Saturday, 18 October 2008

Birthday Meatballs

Stuart asked for Beef Wellington for his birthday meal but as his birthday fell on a weekday, I suggested that the beef be served on the weekend instead. Maybe that wasn't such a great idea as I spent a great deal more time trying to come up with something to cook than it took to actually cook it. Also, not great when your boss suddenly turns around at 5PM asking you to work late! After a firm "no, I'm really sorry.... I would any other evening....." sort of conversation with my team, which left me feeling guilty for the rest of the day, I headed home in a foul mood to cook this meal. Breath........calm down.........! :)

I ended up making meatballs in tomato sauce - Stuart suggested burgers but I thought it wasn't 'birthday -y" enough ...... and meatballs are?? Haha. I managed to pick up some Aberdeen Angus beef mince, as well as some veal mince. Veal is making a rather slow comeback to this country but better than never :) Ages ago I was trying out a meatball recipe that called for veal and since I couldn't get my hand on any I ended up using a mixture of beef and pork. This time there was no set recipe. I mixed 500g of beef with 500g of veal, added whatever dried herbs I had in the cupboard - mint, basil, oregano, herbes de Provence - as well as a sprinkle of dry English mustard, a large beaten egg, some parmigiano reggiano and breadcrumbs made from 2 slices of bread (wholemeal as that's all I had on hand). This mixture probably made about 20 medium sized meatballs (enough for the both of us for dinner that night, lunch the next day and a few more neatly wrapped up and sitting snug in the freezer:)

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

As I was frying the meatballs to about 3/4 way done, I fried some bacon lardons, garlic and chopped up onion for the tomato sauce. When it was nicely caramelized, I added a tin of chopped tomatoes and a jar of passata. Letting it simmer (and the flavours infuse) before I added the meatballs to cook until done - another 20 minutes on a low simmer. I dished it up, topped it with some pesto I made a few days earlier using a mixture of mint, basil and coriander. I also substituted the usual pine nuts with sunflower seeds. On top of the pesto, I added grated cheddar before I popped it under a hot grill for a few minutes. Served with a salad and warmed baguette.

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce - Innards

For dessert we had individual vanilla and chocolate cheesecake pots from . I love their desserts and I haven't had one that has let me down yet. Emmm yummm!

Chocolate and Vanilla Cheesecake

A biscuit base topped with creamy vanilla cream cheese and finished with a 53% cocoa Belgian chocolate ganache. Quite decadent. Thank heavens it was only a little pot ;)

Chocolate and Vanilla Cheesecake

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