Tag Archives: Mince

Bolognese Brilliance

Bolognese Brilliance: no serious slurping, no mess, just awesome food.

Building on from Springy Bolognese, I’ve decided to list some numbers and ingredients for this massively easy pasta dish. Its hearty and satisfying; perfect for that one time when you’re feeling incredibly hungry. Hurhur.

The brilliant thing about bolognese is that there’s no hard and fast rule about what goes inside. To me, it’s like Chinese Fried Rice; you add whatever tickles your fancy. Personally, I aim for ‘colourful’.

So here’s what I had in mine this time. Extremely extravagant. 

  • 1 third of pasta from a standard size quick cook spaghetti pack
  • 1 handful of chopped red pepper
  • 1 handful of chopped yellow pepper
  • 1 handful of peas, frozen works the same
  • 1 handful of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 white onions, minced
  • 1 third of a finger chilli, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb-sized knob of butter
  • 50g of double concentrate tomato puree
  • half tbsp of dried basil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 handful of finely grated cheddar (if you have parmesan, even better)
  • 1 handful of fresh rocket (optional)
  • 1 handful of beef minced (omit this is you’re vegetarian)

With all the ingredients ready, what you’re going for now is efficiency and speed. No mucking about. You’re hungry, and if you’re not about getting angry yet, your stomach is. A hungry man is an angry man. Whatever.

This is how to roll:

  1. Since we’re going for speed, quick-cook pasta is the key choice here. Get that in a pot of boiling water and let it work its magic. If you believe in the Italian saying that ”the water for pasta cooking should be as salty as the Mediterranean”, then go right ahead and salt that water.
  2. While that’s happening, get another pot/wok on the hob too. If your peas are frozen, get them straight in, together with that knob of butter. If not, get everything you want in your bolognese e.g. onions, mushrooms, peppers, carrots, etc. and dump them in. Let them fry about while you wash up your chopping board and knife, and welcome the Aroma Fairies.
  3. When they (the ingredients, not fairies) are just about done, in goes the minced beef. Toss.
  4. Then, tomato puree goes in too. Here’s a tip. Instead of using plain water to dilute your sauce, get some of that starchy pasta water, about half a cup full and pour it into the sauce. Happy days.
  5. Mix about before adding the dried basil. Mix some more and taste. Season with salt and pepper your liking. Turn the heat off.
  6. Your pasta should be done, so drain the water out and get it straight into your superb bolognese sauce. Toss about, coating every strand of that spaghetti in red goodness. Move all to a serving dish.
  7. Top with fresh rocket leaves. Then, grate your cheese straight onto everything.
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Bak Chor Mee

I was blog surfing just yesterday and I came across gninethree‘s entry, when all of a sudden, my Singaporean taste buds started making a ruckus in my mouth. They demanded some Bak Chor Mee. To translate, it’s Minced Pork Noodles, a true blue Singaporean pasttime.

With whatever I had in the kitchen, this is the best I could come up with:

Mee kia (Skinny Egg Noodles) from Chinatown, jia la jia cu (extra chilli extra vinegar). Remember to add a dab of sesame oil and soy sauce too!

Slice some pork and mince the pork yourself; pork shoulder’s the ideal choice. If you have a couple of slices of pork liver, that’s awesome. As for the mushrooms, (obviously) black oyster mushrooms are best. But what’s crucial is slow cooking them in garlic, dark soy sauce and a little oyster sauce. LUSH. Along with fresh lettuce, beansprouts are a huge plus, which I didn’t have. :/ Finally, the all-important Chilli Padi.

P.S. Fried lard is a bonus.

With all this, the taste of Singapore’s not that far away. (:


Shepherd’s Pie

What better day to share about Shepherd’s Pie than on Easter Sunday, the day our shepherd, Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead.

It’s really simple to make one and the best part about it, you can go crazy with whatever goes inside. It’s basically a potato mash and a minced meat filling. Here’s the rough structure to how you can make one:

The Potato Mash

Slice the potatoes and toss it into a pot of boiling water. I like using small potatoes because they cook faster, but whichever you use doesn’t really matter. Sometimes, I toss in some carrots as well. This gives the mash a little mix of orange with yellow. You can even try it with sweet potatoes, or purple ones. Try it out and let me know!

Once the root veggies are translucent, drain and mash with a small hunk of butter, a splash of milk, some grated cheese of your choice and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Oh, if you’re wondering, I actually do leave the skin of the potatoes on for two reasons – one: it adds variety to the bite texture, and two: I’m lazy to skin them.

The Minced Meat Filling

While the potatoes are soaking in the very hot boiling water, prepare your kickass filling. The traditional meat used should be lamb, hence the name. But people I’ve made it for like it better when it’s a ‘cowherd’ pie. Yes, beef is my meat of choice. You can use peas, mushrooms, carrots, onions, green beans, and whatever tickles your fancy in a meat pie. Just make sure everything is chopped up nice and pretty before you dump them together.

When it comes to herbs, basil, oregano, sage, thyme or rosemary will add a lovely aroma. Again, whichever you prefer. Cook everything with a splash of red wine, salt and pepper. Ah yes, and if it’s beef, be sure to include a bit of vinegar in the mix. Finally, this is extremely unconventional but I don’t like it when my beef isn’t a rich dark brown, so to solve this, I turn to a few drops of my trusty blackening agent i.e. Dark Soy Sauce.

The Shepherd’s Pie

Once both components are ready, grab a roasting dish and fill the base with a thin layer of potato mash. Next, enters the filling and finally, the mash again to cover everything up lovely. Sometimes, (when you have not enough mash) you can leave out the base layer.

See, it’s not difficult. Try it, and remember, it’s all up to you! (:

Last but not least, everyone here at Cook for Myself would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Happy and Holy Easter!


Super Supper

It’s not midnight; I should be sleeping, but I got hungry.

This photo really doesn’t do justice to the taste, especially after you have a bite of it in your mouth.  It literally only took five minutes to make though.

But, imagine:
The explosion of garlic and pepper mixed with savoury cheese, and the pleasant hang of nutty rocket and olive oil, meaty mushrooms and earthy beef mince, sitting on crunchy crusty bread.

Now I can sleep happy.