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Matthew’s meals: learning to cook bolognese

As you may have read, I just started a temporary job as a food technician in a school and was a little bit horrified at the lack of knowledge of how to prepare food. Cooking is a basic but vital skill and I am aware that in another 9 years my eldest will probably be leaving home 🙁 and I want him to be able to take care of himself and provide good food.
So here we are with a new series on my blog of recipes that I am teaching my 9 year old.
I had to begin with bolognese because it is a classic but also has a strong family connection. My dad has Italian heritage and when he was at university it was the recipe he made all the time. When he met my mum he introduced her to peppers! He made spaghetti bolognese every Saturday throughout my childhood and still does today. I make this a couple of times a month and freeze leftovers to use for cottage pie (that’s next time’s meal for Matt! sorted!)
This recipe is gluten free and can be made vegan by using soya mince, or vegetarian by using Quorn mince. Extra vegetables could be added such as courgette or carrot to boost veg intake for the whole family!
Bolognese works with any shaped pasta or can go with rice or a jacket potato. It could be adapted to a chilli by swapping the herbs for cayenne or chilli powder and adding a tin of red kidney beans.
Ingredients (makes about 9 children’s servings)
500g beef mince (I use 15% fat and then don’t fry in oil as the meat releases the fat to cook the dish)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 pepper, finely chopped
3 mushrooms, finely chopped
optional: 1 clove garlic or a teaspoon garlic puree
1 tin chopped tomatoes
a generous squirt of tomato puree
two pinches of Italian herbs or oregano
Instructions
Fry the beef mince until browned.
Add the onion, pepper and mushrooms and fry for 4-5 minutes. If using garlic, add for the final minute.
Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and herbs.
Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 5-7 minutes to keep it from sticking.
Prepare pasta or rice or jacket potato and serve.
Place leftovers in freezable containers and decide if you want to eat it sooner or later! Keep in the fridge or freeze until required.
I am so proud of Matthew for being receptive to learning to cook. Now the only problem I have is that Anya wants to do it too and not wait another 2 years…


9 comments

  1. Lyn

    This is such a great idea. We’re lucky in that my daughter is very receptive to cooking and, at the age of 14, is now regularly cooking dinner. My son, also 14, has special needs and, whilst certainly capable of learning to cook, is not so receptive and needs far more professional guidance than I can give. Every child should know how to cook at least 7 main meals. It’s an essential life skill and I look forward to following Matthew’s progress.

  2. Good for you for teaching your son to cook! I have 3 grown sons and they are the main meal=preparers for their families now. They used to love to watch me cook when they were boys!

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