Category Archives: Cookery

I’m learning to cook. Here is my progress, with methods and recipes.

Open source pasta sauce

Pasta sauce

This is my pork mince pasta sauce recipe, heavily inspired by my Grandma’s recipe. I cook it in a casserole dish with a lid in the oven for about 4 hours. This is not quick food, but it’s well worth the wait and this recipe makes about 6-7 big portions, suitable for freezing.

Ingredients

  • 1kg pork mince
  • a little olive oil
  • 2 onions
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 4 x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 x 140g cans tomato purée
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs (basil, oregano, thyme)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Process

  1. Chop the onions and fry them in the olive oil for 5 mins (don’t brown them)
  2. Finely chop and add the garlic and fry for a few more minutes
  3. Add the pork mince, fry on a high heat until it’s no longer pink
  4. Add everything else, mix well and bring to boil
  5. Put lid on pot, put in pre-heated oven at 150 degrees celsius
  6. cook for 4 hours, stirring once an hour or so

It’s interesting to taste the sauce as it cooks – it really does get better and better the longer you leave it. I used to cook it on a regular stove top but it required almost constant stirring to avoid burning so now I cook it in the casserole dish.

If you like it wetter, add some passata. You can probably leave out the brown sugar – I’ve not really been able to tell a difference with or without it myself.

Serve with spaghetti with plenty of parmesan cheese and black pepper.

NCFE exam

It’s my NCFE Asian cookery exam tonight. We’ve got to make a Sindhi Korma, and some other stuff. I’m looking forward to passing. Let’s hope I do.

update: Both myself and Louisa passed the practical and written exam. I won’t belittle my achievement but I will say this: whilst I’m very confident at cooking various Asian curries and breads now, I won’t be winning any positions in the kitchens at Aagrah’s or Akbar’s.

I still plan to write up the missing recipies, and anything new I try.

Follow your dreams. You can meet your goals. I am living proof.

Indian cookery episode 7, George Lucas sucks

The course was billed as Indian cookery but the guy teaching us isn’t Indian, he’s Pakistani (well he’s British, but you know what I mean). The food we cook isn’t either Indian or Pakistani really, it’s like a honkey bastardized asian cuisine (Wasim put it a lot more delicately than that when explaining to me :)

Anyway, I’m well behind in my write-ups. This week we made Seekh kebab, Nan and Chicken Jalfrezi. Ingredients and method follow:
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Indian cookery episode 4 – Onion hope

This week Gosht (Lamb) Achar and Lemon Rice. Pretty easy and all went without major explosions or poisoning. The aluminium pans we’re using worry me, though I forget why.

I’ve included the recipes this week, and plan to go back and add the previous ones in too.

By the way, ghee is clarified butter. It doesn’t need to be stored in the fridge and keeps for a long time (so long as you keep it in an airtight container). It has a very high smoke point and doesn’t discolour or burn when heated up to it. It has a distinct flavour, quite different to butter.
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Indian cookery episode 2 – Attack of the cloves

This week we made vegetable pakora, sindhi korma and aloo bhaji. It actually all went pretty well. I didn’t burn anything, I didn’t forget any ingredients (that I noticed), and nobody died by my hand. This might have been something to do with working directly across from Louisa this time; being able to exploit her cookery skills. The food tasted good enought to eat two days in a row too.

I think there is a kind of rhythm to cooking; a beat to which ingredients must be added, flames are adjusted and mixing occurrs. Last week I was seriously out of time. This week I felt I was almost getting it. Imagine that it’s some groovy off-beat syncopated beat and I’m only managing to keep up a simple 4/4 with it.

I didn’t have time to deep fry my pakora, which I was kind of relieved about as the deep fryer scared me to death.

Indian cookery episode 1 – The kitchen menace

I attended the first lesson of an NCFE in Indian cookery last night. My culinary skills are a little rusty. For example, I had trouble remembering how best to slice a tomato. This is probably because I’ve never sliced a tomato in my life.

Meat. That’s a new one too. I don’t even eat meat. I learned that Chicken flesh is actually *flesh*. Pink and bloody. That’s certainly more than 6 degrees separation from your McNugget.

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