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Obviously serve with red wine!

I’ve finally finished marking GCSE’s and A-Levels – Yeah! But there is no rest for the wicked. The last few days I’ve been working on my book proposal that has gone from being vague and opaque to argumentative and polemical. I still think the latter is probably better… perhaps…

This means I’ve had very little time to think about food and/or blogging. As such, I’ve been sticking to cooking very simple meals that involve very little preparation or main ingredients. Usually my go-to website for recipes/ideas is BBC Good Food, because there are lots of simple affordable recipes. I needed to use up some minced beef in the freezer and spotted a recipe for a Sloppy Joe that included garlic bread slices – I was immediately sold… 😉

I have to say however, that I didn’t really follow the recipe as such. The method it gave seemed a bit of a faff. I can see on some occasions why you might want to grate an onion, but normally I think slicing is perfectly fine! The ingredient list did not scream flavour either, so I’ve very much played with/provided my own recipe here. Also, if any Americans read this, I’m not sure they’d be very convinced that this was a ‘sloppy Joe’, but it was certainly sloppy, and more importantly delicious!

Inspired by a recipe for Sloppy Joe Bake at BBC Good Food.

1 tablespoon of groundnut oil

2 small onions (finely chopped)

2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)

1 small carrot (finely chopped)

500g pack of minced beef

100ml of semi-skimmed milk

2 tsp’s of ground cumin

1 and a half tsp’s of paprika

1/3 a tsp of cayenne pepper

½ a tsp of dried thyme

1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce

300ml of beef stock

400g can of Italian plum tomatoes

1sp of tomato puree (we use a Polish brand that we found in Tesco’s which is really good)

4 slices of garlic ciabatta slices

1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese

Fry the onions in the groundnut oil for 3-4 minutes on medium, and then add the carrots and garlic and continue to cook for another minute or two.  Add the mince and brown thoroughly; keep stirring so that you do not burn the garlic. Once browned add the milk and cook for five minutes, or until most has been evaporated.

Preheat the Oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6.

Add the spices and herbs to the meat and thoroughly mix it. Then add the Worcestershire sauce, stock, can of tomatoes and puree. Add some salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, and then simmer for thirty minutes. In the final ten minutes put the garlic ciabatta slices in the oven and cook for about 8-10 minutes, turning them over once during that time.

Once the ragu has simmered for thirty minutes, tip this into an ovenproof dish. Add parmesan cheese to the garlic ciabatta and place these on top of the ‘sloppy joe’ mixture. Cook in the oven for about five minutes, or until their nice and crispy. We served this with a simple salad. Twas very tasty.