#NaNoWriMo day five – culinary fatigue

With the world around me talking, tweeting and generally enthusing about their part in #NaNoWriMo I decided to get in on the game and write a short piece every day through November.

Day five of posting every 24 hours is most definitely going to be brief. In many ways it will act as my confession.

I bloody love food. There is nothing more likely to trigger a flush of excitement than finding an ingredient that I haven’t tasted yet, an old recipe waiting to be reawakened or the arrival of a new cookery book.

However, even the most ardent food lover occasionally suffers battle fatigue. On these days the very idea of stepping up to the hob makes my heart sink. I still want to eat – I purely lack the mental energy to think through a worthwhile recipe.

At such times as this I have two fall back positions. Scrambled eggs with chilli or pasta with a simple tomato sauce. I suggest that you make the sauce, toss it into a huge – big enough for two – bowl of pasta and keep it all to yourself.



1. Something capable of adding a good hit of umami – bacon, chorizo or anchovies.
2. Tin of chopped tomatoes.
3. A teaspoon of vegetable bouillon powder.
4. Chilli flakes
5. Good pinch of dried oregano
6. Pinch of sugar
7. Salt and pepper to taste


Gently fry your umami of choice in a little olive oil. Tip over the tomatoes. Fill the empty tomato tin to around a third full of hot water and add this to the pan too. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer.

Stir in the bouillon powder, oregano and chilli flakes. Simmer for five minutes.

Sprinkle over the sugar and stir well. Continue to simmer until thick and glossy. Taste again to check the need for extra seasoning and add salt and pepper if required.