My taste of Italy. Yes, it’s Spaghetti Bolognese but not as you know it….

One of our families favourites has always been Spaghetti Bolognese, but when on a no carb diet, the Spaghetti bit is out. So we have tried the fake noodles which were actually ok, but on experimenting with other things, I decided to fry up some cabbage in olive oil and salt, keeping it crisp and fresh. This is now one of our favourites to have with anything like Bolognese or Chilli. The salt and olive oil add a lovely flavour and I would be quite happy just eating a plate of the cabbage. I tend to mix it up using both red and green cabbage, I love both, but red cabbage packs quite a punch in vitamin C, in fact there is more of the stuff in red cabbage than in an orange!

Anyway, back to the cooking bit, I slow cook mine so it can take on all the lovely flavours and develop a rich sauce over the course of the day. You could easily do this in the oven if you do not have a slow cooker, just adjust the temperature to allow the sauce to develop over a long period of time.

My slow cooker was set to low and cooked for 8 hours. The smell when you come home from work and open the door is wonderful.

This dish would easily feed a family of four.

400 – 500 grams of beef mince

1 large Carrot diced small

2 Celery sticks diced small

2 Garlic Cloves, crushed

1 Red Onion diced small

6 Chestnut Mushrooms

1 tbsp Italian Seasoning

2 Beef stock Cubes

1 tbsp Tomato Puree

400 gram Tin of Chopped Tomatoes

1 Bouquet Garni

2 Bay leaves

Salt and Pepper

200 – 250ml of water (dependant on how runny you like your sauce)

Start by dry frying your beef mince. What I mean by this is don’t add any more oil or fats to the pan as a lot will come out, you could buy leaner mince which tends to be more expensive but I on average buy whatever is on offer or reduced to save some money.

Once your meat is browned transfer to the slow cooker.

You can now see just how much fat comes out of the meat, but don’t waste it, this will be used for the veg.

Add the diced carrot, celery, garlic and onion to the fat and sweat down until just soft, then add to the slow cooker.

Then add the mushrooms and stock cubes.

Add everything else, the Italian seasoning, the tomato puree, the bouquet garni and the bay leaves.

To finish add the tin tomatoes, water and salt and pepper, stir gently to incorporate everything and cook all day.

This one was after 4 hours of cooking the rest is self explanatory.

The Verdict

I think the bottom picture tells you the answer to that one. When you can get a 6 year old to eat veg she says she hates, then you are onto a winner.

The Nerdy Bit

Onions are a good source for your dietary fiber and contain a high amount of vitamin c, along with calcium, iron and protein, they are also very low in sodium and of course contain no fat.

Celery, we all know it is good for us, but did you know that celery nourishes and moisturises our skin with the help of its anti ageing vitamins, like vitamin E, along with vitamins A and C, which act as anti-oxidants protecting our skin from signs of ageing, now tell me who doesn’t think that’s a great reason to eat celery?

Tomato Puree is a great food, as it is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, but it also helps with our daily intake of fiber.

Garlic for me is a wonder food, there is pretty much a trace of all nutrients in garlic which help combat so many illnesses. The common cold is one such sickness that garlic has proven to help. On another positive note, it can also help maintain good blood pressure, helping to reduce cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks or strokes.