Also known as polpettone. The mixture can also be used to make meatballs. Part of the knack of making this is to keep the mixture quite dry, and to chill the mixture after preparation. The flavour develops well if you give it time.
500g minced beef
3 tbsp grated parmesan
a pinch of cinnamon
salt and pepper
4 tbsp white breadcrumbs (I used panko)
2 eggs, beaten
Juice of 1 lemon
Grated rind of half a lemon
Around 5 tbsp milk
1 large onion, sliced
2 tbsp butter
In a large bowl, mid the meat with the parmesan, cinnamon, salt and pepper, breadcrumbs, eggs, lemon juice and lemon rind. Add enough milk to make the mixture moist but not sloppy or sticky.
Kneed it well, shape it into a fat sausage shape, coat with more breadcrumbs, cover and chill in the fridge.
Heat the oven to 200C
Fry the onion in the butter until caramelised, and put it into the base of a tin, or other oven-safe dish of a suitable shape.
Put the mince mixture on top of the onions, and bake for around 35 minutes in a hot oven.
Slice and serve hot, with a tomato sauce, or cold, with a salad.
Fresh basil, if available, or use good quality green pesto sauce
1 pack of mozzarella cheese
50g grated parmesan
In a large bowl, mix the mince, breadcrumbs, oregano, cumin, chilli, rosemary and egg yolk. Season with 1 level teaspoon of salt and a good grating of black pepper. Get your hands right into the mixture and really knead it together so that it is smooth and consistent.
Shape into meatballs. I divided the mixture into 16 meatballs, but you could make these into 24 smaller meatballs. Put on a tray, and chill in the fridge until needed.
Put the fresh tomato sauce into the bottom of a large shallow casserole dish or other oven-safe dish.
Preheat a large flat-bottomed pan, and put in a good quantity of olive oil. Fry the meatballs quickly until they are browned all over. When they are done, put them into the tomato sauce.
Cover the meatballs in sauce, top the dish with the cheeses and pesto or basil.
Bake in a hot oven 200C for 20 minutes and serve with pasta. We got some posh tagliatelle from the co-op which worked well.
I need to add this recipe because it is used in so many other things. I’m just about to add some recipes for meatballs and this is a prerequisite.
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small chilli, finely chopped, or one dried chilli, crumbled
2 tsp dried oregano
3 tins of plum tomatoes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 handful of basil, roughly chopped (I have made this without, when none in the shops)
salt and pepper
In a large pan, gently fry the garlic in the olive oil.
Add the chilli, oregano and tomatoes. Don’t break the tomatoes up if possible, leave them whole. Bring to the boil and simmer very gently, checking every 10 minutes or so. If it is looking dry, add water.
Add the vinegar, and break up the tomatoes, stirring well. Add basil leaves, salt and pepper. A bit of very good olive oil can be added at this stage.
This makes a good quantity of tomato sauce, enough for one meatball recipe, and enough to serve six people.
This is a delicious tart, and a grand way of using the January supply of marmalade oranges. The juice is used to make a delicious orange curd that is baked in a pastry case. The recipe is from the Moro cookbook.
For the pastry shell:
140g plain flour
30g icing sugar
75g chilled butter, chopped small
1 egg yolk
For the curd filling:
140g caster sugar
170ml seville orange juice
170g unsalted butter, chopped small
4 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
grated zest from one orange
To make the pastry case, sift the flour and icing sugar together, and then rub the butter into the mixture to fine bread-crumb texture
Add the egg yolk and mix until the mixture comes together – it will be quite stiff and dry. You may need to add a teaspoon or two of milk or water. Shape the pastry into a ball, wrap and chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
When you are ready, grate the pastry on a coarse grater, and press it evenly around the edges and base of a tart tin, to a thickness of around 3mm. Prick the base and rest the pastry case in the fridge for 30 minutes. Put the oven to 220C.
Bake the pastry shell in the top of the oven for 15 minutes – should be light brown. Remove and cool on a rack. Turn the oven up to 240C
Next, make the curd. Put all the curd ingredients into the top pan of a double boiler, and cook slowly, stirring until thick. The mixture will thicken quite suddenly, after about 15 minutes or more.
Spread the curd into the tart shell, and bake at 240C for 10 minutes until the surface starts to brown.
As soon as the tart is baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool before serving.
This is delicious served slightly warm, with something cool and creamy. Try beating 50/50 creme fraiche and mascarpone together.
I have several recipe books devoted to preserving, jams and other such domestic creativity. This particular recipe for marmalade works well for me and for Mr B, who has very particular standards.
The marmalade should set well, be a pleasing colour, with good distribution of peel. The shreds of peel should be fine and short, about the thickness of a penny and maximum one centimetre long.
1 kg seville/marmalade oranges
2 kg jam sugar
2.5 litres of water
Wash the oranges, and put them in a large covered pan and simmer for around an hour and a half.
