Meatball Giovetsi

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giovetsi 17/06/2017

Originally made with chicken, lamb or beef, giovetsi is a one pan Greek dish where everything is baked together to bubbling perfection to create an aromatic and delicious meal.

The orzo is toasted in the pan before adding the liquid to give a wonderfully nutty flavour. I have used halloumi to top and sausage meat to create meatballs purely because that is what I had but as with all my recipes, feel free to substitute for whatever you prefer. You will still end up with a gorgeous dinner!

Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

  • Sausage meat from 2 sausages, casing removed
  • ½ large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 1 pinch of rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp tomato puree
  • pinch of ground cinnamon and oregano
  • ½ cup of orzo
  • 1 ½ cups of chicken stock
  • Halloumi Cheese

Method:

  1. Add the sausagemeat, breadbrumbs, seasoning, rosemary and half the onion in a bowl and mix well. Shape the mix into small meatballs. (I made 8).
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180C
  3. In a frying pan, over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp oil and gently fry the sausage balls on all sides until browned all over. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Add your onions and peppers to the pan and sauté for 5-7 minutes or until softened.
  5. Add the Orzo and stir for a few minutes to toast the kernels.
  6. Add the hot stock, tomato puree, cinnamon and oregano and bring to a boil while stirring. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  7. Transfer to an oven-proof baking dish and add your meatballs.
  8. Fry a few strips of halloumi in the same pan until lightly browned and top the orzo with these then bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes or until most of the juices have been absorbed and the top is golden brown.
  9. Serve hot with green salad.
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Cheesy Lentil Bake

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lentil 13/06/2017

You could try using different veggies and cheeses for this. I just used what I had in at the time but this could be great with leeks, spring onions, parsnips, green beans, peppers… anything. Just remember that since you want this cheesy lentil slice to set nice and firm, you’ll need to thoroughly cook any particularly wet vegetables beforehand, and cut them nice and small.

This cheesy lentil slice is super high in protein and fibre and it’s still absolutely delish. The slice can be… well, sliced. This means that as well as making a great dinner alongside some homemade chips, garlic bread, salad or whatever else tickles your fancy, it can also be packed into lunch boxes to be served cold. Gotta love a versatile recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 190g red lentils
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, diced fairly small
  • 60g frozen peas
  • 75g rolled oats
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp each oregano and thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 70 g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 large tomato, sliced

Instructions:

  1. Add the red lentils, chicken stock and tomato puree to a saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Cook over a medium heat until the red lentils are tender and any excess liquid has cooked off – around 15 minutes. You’ll need to stir regularly, especially in the last few minutes, to ensure the lentils don’t stick to the pan.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan, and add the chopped onion and carrot. Cook for a few minutes over a medium heat, until softened then add the peas for a couple more minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. When the lentils are cooked, transfer them to a large mixing bowl, and add the cooked vegetables, rolled oats, smoked paprika, herbs and a generous pinch of black pepper. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes then add about half of the grated cheese (hold some back for topping). Mix thoroughly.
  4. Spread the lentil mixture out into a greased baking tin (mine was 9 inches squared), and smooth out the top. Add the remaining grated cheese and a few slices of tomato. Bake at 180°C for around 45 minutes, or until the lentil slice is firm and the cheese on top is golden (cover with foil if you feel the cheese is browning too quickly). Either serve immediately, or allow to cool and cut into slices.

 

Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni

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Screenshot_2016-06-25-13-51-45-1[1] 25/06/2016

Here is a beautiful recipe for a homely, comforting dinner. It is a little hands on and requires a bit of effort and time in the kitchen but that is half of the fun and the resulting meal is satisfying and flavourful. If you are pushed for time or don’t have the patience then you can cut corners such as using ready made lasagne sheets or cannelloni tubes and buying ready made pasta sauce but you WILL be able to tell the difference.

