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.







nutella & banana crumpets

Another quick breakfast go-to that I love making early mornings!

Growing up, some Sunday evenings were spent in a more relaxed manner than a sit down Sunday meal. On these evenings my mother would make an old South-African favourite, called ‘Melkkos.” A heritage dish that brings back very fond childhood memories.
Perhaps these crumpets can replace the “melkkos” tradition now and again.

As batters go, this one can also be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. So save yourself time in the morning by making the batter the night before.
I served these delectable delights with thinly sliced banana, double thick cream and maple syrup. For a bit of a healthier alternative honey and natural yogurt will complement these just wonderfully.
Of course, if you really want to be bold, why not add a good dollop of extra Nutella and a sprinkling of chopped nuts too…?

ingredients | makes about 15 | easy
2C flour
1/2C castor sugar
2t baking powder
3 eggs
1t vanilla essence
1C milk
2 bananas, mashed
3-4 T nutella
pinch salt
olive oil

bananas, to serve
double thick cream, to serve
maple syrup, to serve
cocoa powder / icing sugar to dust

how to
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder & salt in a bowl and stir. Add the milk, eggs & vanilla essence. Mix well using a whisk or electric mixer.
Add the banana & nutella and give it a quick mix to combine.
Grease a non-stick pan with a little olive oil or cooking spray and drop about 1/4 cups full of batter into the pan.
Cook on medium heat until you notice little bubbles on the surface.
Turn and cook for a further minute or so until both sides have a beautiful golden colour.

Serve warm with your choice of topping or extras.

From my morning kitchen to yours, with love x


chocolate ganache tart

If you are, like me, a lover of chocolate and all things simple and beautiful, then this tart is for you!!
My no-fuss, no-bake chocolate ganache tart is a simple, delicious and decadent five ingredient tart that is a real crowd pleaser. It is so simple to put together and I am almost certain you will not be able to resist seconds.
It is the perfect dessert to brighten up any table and great for any impromptu occasion.

Serve this moreish beauty topped with fresh mixed berries, toasted nuts or fruit compote and double thick cream.

This is, undeniably, a dessert you will return to again and again.

ingredients | makes one large tart | easy
tart shell
200g tennis biscuits
115g melted butter

ganache filling
270g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
45g unsalted butter, blocks
1 1/2C full fat cream (room temperature)

berries to serve, optional
cocoa powder / icing sugar to serve, optional

method
Blitz the biscuits in a food processor until it resembles bread crumbs. Pour the melted butter over the biscuit crumbs and mix until well combined.
Grease a 25cm loose bottom tart tin with non-stick spray and line the base with parchment paper. Tip the biscuit crumbs into the tart shell and press it down and into the tin grooves using the back of a spoon.
Place the tart shell into the fridge to set for at least 30 minutes.

Combine the chocolate and butter in a bowl over simmering water and gently melt while stirring.
Once melted, pour the cream into the chocolate mixture, turn off the heat, and stir until well combined and smooth.
Pour the ganache into the tart shell, leave to stand for 15 minutes, and then place into the fridge to set for at least an hour before serving.

Serve topped with beautiful colourful berries, fresh mint and a dusting of cocoa powder or icing sugar.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x



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.



breakfast – coconut pancakes with banana & walnuts

Mornings are a very beautiful and special part of my day. It normally starts very early with a run in the gym and then I fall into the kitchen and start cooking breakfast. My favorite meal of the day.
I firmly believe that if your morning starts well it paves the mood for the rest of the day. And this includes a good meal. I make pancakes at least once a week not only because I love them but my toddler ABSOLUTELY loves it!
This recipe is a delicious alternative to my usual pancake recipe and yields beautiful light and fluffy little pancakes.
I added some sliced banana, toasted walnuts and maple syrup.
Another great addition is natural yogurt or creme fraiche, just to add to the moreish’ness of this delectable delight. And if you have time to spare, these will also love a drizzle of homemade salted caramel sauce.
To save you time in the morning, the batter can be made the night before, wrapped with clingfilm and stored in the fridge.

ingredients | makes about 12-15 | easy
1.5C plain flour
2T castor sugar
2t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1/2t fine salt
1/4C desiccated coconut
1 can (400ml) coconut milk
2 eggs
1t vanilla paste or 1.5t vanilla essence
bananas, to serve
maple syrup, to serve
toasted chopped walnuts, to serve
creme fraiche / natural yogurt to serve
icing sugar, for dusting

how to
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Using a handheld blender or whisk, beat until smooth.
Heat coconut oil or olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and drop about 1/4 cup batter into the pan for each pancake. Cook until you notice little bubbles on the surface, about 1 – 1 1/2 minutes. Turn and cook for a further 30 seconds to one minute until lightly browned.
Serve warm with your choice of topping.

Yours in food x