Ella Downing discovers a secret food jewel in Birmingham with her latest review of the Digbeth Dining ClubWritten by Ella Downing on 29th January 2015
The Magic of Mince
As a cheap and easy meat to cook for students who are busy and tired, mince is a must for any freezer
As a cheap and easy meat to cook for students who are busy and tired, mince is a must for any freezer. With the most basic of culinary skill, anyone can produce tasty, different, and cheap meals.
'Spag Bol' is a real classic. To start, add two finely chopped onions, two cloves of garlic and heat until the onions are brown. Then add a kilo of mince, continuously stirring until it is cooked. At this point throw in some oregano, basil and chilli to add extra flavour. Then add chopped up peppers, mushrooms and tinned tomatoes. Finally, you can add two bottles of pasta sauce, as well as Sacla. The Italian tomato and olive sauce is the one I would recommend. After stirring, and heating thoroughly, you can leave it overnight for the liquid to set before storing it in a container. Then whenever you want just dig in, reheat, add to pasta and sprinkle with parmesan.
Chilli Con Carne is another classic of which there are many fancy and complicated ways to prepare. However, there is one very simple and suitable for students. Fry two onions, a few garlic cloves, olive oil and a kilo of mince until it is brown. Then add a can of tomatoes, 200ml of beef stock, tomato puree, the ever-present salt and pepper, and as much chilli powder as you can handle. Cover and simmer for around 25 minutes, add a can of kidney beans, and finally simmer for another 5 minutes. Again you can use the classic trick of storing it in containers, and reheating it whenever needed.
Cottage Pie could not be simpler. Peel some potatoes, boil them, mash them, then add some milk, salt and pepper and spread over your own mince concoction in an oven-proof dish. Again, cottage pie can be frozen, and subsequently warmed up in the oven whenever you desire. Whilst it is an effort to make the mash potato, once made, cottage pie saves you continuously boiling pasta all week as you can just warm the pie in the oven.
Finally why not try mince in a jacket. This is a personal favourite of our house. Fry the mince with some vegetables (even frozen would do) and add tomato sauce, or some gravy. Turn down the heat and simmer. Once thick, pile in a baked potato and top with some grated cheese. There are many other alternatives such as cannelloni, and meat balls to try, so feel free to experiment. If anything, I hope this article shows you the ease of making tasty, healthy and cheap food. So go on and give it a go, you know you want to.
Written by Joshua Oxley