Meatloaf, Sliders and Meatballs

Meatloaf

I may have mentioned that between them my children like most foods.  Between them that is.  Together there often seems very little common ground.  My daughter would like to live on Sausage Pasta, my son doesn’t like sausages or pasta.  My son would live on salad, hummus and broccoli whilst my daughter would recoil from all three.  Finding something to cook that we all like is therefore challenging.  I am not keen on making different things for everyone but equally the greedy child in me remembers mealtime excitement being dashed when presented with something I didn’t like and I want my two to love their food.

You can imagine my delight therefore when they both scoffed this meatloaf with unseemly haste, plates completely clean, seconds requested and announced not only was it delicious but required on a regular basis.  The joy, the relief.  My son even said “Mamma, your meatloaf is amazing!” now, I don’t know if he has tried any other meatloaf but I happily took the compliment.

These ingredients result in a big old batch but it makes sense this way because the mince comes in 500g packs.  You could happily make two meatloaves and freeze one but I tend to mix it up a bit.  I made the sliders the size of a snooker ball which I then flatten a bit.  Once cooked (in the same way as the meatballs) they have a tendency to crumble a little but for me this adds to their charm as they hit the mark somewhere between a mini hamburger and a sloppy Joe in a bun with salad and ketchup.  The meatballs I freeze in a single layer on a baking tray and then put into a tub once frozen.  These I fry or roast until cooked through, cover in tomato sauce and serve with rice or orzo, inexplicably this being a pasta my son likes.

Meatloaf, sliders and meatballs

This may seem a long list of ingredients but you probably have most of it to hand anyway.  I reckon on this amount making one meatloaf, four sliders and about 12 meatballs.  The tomato sauce below is also great with the meatballs.  If you have any meatloaf left over it makes an incredible sandwich….

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

Salt

500g pork mince

500g beef mince

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

100g breadcrumbs

2 eggs beaten

1 tablespoon thyme leaves

60ml milk

3 tablespoons Worcester sauce

2 tablespoons ketchup

Small bunch parsley, finely chopped

Tomato sauce –

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic finely chopped

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 tablespoons red wine or 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 200.  Heat the first tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onion, with a pinch of salt, until soft then allow to cool.  In a large bowl put the rest of the ingredients (apart from the sauce ones) and mix well together (hands are easiest for mixing this) along with the cooled onions, 1 teaspoon of salt and around 20 turns on the pepper grinder.  Split the mixture and form half into a loaf a similar shape but a little smaller than a housebrick and make the rest into sliders or meatballs (see introduction).  Put the meatloaf onto a baking tray and cook for half an hour but check after 20 minutes and if browning too much cover with foil.  Meanwhile put the second tablespoon of oil into a small pan with the garlic, heat gently and as soon as it sizzles add the tinned tomatoes, sugar, wine or vinegar and a good pinch of salt.  Let this simmer for twenty minutes.  When the meatloaf is cooked let it sit for five minutes and then transfer to a warm serving plate and pour over the sauce.  Enough for two adults and two children.

Meatloaf 2

 

 

Cosy Beef Stew and Parsley Dumplings

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This summer has been fantastic, I have loved the sun, the heat and eating a lot of salads.  Whilst basking in all this however, there was a tiny bit of my happy in the knowledge that come September it might cool down a little and I would be able to light the fire and make some cosy autumn food.

Now, I realise I seem to have dived right into ‘freezing outside, possibly even snowing winter food’ but you know what I couldn’t resist.  It has been months since my last stew (I feel that should have been confession) and it was time for a fix.  Added to that my little boy asked earlier in the week when we would be having stew and dumplings.  Sooner than you think my little treasure I thought to myself.

Here it is and it is a beauty.  Very simple, 30 minutes work tops and then a few hours in the oven.  What you are rewarded with however, far exceeds that brief effort you put in.  Tender falling apart beef, soft carrots, crispy and fluffy dumplings with masses of glistening savoury gravy.  You can then sit around the table, enjoy this with some greens and perhaps raise a glass of good red wine to the fabulous summer of 2013.

Beef and Carrot Stew with Parsley Dumplings

1 kg braising beef, cubed

1 tablespoon oil

1 onion, chopped

7/8 medium carrots, peeled and halved lenthways

1 heaped tablespoon plain flour

500ml beef stock

200ml red wine

1 teaspoon redcurrant jelly

Sprig of thyme

A bayleaf

For the dumplings –

100g self raising flour

50g suet

A handful of parsley, finely chopped

5 tablespoons cold water

Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 150c.  Heat the oil in a large casserole (that has a lid) and brown the meat in batches and set aside.  Then fry the onion (you may need a little more oil) until softened.  Return the meat to the pan, sprinkle over the flour and stir it in well.  Pour over the stock and wine and redcurrant jelly, give it a mix then add the carrots, thyme and bay leaf.  Put into the oven for 3 hours.

Just before the time is up, mix the ingredients for the dumplings and form into little balls about the size of a walnut and turn the oven up to 180.  Remove the pan from the oven, quickly (and carefully) check the seasoning and then place the dumplings onto the surface of the stew.  Put the lid back on and return to the oven for 20 minutes, then remove the lid and cook for a further 20 minutes to crisp up the outside of the dumplings.  Enough for 4.

We followed this with a fabulous custard tart (I know, I know, bikini appropriate food clearly now forgotten) and it made me proud of British Food!

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