• 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium, chopped onion
  • 500g minced beef with a high fat content
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • to taste black pepper
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 100g tomato purée
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder

This is how I make spag bol for my kids, who are slightly fussy eaters

This works without the meat as a pasta sauce or as pizza topping.

My sister’s children eat healthy Mediterranean food with relish. My own children refused to eat anything with visible ingredients. The worst thing you can give them is food that “pops” in your mouth like peas, beans or onion pieces.

So in order to get them to eat a spag bol it was necessary to remove any visible obstacles. Hence my “nursery” spag bol, which is a delicious full-flavoured sauce with no hurdles to tea-time consumption.

Prepare the onions

Sautéeing the onions
  1. Fry off the onions, garlic and black pepper in a pan with the olive oil

Prepare the sauce ingredients

Blending the sauce
  1. Into a blender pour the tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, oregano and Worcestershire sauce. Add the stock cube and the cocoa powder.
  2. Add the onions to the blender when they have cooked down a bit
  3. Blend to a smooth paste

Finish off

Add the sauce to the browned mince
  1. In the empty onion pan, fry off the minced beef until the fat has rendered down to a visible liquid
  2. Add the tomato sauce from the blender
  3. Add the bay leaves
  4. Simmer for 20 mins
  5. Serve with spaghetti and grated parmesan cheese.


Nothing but yumminess
  1. Simply omit the meat for a delicious pasta sauce or pizza topping.
  2. This recipe works well with Quorn mince (or similar). Fry it up like the meat but use copious olive oil to make up for the taste lost by not using meat. Like 50-100ml of olive oil if you can afford it.
Preparation time
10 mins
Cooking time
20 mins