A book worm and foodie, studying English Literature at the University of Glasgow, writing about food, books and travel while aspiring to be a writer.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Better-than-mum's spaghetti bolognese. (Perhaps)

So here is my recipe for Spaghetti Bolognese; always one of my favourite home-cooked meals despite it being one of the most basic. I'd never cooked it before I left home, but I'm sure I'm not alone in my love for this comforting and.. drumroll please, inexpensive dish, hurrah you students cry!

I've been cooking for a good few years now but don't be afraid to have a go if you haven't, it's very easy and gains great results and you would not believe how much better it tastes than the frozen one from Iceland..

So, ingredients - (I would say this serves 4 - 5 but it depends on how much you eat, don't shy away from large quantities though because it will keep in the fridge for a few days or it great to shove in the freezer if you have the room.)

  • 500g mince beef/quorn mince. 
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, also chopped finely and peeled (my boyfriend grates it which is also great (ha) and fast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 rashers of bacon, chopped (not vital if you don't have it or are veggie)
  • 4tbsp tomato puree
  • 2  x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes 
  • 150ml beef stock
  • feel free to add a splash of red wine if you have it kicking around, or even a bay leaf for flavour. 
I know the list might seem longer than what you would find in your average student's cupboard, but here are a few tips. Go to Lidl. The students holy grail, Lidl sell really good quality beef mince for £2 per 500g, which is muuuch cheaper than you will find in Tesco. If this is still too much, quorn is cheap and just as tasty. 
Once you buy a few tins of chopped tomatoes (also amazing value in bulk at Lidl) and a tube of tomato puree, they can sit in your cupboard and will always be useful for something, the same with stock cubes and any herbs and spices.

So, the cooking; 

1. Once you've chopped all your veg, heat the oil in a large saucepan and add it all, cooking for around 10 mins on a medium heat. Keep stirring; you don't want the veg to brown, just soften. 


2. Then once this is done (I'm impatient so I normally don't wait the whole ten mins) add your mince and your bacon. Turn up the heat a bit and keep prodding and breaking the mince up for about ten mins until it's all.. mince looking and evenly brown. Probably best to really wait ten mins if you are using mince, although quorn shouldn't take so long because it's not raw. 

3. Then add your tomato puree and beef stock, also chuck in the wine if you're using any, stir and leave it so that the liquid reduces for 5. 

4. Finally, add your chopped tomatoes, stir in and add your bay leaf as well as any salt and pepper, seasoning it to taste. Now it gets very easy, just pop a lid on and let it bubble away on a low-ish heat for around an hour (or less, if you're hungry like I am at this point) just stirring every so often so the sauce doesn't stick to the bottom, until it's all nice and juicy and it looks like you think its should. 
Serve with spaghetti (boiled until ready in boiling water, I won't tell you how much to cook because I always end up making enough for half of my halls) and cheese if you like, viola! 

Easy!

In other news, today my parents are down for the weekend and I have been taking full advantage of their willing-ness to buy me food. Today we went to Buzzy-Wares in Prince's Square for lunch, just off of Buchanan Street, where I had the most amazing burger; the 'sloppy joe' - beef with caramelised onions and mushrooms, topped with melted cheddar. I forgot to take a photo, which may be a good thing so I don't bore you all with too many food photos, but I would definitely recommend it. One of those places that you panic about what to order because you want it all.

Also, routing around in antique stores today I found (don't worry, didn't buy) this guy. Who I'll leave you with until next time...


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