Oh Meatballs !!

Serves 4 to 6 depending on how hungry you are !!

500g pork mince

500g beef mince

2 cloves of garlic (one for sauce and one for meatballs)

Handful of fresh parsley

Half a red chili

Stick of celery

One red onion

Two eggs

Salt and pepper

Tin of tomatoes

Fresh basil

Parmesan cheese

First finely dice the onion, chili, celery and garlic (one clove) and soften in a frying pan with a little butter. Once softened add this mixture to a mixing bowl together with the meat, eggs, chopped parsley and 50g of grated parmesan.

Now mix together with your hands, once mixed thoroughly, place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. Remove from fridge and make into either small or large balls, whichever you prefer; this is easier if your hands are already wet. Place a little olive oil on a baking tray and place the balls on to the tray.

Place the meatballs in the oven at 200 degrees and leave for 20 to 30 minutes depending on size of balls; they should look a lovely golden brown when cooked.

Now to make the tomatoes sauce to serve them with 🙂

Add tomatoes to a pan together with a cup of water, salt and pepper, chopped clove of garlic and splash of olive oil and leave to bubble away on a moderate heat for approx 20 minutes. When the sauce thickens remove from the heat and add some fresh basil.

If you have a hand blender, I would now blitz the sauce to make it smooth, but if you don’t have one, don’t worry it will just be a more rustic sauce.

Serve the meatballs with some sauce, more torn fresh basil leaves, grated parmesan and some steamed broccoli or over some courgette spaghetti – Buon Appetito!

Meatloaf – winter comfort food

Loved making this, loved eating this 🙂

So simple. Everything in one massive bowl and then mix it all together. I made a lattice weave bacon casing but you don’t have to bother if you don’t want to.

500g beef mince

One onion – diced

One cup of parmesan cheese

One egg

Handful of chopped parsley

One cupful of pork scratching – after measuring, put in a blender and blitz

Black Pepper

Teaspoon of garlic salt

(Streaky bacon – optional)

Place everything in a bowl and mix.

Now, if you want to, lay out the bacon in a lattice

Now place the combined mix in the middle of the bacon and fold the bacon around the mix.

Once completed (and seriously only takes 5 minutes max) place upside down (bacon edges on the bottom) in a baking tin ready to cook in a hot oven for 40 mins (around 180 keeping an eye that it doesn’t burn).

After approx 40 minutes, take it out, let it rest for 5 minutes and then serve. You could also serve a tomato or bbq sauce as a topping if you prefer.

We opted for cauliflower cheese and steamed shredded brussels and kale.

Steak in a blue cheese and mushroom sauce

Well this was pretty easy and straightforward.

Steak

Butter

Mushrooms

Gorgonzola

Small pot of double cream

Black pepper

Fry your steaks in a little butter to your personal taste. Then remove steak and transfer to another plate.

Using the same frying pan add sliced mushrooms and cook until golden brown now add cream, cheese, and loads of black pepper stirring until the cheese has melted and the sauce is cooked through – serve.

We had it with a fresh green salad (dressing of olive oil and white wine vinegar) and a mozzarella, avocado, and tomato and basil side.

Lamb Kleftiko

This was absolutely delicious but does need a few hours to cook and several hours to marinade so you need to be organised. I let it infuse for 24 hours in the fridge but 4/5 hours would work too).

What you need :

Shoulder of lamb

Garlic clove

One lemon – unwaxed

One red onion- quartered

50g butter

Teaspoon cinnamon

2 x Teaspoons oregano

Zest of one lemon

Sprig of rosemary

Salt & Pepper

Few potatoes – as many as you want but we shared two small potatoes between 4 of us – just cut them into small wedges.

First things first is preparing and rubbing the meat with the butter rub.

So in a blender add the butter, zest, cinnamon, oregano, garlic clove, rosemary leaves and blitz until it’s a soft butter. Now take your meat and place it on some silver foil (foil should form a cross). Now run the butter mixture all over both sides of the meat.

Now wrap the meat tightly and place in the fridge for a min of 4/5 hours or overnight if easier.

Take the meat out of the fridge an hour before you want to start cooking so it’s at room temperature.

Quarter your onion and lemon and place in your pan or slow cooker. Now add your potatoes and place your lamb (out of the foil) on top.

