I love cookbooks, but I can never understand why student cookbooks say things like 'take some freshly cut parsley.' I've never even seen freshly cut parsley on sale, much less felt inclined to buy it. So I decided that I'd write my own cookbook for students. Here it is - your guide to making spaghetti bolognese.

***

Today you're going to learn to make spaghetti bolognese. No, you can't just go buy a jar of sauce, this way is much cheaper.

You will need one tablespoon of olive oil.

All right, sunflower oil or vegetable oil is fine. OK. And an onion - chopped. Dig around in the fridge and the cupboards a bit until you find an onion. No, not that one - never pick the onions that make you want to gag just looking at them. Got one? Good.

One garlic clove. Actually, the garlic powder is an reasonable substitute. Got that?

Good. 250 grams of lean mince.

Well, borrow some.

Just guess, all right? About enough for a couple of portions. You can save some for later.

Yes, I suppose that will do. Tomato Purée.

It's been in there for much longer than three weeks, but never mind. Some basil and oregano.

Well look in the cupboards. Someone's bound to have some.

One can of chopped tomatoes. Look in with the stuff that your mum insisted you take with you.

Spaghetti.

Any pasta? Any at all?

Ah yes, that huge bag your mum bought for you. Fusilli bolognese will taste just the same.

Now, get two saucepans.

Borrow one, then.

Put the saucepans on the hobs.

Put a little bit of the oil in one saucepan, and let it warm. No, more than that. Not that much! Try and pour some back into the bottle. You can wipe the mess up later. Got any paper towel? No? Oh - silly question.

Put in the chopped onions - ah. Turn the hobs off and chop the onion. Is a chopping board too much to ask for? Thought so.

Right, now let's go back to warming the oil. Let it warm. Now add the onion. Five minutes, until soft. OK, you're doing great. Now add the mince. Stir it around a bit until brown. Good. Now pour in the chopped tomatoes.

Turn the heat on the hob down a bit, and dig through the drawer for a can opener. Found one? Open the can and pour in the chopped tomatoes. Some beef stock could be a good idea.

That's an Oxo cube. A red one. Crumble it up first. Good. Add a bit of tomato purée, and sprinkle in a small amount of those herbs you dug out earlier. Add some of the garlic powder too. Give it a stir and leave it to simmer.

Just put the lid on, and turn the heat down a little. That's all you need to do.

Now, put some water on to boil. About half the saucepan. It's boiling when it's bubbling.

No, no, when the bubbles are really big.

Pour some water in the kettle - about six cups. Turn it on. Ignore the water in the saucepan - pour it out. Now, wait for the kettle to boil. Has it boiled? Good. Pour the boiling water in the saucepan.

I know it's not bubbling. Turn the heat up and put a handful of pasta in the water. If it starts to bubble really hard, turn the heat down a little. Now, put the lid on that saucepan.

Now would be a good time to review this afternoon's lecture. That is, if you actually attended and didn't sleep through it as usual. No - don't put the notes there, you'll only get oil on them.

Good grief, your handwriting's terrible.

TURN THAT HEAT DOWN!

Sorry. Perhaps you should pour some more hot water into the pasta, if there's any left in the kettle.

Aaah - your bolognese looks nearly done.

Carefully taste the pasta.

Blow on it first!

Turn both hobs off.

Now, get a collander.

All right, don't. Carefully position the lid on the saucepan so that there's a little gap, but not big enough for the pasta to fit through. Very carefully pour the water down the sink.

Don't worry - leave a note for the cleaner or a helpful housemate and hopefully he or she will unblock it. Remember to say 'please'. Lots of times.

Now, put the pasta on a plate or bowl.

No, seriously? How can you go that long without washing up? Fill the washing up bowl with hot water - pour in some washing up liquid.

Didn't your hygeine obsessed housemate buy some? Ok, maybe put in some vinegar or something. Now put in your dirty plates and cutlery. Save a cleanish fork for your food. Leave it to soak for a couple of...

Days - that should do it. Now, put your pasta in the saucepan with the bolognese in it, and stir them together. Garnish with some freshly grated parmesan.

Have you got any ready grated parmesan?

Go to the fridge, and get out the cheese. Cut off the green bits. Now, carefully grate...

Carefully chop the cheese into little bits. Sprinkle it over the stuff in your saucepan. Now, eat up.

Did you enjoy it? Great! Now leave the saucepan on the side with all the other piles of washing up. Bask in the sense of achievement. You just made spaghetti bolognese.

Well, fusilli bolognese.

***

Feel educated? Please review :)