Lamb meatballs

These are really simple, tasty and most children will happily gobble them up. They work well as part of a middle eastern style mezze plate or in a flatbread wrap with tsatsiki and salad. You can spice them up a bit more if you are so inclined.

Ingredients

A kilo of lean lamb mince (ask the butcher to make it if you have one nearby)

3-4 cloves of garlic minced

1-2 teaspoons of smoked paprika

2 tablespoons of chopped rosemary (oregano and Thyme also work well)

Tablespoon of finely chopped parsley

A teaspoon of salt

Method

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and with clean hands (I use disposable gloves). And mix really well. You can leave this in the fridge to marinate for a bit if you have time.

Roll the mixture into balls a bit smaller than a ping pong ball.

Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and cook the meatballs in batches Until brown on the outside.

I like them slightly pink in the middle but if you don’t pop them in a foil covered dish in a 180 degree oven for 10 minutes.

No photo today as they all got gobbled up!

You can mix up the herbs and ramp up the spice factor with these, oregano, coriander, mint, chilli, cumin or Harissa all work well..

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A ratatouille/caponata hybrid

As a student on a budget I used to make ratatouille all the time and eat it with pasta/rice and couscous. I have recently rediscovered it as something that can be in the fridge and added to some grilled fish, chicken, quinoa or rice. I tend to cook it in the oven which seems to enhance the rich flavours and reduce the liquid content. You can leave out the anchovies if you are veggie or not a fan – they really act as a seasoning here.

Ingredients

2 onions halved and sliced

6 -8 cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 tin of anchovies

3 red peppers deseeded and chopped into 2 cm chunks (the bullhorn ones are my favourites)

A large Aubergine quartered lengthways and cut into 1-2 cm slices

2-3 courgettes sliced into 1-2cm slices

1 jar tomato passata or 2 tins chopped tomatoes

1-2 bay leaves

Olive oil

Salt

A bay leaf if you have

Some fresh basil if you have it

Dash of balsamic vinegar

Method

Put oil in pan

add onion, anchovies if using, garlic and eggplant and cook on a lowish heat with a pinch of salt

When they have started to soften add the rest of the veg and bay leaf if you have it . When they are softening add the passata and a splash (and I mean a splash) of water plus another pinch of salt if you like.

Let it simmer on the hob for 20 mins partially covered or until the veg is nice and soft, you can also pop it in the oven with a lid on for an hour on about 150 degrees.

Taste and adjust seasoning as required, add the balsamic and adjust.

*TIP* when buying passata I find the Mutti brand is the nicest – very rich and thick.

Let it cook and put in the fridge until you are ready to eat

Getting ahead

There is nothing better than going to bed on a Sunday night feeling like you are ready for the week ahead. Spending the whole of Sunday in the kitchen isn’t always a reality so here’s my tip for getting through the week with minimal effort in the kitchen.

I bake some chicken fillets (foil, splash of oil, salt herbs) 20 mins 200 degrees

While they are cooking I cook some quinoa – 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water with a pinch of salt – cook until water almost all absorbed then switch off put a lid on and you are ready

Hummus – tin of chickpeas, clove of Garlic a tablespoon of tahini or peanut butter if you have if otherwise a splash of oil or water and juice of a lemon – seasoning and in the blender and whizz until smooth and creamy

Cabbage salad – shred a quarter of a white cabbage then whisk up 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or juice of a lemon 2 table spoons of oil a pinch of salt and sugar and whisk. Once it’s all amalgamated mix into the cabbage.

Put everything in the fridge (let the chicken and quinoa cool completely.

You now have the makings of lunch and or supper for a couple of days, you can add to it with some fridge staples including; chopped tomato, cucumber, olives, feta, avocado, toasted seeds even some grilled halloumi.

Frittata with smoked trout, spinach Leeks and courgettes. 


Frittata is my go-to healthy (or not so healthy) easy breakfast/lunch option.  My local fish shop had lovely smoked trout so  I made this.  It makes 4 -8 serves depending on hunger/greed. 

Ingredients 

8 free range eggs

150 grams (ish) hot smoked trout or salmon

1 leek sliced finely 

2 zucchini chopped 

Handful of two of spinach 

Salt and pepper 

Chives or dill or parsley  (if you have them) finely chopped. 

