I bought my new notebook – there is something satisfying about the crisp new pages of a new notebook. It almost seems a shame to write in it – almost!
Sorry to the vegans and vegetarians out there, normal service will be resumed tomorrow.
I was craving some red meat, so I went for a spaghetti bolognese. I used extra lean meat to keep it low fat and bulked it out with some vegetables. Yum! I don’t eat a lot of meat, and when I do it’s more likely to be poultry, so I wanted this to be good – to be worth it! Oh boy, it was!
Spaghetti bolognese was one of my favourite meals as a kid. I was renowned for slurping my spaghetti and getting it all around my face. My Dad used to make bolognese one night, and my Mum would turn the leftovers into lasagne the next day. I’ve learned and applied my own healthy Emily-twists such as dry-frying the onions, using extra lean beef and using tamari sauce to add a ‘umami savoriness’.
My parents used to add strips of bacon for flavour, but I think this version is tasty without it – or maybe my taste buds were celebrating the ‘meaty’-ness’ of real beef! I used a smaller portion of meat and spaghetti, and bulked it out with vegetables. In fact, I like the sauce so much I’ve made similar dishes with lentils and tempeh as a vegetarian or vegan option.
- 75g extra lean minced beef – for a vegan version use cooked lentils or crumbled tempeh
- 100g chopped tinned tomatoes
- 1/2 red onion (regular onion is fine here, I just had red ones)
- 1 roasted garlic clove
- 1 tsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp tamari
- 40g mushrooms
- To serve: pasta of your choice, I used a mixture of rice spaghetti and homemade courgette noodles
Start by preparing your ingredients. I have to confess that I am not a fan of chopping onions. I haven’t had a real crying over onion episode for ages, but it’s just so time consuming and I can be a bit lazy over the boring things. Necessity is the mother of invention; and I learned a new trick with my mandoline slicer. Use it to chop onions = Brilliant! Ben almost had to ban me from using the mandoline back along after I sliced the tip of my finger with it – again being lazy.
Soften the onions in your frying pan. I dry fried them with a tiny spritz of oil. If/when they start to stick add a splash of water. Give them a good 10 minutes or more to get them more caramelised – delish! Add in the roast garlic clove, and a teaspoon of tomato puree, and cook it off for a few minutes to get rid of the bitter taste. I’ve taken to roasting a clove of garlic in the oven at the weekend, and just keeping it in the fridge to use as necessary. Raw garlic gives me tummy-ache, so this way I always have cooked garlic to hand.
Add in the minced beef or tempeh, and dry fry until browned. If using cooked lentils, these can go in with the chopped tomatoes. Once browned add in the chopped tomatoes and sliced mushrooms. Add a splash of water if the sauce gets too thick – the tomato puree will do that. Keep it bubbling to reduce it down if you add too much water. Add the tamari for the last couple of minutes of cooking. Tamari is great, it’s free from wheat, gluten and dairy.
Meanwhile, cook your pasta to the packet instructions. I haven’t introduced you to my spiraliser yet, have I? I am the queen of kitchen gadgets (yes Dad, a post on my dehydrator is in the pipeline). I thought a spiraliser was strictly unnecessary, but actually it is grate (you see what I did there!) fun! I’ve tried it with carrots, courgettes (zucchini), sweet potato, daikon (giant radishy thing), and probably other things I can’t think of now. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s the same as eating pasta, but it is a yummy, healthy alternative and will cut down on carbs.
Add the courgette noodles to the spaghetti for the last couple of cooking, just to soften them slightly – you don’t want them to be mush – think al dente!
What was your favourite childhood meal?