A while ago I cooked some dinner for the subsection of SNRPs who eat specialised diets. With some effort we can manage enough of a crossover in our various dietary requirements that we can share a meal together while the others have a takeaway.
I have been thinking for a while about the various foods I miss for social, comfort or cultural reasons. It looks like I’ll be avoiding various foods for a long time to come / forever, so it’s time to look at alternatives.
One of these is the bog-standard Spag Bog. I think every meat-eating Australian household must have its own version of Spag Bog (few of which have anything much to do with the traditional Spaghetti Bolognese). But it is one of those Aussie household standard fallbacks, and yes, I kind of miss it.
I was mooching around the interwebs, looking at recipes, when I discovered the existence of a thing called ‘Nomato Sauce’.
Seriously. Nomato Sauce.*
I have already been making great use of my vegetable spiraliser to make faux-pasta out of vegetables. In fact, I have been trying hard not to make too much use of it, because it is enormous fun, and I don’t want to run the risk of making the Captain eat so many veg noodles that he becomes sick of them. It’s kind of like playing with one of those Play-Doh Fun Factories, plus the woogly core bits are useful for making veggie stock.
I became very excited at the possibility of making some Nomato-based ** Spag Bogless for the SNRPs. No nightshades, no gluten – it’s Bogless and it’s fun! ***
Very beloved of the Paleo community, that Nomato. I have to admit though, I didn’t do it properly. If I did it properly I would have gone and bough …, sorry, sourced local organic worthy blah blah veggies, and there would certainly have been some sort of coconut product involved. And possibly collagen.
But I am not paleo. So I just bought a bunch of bog-standard veg from my nearest reputable greengrocer, and chucked it in.
I am no Paleo!
I had scanned the various Nomato recipes on the interwebs and ended up adapting a few to make my own version.
It contains carrots, beetroots, onions, and a bunch of herbs. I used way fewer carrots, way less onion, and waaay more oregano than the various recipes suggested. One of the SNRPs was being cautious about onion and I have a major thing about oregano: the more, the better. Also I thought three bags of carrots was going to be overkill: I really did. I just grabbed one bag.
The main recipe I looked at basically said to hack them to bits, stick them in a slow-cooker on low for an hours until the veg was tender, then blend them all together.
Now I have no idea what this person was using as a slow-cooker, but that sort of thing would never pass muster with mine. For starters, I’m pretty sure that somewhere in the instructions for mine, it mentioned that if you try to cook anything in it without liquid, it would explode / set the house on fire.
Secondly, an hour on low was barely sufficient to give my pot of raw vegetables a gentle pleasant warmth that in absolutely no way resembled ‘cooked’.
So I stuck in a few cups of my veggie stock (made with all those woogly core bits ****) and then I cooked those suckers on high for about five hours.
When I zoozed them up in my zoozer, I got something that actually looked quite a lot like tomato paste!
Almost but not quite exactly unlike tomato paste.
It didn’t smell like it, though.
Then I went ahead and used it as the basis of .my usual spag bog sauce. I always chuck in mushrooms and olives, because yum.
It also left some juicy stuff along with the pulp, which I just chucked into the mix. It might make a decent lipstick-substitute, though, if I get really desperate in future.
When it was cooked, it slightly disappointingly went rather brown and a bit mushy: more like those commercial burrito mixes than spag bog. But it smelled really lovely!
And taste? Delicious. Sweet and almost smoky in flavour. Absolutely unlike Spag Bog but delicious in its own carroty way.
I loved it and the SNRPs loved it, and better still the recipe only used half of the quantity of Nomato Sauce, so I have frozen the rest for later. This actually made this a really economical sauce recipe! Especially without a ridiculous mountain of carrots. And no collagen/coconut oil/magical superfood/freeze-dried exotic scorpions/whatever additives.
The bad news is, the Captain tried it and was unimpressed. He’s the sort of person who can’t be doing with something that looks like something else, and pretends to be something else, but really just isn’t something else. He’s a straightforward kind of guy. So I won’t be putting Spag Bogless onto our regular menu, I’ll save it as a treat for myself (and my friends) and try and think of other ways to use the frozen sauce, (especially if I can trick the Captain into eating it without knowing).
By the way, I served the Spag Bogless with ‘noodles’ of zucchini and sweet potato.
I forgot to take a pic of the finished product, but these were the leftovers:
Leftovers: even nicer the next day.
Nomato Sauce: 6/10 for convenience (takes forever to cook), 8.5/10 for taste, 9/10 for economy, 100/10 for silly name.
I am no Mato!
* I didn’t name it.
** ‘Nomato-based’ – you couldn’t invent this stuff, could you?
**** If you have a Spiraliser you’ll know what I mean.