1. Turn oven on to 200 degrees 

2 Line a baking tray or cake tin with paper or spray with oil 

3. Fry the leek in a splash of oil in a frying pan with a pinch of salt until it softens 

4. Put the leek straight in the tin then add chopped zucchini, spinach and flake in the fish.  Season with a big of salt and pepper. 

5. Whisk up eggs with a splash of water seasoning and chopped herbs  and pour over other ingredients. 

6. Put in oven for 20-25 minutes, when you can see the egg is starting to set turn off thr oven and leave for a few minutes then take it out and  let it cool down. 

Orange and Poppyseed cake 


This is the ONLY cake my son likes and I end up making it a lot.  It is pretty easy to make too and is a good lunchbox treat. 

Ingredients: 

1 cup self raising flour

1 cup sugar 

2 eggs 

50g butter melted 

Zest and juice of an orange 

Tablespoon of poppy seeds

1/3 cup milk 

Method 

Preheat oven to 180 degrees 

Line a cake or loaf tin with baking paper 

Mix all ingredients except flour and juice of orange in a bowl

Add flour and mix well 

Add orange juice, the mixture is quite runny do not be alarmed by this! 

Bake for 30 mins. 

I freeze leftovers and put in lunchboxes 

Sausage rolls part 2: vegetarian 

There is nothing sausagey is in these but they are actually almost nicer than the meat version… 

1 packet of puff pastry 

2 onions finely chopped

4 cloves garlic crushed

2 large carrots grated

2 large courgettes/zucchini grated 

6 mushrooms grated 

Handful of combo of parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary

Salt and pepper 

Handful of grated Parmesan cheese 

375 -400 g ricotta cheese 

1 eggs beaten 

1. in a large frying pan fry the onion, garlic, veg and herbs with a pinch of salt on a low heat until all the water has been cooked out and they are slightly golden round the edges. Allow to cool 

2. Turn oven on to 200 degrees and prep two baking trays by lining them with paper.  

3. In a large bowl mix ricotta, Parmesan and vegetables together add a bit of extra seasoning if  needed.   

4. Lay pastry sheets out and cut in half  add a sausage of filling to each half sheet and roll up.  Repeat until you have used all the mixture.  Cut each one into six pieces and brush with beaten egg 

5. Cook for 30-40 minutes or until golden and then cool on a wire rack. 

You can freeze these too and vary the vegetables, leeks and celery are always nice in this.  

Sausage rolls part 1

Sausage rolls are a favourite in my house and having experimented I have finally hit upon a recipe that is moderately healthy and delicious enough to keep even the fussiest five year old happy.  

This is the meat version, vegetarian version coming soon! 

This makes loads and you can freeze them easily so you are prepared for evenings with no time to cook and unexpected guests. 

1 -2 packet of ready rolled puff pastry 

1 kg beef mince 

2 onions finely chopped 

4 cloves of garlic crushed

2 large carrots finely grated 

1-2 courgettes/zucchini finely grated 

4-5 mushrooms grated 

A handful of hardy herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage and parsley. (Dried versions are totally fine) 

Salt and pepper 

One egg beaten 

1. In a frying pan on a low heat fry the onion, carrot, zucchini, mushrooms and garlic.  Add a pinch of salt. This will take 20-30 mins so be patient.   Take pastry out of freezer to defrost 

2 Add in the herbs and once the vegetables have cooked, and the onion is transclucent and the pan relatively dry, take off the heat and allow to cool slightly. 

3 . Turn oven on to 200 degrees and get a couple of baking sheets lines lined with baking paper ready. 

4. Put the meat and vegetables in a bowl and mix well (if you are squeamish about touching meat with your hands a pair of disposable gloves are a good idea) 

5. Lay the pastry on a board and cut in half , take a handful of filling and lay it on a sausage in the middle, then roll up. Repeat until you have used all the meat or pastry.  

6. Cut each roll into 6 pieces and put on baking tray , take beaten egg and a pastry brush and brush egg on top of each roll. 

7. Bake for 30-40 mins or until golden 

8. Cool on a wire rack.