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Sounds like a kid’s book, doesn’t it? Anyway, seeing as though I’m about to take some time out in the sun, I thought I’d leave you with a dish that makes you smile; a welcome little window of Mediterranean sun in this drab June.
Ok, firstly, my never-fail store-cupboard tomato sauce for Pasta. In a pan, gently heat Olive Oil – lots. Cover the base of the pan with it, and add chopped cherry tomatoes – fresh is good, actually. Don’t remove the pips or even try with the skins. Just halve them and sling them in. Whilst they are softening, add a small chopped onion, and then season with Salt, Sugar and Black Pepper (equal measures – the sugar is really important).
Add a dollop of Pesto for a hit of Basil, and Oregano. Finally, add two cloves of Garlic, chopped. I find putting the Garlic in last really retains the punch with no bitterness that cooked Garlic can have. Think of it as dry-hopping the sauce with Garlic, I guess! Stir and leave to simmer on a low heat. You should get your Spaghetti on the go now, too.

Whilst that’s happening, chop your Octopus. Octopus is getting a little more popular at the moment, and so it should. When fresh, it’s lovely – with a little more firmness than Squid. However, I do find that it doesn’t stand up to freezing like Squid – so please use fresh. Chop the tentacles into bite-sized portions and saute in Olive Oil very hot and very fast. Once the Octopus takes on colour, take it off the heat. Overcooking it will render it very, very tough.
Mix your sauce with the cooked Spaghetti -adding another splash of Olive Oil – and then top with your Octopus. Sorted!

When it comes to beer, I find tomato and garlic combinations can be quite tough to really compliment. The best course of action is a light, pale beer – and a Kolsch or Lager is even better. I opted for Thornbridge’s wonderful Tzara (4.8%abv)*; fridge-cold and classy. There’s echoes of coriander and wheat in the nose, and that creamy malt follows through in the body. The finish has a restrained, gentle bitterness and a flinty, clean finish. Perfect for food like this.
That’s it from me for a month or so – so Cheers!