I’m no chef and perhaps this is why my pal saw it fit to teach me how to make her so-called St Albans’ sauce. It’s a basic pasta sauce which you can make very quickly and cheaply. Start with a big bowl of hot water – in go fresh tomatoes. Big vine ones work best, allowing about three each. Then shear off a generous knob of butter – as big as you’d like to see – and gently melt in a frying pan. Pop in chopped onion (about half per person) and stir until golden. I’m told that, at lower heat, the butter brings out sweetness in the onions. Salt. By now you can massage the skins from the tomatoes (don’t burn your hands!) and remove the stalky part, then crushing with a wooden spoon. These go in with the onions. Season to taste (pinch of sugar if you don’t have time to coax the sweetness from your simmering tomatoes). Oh, and you’re supposed to have been making pasta while all this was going on. Mix and serve with grated parmesan.
My kitchen soundtrack was the latest album from New Jersey natives Real Estate, released earlier this year. Though perhaps sweetened by the smell of soft onions, third track Stained Glass stood out with dense, confit chords oozing beneath lightly aerated guitar and smooth, lazy vocals. Bon appétit.