Covid comfort cooking 2, Catharine

Strangely, during our recovery, we found that our wholesome, vegetarian diet was not enough to get us back to full walking and cycling fitness. After 14 days of isolation, it was time to venture out to buy fresh food in Sedbergh again. First stop, minced steak from Peat’s and next, the essential bulb of fennel from Powell’s. My favourite Bolognese sauce has never tasted better.


 Spaghetti Bolognese (enough for 4 or 5 people) 

  • Ingredients: 50g chopped streaky bacon or pancetta, 1 onion, 1 clove garlic, 1 carrot, ½ bulb of fennel,  ½ red pepper, 1 Tbsb olive oil, 500g minced steak (or 400g cooked lentils), 400g tin of chopped tomatoes, 1 Tbsb tomato purée, 1 bay leaf, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp of oregano, thyme, parsley etc. salt and pepper, water to taste
  • Method: Take a large, heavy pan or casserole dish. Fry the chopped bacon without oil to until it releases the fat and starts to brown. Dice all the vegetables into small cubes and finely chop the garlic. Add the oil to the pan and then fry all the vegetables for 7 or 8 minutes. Then add the minced steak and continue to fry another 5 mins to brown the meat, breaking it up as you stir. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, tomato puree, and sauce with a little water if needed to cover the meat mixture. Add herbs, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer gently for at least 30 mins, longer if possible. Best made the day before and reheated so that the flavours have time to develop. I also hand- blend the mixture slightly to break up the mince before eating. Serve with spaghetti and grated parmesan cheese of course.  

I cannot guarantee that any of these recipes will actually cure a serious virus, but they did keep us feeling optimistic during a difficult time. Perhaps it’ll be time for restorative summer salads next month. 

Simmer gently for at least 30 mins, longer if possible…

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