Bensoir! It's me, Benjamin. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You may have read stuff I've written elsewhere, but here on my own blog as Ben Viveur I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others, so pretty much anything goes.

BV is about enjoying real food and drink in the real world. I showcase recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. And as a critic I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended. Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Linguine Experiment?

Like the proverbial physician, my bacon-burnt mouth healed itself, though not without a thirst for breakfasty revenge.

Bacon, Eggs, Sauce of brown; O how may I demand satisfaction of thee?!?

Well, the idea came to me while shopping for ingredients for two seemingly unrelated meals: Let's cook a pasta dish containing only the staple ingredients of an English Breakfast (and pasta, obviously). Yeah, that'll learn 'em.

The more I thought about it, the bigger the challenge seemed. Instinctively linguine (or tagliatelle or spaghetti or whatever) is just crying out for a sauce of onions, basil, oregano, red wine, red peppers and Parmesan - all things I'd have to do without.

Instead, I got to use bacon, sausage, table condiments and, as a radical gamble, pink grapefruit juice. It just felt right, and besides, there are plenty of dishes that call for lemon, lime and occasionally orange, so why not give the black sheep of the citrus family a rare outing?

And the recipe works. Pretty much. Just not as revenge.

It seemed obvious to whack a lightly poached egg on top and let the gooey yolk run into the linguine as a final flourish, so that's what I did.

But egg-poaching is fiendishly hard to get right, with a very poor effort-to-reward ratio, which is why I hardly ever attempt to poach eggs unless absolutely necessary.

Consequently, being all out of practice, I somehow managed to get a load of eggshell in the pan, reached in to remove it and succeeded in not only destroying the egg, but also burning my finger...

They fucking got me again.

Full English Breakfast Linguine

Ingredients - serves any number

Linguine, fresh, as much as you need
Smoked sausage, a couple, chopped into bite-size bits
Smoked Bacon, chopped
Eggs, one per person, to be poached at last minue
Mushrooms, a few per person, chopped
Tomatoes, about one large per person, chopped
Black Pepper

Tomato Ketchup
Brown Sauce
Pink Grapefruit juice
Olive Oil


Heat the oil and butter in a big sautee pan, and fry the bacon, sausage and mushrooms until lightly brown.
It's like two meals in one!
Add the tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes, before turning the heat down, adding black pepper, ketchup, brown sauce and grapefruit juice to taste, then cover and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.

Cook your linguine in a big pot in boiling water until done, then drain, and pour in your sauce, tossing vigourously so that the pasta is covered with the strange, breakfasty concoction.

Finally poach each person an egg. Carefully. And don't overdo them. You need a runny yolk.

Plate up the pasta, put the poached egg on top, prick it with a fork and then maybe sprinkle some black pepper on top of it all.

Be very careful when eating this meal: it combines breakfast and dinner ingredients, so you might get all confused and end up going to bed in the morning or something. In fact, fuck it. Do exactly that. It's a free country'n'shit. See if I care (which I don't, obviously).

Typically you'd expect to serve a sausagey, bacony pasta dish with an elegant Italian Red, but due to the breakfastyness, this would probably go quite well with a glass of fruit juice or a strong black coffee.


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