Posted by: daviemacdonald | March 26, 2011

Slow Food Fast and Music to Last


Stop Press 30 March : The follow up to this post with the wine review will be posted tomorrow. Busy couple of days with Hospital visits  since posting the following  article.

Today I wanted to take a rest from the Political and reporting my view of  the events in Libya and North Africa.

So today my first real effort on the theme of Slow Food for Fast people 🙂

This is the Bolognese Recipe I have been promising from Day one. I have been using this recipe for well over 35 years. unfortunately in the past 5 I probably only made  it half a dozen times. In the past 6 months I am back to full form cooking and have probably recreated this  dish I calculate at least a dozen times.

Site Stats: I am very chuffed to say that after just 9 weeks (63 days) from the “get-go” of this blog and allowing for some 60 rogue hits; 1799 visits have been made. This is an average of over 28 per day. Not all are “unique visitors”  I have no idea if this is good or bad but I feel good about it as some of the posts written were rushed because I wanted to pose alternative views and see them read and hopefully understood.

As I missed writing something in celebration for International Women’s Day (IWD)and I still do want to post something on the positive role woman have made to the development of  the world. Today I thought this might go some way as Part 1 as my celebration of the importance that woman play in our daily lives.

Today I wanted to focus on the less political feel good stuff.

However I do want to dedicate the post today to the following women who have played such an important part in my life and also to Emily’s List. I don’t list them in importance but the 2 who must take pride of place at the head of my list are Sister Eva Booker my house Mother in the children’s home and my real Mother.  They and the other women I mention were all simply caring ordinary women, no-one posh, no-one superior, all lived or still live real lives and without pretension.

Before moving on I wanted to share some music today by  woman who just plain ( actually when you hear them sing see their passion they are most beautiful They are simple who are great talents who have come to light through the hard way.


The First  is  Mary Byrnes who I only stumbled upon this morning and after hearing her story I thought she would be the perfect introduction to my post today

She appeared last year on the X factor. Mary works at a TESCO Apparently always sings at the tills – to the point that the staff keep telling her to shut up! Here she is to live her dream. I just love her simplicity.

social and community comment

Of Sister Eva Booker I have recently found a more recent picture who I believe is  her in addition  the couple I previously  shown here. I wait anxiously if my old family get in touch only to tell me it is another Sister from the NCH. Sister Eva who looked after me at the NCH for 4 years I will always remember her but I struggle with the disappointment as I know the memory fades and is supplanted by less reliable recall by my memory.

Sister Eva 1960s

My Mother here with her Cat Gussy It must be from her genes that my love of cats comes. My cats have given me much joy and sadly is always followed by much sorrow. Why do we do that to ourselves as we know eventually it ends in tears?

The honour role is:

Mrs Woodcock of Manor Road Harpenden. My first Foster Mother for almost a year off and on who juggled her family with me.  My Father also did his bit throughout looking after 2 other children

Mrs Woodcock’s house

Mrs Marshall who looked after me when I was 8/9 when my Mother was hospitalised again.

Mrs Marshalls house with Blue door

Mrs Collier when I was 9 and 10.who had a Beagle dog called Chumley She looked after me when my mother was ever away. Her son Damien lives in Australia somewhere

Mrs Colliers

The Mitchells when I was 12 or 13. Would have the pleasure of my company when my Mother was away but I was less inclined to be away from my own home

My half Sister  Frances who always gave me lovely baths while she lived with us and once smuggled food to me when I was shut in my room for punishment once She  left home when she was 16 or 17.  She was to persuade and come and extract me from the Folly of the French Foreign Legion later. I wasn’t very good at French anyway.

At 15/16 Mrs Parker and her husband when I got into an alleged physical misunderstanding with not so local constables.  They helped with persuading my parents I was worth defending. Incidentally once persuaded by her they with my Father helped by making sure I had the best lawyers. This firm was to give me my break later by taking me on as a junior clerk which in effect had the key duty of making everybody cups of tea; I was a “Tea Boy” The barrister Michael Beckman QC who dealt with my matter also was part of the defence team for some rather too well-known East End London villains (twins). This is the Magistrates Court.

