Friday, February 22, 2013

My mother's pasta Bolognese (les pâtes bolognaises de ma mère)

My son loves to sing.

But when I say “he loves to sing”, you just have to know two or three little things about it …

First, the Gnome has a baritone’s voice.

We use to say he changed at 3 years old...

He plays tennis and when he began, at 6, his tennis teacher told me once :
“Yesterday, I heard a teenager’s voice, behind a wall. Then the teenager walked to me and it was the Gnome ! Macaulay Culkin with Johnny Cash’s voice !”

For years, he didn’t know how to pitch his voice, when he used to sing. Sometimes, it was too high, sometimes too low.
So I told him to respect his tone. He had the chance to have a very male voice, he just had to respect it and to try to find the right way of using it.

Sometimes, in our life, we made mistake … but we know it too late.

Finally, my son found the right way to pitch his voice…
Now, he wakes up, singing. He makes his homework singing. He plays Wii singing. He eats singing …
And the best of the best, of course, under shower…

Is there someone who can explain to me why water falling from a shower brings this strange reaction to make a person “scream and shout” ?

He gives the full power of his voice, with tremolos, under water…

Secondly … I don’t know why, children don’t seem to have the same song saturation's level than us…
I mean, when I heard a song I love, I can hear it a two or three time in a row and that’s fine.
My son can hear his favourite song twenty times without growing tired.
And most of all… he can sing it fifty times without growing tired either …

And thirdly … Even if he seems to be talented for foreign languages (he’s got a very good English accent and speaks well Spanish), he doesn’t know lyrics of every English songs, of course.

So he does what we call in French : “to speak in a Yogurt way”.

We use this expression when someone doesn’t know to speak English (we use it only for English) and yet tries to make a sentence, with the right accent but with totally invented and wrong words.

PAY ATTENTION PLEASE : Here’s a game ! The first one who will guess what is this song that my son and my daughter sing together will win a CD of their performance ! …

Ready ?? GO !

“I've got cheeeese
they're must to ply in
And the bluuuuue
went to caall
So to ply in,
you're the baying
It's that you cry...
You better shake up
Cause I need a man
and my heart is spell on you
You better shup up
You better understand
to my heart I must be truue
double up, double up, oh baby too !...”

That's a good demonstration of “English yogurt”.

Now, I’m sure you can imagine the mixing of those different elements.

Some days, everything’s fine …

I’m not too much tired, I’m in a good mood, there’s sunshine, birds are in trees, love is in the air and blablabla … And I accept with resignation and a kind of proud his singing exercises.

And some days, less cool than others, the monster in me comes out. 

The gnome has just to begin … : 
“Don’t wake me uuuuup...”
And then, I smash down the separating wall kitchen between this room and bathroom, yelling like a T-Rex :
“SH….. UUUUUP !!!”

Generally … there’re five minutes of silence, then he does it again lower. For five other minutes. And he pushes on his personal volume button and sings again at the top of his voice.

Then I cry.
I'm an awful mother and I don’t have any authority with my children… 

SO... Why did I tell you all that ?

Just because I’m going to share with you my mother’s pasta Bolognese recipe and my mother is an expert in English !!!

My parents have a swimming pool, in French : “piscine”.

When our children were youngest, 
with my sisters, we used to speak in English to not be understood by them.

Years ago, in august, at the end of lunch, my mother wanted to ask us if we would authorise children to go to the swimming pool. 
So she tried in English :
“Girls ?... (one point !) We go to the piscine ?” … Which was the only word children understood.
They shouted :”YEEEEEEEESSSSS!!!”…
Our children are really talented in English !

This recipe is not the traditional bolognese recipe, but we just like it so much ! I cooked it for friends and make the ingredients double. 

But here what you'll need for 4 persons : 
  • 200 grammes of ground BEEF ... nothing else.
  • 500 grammes of tomato purée
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of dry thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1/2 glass of veal or chicken stock. Mine is in powder. So I mix water and powder. But if yours is liquid, just take 1/2 glass of it.
  • And 500 grammes of pasta, of course.
PS : Don't forget, on my pictures, ingredients are doubled. 

