porcupine beef meatballs

Porcupine meatballs, an American dish consisting of ground beef & rice were a staple during the Great Depression. Rice was added as a way of stretching the beef to yield more meatballs.
So called because the cooked rice sticks out of the sides of the meatballs.

To accommodate my 16 month old daughters’ palate and also include her in family dinners rather than cooking her a completely different meal, I like to keep weekday dinners simple yet delicious, flavourful and still nutritious.
Having a curious little human run around the house while trying to make a great meal can sometimes be a little challenging so I always suggest having a few easy, no-fail recipes that simplifies life and meal prep.

This is a hearty and comforting meal, cooked in a rich tomato sauce. Since the rice is added to the meat there is no need to cook a starch to serve alongside. You can, however, serve these on sweet potato or butternut mash.
As a vegetable side I suggest sweet roasted carrots or a mixture of buttered broccoli and cauliflower.

To make these meatballs extra nutritious you can add grated zucchini or carrot to the meat mixture. And for extra flavour, try adding finely grated parmesan or any hard, rich cheese.

ingredients | makes about 15 | easy
for the meatballs
500g lean beef mince
1/2 white onion, grated
2 garlic cloves, grated
1/2C long grain rice
1t dried oregano
1T fresh thyme leaves
1/2C milk
1 egg
1/2t fine salt
black pepper
olive oil, for browning

for the tomato sauce
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 can crushed tomato
400ml beef stock
2T tomato paste
2t paprika
2t mixed dried herbs / italian seasoning
1T brown sugar
2T Worcestershire sauce
1t fine salt
good grind of black pepper
handful fresh parsley, garnish
fresh cilantro to serve (optional)
1T olive oil
2T butter

method
In a large bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients together except the olive oil.
Mix well using your hands and then roll into balls the size of a golf ball.

Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet or pan with a lid and brown the meatballs on all sides. Set aside.
Without wiping the pan clean, add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and the butter. Heat and saute the onion & garlic until glossy. Add the tomato paste & brown sugar and cook for about one minute. Add the paprika and dried herbs and stir to combine.
Pour the crushed tomato into the skillet followed by the Worcestershire sauce & beef stock. Stir to combine.
Season with salt & pepper.
Drop the meatballs into the sauce and bring the mixture to the boil.
Reduce the heat, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for about one hour until the rice is cooked and most of the moisture have been absorbed.

Garnish with the chopped parsley and cilantro.







herby beef fillet with flavoured butter

Rosemary, thyme, garlic &. butter are four key ingredients to a super delicious, flavourful steak and are four ingredients I seldom cook without. Steak is rarely cooked in my kitchen as we prefer to cook it outside, on the ‘braai’ which is customary to our heritage and tradition.
In fact, ‘braai’ is such a big part of South-African tradition there is a day that has been dedicated to it. (Heritage Day.)

Although you can easily cook this recipe on the fire my preferred method is in a griddle pan on the stove.
A griddle pan uses less oil, ensures even cooking and provides those beautiful char marks we all find so very appealing. The compound butter enhanced and complemented the meat beautifully and since you serve the steak topped with extra butter, you don’t need a sauce.

ingredients | serves 4 | a little effort
for the fillet
4 portions beef fillet
8 rosemary stalks
16 thyme sprigs
3T olive oil
salt to taste
black pepper

for the compound butter
130g butter, room temperature
handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
zest of 1 lemon
1/2t crushed cumin seeds
1/4t red pepper flakes
1/2t onion powder

method
In a bowl, combine the compound butter ingredients and mix well using a wooden spoon. Lie a piece of clingfilm on a work surface and spoon the butter mixture onto the centre of the clingfilm. Roll the butter into a log and twist the ends to seal well.
Place into the freezer for at least one hour.

Tie the rosemary & thyme around the fillet steaks using cooking string.
Drizzle the steaks with the olive oil and gently rub it into the meat, around the herbs. Season with salt & pepper.

Slice the compound butter into rounds using a sharp knife and discard the clingfilm.
Cook the steak in a hot griddle pan, turning as you go. Add about half of the compound butter halfway through cooking to baste the steaks until you have reached the preferred doneness.

Rest the meat for at least ten minutes before serving, topped with a round of compound butter.


I


parmesan loaded meatball & orecchiette skillet

As pastas go I don’t have one specific favorite. I love all kinds, for very different reasons.
The general rule of thumb is that wide, flat pastas like pappardelle or tagliatelle love cream based sauces and long, round pastas, like spaghetti, are best served with a good drizzle of olive oil or draped in tomato based sauces, which beautifully coats each strand evenly.
“Rigate” means ridges, which makes it easy for sauces like pesto to cling to the pasta.
Short shaped pasta varieties, which includes orecchiette, are ideal for holding rich, hearty sauces with textures from vegetables or proteins.

Since making meatballs can be a little time consuming I make it worth my while by making two batches. One to use immediately and the other to freeze for a different occasion or dish. They freeze really well and bake beautifully straight from frozen.