Greenwich Magistrates Court

On left building boarded up : My Solicitors & my 1st job

When my Mother died of great support and help was a friend of mine Dawn. The amount of time and effort she put into coming from the other side of the London to pick me up from the Airport trying to juggle time needed for her own family warrants special mention. We lost contact after my move to Canberra. I think this is a suitable piece of music. There is another version recorded on the Jules Holland show but some how this touches the spot  just a bit more. A little flat at the start but it is fantastic. ooooooooh….oooooooooh Enjoy. Watch the video and you will understand the ooooooohs

Coming right up to date I think it is important to mention again the women who got behind me with active help or simply listening and encouraging me when they found me  ill and homeless last year. I have not included family names to save any embarrassment

You may know some many are from Emily’s List:

From Canberra: Eva C, Carolyne S, Donna B, Sandy T, Patricia H, Barbara, P Mary W

From Sydney: Pamela S, Pam K,. & Toni

A bed a refuge from Homelessness


So now it is recipe time

What we need are Ingredients:


Bacon 3 rashers

2 Large Onions

Garlic Cloves

Fresh Chillies ( keep some frozen) or Jar of chilli sauce or flakes

1 kg Lean Minced Beef (this could be enough for several meals). The sauce improves with time.

Chicken Livers (mug of chicken stock)

I standard small tine of tomato puree

Some Olive Paste or Olives

150 grams of Spaghetti per person?

Parmesan Cheese

Chop the onions. No tips how to stop the tears I’ve tried everything from matches in the teeth…(encouraging breathing only through the mouth)  under water or the  most successful is swimming goggles J  Now I should have said do these before the onions because if there are  tears are flowing the worst  thing you might do unthinkingly is to rub your eyes…Oh dear …you’ll be sorry

Chop some fresh Chili and dice the bacon. See the goggles are quite a good idea

Chop the Chili

What else. Let’s get the mince  …what we don’t have any… Ooops a quick trip to the super market

Oh man look at those GAZ rings yippee. I had been stuck with electric for the past three and a half years.

So its lift off recipe in action; So pour some virgin Olive oil or melt some Butter or both in a large fry pan..  a non stick is quite a good idea.

Drop in the onions and start to fry. Next drop in the chopped diced bacon ( 2 or 3 rashers) I have absolutely no idea what this does the flavour but I have been doing this for 40 odd years. In or out I have no doubt it works.


Continue for about 10 mins remember to keep tossing and stirring with the spatula…don’t want anything burnt do we?

Now is when I add the chopped and crushed garlic. At  least a good couple of cloves. Later in the sauce I like to find a piece of sliced garlic for that garlic hit;  WOW.  It’s always a laugh to see your guests look uncomfortable knowing that are about to chomp in to a piece too.

Add the mince meat or the diced steak and cook for 2-4 mins constantly stirring. I actually do it for as long as I feel I need too.


I tend to add some salt now but like anybody I forget so I may have to add it later. There is no precision here This pure art form.

I then had a little tin of tomato puree.  Stir it all together.

I then add the cheat mix J A tin of or bottle of sauce I’ll generally use Aldi Organic. Traditional with Basil and Garlic. This is used just a base.

Cheat mix sauce:-)

More stirring. Then add a tin or 2 of Organic Roma tomatoes (99c from Aldi …..Bargain)

Roma tomato-tin

More stirring in

You could drop in the chili either fresh or pre- chopped bottled. You can use dry Chili flakes which is great but this can be  a tad dodgy if you over do the chili. I find Chili creates a nice depth of flavour with just a touch of heat. Don’t over do; it remember we are eating Italian not Indian.


I then add some fresh tomatoes…just so I can feel good that I used something fresh for the purists out there. But remember this is slow food done fast for people who need to go slow and not so fast.

More stirring until the mixture boils. Now turn the heat to simmer…Don’t scorch.