Step 1 : 
I'm sure you guessed it ... Let onion become transparent with a pinch of salt, on a low fire. Then add garlic. Let them brown a little bit.

Step 2 : 
Add your meat and let it brown too.

Step 3 : 
Pour your tomato purée and chicken/veal stock. Stir all that. Don't add salt and let it simmer for 30 minutes.

Step 4 : After 30 minutes, pour the herbs. That's it.

Bon appétit !

Recapitulative for 4 persons : 
  • 200 grammes of ground beef
  • 500 grammes of tomato purée
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of dry thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1/2 glass of veal or chicken stock. 
  • And 500 grammes of pasta.
Let onion become transparent with a pinch of salt, on a low fire. Then add garlic. Let them brown a little bit.

Add your meat and let it brown too.

Pour your tomato purée and chicken/veal stock. Stir all that. Don't add salt and let it simmer for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, pour the herbs. That's it.


  1. I have no idea what song that is!

    Oh the sauce looks amazing. Makes me sad that my hubby is a vegetarian :-/

    1. Dear Susan, my children will be so sad that you did not recognize ... JOHN TRAVOLTA AND OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN !!! :D
      Grease, You're the one that I want !! LOL !!!!!!!!
      But I forgive you, you didn't have the sound ... LUCKY YOU ARE !!! :D
      Than you for your comment, Susan !

  2. I can't stop laughing: listening to the song while looking at your words!!! I used to do this with Beatles' songs, hehe!!

    1. I'll go to watch this link this afternoon ! I'm sure I'll laugh too !! :D
      Didi you use this expression, in Switzerland ? To speak in yogurt english ? Parler en yaourt ?

  3. I can't figure out why kids have to listen to songs over and over and over either.

    Love the recipe! Bolognese is one of my all time favs...

    1. I guess, growing up, we don't have the same level of acceptation about repetition ! MY children can watch the same episode of a TV series several times !!!! They know the dialog by heart !
      Those bolognese are not the real one, with carrots, and all that. But I promise : those ones are delicious !

  4. My guess for the song is "You Better Shape Up" , which was recorded by Olivia Newton John. I love your blog, by the way, although I have not yet tried to cook anything. It all looks absoultely fantastic! I live in Alabama, USA, and my wife, daughter and son all love France and the French, even the occasional testy ones ;) My daughter went to university in Tours last year, and we all visited her there.

    1. Hello Michael and welcome on this blog !!! :)
      I don't know "you better shape up", but you're right on the singer !! For us, it's called "you're the one that I love", by Olivia and John Travolta in Grease ! Now, if you listen the music just reading my children's lyrics, I'm sure you'll be there with us !! :D
      Thank you very much for your comment and all you say, Michael. As for me, I do love USA. To go there is my eternal dream, even if I know I won't never go, just because I'm terrified by plane :D ! And ... I'm not sportive enough to cross the Atlantic swimming ! :)
      That's funny, a part of my close family (my cousins) live in Tours. We're always teasing each other because Tours is known to be the city, in France, were a lot of foreign people come to learn the RIGHT french language. because the Tours inhabitants don't have any accent when they speak french. Their "french" is pure.
      While, me, for example, I live the south east, and I have a light south accent. So my cousin use to tell me I don't speak french and I reply telling her to open the mouth when she speaks !
      I just hope you like Tours. This is a wonderful town. Rainy, cold but wonderful :D
      Thank you for your comment. :)

    2. I got the right song, but the wrong title ;) Oh well, close but no cigar. I guess I remember the "you better shape up" line in the song because I know that it applies to me.
      Since I am from Alabama, I also have a "southern" accent, but it is not so light. Many people from the midwest in American think they have no accent, and that southern accents sound ignorant. We think they sound harsh and uninteresting. It is hard to be fellow-citizens sometimes ;) We did indeed love Tours, and my daughter now speaks "pure" Tours French with an American southern accent. ;)

    3. In France, people from the south are considered "less serious", for example, than north people, just because our accent is "funny".
      A friend of mine, from the north, told me once : "everything you do, in work, seems less credible than what we do in Paris".
      And you're totally right : it's hard to be fellow citizen. So just think about our dear Italian neighbors : their country has been unified in 1861. When I lived over there, I remember people from south Italy talking in an unbelievable way ! I was totally unable to understand what they were saying ! And it was not just a question of accent ! :)
      I would appreciate to hear your daughter speaks french with an south american accent ! I just LOVE american accent :)
      This is my weakness ! :)

