Monday, 15 February 2010

Don't snow on my parade

The pasta bake I started prepping on Saturday and completed on Sunday was a great success, if I do say so myself. I'd said earlier in the experiment that I'd discovered that roasting tomatoes was A Good Thing and this serves to prove it.
The tomatoes, roasted without fat but with garlic and basil, gained a very deep flavour that helped when making the mush for the ragu.

The resulting bake is not suitable for when rationing starts again in 6 days, as can be guessed from the amount of cheese visible here (indeed, the way the cheese looks on these two photos is so nice, it's my sole excuse for including them).

But I learned a really vital lesson with the ragu attempt. By roasting the tomatoes, then adding them to dry-frying onions and mushrooms, then blitzing the result in the blender, I accidentally invented vegetarian mince!

Of course, vegetarian mince already exists, in the form of TVP, Quorn and a couple of other meat-like substitutes, some of which are almost very nice. This new mince, however, actually manages the texture of mince without the whole soya/tofu shebang, making the world a better place and reducing household emissions of methane.

The baked version I've done is still much more a bolognaise than actual mince, but when I do it again - and I will - some gravy powder will de-tomato it and some gravy browning will make it look and taste very mincy indeed. In theory, that adds at least two meals with no points or coupons for next month: the Scottish (but still nice enough) mince and tatties and, with a bit of firming up, meatballs! While I think on, I could even make beef sausages from it (roll the mince in breadcrumbs and grill). Or sloppy joes. Or rissoles!

As you can tell, I'm very excited about this idea. Just keep your fingers crossed that there will be no shortages of tomatoes or onions... Bugger. Just looked at a long-term weather forecast. Snow again around here next week. That's not good.


Michelle said...

What a beautiful, cheesy dish!

Kif............ said...

This turned out to be delicious and very cheese savoury. I did note that the 'mince' had the texture of cooked tuna (though there was no tuna in it) and as a tuna lover I thought this was a brilliant way of faking tuna which was probably not marketed at all, let alone available, in the UK in the 40s. The cheese and particularly the caramelisation of it when oven cooked, gave this meal a really intriguing mix of flavours. I was realy impressed and want it again. His plan for various 'fake' minces is just wonderful! Look forward to resuming the rationing later in the month.... CJBS :-)