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Mini meatballs

Another easy but delicious favourite dish in our household are meatballs. Slightly spiced with a mild curry powder and in a thick and zesty tomato sauce, my children absolutely adore this and would have it every day if they could!

Of course meatballs can come in many sizes. I have seen meatballs the size of tennis balls served with pasta or just with crusty french baguette but here, we like them mini and definitely with rice!!

Here is my mini meatball recipe for you all and remember you can add any spices you please and mix with other vegetables if you don’t have broccoli or baby corn.

Meatballs

Preparation time 10 minutes

Cooking time 40 mins

Serves 4

Ingredients

300g lean minced beef

1 small onion, grated

2 heaped tbsp fine white breadcrumbs

salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp tomato puree

4 tbsp vegetable oil

250g broccoli florets

200g baby corn, chopped

Method

Add the grated onion, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper to the minced beef and mix thoroughly.

Roll the meat into little balls about the size of a gobstopper or smaller.

Ready to cook!

Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the meatballs until they have firmed up and have turned a brown colour.

Transfer the meatballs to a medium size pot, add broccoli, baby corn and tomato puree. Cover with water and bring to the boil.

Simmer at a medium heat for 30 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken and stir occasionally.

Serve with rice or sliced baguettes.

If the kids don’t mind or you’re making for seasoned spice lovers, why not add 2 tsp medium curry powder and a fresh red chilli pepper finely chopped. Add a tin of tomato and 1 tbsp flour to thicken the sauce.

**Make your own breadcrumbs: Take half a loaf of sliced white bread and leave the slices out overnight to dry and harden. If you have a food processor you can mix the bread into a fine crumb mixture and keep stored in the fridge door in food bags. If not, just put the slices into a food bag and crush with a rolling pin until fine.**

 
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By now, you will have realised that my best skill is cooking and I like blogging about it too.  I am sure, or at least I hope that at some point, I’ll get to the sewing, knitting and other stuff!  Here is another food one I wrote  in the summer last year but I am now going to use it in a series of *Make your own* posts that I am going to experiment with.  Enjoy.

The fresh ingredients...

My parents have been away for a couple of weeks and I was left with strict instructions to pick the tomatoes from my fathers garden and eat them.  Well, I love tomatoes as much as anyone else but I have to admit, there were quite alot of tomatoes to be contending with and there is only so much salad we can eat!! 

I wanted to do something to test my own skills and so I decided to make a Passata sauce. I have never actually eaten any passata before so was very worried about what I was doing but decided it was all for the name of experimenting!

I found a simple recipe online that called for ingredients that I had in the house already.  Tomatoes, fresh basil, (I have a pot that was given to me on my birthday), garlic and onions – check!

Firstly, I boiled then simmered the tomatoes along with a whole onion and a couple of sprigs of basil for about an hour.  Then I had to strain the mix through a sieve as I don’t have a mouli (a food mill) and this took quite a bit of time and really hurt my arms (cooking is good exercise!) but I was pleased with the end result.

Once you have the sauce ready, you then add a finely chopped onion and several finely chopped cloves of garlic with more basil and salt to taste.  I boiled it down until I thought it was thick enough to be a *sauce*.  The aroma of garlic and basil had engulfed the house making us all hungry.

For my first attempt at making this sauce, I think it went very well indeed.  I was more happy because I used two homegrown ingredients which, even though I didn’t grow at home myself, it still gave me a personal sense of satisfaction!  If you feeling even more adventurous, you can couple the sauce with a homemade pasta and garlic bread too!

 

 

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Otherwise known as Khoresht e Bamiyeh (khoresht-casserole, bamiyeh-okra) in Iran, this is a simple dish to make and extremely tasty but be warned it needs a good couple of hours to simmer away so the meat cooks nicely and is very tender.

It’s even good for the children because even though they won’t eat the okra, it oozes it’s juices and goodness into the casserole sauce, giving it a nice simple spicy flavour that they will enjoy! I even get away with mashing an okra or two up for my little ones!

 Enjoy!

Diced Lamb Casserole with Okra

700g Diced lamb (preferably shoulder, not leg)

400g firm okra, washed

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tin chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp cooking oil

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp garlic powder OR 2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

 

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the chopped onions.  Fry until golden brown, then add the turmeric, garlic and a little salt and pepper.  Continue to fry on a high heat for 5 minutes then add the lamb. 

Keep stirring the lamb into the onion mixture making sure it is all covered, bring the heat down to medium and allow the meat to cook for 20 minutes whilst stirring to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

Add the chopped tomatoes, and cover with water.  Bring it to the boil then simmer for 60 minutes.

After the 60 minutes, add the okra, (putting it in too early will result in a mush of okra) and simmer for a further 40 minutes or until the lamb is nice and soft.

Serve alongside white rice and some cool fresh yogurt or greek yogurt!

 Note:  You can substitute the lamb for beef, but increase the cooking time by about 20 minutes.  If you prefer vegetarian, cook your preferred vegetables along WITH the okra for about 25 minutes or until cooked.

You can make this in the slow cooker but be aware that the flavours come from frying the onion along with the spices and meat for 20 minutes before cooking.  It won’t taste exactly the same but will still be a delicious meal all the same!

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