The pasta in my recipe is so easy to make and the touch of wholemeal flour in the recipe not only adds texture and flavour but fibre too.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 200g ricotta
  • 300g fresh spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 500ml passata
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • Fresh basil, a handful, roughly chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A pinch of sugar

For the wholemeal cannelloni:

  • 50g wholemeal flour
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1 large egg
  • Pinch of salt
  • A dash of water, optional

For the béchamel sauce:

  • A knob of butter
  • 2 tsp plain flour
  • Semi skimmed milk
  • Salt and ground white pepper
  • Nutmeg, finely grated
  • Parmesan, finely grated, for topping

Method:

For the spinach and ricotta filling:

  1. Bring a saucepan with 1cm of water to the boil. Add the fresh spinach and wilt it for 30 seconds. Drain all the water and, using a pair of rubber gloves, squeeze the excess water from the spinach.
  2. Roughly chop the spinach and add it to a mixing bowl along with the ricotta, garlic, seasoning and nutmeg. Set aside in the fridge.

For the tomato sauce:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Gently sweat the onions for 8-10 minutes until soft and lightly golden. Add the garlic and stir for another minute.
  2. Add the passata, sugar and seasoning and leave to simmer gently for 20-30 minutes. Stir occasionally then add the basil before removing from the heat.
  3. Place half of the sauce in the base of a loaf tin or ovenproof dish and set the other half aside.

For the wholemeal cannelloni:

  1. Place the flours and salt into a mixing bowl. Add in the egg and combine with a fork until a dough is formed. You may need a little added water to help combine the dough.
  2. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes. Wrap in cling-film and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  3. When ready, roll the dough into one long sheet. You can do this with a pasta machine if you have one but a rolling pin and good old fashioned elbow grease is just as good if you don’t. Roll the dough as thinly as you can.

For the béchamel:

  1. Heat the butter in a milk pan. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Cook the flour out over a low-medium heat for a couple of minutes then, away from the heat, add a splash of milk and whisk constantly until thickening. This will happen very quickly. Keep adding small amounts of milk and whisking to incorporate. Keep adding milk until you have a saucy consistency and place back over the gentle heat.
  2. Add the nutmeg and seasoning and keep stirring on the heat until the correct thickness is achieved.

To assemble:

  1. Cut the long sheet of pasta into 8-10 rectangles and fill each with a good dollop of the spinach, ricotta filling. Roll up the rectangles to encase the filling in a cylinder and place each cylinder on top of the tomato sauce in your loaf tin.
  2. Top with the remaining tomato sauce then drizzle the béchamel sauce over the top.
  3. Top with plenty of grated parmesan and bake in an oven preheated to 180C for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

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Meatball & Mozzarella Bake

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IMG_20160409_130649[1] 09/04/2016

You can’t plate this up politely. The cheesy topping goes deliciously gooey and stringy so just put it in the middle of the table with a salad and loads of crusty garlic bread and let everyone wrestle out a portion.

The sauce is delicately flavoured with paprika and the tiniest bit of chilli heat which mellows as it bakes to give a wonderful depth of flavour. Teamed with oozing cheese and chunky veg, this is a real luxurious meal.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  • 250g lean beef mince
  • 250g lean pork mince
  • 1 small red onion, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • Milk

For the sauce:

  • Olive oil, for frying
  • 1 small red onion, chopped finely
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 500ml passata
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 200g mozzarella (Block form), grated
  • 100g mascarpone
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Method:

  1. For the meatballs: Put the onion, beef and pork mince, breadcrumbs, fennel, oregano, smoked paprika, garlic and plenty of seasoning into a bowl. Add a splash of milk to soak up the breadcrumbs and combine. Shape into 20 meatballs. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan and brown the meatballs in batches. Once browned, set aside on a plate.
  2. For the sauce: Add the chopped onions to the pan with another Tbsp oil. Fry gently until soft then add the garlic, pepper and chilli and fry for another couple of minutes.
  3. Add the passata, smoked paprika and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a simmer and allow to bubble gently for 20 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
  4. Add the meatballs back to the sauce.
  5. Mix 150g of the grated mozzarella with the mascarpone and a little seasoning. Spoon the cheesy mix over the meatballs in dollops and scatter over the remaining mozzarella.
  6. Heat the oven to 190C. Bake for 30 minutes until the meatballs are piping hot and cooked through and the cheesy top is golden and bubbling. Let the dish cool for 5 minutes before spooning into nice large bowls and diving in with some crusty garlic bread.

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