Now cover and cook in a slow cooker all day (approx 5/6 hours or longer if you like). Or cover and place in the oven really low 100/120 degrees for 5 hours – simple as !!

I served with fresh runner beans topped with feta, olive oil and oregano. Incidentally, I think I managed to get one wedge of potato as my youngest daughter filled her plate first !!Enjoy !

Fish Dish

Salmon with a chilli, lime and butter sauce served with a side of leeks, shredded brussels and chorizo . These dishes work really well independently too – they don’t have to go together.

X 2 salmon steaks/filets

1 leek – sliced

250g Brussel sprouts – shredded

120g sliced/diced chorizo

2 garlic cloves – crushed

Glug of olive oil

Half a lemon

Salt & Pepper

100g asparagus

Chilli flakes

Pinch of cumin

Pinch of ginger

Pinch of smoked paprika

Zest of 1 lime (then cut lime in half)

Couple of nobs of butter

First of all prepare the salmon.

Line a baking tray with some foil in a cross formation and then lay the salmon in the middle. Season salmon with salt and paper. Add a pinch of ginger, cumin and smoked paprika to the fish and sprinkle on some chilli flakes – to your taste. Add a nob of butter to both fillets and top with the zest of one lime. Add the asparagus and the lime then roll up the foil to form a parcel.

Cook in a hot oven for 15/20 minutes.

Now to the vegetables.

Place olive oil in a pan and heat, then add chorizo; fry for a few minutes then add leeks. After approx 2/3 minutes add the garlic and fry for a few minutes before adding sprouts. Add one lemon, some salt and pepper and cover with a lid. Now leave to sauté gently for approx 15 minutes.

Remove salmon from the oven and allow to sit for 5 mins before serving with the vegetables.

Tuscan slow cooked pork with lemon garlic and rosemary

Clues in the name…. does take several hours to marinate and then cook, but definitely worth the effort. Although it takes a while, you don’t have to be watching it – stick it in the oven and forget about it !

First of all this needs to marinate for a couple of hours, preferably overnight. For the marinade you will need

2.5kg (or thereabouts) Belly pork

One lemon – zest removed

Couple of sprigs of rosemary

Teaspoon of fennel seeds

Clove of garlic finely chopped/minced.

Firstly, score the pork rind in a cross cross fashion and ensure it is bone dry.

Then make the marinade by removing leaves from rosemary stalk, and combine with lemon zest, fennel seeds, and garlic in a pestle and mortar and pound away at it for 5 mins until everything is combined and bashed together. Then add a drop of oil to form a paste like mix and rub this mix all over the belly pork. Put this in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of hours – preferably overnight.

Remove the meat from the fridge and place in a roasting dish, pour over a little olive oil and sprinkle with some sea salt then roast on a high heat for 30 mins. After 30 minutes, turn heat down really low and add 2 large glasses of white wine (approx 500 ml), and 2 large glasses of chicken stock and cover with foil, now cook for a further 4 hours (around 120 degrees); I periodically check back to make sure there is still liquid in the roasting tray and top up with a little water if needed. I have also cooked this longer and slower – it’s up to you. An hour before it’s due to come out of the oven, remove the foil.

After 4 hours remove from the oven and add the lemon juice to the roasting dish, mix around. Now serve the pork with some fresh green vegetables – it really is delicious.

(If there is too much liquid in the roasting dish, stick it in a pan and bring to the boil for a few minutes and this will reduce and thicken).

Enjoy.

Wet Wet Wet

Looks like summer is officially over and the rainy season has begun; just in time for the weekend of camping and 24 hour run – joyous!

On the upside I lost another 1lb, not quite sure how but I’ll take it. Looking at the weather it feels like a winter food kind of day so I’m going to drag out the slow cooker from the back of the cupboard and cook lamb.

Shoulder of lamb

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Bay leaves

Rosemary

Lemon

Stick it all together in the slow cooker on low and leave it all day – now I’ll get back to unpacking the suncream and flip flops and repacking the waterproofs and wellies for the weekend !

Serve with some Cavolo Nero steamed lightly and then quickly sautéed in olive oil, garlic, squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some feta cheese – perfect for a rainy day (and pretty blooming easy)!