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.
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! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolognese_sauce).
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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”.