… lovely long and slow weekend back at the cottage. So far it’s rained all weekend but sometimes I really love this. It somehow forces us to stay in and unwind ( i mean I know that we could go out but it’s raining…) and relax. It’s like mother nature has written us a sick note to give to the gym and gardening and all our other chores. Still busy cooking and writing but I’m currently finding this less of a chore and more relaxing as I potter around the kitchen baking and making notes. The Viking and I are currently addicted to playing scrabble so any excuse to sit down and play is alright by me… do we sounds like a couple of old fuddy-duddies? Am I not painting the picture of the cool, modern couple that you’ve come to expect of us? Well I think many people would be disappointed if they came to visit and expected us to be in full ‘London’ mode all the time, ready to entertain with a cocktail shaker in hand. It’s quite the opposite and we’re quite thankful for that because I think we’d potentially explode if we had to be ‘on’ all the time. Yesterday for instance, I cooked a little and The Viking watched the motorbike racing… we lit the fire in the evening and ate too much cake, oh and I think there may have been a bath involved at some point. When I get back to London next week my work-colleagues will ask me what I did this weekend and i’ll say something flippant like ‘nothing much, very relaxing’ and the truth of the matter is that that’s exactly what we did… nothing much… and I love it.
beef and venison meatballs with slow-cooked chilli tomato sauce
the good people at smeg are spreading the love again and have sent me the most wonderful multi-food grinder attachment for my stand mixer… now as you know, we’re not massive meat eaters here at Belleau Cottage and i’m also not the biggest gadget fan but you all know how much i’ve fallen in love with my stand mixer so any excuse to get it out and have a play is alright by me, plus on further reading I can pretty much grind anything with this beauty from nuts to vegetables so i’m seeing a lot of terrines and pates coming up in our lives.. particularly with the big C coming I can see this getting a lot of use. The grinder fits simply and cleverly onto the front nose of my stand mixer into a little slot I didn’t even know existed until yesterday. It has 3 different gradients for grinding and even has a sausage nozzle so I can make my own sausages which is rather exciting plus it all packs down into a handy and tidy little box for storage… essentially I am expecting great things, so you should too!
this sauce needs a minimum of two hours, longer if possible
2 medium onions – finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic – crushed
butter and olive oil
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
1 x tin’s worth of half white wine, half stock or water
rosemary, thyme and oreganofor the meatballs – makes 35 small meatballs
1 medium onion – finely chopped
1 clove of garlic – crushed
2 teaspoons oregano
250g venison – ground unless you have a grinder
450g chuck steak – ground unless you have a grinder
half a loaf of basic white bread – crusts removed and roughly torn
a dash of milk
olive oilto start with we’re going to caramelise the onions for both the tomato sauce and the meatballs so use all three onions and all the cloves of garlic at the same time… add them to a large hot pan with olive oil and a little butter and gently saute them for about 20 mins on a medium heat, with a pinch or two of sugar and some chopped fresh herbs… keep your eye on them, they want a little golden colour but you don’t want them to stick…
once they’re done spoon out about a third and set aside, then add the tinned tomatoes, wine and stock to the remaining onions, turn the heat to it’s very lowest and let them plop away gently for at least 2 hours if not longer.
grind your meats, add plenty of salt and pepper and set aside.
place the bread in a large bowl add the milk and stir until it’s all absorbed… next add the rest of the ingredients and the onions and get your hands stuck in and bring at all together ensuring it’s well mixed
prepare a baking tray with foil, then pour some oil onto your hands and form little meatballs from the meat mixture, you want them the size of a large marble… lay them out evenly on the baking tray and then bake in the oven on 180C for 20 mins or until golden and gorgeous
add them to the sauce before serving either as they are or with some pasta or rice