Slow Cooker Bolognaise sauce

IMG_4312 I warned you. I am 100% addicted to my new slow cooker. And I don’t see that changing any time soon. At least not until Spring arrives. The latest creation was a family favourite. Bolognaise. Literally a bundle of ingredients thrown in, lid on, and left to simmer throughout the afternoon. IMG_4305 No browning, no pre-cooking. Just time. IMG_4311 We enjoyed the sauce over a pile of spaghetti, on a particularly chilly Canberra evening. Comfort food in a bowl! IMG_4313 The sauce was rich and had lots of hidden veggies, that Miss C was oblivious to. IMG_4317 Next time I would probably add a little tomato paste, but the overall flavours were still pretty good. With the added bonus that we had load leftover for the following evening(s). IMG_4319 Slow Cooker Bolognaise Sauce

  • 1kg lean beef mince
  • 800g tinned tomatoes – oregano and basil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 tbs garlic paste
  • 6 mushrooms, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/2 tsp each of dried thyme, oregano and parsley
  • 2 tbs worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbs BBQ sauce
  • 1ts beef stock powder
  1. Place all ingredients into a slow cooker, and stir well to combine. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Easy sausage bolognaise

IMG_2926If your child is anything like mine, spaghetti bolognaise is a clear favourite when it comes to mealtimes. And, to be honest, it is a favourite of ours too! So with the evenings starting to cool down as we make our way into Autumn, it felt somewhat appropriate to have a big pot of bolognaise sauce simmering away on the stove one recent afternoon. IMG_2928 Josie and I took our usual daily walk – ending up at our small local shop to collect the key ingredients. I soon realised they were out of mince (and I didn’t feel like walking to the bigger shops) – so I sought out an alternative. In this case, thick beef sausages from which I could extract the meat. IMG_2922 The rest, well it came together pretty simply. All the usual additions (onion, carrot, celery, passata, tomatoes and wine) – simmered low and slow for a couple hours. IMG_2925 The result being a flavoursome meat sauce! IMG_2931 Served atop a big bed of spaghetti – with a lil’ glass of shiraz for the adults alongside. And, as for Miss C – well she went back for second so I’m calling it a win! Not to mention the leftovers that became a topping for some roasted sweet potatoes the next day! Sausage bolognaise (serves 6-8)

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 celery sticks, diced
  • 5 thick beef sausages – removed from skin
  • 500g tomato passata
  • 400g tinned tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • sprinkle of herbs (I used dried oregano and parsley)
  1. Sautee onion, carrots and celery in a little olive oil in a large pan – until starting to soften.
  2. Add the meat – and continue to cook until browned (breaking up lumps with a spoon).
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover, and cook slowly for an hour or so. Remove the lid and continue cooking until the desired consistency is reached.

What about you? For those with kids, what is your ‘guaranteed winner’ meal?

Its been a quinoa kind of week

I just realised that there has been a run of sweet treats featuring on this blog lately. But, I promise, that we do eat more than muffins, crumble and friands. Most of the time. And when I received this book as a birthday gift from my sister in law last week (she knows me too well)… IMG_7387 Well I wasted no time in declaring this week to be a quinoa kind of week. Our first dish….. IMG_7365 Quinoa lasagne! Although given that it contains no pasta sheets, it is probably better described as a Quinoa bake. I started by making a bolognaise sauce, using minced beef, tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic and white wine. Simmered most of the afternoon until thick and rich. IMG_7303 Followed by my favourite “cheese” sauce, combining ricotta, eggs, and grated parmesan. IMG_7299 Then with a few cups of cooked quinoa, sliced zucchini and fresh basil… IMG_7304 We were ready to layer. Quinoa… IMG_7306 Zucchini and basil… IMG_7307 Meat sauce and ricotta sauce… IMG_7308 Repeated and finished with a sprinkle of grated mozzarella. IMG_7309 Baked until brown and bubbly on top. IMG_7312 Sliced and served alongside some crunchy greens… IMG_7370 And our quinoa meal was complete! IMG_7366 This had all the flavours of a lasagne – just minus the pasta. Making it a protein-packed gluten free alternative to the original. IMG_7369 It also yielded a lot – enough to feed us both for 3 nights. So the added bonus being that we could just ‘reheat and eat’ when Charlotte went to bed. A win win all around. What about you? What is your favourite way to use quinoa?

My favourite bolognaise sauce

Ahh what a lovely evening it has been. I well and truly got my ‘walk on’ today, with a 5km walk around the lake with a friend after work and then a 1km walk to dinner.  A new pregnancy walking distance record yay! Then rewarded, rather happily, with a big plate of GF pad thai noodles from my new favourite Thai place down the road. It was actually nice to have the night off cooking. And rather necessary as the spoils of our weekend ‘cook up’ had finally run out. See, with the unavoidable feeling that I am not able to fit as much into my day as I would like to (partly due to pregnancy fatigue making my ‘awake time’ shorter and partly due to trying to fit too much in!) I have been trying to make dishes over the weekend from which we will get a few meals. Or at least parts of meals throughout the week. This was exactly the reason behind my decision to make a big batch of bolognaise sauce last weekend. So very tasty – and so very versatile. And not too much trouble to make at all. Our lovely local butcher ground a combination of beef, pork and veal mince that I used as the base to my sauce. Then, when coupled with tomatoes, herbs and some vegetables…. IMG_3414 And with the patience of time…. IMG_3417 Our house was soon filled with the amazing aromas that only slow cooked dishes have the ability to generate. IMG_3420 A BBB tratttoria if you please 🙂 The next question being….what does one do with a big batch of bolognaise sauce and a desire to keep hungry mouths fed for a few days at least? IMG_3422 You will just have to wait and see…. BBB Bolognaise Sauce (Serves 6 to 8)

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 tbs dried rosemary
  • 1 tbs dried oregano
  • 500g beef mince
  • 250g veal mince
  • 250g pork mince
  • 700ml tomato passata
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tbs fresh thyme leaves
  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over a medium high heat Add onion and garlic, and cook (stirring) until the onion has softened.
  2. Add the carrots, oregano and rosemary, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  3. Add mince, and cook until the mince has browned. Use a spoon to break up the mince as best as possible and remove any large lumps.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and cover.
  5. Cook for 1.5 hours. Remove lid and cook for a further 30 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Remove the bay leaves prior to serving.

What about you? Do you have a ‘secret’ bolognaise ingredient? I like to add lots of herbs – thyme, oregano, rosemary….you name it!