Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Comfort Food - The year is drawing to a close

There are weather warnings on the evening news. Snow and ice are expected across the mountains and hills by morning. The London rush hour is going to be chaos. Wales is going to be icy. Rain and cold no matter where you are. The winter has begun and is set to last.

Meanwhile, the end of the year is upon us. The last week of the liturgical year is perfectly placed. I love the dark, the weather, the little flickering lights blinking in preparation for Christmas. A time to look out for the first frost and the last light. Brilliant.

But, let us face it, this is no time of year to spend hours and hours in the kitchen. You need all the energy you have to absorb the calories of the seasonal food! And to catch your winter sleeps (everyone needs more sleep in winter - it is to do with light and biology - don't argue). 

Next week is Advent - Hurrah! I love it. But for now, let us just chill in the sofa. Note 'in' - you need a sofa that does that. 'On' will not suffice.

Meatballs and Tomato Sauce (yes, on top of spaghetti all covered in cheese)

Step one: Get your meatballs. 

Buy them organically, hand crafted from your nearest butcher - or.....

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 150g/5oz onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 900g/2lb freshly minced beef
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped herbs, such as marjoram, or 1 tbsp rosemary
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
    Heat the oil and sweat the crushed garlic and chopped onions. Mix the minced beef, herbs, seasoning and egg in a separate bowl. Mix the onions and garlic with the meat. Form into 24 little meatballs and refrigerate until needed.
    Then for the sauce: 24 meatballs, 3 slices of smoked bacon, 1 large spanish onion, 2 cloves of garlic, oregano from the cupboard, salt and pepper, olive oil, tomato puree and 2 tins of crushed tomatoes.
    Sweat the onion and garlic in the oil in large saucepan, and add the oregano (to taste). After these are soft add the tomato puree and the tins of tomatoes and leave on a very low heat to reduce for up to 30 mins. Here you can add wine if you have it. In a separate frying pan, brown the meatballs in olive oil, add bacon and season. When brown, add to the tomato sauce, with a slotted spoon or ladle (so as not to add extra oil to the meal). Lea and Perrins is good if you have it. :)
    Cook pasta how you normally do. Make it good pasta. Try fresh pasta. Please. 
    Serve and cover with cheese (parmigiano-reggiano is good, cheddar - don't do it, mozzarella is fun but unnecessary :) )

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