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Cheeky little polpette

Disclaimer – not at all kosher, not one little bit!

Tomato sauce

  • 50g butter
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 a small onion, finely diced
  • 400g tin diced tomatoes
  • 250ml stock
  • 1tbsp finely chopped parsley stalks
  • River salt and black pepper to taste

Polpette

  • 500g mince, I used 50% veal and 50% pork
  • 15g ricotta
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • zest of 1 small lemon
  • 1tspchilli flakes
  • 15ml extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
  • River salt and black pepper
  • 50g finely grated parmesan
  • Olive oil spray

Instructions

To make the tomato sauce, place the butter and the garlic in a cold saucepan, before transferring the pan onto a medium heat. Gently melt the butter, making sure you stir the garlic around quite often. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the garlic starts to sizzle and change colour. Add the onion, parsley stalks and some salt, then continue cooking and stirring for another couple of minutes.

Gently throw in the tomatoes, stock and water and simmer for about half an hour, stirring occasionally.

To make the polpette, place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and use your hands to combine everything evenly and thoroughly.

Preheat your oven to 200°C, then use baking paper to line and grease a couple of flat baking trays with oil spray.

Rub a little oil on your hands and start forming nice small balls with your hands, about 1 heaped each. You should end up with at least 15 meatballs. Keep oiling your hands as you go, as it will help prevent the mixture from sticking. Place the balls on the tray leaving a small amount of space between each one.

Once all your balls are nice, round and ready, place them in the oven to roast for about 20 minutes. Once they are ready you should notice that they are slightly browned, shrivelled a little and have leached out quite a lot of liquid.

At this stage, pull them out of the oven and drop the temperature to 160°C.

Remove all the balls and gently place them in a deep baking dish, discarding any liquid. Cover them with the hopefully still warm tomato sauce, cover the dish with foil and place them back in the oven for another 40 minutes to let them slowly braise and become one with the sauce.

Once cooked, the polpette are ready to be eaten straight away. Serve them on a large platter, spoon the sauce over and finish the dish with a nice drizzle of olive oil, shaved parmesan, a generous garnish of chopped parsley and some cracked pepper and Parmesan if you like.

Serve

– on steamed rice

– on polenta

– on mashed potato

– on pilaff

– on pasta

– with a nice green salad and fresh bread

So many ways to enjoy!

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Whole head of cauliflower

1 tin of chickpeas (drained thoroughly)

1/4 cup olive oil

4 heaped tablespoons of Za’atar

1 teaspoon of Aleppo pepper (or substitute 1/2 teaspoon sumac, 1/2 teaspoon of finely cracked black pepper)

1 pinch of salt flakes

3 large handfuls of mixed salad greens

2 tablespoons golden sultanas

2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds

2 tablespoons of toasted pumpkins seeds

Juice of half a lemon

Pomegranate molasses

Roughly chopped flat leaf parsley for garnish

Method

Preheat the oven to 160c

Breakdown the cauliflower

– remove the leaves

– break in to small bite sized florets

– cut the stem in to similar sized pieces as the florets

– line a tray with baking paper

– lay out the cauliflower evenly on the tray

– scatter the drained chickpeas over the top

– drizzle over the olive oil

– sprinkle the Za’atar, Aleppo pepper, salt

– roast for approx 60mins, until the cauliflower is golden and soft, and the chickpeas are crunchy and nutty. Don’t let lot burn!

– leave to cool

When the cauliflower and chickpeas have cooled, assemble the salad in a large flat bowl.

– scatter the leaves, then the cauliflower and chickpeas, then the seeds and sultanas.

– dress with pomegranate molasses and lemon juice.

– garnish with the chopped parsley.

– allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

I thought I’d make a different style of spinach lasagna… here we go –

(you can also make this with gluten free lasagna sheets and gluten free flour to make…. you guessed it – a gluten free version!)

Ingredients:

100g butter

4 tablespoons plain flour

600ml full cream milk

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Salt and pepper

1 cup grated cheddar

500g finely chopped spinach – drained and thawed

1 spring onion – halved and finely chopped

100g danish feta – crumbled

1-2 cups tomato sugo

200g smooth ricotta

1 cup of shredded cheese for topping

375g fresh lasagna sheets

Method:

1. Make a bechamel sauce. Melt the butter. Whisk in the flour until it forms a smooth paste. Whisk through the milk. Return to the heat and whisk until it begins to thicken. Add nutmeg, salt, pepper and cheese. When smooth again, remove from the heat.

2. Stir through the spinach, spring onion, gently fold through the feta.

3. Line the bottom of your lasagna dish with tomato sugo. Layer the pasta, then spinach mixture, then drizzle tomato sugo. Repeat until your dish is almost filled to the top. Cover the final layer of sauce with the ricotta and then the shredded cheese.

4. Bake at 160c for 60mins, until cooked through and golden on top.

5. Serve with a nice salad (like this one https://enjoyeatwatch.wordpress.com/2018/08/26/grilled-zucchini-and-rocket-salad/)

Enjoy!

