This is a big one today! I love the weekend as I have more time to go in depth and really think about what I like to make. The past week I’ve been house-sitting my parents’ house: my brother and boyfriend have both been keeping me company. So the challenge has been to make simple things for my brother who is a little fussy, and gluten-free, lactose-free, onion-free and garlic-free food for my boyfriend who has Crohns Disease and is currently on the Fodmap diet.
What a challenge!
I found that Bolognese was a winner. It takes around an hour and a half to make, but that’s fine, I like spending time to perfect a dish. There’s usually some left over which you can either freeze or chill and use over the next few days. It’s so economical and feeds so many mouths.
The thing with this one is that you can really play with it – I love mushrooms so sometimes add these rather than green beans, celery instead of leeks and the seasoning is a whole other board game… spicy, herb-y, tomato-y and so on. Basically you can remove or add anything you think will improve the flavour or texture, to your liking. Fresh herbs usually provide a stronger flavour, but if you don’t have access to these, some dried mixed herbs do the job just fine.
Today I’ve included instructions for a Spaghetti Bolognese and Lasagne; you can also serve it with rice or other types of pasta creating a pasta back cooked in the oven.
So why not have a go at this today or tomorrow – creating a rich and filling dinner, and of course serve with a nice glass of red wine – we like a good Montepulciano!
(for all the diary ingredients I switch these with lactose free options e.g. soya milk, soya butter etc)
Bolognese (serves 4)
For Spaghetti Bolognese:
85g plain flour
1 tsp mustard
For the Bolognese:
500g beef mince
4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, finely diced
2 tins of plum/chopped tomatoes or 6 fresh cherry tomatoes and 1 tin of passata
1 onion, peeled and finely diced (I like to use leeks to keep it onion free/mild taste for my boyfriend)
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 large pepper, finely chopped
Handful of green beans, chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 beef stock cube (I use Knorr stock cubes as they are gluten free and super tasty!)
2 tsp mixed herbs
Sea salt and black pepper
Seasoning such as sweet chilli sauce, Moroccan spice, natural peri-peri herbs, Worcester sauce etc.
Splash of red wine
- Add a good lug of olive oil to a saucepan and heat it up
- Gently fry the bacon, then add the leek/onion, carrots and green beans
- Fry for around 8-10 minutes until the veg has softened
- Next, increase the heat slightly, add the mince and stir until the meat has browned all over
- Stir in your choice of tomato mixture
- Add the herbs and tomato puree and then the stock cube
- Splash in a little red wine (if desired) and then the final seasoning
- Give everything a stir with a wooden spoon and bring to a gentle simmer
- Reduce the heat and put the lid on, leaving it for about 25 minutes if you are making a lasagne, 35-45 minutes for spaghetti bolognese – until the flavours develop!
- Stir occasionally to make sure it doesn’t catch
For Spaghetti Bolognese:
- Meanwhile add salt to a pan of boiling water and cook the spaghetti according the packet instructions
- Once the spaghetti is ready, drain it and serve, with the bolognese
- If desired, sprinkle over some parmesan cheese, sit back and enjoy!
- To make the cheese sauce melt 85g butter in a saucepan
- Stir in 85g plain flour and cook for 2 minutes
- Slowly whisk in around 750ml of milk, then bring to the boil, whilst stirring
- Turn down the heat and cook until the sauce thickens
- I like to then add some grated cheese and 1 tsp of mustard just to give it that extra tang
- NOW: drizzle a little sauce over the bottom of a dish, then cover this with lasagne sheets. Spoon over the mince mixture, making sure you don’t leave any gaps!
- Now repeat by drizzling over the sauce (don’t hold back – the more sauce the better), then the lasagne sheets, and finally another generous layer of mince
- Finally drizzle the rest of the sauce over the mince, and sprinkle some parmesan cheese over the top
- Place in the oven for around 20 minutes, until the top looks lovely and crispy!
I spy a little head poking up trying to steal some yummy food!