  5. Dear Axelle, "I got chills. They're multiplyin'. And I'm losin' control.....electrifyin'. You're the one that I want. Oo oo oo. Oh yes indeed." I finally saw that movie for the first time when I was 20. Couldn't stand it. Still can't. I just don't get why highschools here put it on as a play ALL THE TIME. The subject matter is so immoral. Oh well.
    I LOVE spaghetti Bolognese. I am going to make this tomorrow.
    I have never heard of the phrase " to speak in a yogurt way". Why yogurt?
    When our children were little my husband and I used to speak french when we didn't want them to understand us. And if we struggled trying to think of the correct french word or verb ending we would say the word in english with a french accent! Ha ha. Can you imagine. Regards-Jamie

    1. BRAVA !! You won ! You see ... even if you couldn't stand it, you just remember the lyrics ! :) I'm teasing you, Dear jamie. You don't like play in High schools ? You know, for us, in France, Grease for example had contributed to make the American dream alive. I speak for myself and my children, we just love it :)
      My children love much more the High school musical trilogy. For us, this looks fresh and full of fun.... And THEY LIKE TO SING ON THE SONGS .... Feel sorry for me :)
      To speak in a yogurt way is difficult to explain, in fact. It's just like if the way we hear english when someone doesn't know how to speak. One day, if i succeed to record my voice, I'll post a short example.
      You did the same as us with your children ?? I just love the idea and your ending way !! Do your children speak a little bit french, now ? Because, for us, now that they begin speaking English, it becomes harder ! I said to my husband we have to speak russian !!! I've learned it at school when I was young. But my husband replied he just can speak russian under torture ! :)
      I want to learn the sign language.

    2. There is no denying the groovy tunes from "Grease".
      Maybe speaking with 'yogurt' is what we mean when we say, "You sound like you have marbles in your mouth." Sort of garbled.
      My children do speak some french now. Every Friday morning is French lessons. At our house. I homeschool the children. We use the French in Action series. We bought the curriculum however the dvd's don't work well in our player or computer. The good news is that we can watch the dvd's for free at the website. Check it out because you may be amused as to how my children are learning your language. I would enjoy hearing your input. It isn't so easy to speak in front of the children any more! My oldest is 20 now so....maybe we don't need that strategy?
      Now when I tell them to do things or give instructions and they don't follow them or they do the opposite of what I said to do, I tell them, " It was very simple what I told you. Was I speaking Japanese?! You need to learn to follow directions." Ah yes. We have fun at my house. Regards-Jamie

    3. I'm very proud to know your children speak french ! We know our language is very hard to learn. Even for french people ! So each time, foreign people make the effort to learn it, we do appreciate. I love everything : I love when people make mistake, speaking, I love the accent, I love the way they translate sentence ...etc. For me, just because they make this effort, everything is fine. And for the instructions, how I understand you ! :D I use to tell them :"Which word did you not understand in the sentence "It's time to sleep" ?..." Et si tu es d'accord, Jamie, je mettrai un peu de français dans nos commentaires. Je n'écrirai pas tout le commentaire en français par respect pour ceux qui ne le comprennent pas, mais si tu as envie de me répondre en français, n'hésite pas ! :)

  6. Axelle, you have a young John Travolta living in your house...amazing! Smile! The recipe looks and sounds delicious and if photographs could smell, I bet it would smell good, too. Thanks for sharing. love and prayers, jep

    1. Dear Jamie ! You won too !!! :D
      And for the funny story, when he was young, my brother in law looked like Travolta in a incredible way. When he travelled in Paris, he signed some autographs, like if he were Travolta. And his biggest fear was to be obligated to make some dance in front of people, in the street !! No one could have believe him after this !! :D
      Thank you for your comment, Jep !

  7. I've never made a bolognese sauce. I think a French Mother's version is the first one to try. Thanks for the recipe Axelle.

    1. Than you, Lea Ann ! As I said, this is not the traditional one. This is just my mother version ;)