Food Musings

A Winnipeg blog about the joy of preparing food for loved ones and the shared joy that travel & dining brings to life.

Jamie Oliver’s Spaghetti Bolognaise

February13

Jamie Oliver is my kind of guy-his recipes use affordable ingredients, he is an ambassador of “real” food, he loves his kids and his wife, his success has apparently not changed his wardrobe and he writes his recipes as if he were standing in the kitchen next to you:  “don’t worry about technique, just chop away until fine”, “if you’re ready to tuck in,  just drape the warm slices over the lettuce and serve” , “it would be lovely if everyone had a go at making things like tarts, tortes or pastries at home…..”

My prized “Food Revolution” Cookbook was a gift from my son and daughter (in law) #3.  This past Sunday dinner (mandatory) I prepared a big batch of spaghetti and then sent everybody home with left overs.  I added a couple of my own modifications and the kids had their own improvement as well.  Here is the result:

2 slices of bacon, chopped

2 medium onions, peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

olive oil

2 heaped t of dried oregano

1 lb good quality beef 

28 oz. can of diced tomatoes

s&p

a small bunch of fresh basil

4 oz. Parmesan cheese

1 lb. dried spaghetti

I doubled the recipe and used a lb. of ground beef and a thinly sliced flank steak from the freezer.  I soaked both in milk before cooking (a technique I had seen in another Bolognese recipe) and then finely chopped up the flank steak.

Saute bacon with oregano and cook until golden.  Add veggies and stir every frequently until softened and lightly coloured.  Stir in the meat (drained if soaked in milk) and tomatoes.  Now Jamie adds a can of water but the kids think that this makes the sauce too soupy, so go by your own preference.  Let simmer until veggies or to your desired firmness (approx. 20 minutes).  Add S&P to taste.  Add freshly torn basil leaves.  Cook pasta to your liking and when it is el dente, drain and stir into the sauce.    Sprinkle with Parmesan.

For more beef ideas, go to www.beefinfo.org.  I am dreaming of time away at Eat, Write, Retreat www.eatwriteretreat.com.

Kath’s quote: “The strands of spaghetti were vital, almost alive in my mouth, and the olive oil was singing with flavor. It was hard to imagine that four simple ingredients [olive oil, pasta, garlic and cheese] could marry so perfectly.”-Ruth Reichl

Stella’s Sherbrook

February11

We recently had an errand to accomplish at our our son and daughter-in-laws Wolseley home, when it  some was suggested that we grab some breakfast or lunch together.  With less than a two minute walk, we were inside the doors at Stella’s Sherbrook.  You might notice that I did not say that we were sitting at a table because that in fact did not occur for quite a while.

The wait was pleasant enough as there is a real community feel about the place, perhaps because of the neighbourhood itself, perhaps it is promoted by the friendly, laid-back staff.

J ordered the Stella`s special breakfast and was well content.  So too was the female J when she choose the Mexican breakfast.

D was immediately tempted by the special of the day-a hearty chicken stew that came with a tasty biscuit and Stella`s healthy salad.  The three of us stared longingly at his choice and would order that ourselves, the next chance that we get.

When eggplant is on the menu, it always catches my eye.  Even though these eggplant circles were individually prepared rather than in a casserole style, as I prefer, it was delicious none the less.  Their version is likely healthier than the way that I prepare mine.  My recipe where the veggies are tossed in flour, dipped in an egg wash, then covered with breadcrumbs, soaks up the olive oil like a sponge.

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The eggplant were served on a bed of spaghetti tossed in a light tomato sauce and crunchy garlic bread.

Our server was very pleasant and helpful.  In fact, she was familiar to our son and his wife as were many staff and diners that afternoon.

Stella's Cafe & Bakery Sherbrook on Urbanspoon

Kath`s quote:  “How can people say they don’t eat eggplant when God loves the color and the French love the name? I don’t understand.”-Jeff Smith

Hamburger Soup

February10

We are hosting our monthly young families group tonight and it is COLD in Winnipeg this morning so I immediately thought about putting on a big ole pot of soup and some cheese biscuits to warm everybody up when the walk in the door.  I went and did a Food Musings search to pull up my tried and true Hamburger Soup recipe to see, in astonishment, that I have never posted it before.

When our family was young and D was in the restaurant business and I was the marketing director of a restaurant too, we had to be make decisions on the go for healthy, often “one bowl” meals that our kids would enjoy.  So our first idea was that we had designated “food” nights: Friday was pizza, Thursday was pasta, and so on.  That way our decisions were less complicated depending upon the day of the week.  The kids loved this too.

