13 November 2010

Best Ever Super Easy Recipe: “This Love Is Be And End All”*

Despite what it might say on my CV, cooking has never been one of my hobbies. I’m not one of those people who find it soothing to whip up a 3-course meal for 6 -- quite the opposite, and a session in the kitchen tends to leave me red-faced, disheveled and ready to spontaneously combust under the pressure of it all.

I do, however, love to eat.  And I’m a lucky woman, because himself does love the auld cooking, but problems still arise: like, say, when he’s fecked off to Malaga despite people coming over for dinner, and it’s apparent that something more than my usual contribution of apéritifs will be required.


It’s in times of great trouble and distress that you know who your real friends are, and so, in tribute to the immortal words of Wayne Coyne to Jack White, I say this:

"Thank you Jamie Oliver for the super easy recipe that you gave me.

It shined so bright/That I couldn’t help believin’ it would save me."

 
(Tragically, I couldn’t find the actual Flaming Lips song on Youtube but fret not; you can listen to it here on Hype Machine

Recipe from 'Jamie's Dinners'
Requiring just a handful of ingredients and no skill whatsoever, this deceptively simple little recipe is delicious, versatile and has saved my skin more times than I care to remember. 

Most recently it adorned a homemade pizza-type creation, but it also pairs perfectly with pasta –- simply, with shaved parmesan, or with all manner of more exotic ingredients –- and can be baked in the oven for 20 minutes with chicken (add buffalo mozzarella and basil),  or 15 minutes with white fish (and olives, capers and basil) or Mediterranean vegetables.

Now, you may scoff. You may think, tomato sauce? Ahahaha! But everyone knows how to cook this simple little basic. But not like this, you don't. Trust me: it has changed my life. And lo! Now, it can change yours too.

Here’s what you need:
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, chopped (I chuck a few more cloves in for luck)
  • some fresh chopped basil stalks or a good pinch of dried oregano (I also sometimes used Italian herb mix)
  • 1 whole fresh red chilli (or 2/3, if you want to arrabiatta it up, and I almost always do)
  • 2 tins of whole plum tomatoes (not chopped – an important distinction)
  • sea salt (I use any-old salt)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • red wine or balsamic vinegar
You start off by frying the garlic gently in olive oil with the basil/dried herbs and chilli. You need to pierce the chilli once with a knife or it will, apparently, explode. I sort of want to test this theory. Even if you are not going for a spicy sauce, don’t skip this stage because the chilli gives a subtle flavour to the sauce. If you don’t want heat, you just remove it, whole, at a later stage.

Jamie's preferred brand of tinned tomatoes

Pour in the tinned tomatoes and leave them  whole.  Jamie’s wisdom tells us this is because tomato seeds are bitter, so if you smush them now or use the chopped variety, the sauce won’t taste as naturally sweet as it should. Season with your salt and pepper and simmer gently for 30 minutes.













This is where you remove the chilli or, if you like a bit of spice, take it out, chop it up and add it back to the sauce.

Now you smush the tomatoes up with a spoon, season again if required and add a wee splash of vinegar. Bish bash bosh –- done! 

But where are my manners? Enough about me, and more about you: what’s your go-to recipe? Any tips you’d like to share for the more reluctant chefs among us?

*Post title: Lyric from Ellie Goulding, ‘This Love (Will Be Your Downfall)”

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