Tuesday, February 26, 2008


That's spag bog sauce to you, mate. There are a million recipes for ragù, ranging from bland tomato and beef mince with stock efforts to deep, rich stews of venison, red wine and forest mushrooms. I have, as I so often do (being a reasonable man), tried to strike a reasonable middle ground - particularly as the UAE is not famous for its plentiful supplies of fresh venison, well-hung snipe and picked-that-morning forest mushrooms.

Funny, that.

Like chili con carne, this improves with standing to cool and then re-heating, even freezing. Don't ask me why - I'm not Heston Blumenthal. Serve this with the pasta of your choice cooked 'al dente', which means that it's still got a bit of bite to it. I like to cook the pasta up until it's just softened, leave it for a few minutes in a colander and then give it a spin around a pan with a splash of oil.

Oh! And don't forget to top it with lashings of firm, fresh parmesan, grated or sliced in wafer thin slices and scattered across the top!


  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 200g mushroom, diced
  • 2 sticks celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 sprint onions, finely sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 tins tomatoes
  • 50ml red wine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 4 tbsp olive oil

Using 2 tbsp olive oil heated in a large frying pan, fry the beef, stirring to stop it lumping like a lumpy thing. As it starts to colour and loses its redness – and certainly before it starts to brown, reserve it in a bowl. Wipe off the pan and glug another 2 tbsp oil into it and then fry off the onions over a medium heat to soften them. Add the mushrooms and fry for a further two minutes so that they, too, start to soften. Add the carrot and celery, stir it all up and cover to cook for a further five minutes, stirring it perhaps once or twice to prevent any sticking. In the meantime, drain any excess liquid that’s collected in the bowl full of beef. After your five minutes are up, remove the cover from the pan and crank it up to high, then add the garlic and spring onion, stir it up and then add the beef and stir it in well. Add the wine after a short while, stirring it in well, then the tomatoes, herbs and spices. Let it all sizzle up nicely, stirring everything to combine, then turn the heat to super-low, cover and cook for 60 minutes, stirring every now and then. Uncover and cook for a further 30 minutes.

Season and serve or leave to cool at its own pace and reheat to serve.


EyeOnDubai said...

Have had some excellent sprinbok from Nils' Organic Cafe, and the mushrooms in Lulu's aren't bad...

EyeOnDubai said...

..and it would help if I could spell properly too!