Basic Italian Tomato Pasta Sauce

I think it’s time to share another recipe since it’s Saturday, and I know at least 2 people asking about how make basic sauces. So here’s my take on an Italian tomato based sauce.

What’s great about this recipe is is it’s versatility. You can add minced beef, beef cubes, pork pieces, chicken, or tuna, and come up with a tasty meal each time that tastes slightly different. You can add chilli and chilli flakes instead of oregano to make a chilli or, to just add a kick.


  • I large onion, diced
  • 28 oz chopped tinned tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2-3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Fresh ground pepper


  1. In a large saucepan sauté onion over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and oregano and heat through for 1-2 minutes.
  3. If you are wanting a rich beef sauce, add your minced beef (or meat of choice) at this point and cook on medium-high till browned, 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, tomato paste, tomato sauce, sugar, bay leaves and pepper.
  5. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 40-45 minutes, till minced beef (or meat of choice) is thoroughly cooked. Otherwise 20-25 minutes if just the basic tomato sauce.
  6. To turn into chilli, add 2 tbsp chilli powder when browning the minced beef or beef cubes, and ½ tsp of chilli flakes to add an extra kick.
Whatever your choice, play around with the spices and make this one your own. Remember, this sauce freezes well for up to 2 weeks.

So happy to report that after receiving treatment, including x-rays, a CT scan and stitches to her nose, my mother in law was released from hospital and is recovering quietly at home this morning. As you can imagine, this fall gave us all a bit of a scare, so I’m pleased to know she hasn’t lost her sense of humour joking about slipping on a bar of soap. Which, by the way, she didn’t.

It’ll be a few days of recovery and, hopefully, no more drama for a while, as the bruising on her face subsides and she no longer looks like she was in the boxing rink arguing with Mike Tyson.

Again, thank you for all your kind words, thoughts, and prayers, they were much appreciated.

I just got a panicked call from my OH to tell me the mother in law has been rushed into hospital. It seems she had a terrible tumble while getting out of the bath, this morning, hit her head and broke her nose. She’s in her 80s. This is not good on any level. The poor woman managed to crawl to the phone and call my sister in law, who in turn called for an ambulance and then, rushed from her place of work not 10 minutes away (she works in a bank and had to take an early lunch). She got there in time to meet the ambulance and see her mother off to hospital and then, was left to clean up the mess.

It seems the bathroom looked like a scene from one of the Chainsaw Massacre movies, blood everywhere.

On the floor, in the bath, up the walls … you get the picture.

The MiL is now resting in hospital after stitches and may or may not be kept in overnight for observation. They’re taking MRI or CT scan to check she didn’t have a stroke or something. We’re all now in a state of anxiety, let me tell you.

I’ll do an update when I know more, send my MiL your prayers will you? Thanks.

The Vanishing Triangle ⭐️⭐️
TV show 2024
Watched May 13, 2024

Well, that was one hell of a surprise, and not a good one. We started watching this one mainly because it’s on Acorn TV and advertised next to one of our fav shows, Brokenwood Mysteries, and on the same night. And, for the most part, it was interesting enough. A damaged reporter gets a clue, 15 years after the murder of her mother, that might lead her to the killer who also is abducting, raping and murdering a number of young women.

Sad to say, after watching this through to the end, instead of a resolution, and a finale that tide up all the loose ends. It just stopped. I mean, literally. The final episode seemed to be leading us toward a resolution and then … just kind of hung there at the end, like it had nowhere else to go other than to imply the murderer got away with it, sort of. I don’t know.

Very frustrating.

Enjoying a Life of Crime!

Ah, I love Monday evening TV which, tonight, consists of:

I love Acorn TV for the choice of shows offered from all over the world. Which includes lots of murder-mysteries, police dramas, and all things crime.

As seen at the Mother in law’s place … the first swift of the season.

A swift sitting on a red fence against a white clapboard background

Space babies … really, I mean, come on, Space Babies?

What the hell happened to Dr. Who?

Last night’s #AuroraBorealis was something quite special, even for us here, in Quebec City. The colours were outstanding.

Aurora Borealis in the night sky over Quebec City Aurora Borealis in the night sky over Quebec City

The Ipcress File ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
TV show 2024
Watched May 9, 2024

Well, colour me surprised, not only was this TV version of Len Deighton’s book almost true to the authors work, it improved upon the Michael Caine movie considerably. Though, I have to say, the lead in the TV show—Joe Cole— was no Michael Caine, he didn’t do too badly as the loveable cockney grifter.

