McMeatballs

I like haggis. A lot. My other half, not so much, Mathew however loves it. So rather than cook two meals I did a bit of sniffing around on the internet and found a recipe for a 50/50 haggis and minced lamb meatball. I gave it a whirl and it went down a treat. Albeit rather a greasy one.

I’ve since made a few changes (swapped lamb for beef, added chives, served with pasta and sauce rather than tatties and neeps) and today it became the inaugural dish of Mathew’s cookery club. OK it’s just me and him, with guest appearances from mum, but it gets him more involved with the preparation of his food so hopefully he’ll become more adventurous at mealtimes.

Pasta sauce

Ingredients

  • 8 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 shallots
  • 4 mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1tsp fresh thyme
  • 1tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 birdseye chilli (whole)

Blanch, peel and deseed the tomatoes. This can be a bit of a faff but it beats having skin and seeds in your sauce. Blitz the tomatoes to a paste in a blender.

Blitz the shallots. Blitz the mushrooms, thyme and garlic together.

Melt butter and a dash of oil in a large saucepan. The oil helps to stop the butter from burning.

When the butter is foaming, add the shallots and fry for a couple of minutes, then add the mushrooms, thyme and garlic. Cook for a further couple of minutes before adding the tomato, Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree and white pepper. Mix it all together, pop in the whole chilli, cover and simmer for about 25 mins.

When cooked, discard the chilli and season to taste. Put aside (can be frozen) whilst making the meatballs!

Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 250g lean minced beef
  • 250g haggis
  • 1egg yolk (who knew it would take a 7yr old four attempts at separating an egg!)
  • 1tbsp chives
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Mix together all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. This can be done in a food processor but half the fun is getting stuck in with your hands and getting all the ingredients mixed really well.

Once everything is combined, take a small amount in your hands and form into a ball. Continue with the rest of the mixture until there’s nothing left.

Preheat the oven to 200C and roast the meatballs for about 15-20 mins until they are cooked all the way through. Reheat the sauce. Cook some spaghetti according to the instructions on the packet.

Make a nest of pasta in a bowl, put meatballs on top and spoon over the sauce. Sprinkle with cheese if you like.

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The meatballs can be cooked then frozen once cold and reheated straight from the freezer as required.

 

 

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Outflanked

Today I cooked one of my favourite pieces of steak: flank. Sometimes known as bavette, eaten more widely on the continent than here at home in the UK. Often referred to as ‘butcher’s cut’ as in the past it was often reserved by the butcher for him/herself, flank steak is growing in popularity as it’s a cheaper cut of meat than most and, in my opinion, far superior in flavour (if it’s been treated well, aged and prepared properly).

There isn’t a local butcher where I live but there is a great butcher close to where I work so as I’m home alone for the next week, I thought I’d treat myself. Flank doesn’t really need marinating, but it does need cooking the right way to ensure it’s both enjoyable to eat and easy to digest. I made a marinade and did a lot of the prep on Friday, cooking the steak on Sunday,

For the marinade:

  • 2 whole Ancho chilies
  • 1tbsp light soy sauce
  • 3tbsp Henderson’s relish (or Worcestershire sauce)
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2cm fresh ginger (finely chopped)
  • 5 whole allspice berries
  • Water to make up to 200ml of marinade

Combine all of the above in a jug and allow the chilis to soften. Ancho are the dried Poblano chilis and have a mild but deep smoky flavour. After 24hrs, pour the marinade into a resealable bag and add the steak. Squish about a bit and place in the fridge for 24hrs or so.

The cooking bit

Remove the marinating meat from the fridge about ten minutes prior to cooking to allow it to come up to room temperature. Pour the liquid into a small saucepan to make a sauce.  remove all the bits of pepper, garlic and ginger adhering to the steak and pop them into the saucepan with the liquid. Pat the steak dry and put to one side.

Heat up a griddle pan or a heavy frying pan until it is smoking. DO NOT oil either the meat or the pan. The heat should be sufficient to seal and cook the meat without the need for oil (which only creates a lot of unwanted smoke). Place the steak in the pan and leave it alone. Don’t move it around, press it down or anything. After three minutes, turn the steak over. Continue cooking the steak for a further three minutes. This should result in a rare to med/rare steak. Remove the steak from the pan and slice, with the grain, into strips. Place sliced steak in a warm place for 20 mins or so whilst you prepare your accompaniments.

The sauce

I don’t feel it’s necessary to make a sauce to go with the steak but it seems such a waste to just throw the marinade away. Bring the liquid to the boil and strain out the bits, returning the liquid to the pan. Add a dozen or so whole black peppercorns. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the liquid to reduce to about 50ml. Just before you serve up, add about 100ml of double/heavy cream. Stir well and bring to a boil but do not boil! Pour into a jug and serve alongside.

I fried a few mushrooms (shiitake, enokitake and oyster) in butter and garlic, sautéed some potatoes and softened a few cherry tomatoes and green beans in butter and oregano to eat alongside the steak.

Curried Veggies with Paneer

We’re off on holiday to France on Saturday so this week is a week of using up the odds and sods in the fridge.

I had a few pints of milk in the fridge so last night I made fresh paneer.

Here you go:

  • 4 red onions (sliced)
  • 4 mushrooms (rough chopped)
  • 12 cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 1tsp chopped garlic
  • 1tsp chopped ginger

All of the above are cooked together for about 10 mins.

  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2tsp turmeric
  • 1/2tsp ground coriander
  • 250g cubed paneer

Add the spices and cook for a minute.


Then add the cheese.

  • Spinach
  • 1/4tsp garam masala
  • 1/4tsp ground fenugreek
  • 150ml double cream

Add the above and pop a lid on until the spinach has wilted. The spinach puts a fair bit of liquid into the sauce so you may want to cook it separately and add it in at the end.


Served with brown rice steamed in lime juice. Also great in a pitta/flatbread with fresh coriander and yoghurt.