Spaghetti Bake

This is probably the most maligned recipe in this collection, it has been on the menu in our Café since the day we opened and is still a favourite among customers who like the traditional solid Eighth Day wholefood-style. At one time in our history, when we cooked what we felt like on that day without any reference to what had been done the week or even the day before, one legendary worker decided to only cook Spag Bog, as it was known. He worked fixed days and cooked every Saturday, which meant that those poor customers who visited every Saturday had virtually a fixed choice for years. Yet they still came back! Those were the days, customer choice, what’s that?


12oz (350g) spaghetti
1 onion
4oz (100g) mushrooms
1 carrot
4oz (100g) dry brown lentils or 8oz (225g) tin
3 cloves garlic
1 level teaspoon oregano
1 level teaspoon basil
1 tin (14oz 400g) tin plum tomatoes
1 dessert spoon tomato pureé
¼ pint (150ml) tomato juice
oil for frying
salt and pepper
4oz (100g) grated cheese


  1. Soak the lentils over night if you can and then cook until tender but not mushy. They will cook unsoaked but take a lot longer. If using tinned lentils, drain first and rinse.
  2. Put a large pan of salted water on to heat and bring to the boil. Once boiling break the dry spaghetti into short pieces and add to the pan. Stir well to stop the pasta clumping together then partially cover and cook, using the recommended time on the packet. Once cooked drain, and then put it back in the pan and stir in a teaspoon or so of olive oil to keep it separate. Put the lid on the pan and leave it until you need it.
  3. Whilst all this is going on you can start on the sauce.
  4. Peel and chop the onion finely, peel and crush the garlic and fry together until the onion becomes clear.
  5. Wash or wipe the mushrooms, chop or slice them and add them to the onions with the herbs and fry on for a couple of minutes.
  6. Liquidise or chop up the tomatoes and add to the pan along with the pureé and tomato juice. Allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Wash and peel the carrot if not organic, then grate it and add it to the sauce. Now mix in the cooked lentils and season the mixture to taste. The sauce should be tasty but a sloppy, thin consistency – add more tomato juice if necessary.
  8. Next put the cooked spaghetti in an oven dish and pour over the sauce, stirring it to mix into the pasta. Cover with the grated cheese and bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4 until the cheese has melted and the top has browned.
  9. The only point to watch out for to create the perfect Spag Bog is to keep the sauce runny, it will all be evaporated or absorbed as it cooks so if you have too little liquid in at the start you will end up with a solid cake at the end, tasty but solid.
  10. Some years ago one of our workers, Sarah, was coming into work on the bus seated behind two students. They chatted on about life in the big city and eventually mentioned Eighth Day, at which point Sarah took an interest and listened in to the rest of the conversation. “Have you eaten in the Café” “Oh yeah, it’s great isn’t it, I love the spaghetti bolognese” “So do I but it doesn’t half make you go to the toilet!” On such is our reputation based.

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