I spend as much time as I can at our family holiday house at Killcare, on the NSW Central Coast. My parents bought this little haven back in 1992 (or maybe it was 1991), so I’ve been coming here for a long time.
I have spent every possible holiday and celebratory occasion here – birthdays, Easters, Christmases, uni holidays, anniversaries, visiting with family and friends from around the world. I’ve been here after funerals, after weddings. It has been the place for the happiest of life’s moments, and where I have been most grief stricken andcried until I thought my heart would break.
It is, without a doubt, my favourite place. And despite some sad memories, it is also my happy place.
Weirdly, now I live in Brisbane, I spend more time here than I did when I lived in Sydney. I tell people that’s because I am now a co-owner, but the reality is I think I just have a greater appreciation of its beauty and the peace that eventuates now I’m older.
Plus, these days when I want to visit it needs to be planned. Flights and car rental need to be arranged. Either that or I need to psyche myself up for an 11+ hour drive. Ugh.
I arrived for my latest stay on Thursday afternoon, and as I was cooking spag bol for dinner I was trying to remember the last time I ate something other than spag bol on the first night of a visit here. And I couldn’t.
I think that is because the humble bowl of spaghetti Bolognese is one of my favourite meals AND my ultimate comfort food, and being at Killcare is the ultimate in comforting places for me to be.
Bittersweet as it is.
Actually, that’s probably why I need to cook and eat spag bol. If I was honest, I could eat it every night I’m here. But I won’t. Tonight I’m having roast chicken drumsticks, baked potato and salad. Even though the leftover spag bol is in the fridge.
Calling. My. Name.
Melllllll. Eat me Mellllll.
I might have to eat it for breakfast.
by Mel Kettle
What you need:
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 brown onion, finely chopped
- 500g mince (I like pork and veal, but you can use beef)
- 1 red capsicum, seeded and cut into small pieces
- 300g button mushrooms, quartered
- 1 jar (375-500ml) of good quality pasta sauce with a tomato base (yeah, OK, but it’s a holiday house and herbs and spices go off!)
- 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- spaghetti – I’m a pasta fiend so serve 100g dried per person – you may like a different amount
- a strong cheddar cheese to grate on top
What you do:
Heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a largish fry pan over medium heat. Add the onions then the garlic and stir until cooked. Add the mince and break it up with a wooden spoon until it’s cooked through, add the capsicum and mushrooms and mix it all together. Add the jar of tomato sauce and about 1/2 cup of water or red wine, stir through. Reduce the heat to a simmer and pop on a lid. Have a taste and add salt and pepper if needed (some jars of sauce are salty enough). Let it cook through for about 30 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, put water onto boil in a large saucepan. Once it’s at a rolling boil add the spaghetti and cook according to the instructions on the packet. Mine takes 11 minutes. Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain it well and divide among serving bowls. Add the sauce, then the grated cheese.
Serve with a glass or two of red wine. I had mine with a Peppertree Cab Sauv from the Hunter Valley. And no, I didn’t stop in to buy it on the way. This time!
Do you have a favourite holiday place? And a food you just have to cook and eat while you are there?
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