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Oxtail Stout Pot Pies

Oxtail Stout Pot Pies

Many of the books I read as a child were by the British author Enid Blyton - Famous Five and Secret Seven series. I loved them! These kids were having so much fun and solving mysteries to boot! I lived vicariously through their fictitious adventures. But, sprinkled liberally in these books were mentions of British foods! Pies, jams, puddings, teas .. so much more. I fell in love with these delights, without an inkling of what they were or ever having sighted most of them!

Since then, I have developed a lifelong reverence of pies - sweet at first. But, as I grew older and got into more classics and Victorian/Edwardian fiction, the savory kinds. Bakewell tarts, Spotted dicks, cherry pies, steak and kidney pies, stout pies …

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Spaghetti and Meatballs : Italian after all?

Spaghetti and Meatballs : Italian after all?

Italian cuisine is one of America's favorite ones and, indeed, Italians constitute 6% of the US population. But, the forever question has been is "Is the Italian food eaten in the US really Italian?"

Does the infamous spaghetti-meatballs dish really have no Italian origins?

The truthful answer to that is that is "It's complicated"...

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One Pot Roast Away From Happy...

One Pot Roast Away From Happy...

Summer may not be the season you may associate with lamb roasts. But there are two great reasons you should make them now. 

1. It's a one pot meal, which, means more time with your wine bottle, feet up.

2. This is high time for the meat as well as the herbs and produce. So everything tastes amazing with little work!

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Nargisi Kofta Curry

Nargisi Kofta Curry

Back into the action of the week, after a three day weekend, it feels strangely not disconcerting. Perhaps, that is a truly relaxing weekend. One that leaves you nurtured and nourished for the coming week despite the onslaught of more bitter cold.

And, this week, I am going to make more hearty, warming meals. With a little meat and a lot of vegetables and more eggs. Eggs are good. Actually, good eggs are really good.

The recipe today is called Nargisi Kofta. I am not really sure of it why it is named thus but it definitely harkens to Persian origins. Notstanding the name, the style of cooking is a definite give away of it having been an import of the Mughal conquest into North India. But, much like a lot of the cuisine knowledge they brought and shared, the Persian influences in Indian cuisine, is much beloved. This dish is another testament of it. 

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Not asking for much

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I have been on the road for a month now and have eaten out every single day! I am nearly at the end of my tether of not having a proper home cooked meal. This morning I woke up with one of those slowly germinating headaches. Yes, I know I had one too many last night but you see the thing is when you wake up and you feel fine, you think you have drawn an ace. 

Only to be blinded by a sudden onset of sharp yelps from within your head as you slowly pick your way back to the hotel on a hour long journey without even the saving grace of a coffee. Then to face packing an unwieldy amount of bulk into a small suitcase and bit of cursing thrown in, followed by a long trudge across three train lines to the airport because you were an idiot and did not check the routes before making the booking. Finally, when you arrive at the airport, supremely thrilled with yourself about having rallied so well under the circus, they say you are too early for check in! Pah!

All I kept thinking about was that missed coffee, and a grumbling tummy wanting a simple bowl of polenta topped with homemade tomato sauce and a bit of this and that. Really, was that too much to ask for? In my rather grumpy state I was sending many wishes around that someone would catch on. But to no avail. Eventually, I could only manage a steaming bowl chicken soup from Pret that I wrapped myself around while I gave the airport the sardonic eye of a recovering victim. 

Anyway, here I am now in Dublin and thanks to some foresight (not mine) I am ensconced in a short stay apartment equipped with a full kitchen (but without any food items). I nipped out to load up on some basic stuff. I am so looking forward to butternut squash soup tomorrow. And, in a week, thankfully, I will be in a proper home with all the comforts of a home kitchen. And, then I cannot wait to go back to my home. :)


Herbed Lamb Meatballs in Homemade Tomato Sauce

The reason I love meatballs, outside of their inherent awesomeness and comfort, is that this dish, in parts as much as in whole, can be made in bulk and frozen up to a month!

If you are freezing the meatballs, then I suggest doing so after the baked stage. They keep for a long while and you can simply drop them straight from the freezer into the hot sauce.

If you make the whole dish and freeze it in sauce that has the advantage of letting the flavors blend and layer slowly over time.

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For the meatballs:

2 lbs coarse ground lamb

2/3 cup chopped mixed herbs (I used thyme, basil and rosemary)

6 cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium onion, diced fine

2 tsp chilli flakes

1 egg

lots of fresh ground pepper

salt, pepper and olive oil as needed

For the Tomato Sauce:

1 medium red onion, fine diced

6 cloves of garlic, minced

8 ripe juicy tomatoes or 2 cups homemade tomato sauce

1 cup lamb stock

a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme

salt, pepper and olive oil as needed

 

Pre heat oven to 400 F.

Mix together the meatball ingredients and season per taste.

Spread olive oil on a baking tray. Shape the meat mixture into 1.5 inch spheres and place on the tray, one inch apart.

Bake for 20 minutes until firmed up on the outside and the juices are released. 

Remove and reserve both balls and juice until later for the sauce.

Meanwhile, start on the sauce by sautéing the onions and garlic.

When soft, add salt and pepper and tomatoes. 

Tie the herbs with a string and add to the pot. Bring the sauce to a boil and then lower heat to reduce the volume to half.

If you are using previously made sauce you can cut short this time.

Add lamb stock and bring to gentle boil.

Lower heat to medium-lo. gently place the meatballs into the sauce and pour over the drippings.

Let cook for 30 minutes at least upto an hour, adjusting liquids as needed.

Serve over hot polenta or pasta with parmesan shavings.


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