Be like me, be like me, I'm feeling cool.
Be like me, be like me, I'm not a fool.
Be like me and no one can hurt you.
I don't have to be afraid
for on both sides I have weighed
the circumstance of everything that I do,
everything that I do.
You can go on tripping up and falling down
but as for me I don't intent to be a clown.
If I fail you know a friend I cannot blame
because I am myself the author of my shame or fame.
Be like me, I'm on my way
every night and everyday.
I know precisely what I'm doing.
I know precisely what I'm doing.
If I were you I'd be like me.
It's just the finest me, free.
Once in a while I decide to share my recipes with you. When I say a while, I mean long long periods of time. In fact, along these almost-three-years of blogging, I only shared two. It was quite in the beginning and they were pretty simple and easy to do. I will refresh your memory: Pumpkin Cream Soup and Gazpacho -a typical Spanish cold soup.
I am actually a daily cooker, you know? So I don't get to understand myself: why I don't talk about it more often? If I am honest, I would say that it's pure laziness of making cute photos while concentrating in the meal process. Laziness of explaining it in English too, because I am not used to.
My understanding of cooking bases and taste combinations come from my mother, who is herself a really good cooker. Since my early childhood she introduced me into the kitchen activity. Very often she told me to sit there and look. Perhaps she just wanted to have company while doing her stuff. To be in the kitchen observing her movements and concentration made me attracted to this activity. In these moments I wanted to be like her, so into what she was doing. Eventually I started to cook too in her kitchen and now I do it in my own, evolving from her basis to my personal style.
I will re-start this recipe sharing adventure with a meal that when my mother prepared it, there was never leftovers: "Ragù alla Bolognese" with spaghettis. I am a nerd of gastronomy so I made my research to find out what is the very original recipe of this meal, the authentic Italian version. I found a great blog that explain it very well but I'm sad to say that is only written in Spanish. Despite I found the original recipe, I still made it on my own way. Actually, I made a fusion between my own and my mother's version.
Well, here it goes the recipe. I won't explain how to cook the pasta because you just have to make it as the package indicates it. But I will note that after I strain the pasta, I add a bit of butter and I stir it. Like this, the pasta doesn't glue with each other and it gives a really nice taste. For the quantity of sauce I present here I would cook 500g of spaghettis.
Ingredients for the sauce (4 hungry persons):
- 500 g of mince meat from beef
- 500 g of tomato purée
- 1 teaspoon of tomato paste
- 1 little glass of white wine
- 2 onions
- 1/2 courgette
- 4 or 5 carrots
- 3 gloves of garlic
- 5 black olives
- fresh parsley
- fresh thyme
- a bit of cinnamon stick
- 1 or 2 cloves
- black pepper
- olive oil - we will use it in little quantities as we go on
In a big pan on high temperature I put a bit of olive oil. When it gets really hot I add the mince meat, salt and pepper. I fry it strongly but for short time, to avoid that it gets dry. If the meat is good quality it's more difficult that this happens. When the meet gets brown and a bit crunchy I remove it from the pan and keep it apart.
In the same pan I put a bit more of olive oil and add the garlic gloves fine chopped. When the garlic starts to dance and becomes slightly golden, I add onions, carrots, courgette and olives; all very fine chopped. At this moment I lower the temperature, because I want the vegetables to cook slowly and to get really soft. While the vegetables cook, I add the cinnamon and the clove. I also add the white wine and wait for it to evaporate almost completely.
When I see that the vegetables have lost a lot of water and are reduced, I add the tomato paste and stir it. When the mix is homogeneous I add the tomato purée and continue stirring it. A little bit later, after the whole thing boiled for some time and the flavours have mixed, I finally add the meat and keep stirring time to time. At this point I remove the cinnamon stick and the clove (if I manage to find them). I let it cook in medium temperature until the meat is cooked but still tender.
I add the parsley in the end because I like to feel it fresh. I barely chopped it because I like to bite it. The salt and the pepper is something that I add along the process and time to time I try the sauce to see If I need to add more or not.
When the sauce is done, well, everybody knows what to do. Serve it over the pasta and top it with grated Parmesan -I actually use Grana Padano which is a bit less dry and I like it more.
This last Christmas I wanted to give to my family something special and intimate. Presents with a personal meaning. It wasn't to save money because even if it was somehow my intention I later bought more presents in shops. The euphoria of this time made me enthusiastic about making presents, despite I am aware that it isn't the important matter of the Christmas time.
However, I got the idea to make music CD's for each member of my family. There were two motivations. The first was to introduce them to the music I listen often, music that reminds me of them and that I was sure they would enjoy too. The second was to have an excuse to focus on some decorative collage handcraft. I wanted to create objects that become something meaningful to care about. Object, that make them think about me whenever they look at them.
The collages that became the covers for the CD's are made with materials that I collected randomly along the time. Papers and textiles with patterns I like and I keep with the intention of transforming them into something else. Finally all this pieces of stuff got a goal in their existence and now they are part of an art work.
By the way, if you are curious about which kind of music is content in the recorded CD's you may know that the names written on the covers are the names of the bands and musicians inside. Between them you will find a bit of seventies folk, nineties trip-hop, poetic electronic, elegant rock, guitar interpretations of J.S.Bach pieces... I completely recommend you to investigate them if you are in search for musical inspiration.
Like the last post, this one comes a bit late too. Today I want to show you the more ornamental part of my Christmas time in Madrid. Lets say the materialist part that includes the decoration, the presents packaging, the table arrangements and some of the food we have eaten then.
The last year I explained it in another post, it is tradition in my mother's house to create the ornaments with fresh plants, therefore ornaments that are build new every time. I thought that last year I was especially motivated but... nothing compared to this year! I think, I made my record in table-centres creation. I enjoyed every day of my holiday so much, feeling how all my brothers were participating with the same motivation as me. We put all our efforts and soul into creating a familiar and friendly atmosphere. We spend a lot of time together, as never before. And it was just wonderful. To my joy was added that Manfred came for the first time and he could discover and be part of the rituals and traditions of my family. Traditions that for me are irreplaceable and really special.
I have to confess that sometimes I cannot believe my fortune, when I realise how amazingly beautiful my environment is and my childhood was. This time in Madrid was fulfilling and gave me a lot of energy and courage to continue with my own life, far away from the place I grew up. I miss the people that I care about every single day, but I am happy to see that we are lucky persons who know how to manage life, in the path of joy and happiness. Because this is what matters.
In the pictures below, you can see the conceptual Nativity created by my oldest brother —every year more conceptual than the last one hehehe. Some books that I used to read at Christmas time when I was a kid - Only at Christmas! My mother used to hide them the rest of the year to keep them as a special experience). Decorations realised by my sister and me. This year everybody was so participating, even her boyfriend made one! There are also some pictures of the traditional German meal called Sauerbraten that Manfred made for all of us. He wanted to show them what is a truly particular German meal. You will see some breakfast time with traditional German sweets too, some canapés I did for the Christmas Eve at my grandmother's house, some presents here and there...
Well, I hope you enjoy the visual information and appreciate the cozy atmosphere that we breathe at my mother's house. The most beautiful and inviting place in the world.
I'm really happy to be home again, but only because every day of the month I spend there was as I dream of... even better. Me and my beloved ones, we are truly masters of Christmas making! haha. Better than all this atmospheric american movies I haven seen along my childhood. I know I am sounding childish but...perhaps I am childish. My child soul it is extremely satisfied.
I hope you also had a special time because it is worth to live life making it special, with surprises and sensations.
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