One of the best feelings in the world is to create something that brings someone joy. Happiness. Contentment. Satisfaction. Something that makes someone smile. As a creative person, there are two things – out of all the things I claim (Ha!) – that I can do that evokes a feeling of happiness. 1. Photography. 2. Cooking.
Since I returned home (Trinidad and Tobago) at the back end of 2011, I will admit that I haven’t spent much time in the kitchen. The boss man might argue, not at all. Thing is, I missed the food from my twin-island paradise for almost nine years that I felt I would let the professionals do the work, for the time being. Also, the restaurant and dining industry here in T&T has certainly expanded in the last decade, giving me a host of places to procure my three square meals, each day.
With Chatterbox Junior getting older (nearly at the big 7!), I knew the time for my cooking renaissance was around the corner. If I’m honest, it’s a conversation I had with my bestie that other day that really turned the heat on for me. He told me that one cannot be passionate about food if one does not cook. Now while I do not agree with him, his opinion certainly got me in the back in the kitchen. Because I wanted my love for food to be seen by all as real. And if being in the kitchen more often was the key to achieving that…so be it.
Thought I’d start with baby steps and of course, some guidance from Chatterbox Junior who abruptly asked for “‘ghetti and noodles.” Then it hit me! The first thing I learned to cook, after Chinese of course, was spaghetti and mince meat. I remember the day clearly, come to think of it. I was 18 and home for a few weeks putting in the last stretch before my A Level examinations. My journey with the pot spoon was inspired by one thing and one thing only – hunger. I remember rummaging through the fridge and freezer and ascertaining that I had the ingredients to make some minced meat and spaghetti. My mind immediately pointed me to my Welsh grandmother who would whip this very dish up with ease as an option for mid-week supper, after school. And her version was the best!
I telephoned my beloved Mildred and asked her to walk me through the process, and that she did. My Grandma is one of the most pleasant people I know and having living in the United Kingdom I know now that this is a trait indigenous to the Welsh. It was therefore only natural that she conveyed the step-by-step recipe for me with ease and led to us having good laugh. To date, it is my go-to-I’m-feeling-lazy-but-I-need-to-cook dish and one that takes me back to the days when it was just me and my Grandma.
So this is official my first cooking post. I hope you enjoy. All photos are the property of TTChatterbox.
800g Lean Minced Meat
1 Large Green Pepper
4 Small/Medium-sized tomatoes
1 Clove of Garlic
2/3 leaves of Chadon Beni
500ml Tomato Sauce
Pasta of your choice – I chose Spaghetti and Spinach Tagliatelle
Herbs – Basil, Oregano, Paprika and Italian Seasoning
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Chop all ingredients
Place large pan on high heat. Add 3 tbsp of Olive Oil. Lovin’ this Olitalia spray in particular that I picked up at Massy Stores in Westmoorings.
Then throw in the garlic and onion and give them both a good stir as they begin to sizzle. I like to keep the skin on my garlic. Saw it once on a Jamie Oliver video and it stuck with me.
Then add the tomatoes and chadon beni. Keep stirring.
Then add your green peppers, followed by your lean minced meat.
Stir thoroughly and let sit on a low to medium heat, as you stir, prepare to add your herbs. I turned to Bee’s today during my weekly shop at Massy Stores.
The herbs are added to the meat which should be slightly sizzling. Basil. Paprika, Oregano and Italian Seasoning.
Then add 100ml of warm water then stir in 500ml of tomato sauce. Stir thoroughly and let simmer until cooked.
Prep and prepare your pasta to your liking. As I mentioned, I went for spaghetti as well as spinach tagliatelle.
And the finished product! #Voila #iadore #ttchatterbox