Monday was always soup night so I could whip up a batch on Sunday afternoon while I was making Sunday dinner and serve half the next day (and put the other half in the freezer for a real time emergency).

This meal freezes very well and actually becomes more and more tasty with the passing of time.  The recipe originally came from the old Best of Bridge cookbooks but I’ve modified it over and over again with the years.

Hamburger Soup

2 lbs. lean ground beef

1 medium onion finely chopped

1 28 oz. can of tomatoes

25 c of water

1 heaping T of Knorr dehydrated beef consume

1 c tomato soup

4 finely chopped carrots

3 sticks of finely chopped celery

1 c of frozen corn

1 bay leaf

a handful of chopped parsley

1 t thyme

8 T barley

Brown ground beef and then give it a quick rinse under hot water to remove any unwanted fat.  Brown onions and veggies until they start to “sweat”.  Add ground beef and all other ingredients back to the pot.  Simmer, uncovered at least one hour.

See more easy and nutritous meals for your gang on www.beefinfo.org.  I’m hoping to win a scholarship to www.eatwriterestreat.com.

Kath’s quote: “A soup like this is not the work of one man. It is the result of a constantly refined tradition. There are nearly a thousand years of history in this soup.”-Willa Cather

posted under Entrees, Recipes | 3 Comments »

Kay’s Deli

February10

The advertising business has been very good to me.  I have made a comfortable salary and had the satisfaction of being instrumental in promoting some very important messaging.  Recently, I have enjoyed pulling back from my media buying responsibilities a little bit and have had the opportunity to fill my time with writing and teaching.  I especially enjoy having the time to mentor students who have decided to pursue an advertising and communications career.  I have no doubt that the talented woman that I meet with on a fairly regular basis will do exceptionally well in the business.

She is located at the downtown campus of Red River College and so we are often looking for convenient, somewhat quiet and delicious places to meet.  Kay’s Deli  foots the bill in all respects.

I choose this savoury Reuben sandwich that was perfectly grilled on marble rye bread.  As any Seinfeld fan will tell you, a good loaf of marble rye bread is a hard thing to find – but a precious treat to enjoy if you’re lucky enough to find one!  You can just imagine how much fun the bakers must have swirling the doughs together.

My protege choose the mango chicken wrap.  I think that she was pleased with her choice but to be honest, we were so entrenched in our conversation, that I think that I forgot to inquire.  Some foodie, I am!

Kay's Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:

Um, excuse me, I – I think you forgot my bread.”
Bread, two dollars extra.”
“Two dollars? But everyone in front of me got free bread.”
“You want bread?”
“Yes, please.”
“Three dollars!”
“What?”
“No soup for you!”
– George and the Soup Nazi, Seinfeld

Joey Polo Park

February9

The weekend of D`s birthday was a non-stop celebration of family, food (and sport).  Polo Park was centrally located for everyone coming from different directions and we always know that there will be plenty of parking.  But in truth, Joey  Restaurant was not very well set up to accommodate our large family.  They sat us at two tables that we could not push very close together because there was a ornamental feature on the banquet sitting that prevented us from doing so.  Everyone else in the room were parties of two and three or four, having a nice, quiet Sunday lunch.  So, we will remember this for future gatherings.

But the food was really quite stunning.

Daughter #3 and I opted for the Beach Salad: a grilled chicken breast, goat cheese, strawberries, candied pecans, all tossed in a lemon poppy seed dressing.  We both thought that it was fantastic.  I had to ask her what the quinoa was…

Daughter #1 choose the Butter Chicken and Nan bread.

And Daughter #2 the Chicken Souvlaki and Sweet Potato Fries.

The guys both chose burgers and the birthday boy selected the Cashew Chicken Stir Fry comprised of Asian veggies, a red lemongrass curry, toasted cashews, steamed noodles and topped with cilantro and a wedge of lime.

He was perfectly satiated by his stir fry but just for good measure, he also wanted to sample their roasted root vegetables which he quite enjoyed (but thought that the ones that I roast at home were better).

We were so full from lunch that we had to decline dessert.  As a result, our lovely server absorbed the charge of D`s veggies, instead of treating him to dessert.  We thought that this was a lovely gesture.

Joey Polo Park on Urbanspoon

Kath`s quote: “The joys of the table belong equally to all ages, conditions, countries and times; they mix with all other pleasures, and remain the last to console us for their loss.”  – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

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