My Saturday morning started very different to how the day ended. It started with a healthy carrot and orange juice and a relaxing massage removing all the stresses of my previous week. But by 3pm I was stood in a below-freezing, snowy Anfield, showing my love for Dave. I like football and before I met Dave, I was a pretty big footy fan, I even worked hospitality at Anfield. But now when it’s on TV, it normally gives me the time to do the things I don’t get chance to do when Dave’s around – have a long bath, read a book, bake a cake. Even if you don’t like football, actually going to the match is something else. You can’t help but get caught up in the hope and anticipation, there’s a buzz about the place. Everyone, regardless of which team they support, wants the same thing….. to win. There is something electric about 40,000 people singing You’ll Never Walk Alone. You can’t hear your own voice, it’s just magic. Liverpool’s stadium already has its own long, successful history and is legendary in its own right and sitting in the Kop raises the hairs on the back of your neck. It helps when the goals keep coming and you win 5-0 too!.
What all this doesn’t help is that it was minus 2, and I have bad circulation. Despite me wearing three pairs of socks, tights and two pairs of gloves, my fingers and toes still felt like they were going to fall off. At one point, I couldn’t even move my fingers. What did help was the thought of what I had blipping away for tea when we got in. Spaghetti Bolognaise, while not excitingly inspiring, does scream comfort. It is one of my favourite things to eat, and I’m not even sure why. I’ll eat it however you make it, no matter how easy – veggie mince and a jar of sauce? Or made ragu-style? All fine with me!. I’d eat it every day if I was allowed. It’s what I request every time we go to Dave’s Mum and Dad’s.
Bolognaise doesn’t really require a recipe and I’m sure everyone has their own version which is the best. If you want me to taste it and check…. I am absolutely fine with this, invite me over! This recipe, however, made my spaghetti bolognaise-hating dad say that this was better than sex. My dad is highly inappropriate. But this is the highest praise to get from him. Ino, Ino I’ve tried to explain that saying ‘this is delicious’ is just as good but he won’t have it.
I sometimes use stewing steak for a big rich meaty ragu but for an everyday bolognaise I eat it with mince. We had this with tagliatelle because Dave hates spaghetti (?). Like mushrooms? Add them, I just didn’t have any in the fridge.
500g Lean minced Beef
1 stick celery
1 small can tomato puree
200g = ½ can chopped tomatoes
250ml red wine
½ tsp dried oregano
2 cloves garlic – crushed
500ml beef stock
1 sprig rosemary
Salt and pepper
500g your favourite pasta
*4 tsp butter
Either chop your carrot, onion and celery really fine by hand, or stick them in a processor and blitz them until they’re small.
Heat the ½ oil and ½ butter in a frying pan and add the chopped veg, and fry until it looks dry and brown and is starting to catch. Push to the side of the frying pan and add remaining butter and oil and add the beef. Cook again until brown and dry and then combine everything in the pan together. Everything should be catching, browning and the bottom of the pan should be covered in sticky dark marks. Season with salt and pepper and add the tomato puree and cook for two minutes and then turn your heat to high and add the wine. This should sizzle and remove all your sticky pan stuff, mixing it into your sauce and adding all that lovely flavour. Reduce down the wine and add garlic, oregano and rosemary and the tinned tomatoes and add enough stock to cover by about 1cm over. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer for at least an hour, or until you’re ready to eat, topping up with stock if it looks dry.
Cook your pasta as per packet instructions. Salting your water well, drain your pasta.
*Want it to be fancy?
Reserve some of your pasta cooking water. Heat a separate frying pan, add a tsp of butter (I do this separately for each person). Ladle ¼ of the bolognaise into the melted foamy butter and add 125g pasta combining it all in the pan, add about 3tbsp pasta water to loosen everything up and add a sprinkling of parmesan, and serve on warmed plates.