When I cook, I use all my senses… which is pretty normal, I suppose, but in my case if I don’t get the smell, taste or look right, my family won’t be happy (on a large scale).

This recipe is a case in point, and I’ll explain why as I go along…

It’s named for a friend from University who introduced it to us and it’s become a staple in our menu – all of the family eat it.

First the ingredients:

500g Beef Mince (or Lamb, Chicken, Turkey, Quorn)
Oxo Cubes
1 Teaspoon of minced Garlic / 1 Garlic Clove
10 Mushrooms, chopped
Frozen Peas
1 Tin Chopped Tomatoes
Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
Small bottle of Daddies Sauce

 

First the mince. We only ever use lean Beef mince (aka Ground Beef or Minced Meat), because that’s the only one that we’ve found that we all like. You can use any kind of mince for this recipe though.

So you fry the mince with the garlic until it’s brown. I always drain the liquid fat off the mince as no one in my family likes the sensation of really greasy food in their mouth and I find that leaving the fat in makes the sauce too liquid for too long.

Add the tin of tomatoes. I always end up sorting through it and picking out the shreds of skin that tend to be included in them; if my son finds one, he won’t touch the rest of the meal because of the texture.

Add the Frozen Peas – my little pyrex mug gives me the right amount of peas, so I’ve never really weighed them out. I do a lot of this by eye, so it’s hard to describe. I’ve also been known to put chopped carrots in at this point as well, so you could add whatever veg you wanted, just be aware that carrots and sweetcorn make the mince a lot sweeter.

Add one crumbled up Oxo cube, about 1 large splodge of Daddies Sauce and five or so shakes of Lea & Perrins.

 

At this point, I start tasting and I always get TOH’s opinion as well – sometimes my taste buds go on strike when I am on the verge of a meltdown and I need him to tell me when it tastes right.

If it’s too tomato-ey, I add another oxo cube; if it’s too salty, I add more daddies sauce; if it’s too fruity, I add a dash or two more of Lea & Perrins.

(If you’re going to try this at home, just stop adding things when you like the taste.)

By the time I’ve got the taste right for us, it’s usually used 3 Oxo Cubes, 1/3 a bottle of Daddies Sauce and 20 shakes of Lea & Perrins.

Add the mushrooms last, that way they don’t end up disintegrating. I let the whole thing simmer until it’s thick and unctuous.

If you like spicy food (I do, but I’m allergic to pepper and chilli and the rest of my family don’t like it) then you could add a sprinkling of chilli flakes or chopped chilli peppers at the same time as the tomatoes so that it cooks into the sauce.

I usually serve this with boiled white rice, but it can be served with almost anything. I’ve used it to make Cottage Pie using mashed Potato and served it with pasta a bit like a Bolognese.

I think a lot of people would find the way that we like it rather bland, but it’s one of the things about my ASD filled family is that if something feels wrong to eat somehow, then they would rather starve than eat it. I’ve been told by all sorts people that I shouldn’t put up with it, that I should force them to eat it.

That just shows how much they don’t understand about ASD people – it’s not just about what goes into the meal, it’s the sensory experience, the mouthfeel of the food. Too greasy, too salty, too dry, too watery, too bitty – any of these or a thousand more and it can set off the countdown to a meltdown, especially in the younger members of our family.

And believe me, you don’t want a teenager, a preteen and a toddler all melting down at once…

 

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