spaghetti wars

. on Monday we picniced with the kids and discovered we were both unknowningly entered in the same spaghetti bolognese competition to win a chopping block and apron - it turned into a friendly rivarly to win votes, even the boys joined in! 

. on wednesday we were inspired to start a blog together to share all the things we love to do. 
. on friday we became 'mima and moo'....
So we thought this would be fitting as our first blog entry.
When I was about 11 or 12 I learnt to cook spaghetti bolognese and spaghetti and meatballs with store-bought bolognese sauce, probably thanks to home economics class at intermediate.
My Mum was working fulltime and decided that having four teenage kids we had to be useful for something, so she insisted that we all have a turn cooking once a week. I alternated between those two different versions of spaghetti for probably a year. This is my version of Bolognese now that I make for my family, I like to add roasted capsicums and a dollop of ricotta on top.

3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 large carrot or two small chopped
2 capsicums 
500g prime beef mince
100mls red wine
400g tomato passata
sea salt and black pepper
1 tbsp of fresh sage
1 tbsp of fresh parsley
ricotta or parmesan and fresh sage to serve
1. Heat olive oil in saucepan, add carrot and onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
2. Add meat and cook until browned, then pour in wine and cook until it has evaporated. Season with salt, add passata and simmer for 30 mins.
3. Meanwhile, blacken the capsicums under the grill. Place in container until cooled, peel and diced. stir through sauce along with fresh herbs.
4. Serve over on top of spaghetti with a dollop of ricotta or grated parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.
We always have some of this bolognese sauce in the freezer ready to go. Sometimes I turn the sauce into cottage pie with a pumpkin top which is really delicious. When I make it, I like to cook it in the morning and then reheat it when we want to eat so the flavors develop.

olive oil
anchovies about 6
1 onion - peeled and chopped
garlic - 2 fat cloves - peeled and chopped
a carrot - peeled and chopped
parsley stalks - chopped
flat mushrooms - 3 large - chopped
bay leaves - 2
minced beef or lamb - 400g (I like lamb)
2 tins of whole peeled tomatoes - pureed
200ml red wine
200ml homemade chicken stock
a teaspoon of nutmeg
a good handful of parsley leaves - washed and chopped
1. Heat oil in cast iron pan, add the anchovies, let them dissolve. Add the onion and garlic, let them cook until the onion is clear. Add the carrot and parsley stalks, stir, then add the mushrooms and stir. Tuck in the bay leaves and leave to cook for ten minutes over a moderate heat, stirring frequently.
2. Turn up the heat and tip the meat in, break it up well with a wooden spoon, cook until the meat is coloured.
3. Mix in tomatoes, red wine, stock, nutmeg and some salt and pepper (not too much salt as the anchovies will do most of this). Let it come to the boil, then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer for hour and a half, stirring from time to time.
4. Reheat and check seasoning, serve with wholemeal pasta, parsley and parmesan.