Tag Archives: meatballs

Notes from a Small Kitchen

First up, meatballs. I had intended to make them last night, but Julia was hungry, time was short, the night was cold and the chip shop was soooo tempting.

I had mushy peas with mine and followed up with an apple and a pear. I’d had a banana with my breakfast cereal and salad with lunch so that scraped my five a day. This is important as five a day, which was once sufficient, has now become ten. I didn’t know there were ten sorts of fruit and veg, and until last week certainly had no intention of ever eating 10 sorts in one day.

Getting 10 sorts of fruit and veg into me takes a technique that is closer to loading a cannon than it is to cookery. However, it’s something I will have to work on.

I have a simple meatball recipe. Meat, breadcrumbs, milk, egg and stuff. In this case  the meat was minced pork and the “stuff” was a chopped spring onion and parsley. The milk to dampen the breadcrumbs and the egg all contribute to making a nice, tender meatball. You can do without them, but the end product is more suitable for playing golf than eating.

The bread crumbs may look a bit strange but don’t worry, the bits are just chopped up grains because I used the crusts of a seeded loaf to make the crumbs.

You can season it I suppose but the pork ones always seem to be OK with just herbs. I do season the beef ones a bit, normally using Worcestershire sauce or black pepper. You can also use dried herbs and grated parmesan.

Mix it all together with your hands and roll into balls the size of a walnut (a walnut in its shell, to be precise). Either poach it in a tomato sauce (about 40 minutes) or oven bake for 20 minutes at 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.

I based the bean burger recipe on one by Mark Bittman that was passed on to me by Laurie Graves.

My recipe was a tin of chickpeas, half an onion, parsley, a good shake of chilli powder, a teaspoon of cumin, an egg, some brown linseed (which was just hanging about needing to be used)  and enough oats to make the mixture dry enough to work. I made six burgers but we will only eat four for tea.

We ate them with roasted vegetables and stir-fried black kale, as pictured in the featured image. They still need a little work but are already much better than the previous recipe I was using and as good as any I’ve eaten recently when eating out.

 

 

Courgetti Spaghetti

All is good on the meatball front. I am able to produce a well-seasoned meatball that is soft on the tooth and holds together well when poached in tomato sauce.

When cooked in the oven they tend to flatten on the bottom, form a crust and dry out a bit. I could try a more sophisticated approach to this, but as I like them poached in the sauce I may just stop cooking them in the oven.

I tried frying one batch. It was a soft mix and probably not well-suited to the method. As you don’t actually need to brown them before poaching I’m going to avoid the frying pan in future.

After an unsatisfactory encounter with Boodles – spiralised butternut squash noodles – I’m glad to report that the courgetti spaghetti was far better in both taste and texture. The problem, apart from the cost (£1 for a small portion) is that they release a lot of water, which doesn’t look great on the plate.

I can’t immediately think of a way round this, though I will try dropping the lot into hot oil next time, not heating it gradually. I will also look at a selection of dishes where the extra water won’t be a problem.

Does anyone have an answer to this problem?

Next stop, bean burgers.

Triviata

Yes, was surprised it was a real word too. I was looking for a title that denoted an accumulation of trivia and thought this was about right so checked it up to make sure if it was already taken, and yes it was. Shakespeare introduced 1,700 new words into English, but these days it’s not quite so easy.

There is also a Trivipedia, but no trivicumulation. I’m going to think about that…

I think it can be defined, in my sense, to denote a jumble of trivial news of the sort that makes up conversations between spouses or posts on blogs about normal life. Well, you may discuss world politics or philosophy with your spouse, but we tend to discuss children, what we did during the day, and housework. Or, more precisely, why I have done no housework.

So, his morning, after a day on the road yesterday, I drifted into consciousness just before 7.00 am, looked at the day outside and went back to bed for a while. Feeling energised I then sorted out books for charity, selected clothes for the Salvation Army (they seem to have been shrinking lately) and took a faulty kettle back to TESCO. It hadn’t been expensive but even cheap kettles are supposed to keep the water on the inside.

It’s surprising how long it takes to return a faulty kettle to TESCO. First you have to find someone to accept it, and at our branch that means going and standing at a shabby, anonymous counter at the back of the shop as everyone ignores you. Then, after finally intercepting a passing manager, you have to wait and see if they can find a replacement on the shelves or in the warehouse. They couldn’t. So I accepted a refund on my debit card.

Lunch was soup (Pea and Mint from TESCO) with fresh bread. Yes, I know I should make my own but I wanted something quick.

Blogging next – reading posts and adding bits to some posts I’m mulling over. I still have another post on Crowland Abbey to polish  (you have to ration these things out ) and a few others to develop.

Finally, gardening. I’ve been putting it off until the warmer weather came, and the warmer weather has come. As I have plenty of time this year, it really is time to get on top of the job. It’s also time to add some permaculture design and  wildlife to the garden.

I’m alternating TV, computer and cookery now. Julia is out at a meeting and when she returns she will be expecting meatballs. I’m still looking for a meatball recipe so “relaxed” and “well prepared” are words that don’t currently apply to me.

It will be different tomorrow – the Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry is already done.

Meanwhile, I’d better focus and stop browsing. I’ve just been reading this. It’s cookery, but not as we know it.

Readers of a nervous disposition may be better not clicking the link.