more like reheated spaghetti than a proper spaghetti cake.

Even the photo in the cookbook didn’t do it any favours, because it appears that the food stylist just threw a bunch of rocket on top so people wouldn’t notice how badly it was burned on the underside. No. Just no.

I wish Jamie had given Spaghetti Cake a proper chance, rather than trying to make it all healthy, which just ruined a perfectly good dish.

Thank god this month is nearly over. I should have known better. I was Hate Cooking, after all.

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“Spaghetti Cake” from “Superfood Family Classics”

“Wholewheat Spaghetti Sprouting Broccoli, Chilli and Lemon” from “Everyday Super Food”

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Tom: Is this Jamie?

Kirstin: Yes it is.

Ella: Looks like pasta.

Kirstin: It is pasta! Can you eat some please?

Ella: I was just thinking about something. Latin.

Kirstin: Well can you eat and think at the same time?

Miles: I like it!

Tom: I’m not really convinced about this. It feels like lots of separate ingredients in a bowl. They don’t make sense together.

Miles: Yes, that’s what I’m thinking too.

Kirstin: I could have mixed it up more in the bowl.

Tom: I don’t think it would have made any difference. You would still have had to pick out the broccoli to eat it. And is the cottage cheese supposed to have melted?

Kirstin: It’s interesting, isn’t it because we’ve had a friend in Italy show us how to cook broccoli pasta in Italy and it was so much better than this. I would prefer not to eat healthily if it’s going to taste like this. I like the full fat Italian version of this recipe soooo much more.

Tom: This is like having tree trunks in your spaghetti. The brown pasta is alright. But it’s all too worthy.

Kirstin: This is going to be an interesting month.

“Wholewheat Spaghetti Sprouting Broccoli, Chilli and Lemon” from “Everyday Super Food”

“Kale, Tomato and Lemon Magic One-Pot Spaghetti” from “A Modern Way to Cook”

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Kirstin: I saw this recipe on Anna’s Insta stream and knew I needed to try it out.

Tom: Was it easy as it looked on her video?

Kirstin: It really is a super little recipe. One that you could take all over the world and cook for lunch or dinner.

Miles: I liked the spinach!

Kirstin: Definitely making this one again. And possibly adapting it too, which is always a good sign.

“Kale, Tomato and Lemon Magic One-Pot Spaghetti” from “A Modern Way to Cook”

“Spicy Spaghetti” from “Bill’s Italian Food”

Kirstin: So we had nothing in the fridge to cook for dinner tonight. And I thought I’d have a look through this book to see if there was anything suitable. And there was!

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Tom: This is yum! But I’m already thinking of what we can add to it.

Kirstin: That’s a good start to a new recipe! What were you thinking?

Tom: I was thinking breadcrumbs. What about you?

Kirstin: Funny you should say that. When I was cooking it, I thought about that too. I wonder if a few roasted cherry tomatoes might be good and maybe even bit of tuna.

Tom: Sounds good to me. I can see us eating this on holiday.

“Spicy Spaghetti” from “Bill’s Italian Food”

“Spaghetti with eggs, pancetta and pecorino romano” from “Gino’s Italian Escape”

Tom: I like this, and I particularly like that this is a purist’s interpretation of carbonara in that it has no cream.

Georgia: I like that it’s like spaghetti, but it’s not. It has extra pancetta yumminess.

Kirstin: I watched him cook this on a rooftop in Rome and he goes on about the sizzling pan and all sorts, which isn’t in the book, but is in my favourite version of this recipe from the Zuni cookbook.

Miles: I like that it’s spaghetti. But I can’t seem to twist any onto my fork`1

Tom: Look Miles. Would you like some help?

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Miles: NO. I can do it!

Tom: Put more pieces on your fork, Miles. Expect half of it to escape. I’m having seconds!

Ella: What are lungfish?

Miles: They are amphibious fish. They can breathe above and under the water.

Ella: Are mermaids amphibious?

Miles: Yes.

Kirstin: And just for the record, can I say how much I dislike that I am trying to photograph food in the dark again? Grrr…

“Spaghetti with eggs, pancetta and pecorino romano” from “Gino’s Italian Escape”

“Spaghetti Limone Parmeggiano” from “Notes From My Kitchen Table”

Nicholas (9): What’s this called?

Maureen: Well, I call it lemon spaghetti, but it’s got an Italian name. (Finds cookbook to see what the official name is.) It is Spaghetti Limone Parmeggiano. Just like I said. Lemon spaghetti.

Andrew (13): It’s pretty good.

Maureen: I agree. I like this. Though I”m not really sure it merits its own recipe in a cookbook. I could do it in four sentences: Cook spaghetti. Make sauce by grating lemon and adding a massive amount of cheese, some olive oil and a splash of pasta water. Mix spaghetti into sauce and put basil leaves on top. Enjoy.

Nicholas: I would eat this again.

Maureen: I’m not surprised you would. But like I said it’s not like the wheel has been reinvented or anything. Saying that, it’s not nearly as boring as I thought it would be. It’s very nice.

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Cook’s Note’s: Gwyneth advises that 350 grams of spaghetti would feed four. I’m here to tell you that 350 grams of spaghetti would not feed the four people in our house, particularly when one of them is a teenage boy and the other is his younger brother who loves spaghetti. Just make the whole packet of spaghetti (500 grams) and augment the sauce of cheese, olive oil and lemon accordingly.

“Spaghetti Limone Parmeggiano” from “Notes From My Kitchen Table”

“Spaghetti with Tuna, Lemon & Rocket” from “Nigellissima”

Peter: Tuna dinner!

Anna: Are you suggesting this is a student meal?

Peter: For students today. You couldn’t get rocket in my day. In fact I don’t think we knew what rocket was.

Anna: This calls for very posh tuna so I don’t think many students will be making this. I think this would be a very good quick summer dinner. Very fresh, very light. Probably not the first thing I’d make on a cold, rainy October night next time.

Peter: I liked it. I’d be happy to have it again. Maybe sitting in the garden next summer.

Anna: If it ever stops raining.

“Spaghetti with Tuna, Lemon & Rocket” from “Nigellissima”