This is also a very good time to start clearing the knives bottles cutting boards away and start wiping down the benches. Do this for about 30 mins the simmering that is or for however long you think you should.

This is the artistic bit.

This is the time when enhance the flavour with all the little refinements. We’re going to add a bit of this and a bit of that. Actually this is quite hit and miss….but it all works.

Some Olive Paste or Olives chopped or whole if you have them

So now  in with some Fresh Basil (I often keep a bunch in the freezer ) so if I don’t have fresh  I’ll get that and break off some leaves.  I’m sure there is a good reason you shouldn’t  use frozen but it works for me so it should work for you.

Now for some basil and oregano….

Good idea to get a teaspoon and do the taste test…If you find something lacking a dash more salt perhaps might do the trick.

taste test

If it tastes a bit too heavy (and this is a very rich sauce) I will squeeze half a lemon. This gives it a nice lift at the high-end of the taste spectrum.Sometimes I might use bottle lemon juice. Just give the bottle a bloody good squeeze as you circle the pan with it.

Squeeze that lemon

If you find you don’t have any lemon you can  use an orange..Interesting touch you think?  The other week I even experimented with peach juice from a bottle of peaches I was tucking into before starting this exercise….”Is he serious”?  Yes he is!!  I like to experiment and have fun cooking; and guess what it tasted just fine.

Now we need the spaghetti. Umm how much Oh it just comes down to a good guess.

I use a variety of spaghetti. But it doesn’t have to be expensive Aldi organic Woolworth Select is fine.

You need the large cooking pot fill with water so the spaghetti will be covered by the water.  Bring the water to the boil I always drop in some olive oil so the pasta will be covered and non sticky when the water is drained.

I then drop a knob of butter in the bottom of the serving bowls.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese nothing flash just the pre shredded stuff from the delicatessen or supermarket .

Get Stuck in and enjoy please.

Oh yum

Oh and the kitchen …nice and clean

  musicAnd to finish off today I though I would use some music from Mary Byrne Its a Mans World...”but it would nothing without….” Mary had been battling an illness the week before, which couldn’t have come at a worse time for the 50-year-old Tesco worker. Will her illness stop her from making her performance unforgettable, or will she manage to rise above it? You be the judge!

Now what wine ? I’ll finish this tomorrow with some suggestions …so I’ll have to get tasting for you all now  ha ha The results will be here tomorrow.

Other news briefly:

social and community comment

This week I reconnected with  Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN). My original connection was through sponsoring for the hosting of the website when launched in 2002. I lost contact through my own pursuits to find all my care records in the UK. However after the apology given to the “forgotten ones” all those children who were shipped from the UK to Australia and Canada until the 60s I belive it is time to persuade the Australian, British and Canadian Governments to consider the impact those removals of all those children had on their “families” of other children [left behind] in care who had seen their proxy family members just disappear for ever. It is time to consider the “left behind or stranded ones”

I have a meeting to start the first steps to this with CLAN  and Leonie Sheedy the President who I was touched to find out still remembered me though we had never actually met next Monday week. I am mindful that once Senator Kate Lundy offered to help and that Malcolm Turnbull is a recent patron of CLAN. I hope I will be able to gather their help.

No Fear: The legal matter update:  After  finally receiving a reply from the other side’s solicitors  to  one of our many requests to get a simple response to “please advise do you act for so and so ” so we can serve documents they have  gone to ground again.  According to our information  their advice to their client was to “starve [us] of attention or response”…One imagines this is just to attempt force expenditure by us. If this is indeed the strategy  we will do so. Perhaps we will add sooner an action for Back Yard defamation against the X Ms senior executive of a Global Technology Giant.


One should be aware its bad enough to denigrate any individual like [me] on the internet but it will be considered by some it is equally or even more  stupid to regularly over a period of several years continue to criticise ones senior managers of  improper workplace conduct  and generally run down work colleagues and family in public on [your] blog and twitter.

We have been very patient  for over 6 months but  with my new legal team the time approaches for  some action. The guerrilla campaign is just beginning.

People need to be a little Smarter just like IBM.



  1. :-))

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