The focaccia loaf as it came out of the oven. (This is a cellphone picture and is therefore not very sharp).

Mmm, I decided to try a little more unusual bread this time, a flat bread instead of the more normal loaves. While focaccia is a risen bread and does use yeast, it is still categorised as a flat bread. I got the recipe here.

The recipe is fairly complex. You have to form a ‘well’ from the dry ingredients, add the yeast and water, let the yeast start working them fold in the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. Then you raise it as normal, knock it back and let it raise in a cold oven with a dish of hot water below it. Then you turn the oven on and cook the bread. It seems to me that there is unnecessary complexity there, but I’ll see when I try it again.

The focaccia loaf sliced. (This is a cellphone pictures and is not very sharp).

Spaghetti Bolognese

Today I decided to make “Spaghetti Bolognese”. Since I didn’t know what constitutes a Bolognese sauce I asked Mr Google who kindly directed me to Wikipedia. I found out that, interestingly, that Spaghetti and Bolognese sauce (a meat-based sauce or ragù) are not traditionally served together in Bologna and Italy. It didn’t even start out containing tomatoes! (

However the recipe today for Bolognese sauce includes a meat base, with a relatively large tomato component. The other ingredients seem more variable so I decided to wing it.

I browned the beef mince in a pan, and in another pan I started off the onions. To the first pan I then added a small tin of tomato paste, and added a small amount of herbs and seasoning. I also added some diced fresh tomato and red pepper.

Work in progress, "Spaghetti Bolognese"
Work in progress, “Spaghetti Bolognese”.

Here’s a picture of the work in progress. The onion and the tomato are a bit chunky for a proper Bolognese sauce, perhaps. Wikipedia says that they should be chopped up smaller.

I added the partly cooked onion and red pepper and then I remembered that the recipe included bacon. That sounded like a good idea to me but I had to defrost some first. (Maybe I’ll use the rest of the bacon for a bacon and egg pie? I’ve not tried pastry yet!). Anyway, in some bacon went.

Sauce on hold while the spaghetti cooks
Sauce on hold while the spaghetti cooks

Just about then I realised that I’d forgotten to start off the spaghetti! Whoops! So I had to take the almost completed Bolognese sauce off while I boiled some water and put some spaghetti on to cook.

In the last picture you can see the end result. It tasted pretty good too!

However, I just realised that I had forgotten to add the mushrooms that I had meant to add. Oh well!

Spaghetti Bolognese - final result
Spaghetti Bolognese – final result

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd's Pie
Shepherd’s Pie

I had a large piece of cooked lamb to use up, so I decided to make a shepherd’s pie. I first removed the meat from the bone and minced it in a food processor, and then I added two stock cubes and two cups of water to the meat, plus some spices and seasoning. Then I put the dish in the oven at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes.

In retrospect I think that one or one and a half cups of water would have been sufficient, or I could have thickened the mixture a little.

I peeled and boiled some general purpose potatoes for 10 minutes or so.  I also had some Perlas but I decided that they would be too small for the topping so I didn’t use them.

I sliced the par-boiled potatoes and arranged them on the surface of the minced lamb as you can see, and put the disk back in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes.  Then I grated some cheese onto the top and returned the dish to the oven for another 5 minutes.

Unfortunately the potatoes were still on the raw side so I returned the pie to the oven for 15 minutes more. When I do this dish again I will cook the potatoes almost to completion before I add them to the pie.

Shepherd's Pie
Shepherd’s Pie

This blog…

Any blog needs a theme. Well, this one has at least three.

Firstly, I’ve long wanted to gather my thoughts on philosophical topics in one place, so there should be some philosophy in there. I must admit that my philosophical thoughts are a bit of a mish-mash, but in writing them down, maybe I will be able to rationalise them a bit!


Secondly, I want to throw up some of my photographs, both of my family and of other things. Here’s a photo I took on my last visit to England for my father’s 90th birthday.

Surrey woods near Walton on the Hill
Surrey woods near Walton on the Hill

Thirdly, I want to blog my notes on my cooking exploits. Currently these comprise mostly baking breads. This is the latest loaf, a white bread one, made in a Breville “Baker’s Oven”.

White loaf
White loaf, home made using a breadmaker.