Sunday, April 20, 2008

Satisfying weekend dinners

After a few weekends of travelling and catching up with friends, this was one of those weekends where I made absolutely no plans and didn't leave the house. Ok not quite, there was a quick run to Waitrose on Sat and a jaunt to Peter Jones today, but apart from that, I was happily ensconced at home like a slug.

I think I should plan to stay home and cook more often, because I really love pottering around our kitchen. There's a large workbench to work on, lots of space to move around in. I guess it also helps to have nice equipment like a Neff induction hob and oven, and of course an appreciative audience to cook for.

Seeing as I had only cooked a rare few times ever since moving to my new place, I decided to make dinner for everyone. My landlady had a Nigel Slater recipe for meatballs which she really wanted to try, and since we had most of the ingredients, I decided to give it a go. To complete the meal, I also decided to do a warm Meditarranean salad.

Pork mince
Handful of parsley, chopped
6 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
6 anchovy fillets, chopped ( if you like the taste, I think you can put more)
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
White breadcrumbs (I used dried ones)
1 lemon
Flour, for rolling the meatballs in lightly
Olive oil
Chicken stock (I cheated and used a chicken cube dissolved in boiling water)
1. Mix mince with thyme, parsley and anchovy.
2. Grate the lemon to get the zest, and add that into your mixture. Cut lemon in half and squeeze the juice in as well.
3. Add the cheese and breadcrumbs, and mix thoroughly.
4. Season with some salt and black pepper.
5. Roll them into little balls and coat them lightly with flour.
6. Heat up butter and oil, and place meatballs in, cooking them on each side until golden brown (in my case, I left them on one side for a little too long, but that didn't seem to harm them too much)
7. Let them cook through, turn down heat and pour out the fat.
8. Add the chicken stock, and let the meatballs simmer in the stock until it reduces somewhat.
9. Dish up and serve! (Can also make some spaghetti or rice to go with them)

Warm salad
3 capsicums
1 red onion
Salad leaves (I bought a pre-mix of salad greens)
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Brown sugar
Dried apricots, chopped up into little pieces (optional)
I got this recipe from my cousin, who served it up during one Chinese New Year, and it was absolutely delicious. It's super easy to make too. Just slice up the capsicums, onion and mushrooms and grill in some olive oil. Add balsamic and brown sugar in the middle and let it caramelise over the veggies. Once they're ready, serve on top of salad leaves and scatter the apricots on top.

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