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.



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






south african ‘frikkadel’ in a creamy tomato broth

This dish brings back very fond childhood memories. The smell of the ‘frikkadel’ lingering through the house as it was baked in the oven sits firm in my memory bank. They always tasted the same, never different, which now tells me that it was obviously a recipe that was passed down many generations to my mother who never felt the desire to change or alter it. And rightly so, as the ‘frikkadel’ recipe i so well remember was delightfully delicious and completely moreish.
Frikkadel is a traditional AFrikaner dish, consisting of minced meat, onion, bread, eggs, vinegar & spices and then baked or sometimes deep-fried.
There are so many amazing sides to this dish although it was served with rice in our family home thus making rice the traditional side for me.
This recipe is not that of my mother as I think some things are meant to be kept secret.
I used the base of the original recipe with a few tweaks here and there and then turned it up a notch to boost it to the 21st century.
Frikkadels can be made ahead of time and freeze really well so i suggest doubling the recipe to give you extra for the freezer. Perfect for lazy days or days when you really just don’t have much time to spend behind the stove.

ingredients | serves 4-6 | easy
500g minced beef (or pork of a mixture of the two)
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1T crushed garlic
2 medium tomatoes, centre removed and cut into small blocks
1 egg
2T chopped parsley
1.5T worcester sauce
1/2C breadcrumbs
2T chutney (i used Mrs Balls)
1/2t salt
1/2t black pepper
3T olive oil, for frying

For the tomato broth
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 can chopped tomato
1T brown sugar
1t salt
1/2t black pepper
1/2t dried oregano
1/2t dried basil
1/2t dried parsley
1/2t chilli flakes (optional)
1T butter
1T olive oil
1/2C cream
Bunch fresh parsley, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs except the breadcrumbs & egg together. Break the egg into the mixture, add the breadcrumbs and using your hands, mix until well combined.
Form balls a little smaller than a golf ball, using the palms of your hands.
Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan and brown the frikkadels on all sides. Transfer the frikkadels to an ovenproof dish and bake for about ten minutes. Lift the frikkadels out of the skillet, pour the juices out of the skillet and set aside. (Do not clean the skillet)

Heat the olive oil & butter for the tomato broth in the same skillet of the frikkadels. (This will add more flavour to your broth)
Saute the onion until glossy. Add the oregano, basil, dried parsley & chilli flakes and cook for about one minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, brown sugar, garlic, salt & pepper and cook on a low heat for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour the juices from the baked frikkadles into the broth and stir well.
Add the cream to the tomato broth and stir through.

Place the frikkadels into the tomato sauce, cover with a lid and cook for about five minutes until heated through.

Dish the frikkadels into bowl and pour the sauce around it. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve with basmati rice or mashed potato.


meatballs in curry cream

Mince is just one of those ingredients that i always have in my freezer as there are so many wonderful dishes i can cook using it.
Good, easy and quick food is really what I am after most days. Not because i don’t have enough time or because I am lazy but merely because I also want to spend quality time with my family.
I served this dish with basmati rice although mash will also make a wonderful accompaniment to soak up all the wonderful, flavourful juices.
And if you prefer a mixture of beef and pork mince, you are welcome to make that change. I, however, only had beef mince on hand.
You might think the meatballs are fairly plain, considering what i added to the meat, but it works really well as the sauce is wonderfully fragrant.

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
500g mince meat
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1tsp minced garlic
1/2c fine breadcrumbs
1 egg
1tsp salt
black pepper

place all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. using your hands, roll balls almost the size of a golf ball. set aside on a baking tray covered with baking paper.

curry cream sauce
2tbs Olive oil
good knob of butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2cm ginger, grated
2tsp mild curry powder
2tsp turmeric
1tbs brown sugar
2tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp onion seeds
1/2tsp chilli flakes (optional)
1 can chopped tomato
1 can coconut milk
bunch fresh cilantro
spring onion, sliced at an angle
salt to taste
black pepper to taste

method
Heat about 4 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet and brown the meatballs on all sides. Set aside.
Blitz the canned tomato until smooth. Set aside. In the same skillet, heat the olive oil and butter. Saute the onion until glossy. Add the ginger, curry powder, turmeric, sugar, & onion seeds and cook for about a minute. Add the chopped tomato and fish sauce, stir it through and cook for one minute. Season with salt & pepper. Add the chilli flakes now, if using.
Slowly pour the coconut milk into the skillet and bring the mixture to a light boil. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and add the meatballs. Cover with a lid and cook on low for about ten minutes, turning the meatballs once.
Remove the lid and cook for a further ten to fifteen minutes until the sauce has thickened and reduced, turning the meatballs halfway through cooking.
Roughly chop the cilantro and add it to the dish. Garnish with sliced spring onion.
Serve with basmati rice of mashed potato and a side dish of roasted pumpkin or sweet potato.


rosmarino & beef meatballs

another easy, great tasting mid week meal, perfect for the whole family! and of course, it is another one pot wonder, which falls right into my meal favourites!
a little effort as the meatballs take some time but if you double up the meatball recipe you can use half for this dish and the other half can be frozen for future use.
rosmarino and orzo pasta remind me of family comfort food…good food made easy. i sometimes tuck in with a spoon only.
and if you feel like treating yourself, break a few eggs into the dish a few minutes before the end of the baking time, making this a pasta & meatball shakshuka!!
home made chilli sauce and a side salad are the perfect accompaniments to this dish.

for the meatballs | makes about 35
500g minced beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
1tsp minced garlic
1 egg
handful fresh parsley, chopped
1tbs chutney
1tbs Worcester sauce
1c breadcrumbs
3/4c milk
1tsp dried oregano
1/2c finely grated parmesan cheese
1/2tsp salt
grind of black pepper

for the sauce
200g rosmarino or orzo pasta
3tbs olive oil
2tbs butter
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1tsp dried Italian herbs
1/2tsp fennel seeds
1tbs brown sugar
1tbs tomato paste
1 can chopped tomato
2c beef stock
1tsp salt
1/2tsp black pepper
1tsp onion seeds
1tsp dried oregano
1tbs fresh rosemary, chopped
120g mozzarella cheese, shredded
chives, for garnish

how to do it
pour the milk over the breadcrumbs and set aside. tip the mince into a mixing bowl together with the remaining ingredients. mix through. add the breadcrumb mixture and, using your hands, mix until well combined.
using the palms of your hands, roll small or medium sized meatballs and place it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. to cook, either fry the meatballs in a little oil until just cooked or place the whole baking tray into a 180 degrees C oven for about ten minutes, until just browned but not completely cooked through. set aside.
preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
in an ovenproof skillet or dutch oven, heat the olive oil and butter and sauté the onion until translucent. add the fennel seeds, Italian herbs, brown sugar, oregano, rosemary, onion seeds and tomato paste to the skillet and cook, while stirring, for about 2 minutes.
pour the chopped tomato into the skillet with the two cups beef stock. stir and bring to the boil. taste and season.
remove the skillet from the oven and drop the meatballs into the sauce. add the rosmarino pasta to the skillet and lightly press it down to ensure that it is covered with the sauce. cover the skillet with a tight fitting lid or tinfoil and bake for about 35 minutes, until the pasta is cooked through.
remove the skillet from the oven. nestle the shredded mozzarella into the sauce, cover with a lid again, and bake for a further 5 minutes.
remove from the oven and garnish with chopped chives.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x