spaghetti bolognese, aka spag bog, on the bbq

Spaghetti Bolognese or, as we like the odd colloquialism and/or slang in Australia, the spag bog or spag bol.

I will be going with spag bog. Not sure why, but that’s just what we’ve always called it.

I bloody love a good spag bog. Always have. Although I must admit the spag bog that would redden my face as a child is a little different to the spag bog I cook in present times.

Whereas beef mince with a little tomato paste was the sauce and grated tasty cheese was the topping of the spag bog of my youth, my older person (I wanted to say more grown up or mature but those words really didn’t fit) spag bog might include a few more ingredients – nothing to put it all out of your reach though. Nothing you can’t buy from the local supermarket or steal from the neighbour’s cupboards if that’s what you’ve got to do. I won’t be a wanker and tell you it needs freshly shaved truffle or maybe a virginal pigmy goose egg stirred through at the end. I just like to start it off with a little smoked sausage in with the beef mince, cook it out with tomato passata, red wine and a bit of beef stock and then finish it up with some fresh herbs and parmesan cheese aka. the parmo (that was another colloquialism just for you).

This is going to be so much better than using a jar of supermarket pasta sauce. A jar of something shit that tastes like that last inkling of hope has just trickled down the drain in the factory floor. I won’t pretend that this will not require just a touch more effort than the jar of pre-made pasta sauce, but I really do think it’s worth while and, in an absolute triumph of the modern era, we now have freezers, so just bloody well make a double or triple recipe and freeze it down in containers for later.

Here we go.

Get it all ready to go. This is a thing that smart people do in the kitchen.
Get a little parmesan on there and get it into your face.


SPAG BOG

Serves 5-6

400g beef mince
200g smoked sausage, chopped or blitzed up (Fresh Italian pork sausage also works well. Just push it out of the sausage skin and break it up. Pancetta and every other cured pork product in existence also work beautifully here)
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup red red wine
1 cup beef stock
700ml tomato passata
Water if it needs a little more moisture as it cooks
Salt and pepper to season
A handful of fresh oregano and parsley, chopped
500g dried spaghetti, cooked according to packet instructions
Grated parmesan cheese, to serve

Heat a large pot over a hot flame, or even over coals in your BBQ.
Add a splash of olive oil and give it a few seconds to get hot.
Now add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook out for a few minutes until starting to soften a little.
Add beef mince and sausage to pot and stir and poke with a wooden spoon to break the mince up as it cooks – after all, we are making a meat sauce not bloody meatballs. Add some salt and pepper now too.
Once the mince is starting to colour up and it’s all looking fairly dry, add the red wine and reduce by half.
Now add beef stock and then tomato passata.
Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so. Also keep an eye on the moisture levels as it comes to the end of its cooking time as it may require up to a cup of water to keep it looking saucy and unctuous.
Stir through those herbs.
Check yo seasoning fool. If it needs a little more salt and/or pepper, give it a little.
Stir sauce through warm spaghetti.
Serve with a little grated parmesan.



Curried sausages on the campfire (but easily adaptable for the home kitchen just in case you didn’t figure that one out for yo’ self)


Welcome to another thrilling installment of “the things my ma cooked for dinner when I was a kid and now I cook them sometimes because I am disgustingly in love with nostalgia”.

The ol’ curried sausages were on high rotation as a midweek dinner option during my years at home. Woolies snags, a bit of Keen’s curry powder (one of the only “spices” in my Ma’s pantry. Seriously, I made a spice rack for my year 8 wood work project and it was home for the Saxa salt and pepper, and Keen’s curry powder. That was it), an onion and a couple of other bits and pieces all came together in the big pot to make our bellies very happy indeed. A scoop of either under cooked or over cooked rice on the side and dinner was sorted.

I have made it a little different because that’s just what I do but I think even my Ma would agree that the essence of the thing is still there.


CURRIED SAUSAGES

Serves 4

600 g sausages (beef or lamb is my choice but this is also perfect with pork, chicken or “of no specific origin” snags)
1 onion, large dice
5 garlic, roughly chopped
1 ½ tbls Keen’s curry powder
1 capsicum, large dice
1 zucchini, large dice
1 x 400 g tin diced tomato
1 x 400 ml tin coconut milk
Salt and pepper
Natural yoghurt, mango chutney, coriander and steamed rice, to serve

Heat a splash of oil in the pot that you will be cooking your curried sausages in. Add whole sausages and cook over medium heat for 6 – 7 minutes or until cooked through.
Remove sausages and set aside while you get the rest of this thing going on.
Using the same pot as the sausages were cooked in, sauté onion and garlic until starting to soften a little.
Add curry powder and cook out for 1 minute.
Slice cooked sausages into 2 cm pieces and return to pot with all other ingredients.
Simmer for 30 minutes over med – low heat.
Check seasoning and get it on the table, with garnishes somewhere also on the same table.
Camp fire or stove top, it’s Keen’s curry powder for the win.