Wednesday, 22 October 2014

These meatballs are my favourite weeknight dinner because they are insanely quick to make. Even quicker, might I add, if you prep everything earlier in the week, but more on that later.

Ingredients for 2 people:
Homemade tomato sauce
375g beef mince (or turkey, pork or a mixture)
Half a slice of stale bread
1 clove garlic
Herbs of your choice
Kale or spaghetti and parmesan to serve

Make your tomato sauce using the recipe linked above and allow to simmer while you put your meatballs together.

In a small food processor, blend together the bread, garlic and herbs until you have fine breadcrumbs. I love using basil, but rosemary would add warmth and coriander would lend a Mexican flavour (add chill to the sauce and you've got yourself a whole new meal). If you don't have any stale bread, you can toast it and then cool it completely, which makes a nice crunchy breadcrumb. You can really use whatever you have to hand here - I used pitta once (don't recommend it) and it still worked fine. In a large bowl, combine the mince with your breadcrumb mixture and mix with your hands until the breadcrumbs are evenly spread throughout. You can also use an egg to bind, but I don't find I need it with pure beef mince. Separate the mixture and roll into evenly-sized balls; I think this amount of mince splits nicely into 12 meatballs, but this is really up to you.

Heat some oil in an ovenproof non-stick pan/skillet and gently fry the meatballs until they are nice and brown. Then pour the sauce into the pan to cover the meatballs and bake in the oven at 180C for 20-30 minutes (this depends on how long you have fried them for, and also if you have made them smaller than I do).

I like to serve with kale and a sprinkling of parmesan; it makes for a really hearty, warming meal that is perfect for winter. If you're having the meatballs with spaghetti, you can probably halve the ingredients (or invite two extra people over for dinner!).

This meal is SO easy to make ahead, and I really suggest doing it when you know you have a busy week coming up. You can make a big batch of meatballs on the day you do your food shopping (I tend to split a large packet of mince in half, make one half into meatballs and keep the other half for bolognese or moussaka) and freeze them in a tupperware container. The same goes for the sauce! Just defrost for 24 hours in the fridge then fry the meatballs, add the sauce and pop straight in the oven when you want them. This would also work well if you're making food for one - just freeze the meatballs in individual serving sizes.

Now that it's so much darker in the evenings, it's getting really hard to photograph the food I make. I don't like eating big meals like this for lunch at the weekend, so really my only option is to improve my low-light photography (and curb my shaky hands!). Do you have any photography tips for me? Also...I'm usually so hungry that I just don't have 10 minutes to properly photograph something, let alone keep a hungry boyfriend from his dinner. I'm sure other people have this problem too! Thoughts?

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