Hi! I’m Ciara, and I’m the editor here at I Love Cooking. As well as being a living, breathing food machine, I am also (and more importantly) Mum to two boys, Matthew (3) and Mikey (almost 2). I work from home, in between batting away constant requests for chocolate biscuits and cake, so when I say I UNDERSTAND WHAT IT’S LIKE TO WORK AND FEED A FAMILY, I mean it. Like, really mean it.
We are a family of four on a budget. That is, we don’t buy too many luxuries and we don’t eat processed food if we can get away with it. The *if we can get away with it* is a full disclaimer, because like most kids, my children would exist on potato waffles if they could, and they eat them A LOT. And I don’t feel guilty about it – one of my all time favourite secret snacks is a waffle sandwich. I know. I am not a fancy pants at all.
So, this week I will be blogging about our dinners; what we had and how I made them. Because I work from home and need to maximise time as much as possible, I bake and cook dinner to the end phase every morning. I bake cakes rather than buy them, to feed my own sweet tooth as much as my kids. The healthiness depends on our mood. Today we made brown bread, yesterday we made chocolate cake. For dinner yesterday, I made a bolognese sauce made with:
2 carrots, finely diced
2 celery sticks, finely diced
2 red onions, finely diced
3 rashers streaky bacon, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp tomato purée
1 glass white wine
500ml tomato passata
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp chopped rosemary
2 tbsp chopped basil
1 Simply, I sweated the veg in a tablespoon of olive oil over a very low heat for fifteen minutes before removing to a bowl and wiping out the pan.
2 In a dry pan I fried the mince and bacon until well browned, added the veg back with the garlic, swirled in the tomato purée and cooked for a minute.
3 Then I poured in the wine, let it reduce to almost nothing and added in the passata, sugar and rosemary. I bubbled on a low heat for an hour and a half before scattering with basil and serving with spaghetti, Parmesan and garlic bread. NOM.
500g of mince will provide 2 meals for our family of four. Tonight I am making a gnocchi bake with our leftovers. Here’s how:
What I have:
half the bolognese sauce from last night
1 packet of gnocchi
1 ball mozzarella
Bubble the gnocchi in boiling salted water just until they bob to the surface – this will take a minute or two. Scoop 1/2 ladle of the cooking water out into the bolognese sauce to loosen it out and pour the sauce into an oven dish.
Very gently toss the gnocchi through the sauce and stir in some extra basil if you have it. Finely slice the ball of mozzarella and pop it on top. To cook, bake in a moderate oven (180C/gas mark 4) for 25-30 minutes, until the cheese is golden and bubbling and the sauce is heated through. Serve with extra Parmesan on top and a salad. YUM!