Thursday, August 21, 2008

Home-Made Bolognese Sauce

I really owe it to Donna Hay, Australian food stylist & writer, for my love for food + photography. While I was still working with seventeen Magazine, my editor had put me in charge of the food column.

At first, panic. I've always heard stories about food styling. It sounded excruciating.

I remember that I kept it very simple the first month. I bought ready made stuff and focussed on making it look good. But as the months past, I found myself enjoying it more. I even started cooking. Making something look according to how I wanted it to be became a fanatical obsession.

No one would come near me when I was in the kitchen. I would wake up early in the morning to start. Pack it in my mother's picnic baskets, ferry it to work not before making sure every sauce, meat and morsel was safe and sound in my back sit.

The first thing I did when I arrived at the office was to go straight to the studios. I saw no one but the food and photographer the entire day. I would not be disturbed.

Yes, I can be cold and intense when I was 'in the zone'. So full of concentration I was that people would shrivel in fear just looking at me or at the sound of my bark.

Today, I am not so ... uptight. But I must say that Mr. G has suffered from The Look if he dared prod a finger in the picture out of jest. Poor man. I don't know if he's quite recovered yet.

Home-Made Bolognese Sauce

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 800g mince
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 can chopped tomato
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • sea salt
  1. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic, cook until fragrant and then add the onions. Stir till onions are slightly transparent and then remove from pan.
  3. Add olive oil and increase heat to high.
  4. Dust the mince in flour and cook until brown. Add the onion and garlic back in the pan.
  5. Gradually add the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan. Cook for 1 - 2 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half.
  6. Add tomatoes, paste, water, bay leaves, sugar and salt. Stir to combine.
  7. Leave to cook until sauce is thick (approximately an hour).
For an exciting variation on how else to enjoy the ragu, click here to go to Happee Monkee.