Veggie Bake Protein Punch

Trying to be healthy. Trying to up the protein and the veggies. The chickpea flour means it’s Gluten Free, high in fibre, high in protein. Great for vegetarians too, but not vegans unless you take out the cheese. Here we go…

Ingredients:

1 cup zucchini – grated

1 cup carrot – grated

1 medium potato – grated

2 spring onions – finely diced

1/2 leek – halved or quartered, finely sliced

1/2 cup grated cheese (I used Tasty Cheese, also an extra 1/4 cup for sprinkling)

3/4 cup chickpea flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

4 eggs

Salt and pepper

*I could have thrown some sweet corn in there too, but I’m trying to keep it low GI

Method:

Grate all and slice all the veggies and put in a large bowl.

Add the flour and baking powder and cheese.

In a separate bowl, crack the eggs and whisk gently. Add salt and pepper.

Combine the egg and veggie mixture.

Place in a lined brownie tray. Smooth out the mixture evenly. I sprinkled a little extra cheese on the top (about 1/4 cup)

Bake at 170c for about 45 mins or until cooked through.

Cool for at least 20 mins before turning on to a board and cutting in to generous cubes.

My version of Puttanesca

When your dinner date cancels on you 90mins before, there are two options –

1. UberEats

2. Make something from what you’ve got in the cupboard.

Serves 2.

I love the story behind it –

Spaghetti alla puttanesca (pronounced [spaˈɡetti alla puttaˈneska]; literally “spaghetti in the style of a whore” in Italian) is an Italian pasta dish invented in Naples in the mid-20th century. Its ingredients typically include tomatoes, olive oil, anchovies, olives, capers and garlic. After a long night of walking the streets, it was quick and tasty dinner for these ladies to make with pantry staples.

Ingredients:

• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped

• 400g tin crushed tomatoes

• 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, halved, pitted

• 3 anchovy fillets, chopped

• 2 tablespoons drained capers

• 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

• 1 tablespoon each of chopped basil leaves & stalks, parsley leaves & stalks.

• a pinch each of hot chilli flakes, salt flakes

• 2 serves of the pasta of your choice, I prefer spaghetti

• Grated Parmesan cheese

Method:

Heat oil in large pan over medium heat.

Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add tomatoes with puree, olives, anchovies, capers, oregano, parsley, basil and crushed hot chilli flakes.

Simmer sauce over medium-low heat until thickened, breaking up tomatoes with spoon, about 8 minutes. Season with salt.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite.

Before draining the pasta, spoon 4-6 tablespoons of pasta water in to your sauce.

Drain pasta; return to same pot. Add sauce and any left over fresh herbs. Toss over low heat until sauce coats pasta.

Serve with a generous amount of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

Makes 3 generous serves

Ingredients

1 head of broccoli, broken in to small florets, steamed for 5 minutes

200g lean bacon, finely sliced and pan fried until crispy

250ml cooking cream (I use the Philadelphia cream for cooking light)

5g (half a bunch) of chives, finely sliced

200-250g sliced mushrooms, sautéed in 1tsp of butter until tender

150g baby spinach leaves (put these at the bottom of the colander and pour the boiling pasta water over the top to quickly cook the spinach leaves)

250g pasta (I used spelt spirals, but any pasta you crave will work)

1/4 cup Parmesan

Salt and pepper

Method

Prepare all the ingredients as above.

Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the packet.

Reduce the stove to a medium heat.

Drain the pasta over the spinach leaves, the return to the pot.

Add all the other ingredients and gently stir through until well combined.

When the mixture has return to an acceptable temperature, serve with a garnish of more parmesan and fresh pepper.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

1/3 cup shelled hazelnuts (roasted)

3 zucchini

2 cups of rocket leaves

4 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and black pepper

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

3/4 cup mixed green and purple basil leaves (if available – if not, just use green basil, particularly the tiny leaves and flowers)

1/2 cup mint leaves (individual of small, shredded finely if large)

1/2 cup Parmesan (use a potato peeler to make Parmesan ribbons

2 teaspoons hazelnut oil or olive oil for dressing.

Method:

Hazelnuts – Let them cool down before chopping roughly or just crushing lightly with the side of a large knife.

Place a ridged griddle pan on a high heat and leave it there until it’s almost red-hot — at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim the ends of the zucchini and cut them on an angle into 1cm thick slices. Place them in a bowl and toss with half the olive oil and some salt and pepper. Place the slices in the hot grill pan and char-grill for about 2 minutes on each side; turn them over using tongs. You want to get distinct char marks without cooking the zucchini through. Put in the fridge to cool.

Put rocket leaves and herbs in to a mixing bowl, toss together and scatter in a shallow bowl for presentation.

Once the zucchini have cooled down, layer them over the leafy mix, then scatter a few extra herbs, the Parmesan ribbons, and the hazelnuts. Season with salt and pepper, then drizzle the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Enjoy!