This limited series focused more on the actual spy business and, was at times, clever and twisted, at other times, a little slow on progress and maybe, just maybe, could have been just 4 tightly written episodes, not six. As it was, this one was a nice departure from the usual spy drama we’re force fed these days, especially as it was set in 1963. So no smart phones, and reliance of tech.

The cast over all were good, and the script twisted enough to keep me interest right till the end, even though I knew what that ending was, having watched the film way back when. What the show did though was give us a more in-depth look at the characters and the build up to the dramatic ending and, along the way, threw in some fun too.

Alice, you’re now officially my new hero.

Dark Matter S1. ⭐️⭐️
TV show 2024
Watched May 8, 2024

It was just as well I had no expectations going into Apple TV’s latest SciFi show, Dark Matter, otherwise I might have given this one star not two. As it turns out this one felt a tad trite and cliched, picking over the bones of oh so many other shows that have gone before it and, recycling one too many over-used tropes (Schrödinger’s cat anyone?)

And, with a music score that made it difficult for this hard of hearing person to make out some of the mumbled dialogue in the first episode, meant I was struggling early on. Not that I missed anything according to my OH who, wondering out loud, asked why Jennifer Connelly was married to some butt ugly guy? Casting aside, why is everything shot in the dark?

The second episode did nothing to improve our assertion that we really didn’t care about the lead, or any of the supporting cast, who all looked like they wondered why they were actually in this mess to begin with. Or, how using the usual flimsy science—oh look, we have a cube that transports people to alternative realities—we’re going to get the erstwhile antihero out of the mess he finds himself in.

Do we care? No. Will we watch more. No.

Saw these flowers in the park, though I have no idea what they are. They look very delicate though.

bright yellow bell shaped flowers surrounded by spring greenery

Note: my thanks to Christine M. ( for letting me know these flowers are Glacial Lilies.

Proof that spring has finally arrived up here, in the frozen north!

newly unfurled leaf blosoom newly unfurling leaf and tree blossom

I’m sorry there was no Marginalia post yesterday, as promised, as I was as sick as a dog.

Let’s just say the porcelain throne saw me more than my partner did yesterday. Hopefully I can put things back on track later today.

See you then.

I think Woody the Woodpecker has been hard at work.

large woodpecker hole in a tree

I’m putting together a list of topics to write about for my #WeblogPoMo2024 challenge over on Marginalia, so if there’s anything you want me to explore or interested in knowing more about, let me know. I’ll add suggestions to the list, especially as I have 31 days to fill.

A change of line up … my Grub (my food blog) is no more, it wasn’t generating any interest so …

I deleted it and created a new place showcasing the city where I live, here in beautiful Quebec City: Ma Belle Ville

Nothing to see just yet but watch this space for more …

Micro blog question:

@manton can I delete one of my five blogs and then, create a new one in the subsequent vacant slot?


It was a beautiful sunny semi-warm day yesterday. Today?

It’s blowing a gale and the rain’s almost horizontal … Yea!

Chicken Cacciatore

This is my adaptation of a fairly standard cacciatore recipe. And what makes it so easy is it’s a one pan meal that can be done on the stove top fairly simply. Don’t forget, you can also liven up the recipe with a pinch of chilli flakes.


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4-6oz sliced mushrooms
  • 80ml red wine
  • ½ cup orzo
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • tin chopped tomatoes or jar tomatoes and basil
  • 75ml chicken stock
  • fresh ground black pepper


  1. Heat oil in large frying pan that has a lid. Cook chicken for 4-5 minutes till browned. Set aside and keep warm.
  2. Add onions and garlic to the chicken juices and cook till translucent 1-2 minutes. Add mushrooms, and cook for a further 1 min.
  3. Pour in red wine and bring to a rapid boil, and reduce by ½.
  4. Add oregano and bay leaf, tomatoes and stock, stir and mix thoroughly.
  5. Return chicken to pan, cover and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  6. Lift lid and add orzo, cover and continue simmering for several minutes or till the orzo is cooked.
Serves: 2

Day 30: hometown | as suggested by @mattypenny


Chateau Frontenac in autumn, Quebec City