Remove the oranges from the liquid, and allow to cool.
Put around 8 clean jam-jars on a sheet in the oven at around 90C to warm and sterilise.
The messy bit; cut the oranges in half, and remove the pips. Scoop out the pulp and add to the pan.
To get a good set, put the pips in a small pan with some of the liquor and bring to the boil, and then strain this back into the big pan.
Next, cut the rind of three or four of the oranges into fine shreds. I do this by cutting the rind into 1cm wide strips, and then running a table knife along the inside of the peel to remove as much of the pith as possible. Then I chop into fine shreds, only adding the best ones to the pan. How much you add is a personal choice.
Start to bring the mixture to the boil, and add the sugar, stirring all the while.
Keep boiling until setting point is reached – around 222 (jam) on the thermometer. Use the wrinkle test and the flake test as well. Pour the marmalade into the warm jars, and leave to set.
A word about the flake test – this is my favourite method of checking that the jam or marmalade will set. I dip a spoon into the boiling jam and hold it horizontally. As the jam drips off the edge of the spoon, it will start to set, and the drips will start to join together, to form gelatinous webs.
I bought a mixed pack of grapes, and ended up with about half a pound of black grapes with a strange texture. Instead of ignoring them until we could throw them away, I made jam. I made it this way
200g black grapes
200g jam sugar
Put the grapes in a saucepan with half the lemon juice and put onto a low heat, and simmer until the grapes are soft
Put the fruit through a sieve to remove the skins and pips
Return the fruit to the pan with the rest of the lemon juice and the sugar.
Bring to a simmer until setting point is reached. I use a combination of a jam thermometer and the flake test to check for the setting point. For the flake test, I lift the stirring spoon out of the jam and see if the drips run together and partially set along the edge of the spoon.
Pour into a warm clean jar (this made only 1 jar of jam)
We had this tonight – part of the mince recipe challenge. Very good indeed. I had two helpings. The recipe looks a little odd, but trust me, it is fine.
2 thick slices of white bread
1 medium onion
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2oz raisins or sultanas
25g flaked almonds, or chopped almonds
2 tsp wine vinegar
2 tsp soft dark brown sugar
1 tbsp madras curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mixed herbs
2 tsp lemon juice
2 beaten eggs
Take the crusts off the bread, and soak it in the milk. Squeeze the milk out of the bread, and keep it for later.
Heat the oven to 180C
Peel and chop the onion finely
In a large pan, fry the onion in the oil and butter until it is softening but not brown. Remove from the heat.
Add the bread, sultanas, beef, almonds, vinegar, sugar, curry powder, salt, herbs, pepper, lemon juice and 1 tbsp of the beaten egg. Mix this all together well, and spread it into a greased oven-proof dish.
Mix the remaining egg with the reserved milk, and pour it over the top of the mixture.
Bake at 180C for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Cut into portions to serve. This is apparently good cold the next day. It is delicious warm. We had this with toast and some braised cabbage.
I made this one Christmas, but had to leave before it was served. I got rave reviews. Never made it since, but I think I will soon. Because of the alcohol, it is easy to serve and doesn’t go icy.
275ml red wine (such as a rioja)
1/3 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1 1/2 lemons
2 tbsp ruby port
1 egg white
Make a syrup. Add the sugar to the water, bring to boiling and simmer for 15 minutes. Cool and then chill in the fridge
Use a shredding tool or small knife to remove strips of zest from the orange and the lemon. Halve the fruit and squeeze out the juice.
Put the wine, spices, orange juice, lemon juice and zest in a saucepan, simmer for 5 minutes and then cool.
Once the wine is cold, add the port and put this in the fridge to chill
When the syrup and the wine are well chilled, add 225ml of the syrup into the wine mixture, and put this into an ice-cream machine and churn for 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat the egg whites with a whisk, until foamy, and add that to the ice-cream maker, and keep churning for another eight minutes.
Put the sorbet into a rectangular plastic box, and store in the freezer for up to a month.
If you don’t have an ice-cream machine, put the port and wine mixture in the freezer for a couple of hours, and then beat in the egg-whites, and return to the freezer. Take it out every hour or so for the next six hours, and give it a stir.
The best recipe. There are many others. It is worth following this Delia Smith recipe.
1 kg red cabbage, chopped
500g onions, finely chopped
500g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 nutmeg, grated
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
3 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and black pepper
Put the oven to 150C
In a large casserole dish, arrange a layer of shredded cabbage, then salt and pepper, then a layer of onions and apples, sprinkled with garlic sugar and spice. Continue to repeat these layers until everything is in the dish.
Pour over the vinegar, and dot the butter over the top.
Cover the dish tightly and put it in the oven for 2 1/2 hours. Stir and check a couple of times.
This dish reheats well, and it also freezes OK. We usually only have this at Christmas, with ham.