These mini meatballs are packed with parmesan and herbs giving them a lot of flavor so they are perfect on their own as a snack or canape, served with spaghetti or in a beautiful creamy pasta dish such as this one.

ingredients | makes about 30-35 mini meatballs | a little effort
500g beef mince
1/2 white onion, very finely chopped
1t finely chopped garlic
5 thyme stalks, leaves only
2 rosemary stalks, leaves finely chopped
handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2C finely grated parmesan
1/2C fine breadcrumbs
1 whole egg
1T worcester sauce
2T chutney (I used Mrs Balls, original)
1/2t fine salt
good grind of black pepper
2-3T olive oil for frying

for the sauce
2T butter
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1t crushed garlic
3T sun-dried tomato pesto (optional)
1 can crushed tomato
1 1/2C – 2C beef stock
1 1/2t dried oregano
1T brown sugar
1t fine salt
black pepper to taste
1 1/2C orecchiette pasta shells
1/2C cream, full fat
fresh parsley, garnish
fresh cilantro, garnish
fresh parmesan, garnish

the method
Combine all of the meatball ingredients in large bowl. Using your hands, mix well until combined and then, with the palms of your hands, roll into balls just larger than bite size.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet and brown the meatballs on all sides. Set aside.

In the same skillet, heat and melt the butter and cook the onion until glossy. About two minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Add the oregano & pesto and cook for another minute, while stirring.
Pour the beef stock & crushed tomato into the skillet, add the brown sugar, salt & pepper and stir. Add the pasta shells, stir to coat and then nestle the meatballs into the sauce.
Turn the heat down to a low simmer, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for about 20 – 25 minutes, while occasionally stirring, until the pasta is cooked. Stir the cream through the pasta mixture.

Garnish with fresh parsley & cilantro and top with large shavings of parmesan.



rib-eye top roast

There is something quite special about a good roast. For me it brings back many beautiful childhood memories visiting our grandparents on their farm in a little place called Citrusdal, situated at the base of the Cederburg mountains.
Although we were very young and spent most of our time outside in the orchards eating kumquats or chasing chickens and collecting eggs, I have fond memories of great tasting beef roasts served with all kinds of dipping sauces and gravies.

This rib-eye roast is definitely a shorter version of the beef roasts my grandmother used to cook. However, considering my age then, my recollection of her beef roasts may even be a little blurred.
Childhood memories are there to be cherished even if they may not always be one hundred percent accurate.

I served this roast with buttered green beans, crispy potatoes cooked in duck fat and a creamy mushroom & truffle sauce.

ingredients | serves 6 | easy
2kg beef rib eye top roast
2t garlic powder
2t onion powder
1t dried sage
1 1/2t coriander seeds, crushed
2t dried thyme
1t dried rosemary
1t crushed black pepper
salt to taste
1/3C or a even a little more of olive oil

Combine all of the dry ingredients except the salt in a small bowl. Add the olive oil and combine to make a paste.
Using your hands, rub the paste into the roast.
Wrap the roast with clingfilm and place it in the fridge to marinate for a minimum of one hour. Remove the roast from the fridge and allow it to come up to room temperature. (About an hour).
Preheat the oven to 240 degrees C.
Remove the clingfilm, season with salt and place the roast, fat side up, on a rack in a roasting pan.
Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Reduce the heat to 165 degrees C and continue to roast for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
(This depends on the size of the meat. As a guide, roasting time should be about 20 minutes per 500g.)
If you have a meat thermometer, the internal temperature of the meat should read 65 degrees C for medium rare.

Carefully remove the roast from the oven, loosely cover with tin foil and leave to rest for about 20 minutes before slicing into beautiful thick slices.



succulent beef meatballs with extra vegetables

Meatballs always sound like so much effort but once you start it really goes fairly quickly. The most time is spent rolling them to size.
I do love meatballs and what i love most about these is that they are packed with extra vegetables, making them very beneficial for my toddlers health. I love preparing meals i can sneak extra vegetables into.
Softer in texture due to the abundance of extra veggies, they still hold their shape really well. I normally double the recipe and freeze half for another occasion as they make the perfect cheat meal when you’re in a hurry or just didn’t have time to prepare dinner.

ingredients | makes about 15 | easy
Olive oil
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1/2t crushed garlic
400g beef or lamb mince
1 large zucchini, grated
1 large carrot, grated
1/2t dried oregano
2t finely chopped fresh parsley
3/4c fine breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/2t fine salt
1/2t black pepper

for the sauce
Olive oil
1T butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2t crushed garlic
1 can chopped tomato
1T tomato paste
1T Worcester sauce
1T brown sugar
1c beef stock
1t turmeric
5 sprigs thyme, leaves only
1/2t fine salt
1/2t black pepper
1/2c cream
handful fresh parsley, chopped

how to
Combine all of the meatball ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, mix the ingredients until well combined.
Roll the mixture into balls just bigger than golf balls, using the palms of your hands and place them onto a large baking tray. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet and brown the meatballs on all sides.
Remove the meatballs from the skillet and set aside.
In the same pan, heat the butter and a drizzle of olive oil. Add the chopped onion and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
Add the tomato paste and turmeric and cook for one minute. Pour the chopped tomato & beef stock into the pan, add the Worcester sauce & brown sugar and bring to a gentle boil. Gently place the meatballs into the sauce, bring the heat down to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove the lid and leave to simmer until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
Add the thyme, salt & pepper, give a gentle stir and cook for about five minutes. Pour the cream into the pan and simmer until slightly thickened.
Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve with mash or rice.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x