Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Spaghetti Yarns

I cannot make my spaghetti bolognese without flavouring warm oil with a whole, peeled but unchopped clove of garlic.  I plucked this sweet little hint in Tessa Kiros' homey, familyful book, Apples for Jam, and have been doing it for years now.  It fills the kitchen with a warm, soft, unmistakable aroma, foretelling happy tummies and bringing eager sniffing noses.
I cannot fry the beef mince, without waiting for it to pop and sizzle, caramelising a little.  I saw it on Sophie Dahl's cooking series and now love to watch it, listen for it.  The smell, one so familiar and comforting, just a waft through the front door, is a glad welcome home.
I cannot miss a hefty dollop of Tomato Ketchup in the sauce.  Mr B is the benefactor of this, now habitual flourish and despite my scathing derision at the time, I have since nibbled humble pie!  He is quite right!  It sweetens the chopped tomatoes a little, as all Italian Mammas would do for their brood (with a teaspoon sugar or bizarrely takes out the acidity), it adds a note of unidentifiable spice, a fullness to the sauce that compliments and 'bigs up' the tomatoeyness!  The mini B's devour it as a result...and Mrs B would not be able to tell you it was there in a blind taste test! (what an insufferable snob I am, no?!)
I cannot plop the spaghetti in the bubbling water without twisting the fat bunch of pasta in my hands first and dropping it in in a spiral.  My quietly foodie Dad does this and passed on this tip many years ago, with a look of knowing and satisfaction!  He is spot on.  The pasta cooks evenly, independently, easing into the pot gradually.  No prodding, poking, no uncooked ends.
I cannot eat it or serve it, without a spoon, to swirl the pasta in, before popping it into a wide, birdy open mouth; eagerly hungry.  My Dad once more, a ten year old me.  Its such a trick.  Miss B is determined in her pursuit of mastering this skillful cutlery wielding.
I cannot watch the devouring of this dish, without smiling my alter ego Mamma smile, looking on at the little orangey smeered faces!  Because to cook for little ones and watch it vanish, rather than be pushed round the plate, satisfies an utterly primal part of all Mummies (and Daddies!)

How do you cook yours?



Pink Milk said...

Oh I do like the garlic/oil tip.

I always add a rasher or two of very finely chopped smoked bacon, unashamedly loving the saltiness.

When I first learnt to cook, a friend came for supper and, without asking, added a heaped teaspoon of sugar to my pan of simmering bolognaise - I was LIVID! It was, however, quite delicious and something I've carried on doing to this day (not that I'd ever admit it to aforementioned friend!!!) ;-)

Hmmm, peckish now ...


Sheila said...

Oooh scrummy!!
I love Sophie Dahl too, some people hated it, but i love her so much!

PaperFish! said...

ahhhh, The Dahl.
You have made me soooo hungry!

Mrs B said...

oooooh youre so right...smoked bacon would be blissful! The Italians would nod in agreement your way!

Sophie Dahl ladies is gorgeous! We are in utter agreement and ready to defend, are we not Fishy!


The Bird said...

Ahhh you always make the simple things in life so beautiful. I feel comforted reading it.

Must do that with the garlic. I too add a bit of ketchup or a spoon of sugar. I also put grated carrot or courgette in too - sneaky extra veg.

I have to make two bologneses as I'm a vegetarian but my son enjoys both of them which makes me nearly burst with happiness. xx

Sue said...

Lovely post, you have made the cooking of a family meal a poem.

I have two little idiosyncracies when I make my spag bol. First I use my frozen vegetable hash in place of onions. This consists of finely chopped (in the food processor) onions, carrot, celery, red pepper and garlic. Second, like Pink Milk, I always add couple of finley chopped rashers of bacon, smoked for preference.

Anonymous said...

Looks delicious. Oh, i do miss sitting down on a Tuesday evening and watching the lovely Sophie cooking away in that gorgeous kitchen.

Mrs B said...

Arrrr sue! The Italians would love you! You've got the trinity and bacon!! All good! Much more authentic than mine!

The bird- I think the same of you! Your photos are lovely!!

P&C's - she was so compelling!! I never understood the aggro reaction to her. I think she is charming!


::cupcakesandbiscuits:: said...

I go with Delia. Four hours in the oven, two kinds of mince, pancetta, chicken livers and red wine, it's decadently deep man!

Poor poor Sophie...

So glad dinner is Italian tonight after reading this.
I am hungry for ma meatballs! xx

(even the v word sound Italian - remorni)

Mrs B said...

Crikey me, woman!! That's dedication!! You honour your mince!!

I'm coming to yours for Italian!!


Angel Jem said...

Delia with a difference. I don't do chicken livers but I do do the 4 hours on low in the oven and near on a bottle of red wine (minus the glass for the cook, of course) It's lovely and a very little goes a long, long way.
Apples for Jam is a brilliant book, BTW. Love it. And I love her garlic clove hint. Bolognese for tea tomorrow. Yum.

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