As I write this, the smell of beef and tomatoes simmering in their own juices fills my apartment. For the perfect Italian ragu (bolognese meat sauce), Marcella Hazan writes in Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking:
- The meat should not be from too lean a cut; the more marbled it is, the sweeter the ragu will be
- Add salt immediately when sautéing the meat to extract its juices for the subsequent benefit of the sauce
- Cook the meat in milk before adding wine and tomatoes to protect it from the acidic bite of the latter
- Use a pot that retains heat…enameled cast-iron pans (can you say Le Creuset?) or a pot whose heavy bottom is composed of layers of steel alloys are fully satisfactory
And the clincher:
5. Cook, uncovered, at the merest simmer for a long, long time; no less than 3 hours is necessary, more is better
No less than 3 hours, which is why I’m sitting here, blogging at half past midnight with a growling stomach, as my apartment smells more and more delicious.
To distract myself from the hunger pangs, let me tell you about my day. Today was an especially good day to blog about, because I didn’t waste it on (much) Netflix. I wish I could tell you that today was a typical day. Pretend with me that these sorts of days happen more often than the ones where I binge-watch TV shows, a’rite?
I woke up at 11am and shopped around for casserole dishes on Amazon. There’s a pot luck at one of hubby’s classmate’s houses this Thursday, and I’m going to bring my tried-and-tested lasagna. After I bought a set of buttercup-yellow dishes (to match my beloved KitchenAid, with whom I will be reunited in 18 months, God-willing), I actually got out of bed, and lugged my set of Long Earth books + Eragon back to the Free Library of Philadelphia.
I spent an hour browsing the books, trying to make myself borrow something that might improve my craft rather than just going for my favourite authors, and ended up with:
The Birthday of the World and Other Stories by Ursula K. Le Guinn
Eldest (The Inheritance Cycle Book 2) by Christopher Paolini
…Not so Useful?
The Shopaholic series books 1-8 by Sophie Kinsella
Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella
Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella
Ursula K. Le Guinn is a pretty renowned author of fantasy books, so there’s lots to learn from her. The thing is, I remember reading one of her books as a teen and not liking it. I also don’t like short stories. Her book’s going to be work.
The Inheritance Cycle‘s going to be work as well. Eragon fans, I’m sorry! I liked the first book so little when it came out in 2002 that I never progressed to the second, but I’m giving it another go. I’m going to persevere through the third and fourth as well, because Paolini was only 17 when Eragon was published, and Hollywood made a movie based on his book, and what author doesn’t want that kind of moolah? So I’ll persevere. (By that logic, I should really be re-reading Twilight, but I really, really don’t want to).
The Sophie Kinsella books are going to be my candy.
I lugged twelve books back home, then I did my homework while watching Sex and the City. I’m 18 years too late, but I want to see what the fuss is about.
The ragu turned out great! Can you smell that? This is now my favourite bolognese recipe.
So let’s see — I went to the library, did my homework, cooked dinner for my husband, and to cap it off,
Now I can crack open Rick Riordan’s latest book, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Book 2: The Hammer of Thor with a clear conscience. I love it when I’ve been productive.
As always, thanks for checking in on me, and remember — when life gets hard,