Karen Wright: Off on exciting trip to Italy by coach from Wakefield

I am going on holiday soon; I get very excited. I sometimes think that the anticipation of something lovely is all part of the experience.

I used a slow cooker to make spag bol!
I used a slow cooker to make spag bol!

I am going to Italy, to the Dolomites, a mountain range, which are in the north of the country and are spectacularly beautiful.

I am going on a coach trip, yes that’s right, a coach all the way from Wakefield.

I will report back on my return and let you know how I got on with it. Many years ago, I went by coach to Austria, so I have an idea what to expect.

Staying in a hotel is always a bit of a novelty for me, I usually go away in the caravan and quite like the self-catering element of that holiday style.

On this trip to Italy, we are breakfasting and dining in the hotel each day. I have no idea if the food served will be authentically Italian, I do hope so.

When I was about twenty Italian food hit Pontefract where I was living at the time. I had honestly no idea until then that spaghetti didn’t just come in tins.’ Spag bol’ landed in our kitchens.

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I remember grated carrot being used quite often as, peppers and new-fangled veg like that had not hit our shopping baskets quite yet!

Last night I made a ‘spag bol’. I used the slow cooker to make the sauce and it was delicious.

I started out by browning a beef and pork mince mixture in the frying pan and then browning an onion and a handful of mushrooms.

I put all of that into the slow cooker and added a tin of chopped tomatoes, some vegetable stock from my freezer, I sploshed in some red wine, oregano, balsamic vinegar and some garlic powder.

I seasoned it up with salt and pepper and let it bubble away for a few hours. I served it with copious amounts of parmesan cheese on the top and a nice baguette of garlic bread.

As usual I made more sauce than I needed for one evening meal so the rest will be frozen and brought out when I need another Italian fix.

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My mind is whirling now with other Italian dishes that I love to make, lasagne, pizza, chicken cacciatore, pasta puttanesca, yum yum, so many delicious things. With cooking, the world is quite literally your oyster.

I take inspiration wherever I am, there is always a new dish to explore.