Food cooking and eating – stories and ideas from a passionate foodie

It is always worth having visitors.  Not only does it stop you going stir-crazy, it also eans you have a god clear up!  Our little garden in Devon has no grass, and is a bit patio style.  After 10 years we needed to do something with the pots.  having a pruned (pyramidal) Box tree in a round pot proved rather difficult to extricate.  Never mind – done eventually, and saves going to the gym…

Light lunch – bacon (very thin cut on a real bacon slicer by our real butcher, Steve).  The bacon is what I would describe as Ulster cut – they seem to love it very thinly cut in Northern Ireland.  Maybe they ike it crispy, or like to make the bacon go further?  It also is very cheap to cook, taking about 3 minutes!  Jane does the scrambled egg – I always forget about it and overcook it. J serves it as it still looks runny, and it does cook still after serving.

C&P (and dog, Harry, a King Charles Spaniel) (not spoilt at all) arrived.  Straight to pub for pre-prandials, then one of my favourite meals. Spaghetti Bolognese.  How come this thing, that I cook more often than anything, comes out slightly differently every time, even though there are very few ingredients?  Here’s my recipe for the Ragu (the meaty bit!)

  • 1 lb of good mince (low-fat from the supermarket, or just ordinary from your lovely local butcher (Use him or lose him)
  • 1 medium to large onion
  • I clove garlic
  • I slice of bacon (if you have any in)
  • 7 mushrooms (button or a bit bigger) or one big open one
  • Dried mixed herbs, and a bit of fresh basil if you have any
  • A tin of really good chopped tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil for frying

Brown off the meat first.  I use a large frying pan over a medium heat.  It is easiest to break it down while it is frying with the back of a wooden spoon.  Chop up the bacon into very small pieces – size of your little finger nail.  Add that to meat.  Chop the onion (after peeling it, you fool!), move the meat over to one half of the pan, and fry the onions in the other half.  After about 5 minutes, the meat should be browning (keep breaking it up with the spoon).  Now mix it all together (the onions should be softened and glistening), and add in the mushrooms.  Fry another 5 minutes, then add the tomatoes, crushed clove of garlic herbs, and seasoning.  Cover.  Simmer (lowest heat) for 10 minutes or however long it takes to boil the pasta and prepare the mixed salad.  There’s not even a lot of time to get a Gin and Tonic in during this full on fast meal.  It used to be our favourite Friday night dinner, with a bottle of claret.  We still do that quite a lot – it just feels very Friday to me.  But this was w Wednesday, and the second bottle of red went down well too.

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