Tag Archives: cumin seeds

Slow cooked meatballs

31 Oct

with winter around the corner! Indeed, I wish everything was slow. Nowadays everything feels like it is moving too fast! I barely have time to daydream about what I would like to cook for supper. Nevermind writing my recipes down. As so, my blog has also been slow, as I am sure I don’t need to point out the last time I made a post. As fast paced as life is here in london, our household is “techonologically doomed”!

First, I had problems with my laptop, which is also one of the reasons you have not seen any posts. Then Ipods.. camera’s, dehumidifiers… maybe it is all a sign to let go of all this technology.

Sometimes I wish I was outside, far away from the city, with winding country roads, the warm sun on my face and the fresh breeze of wildflowers in the air. I guess this is what I was thinking about while I was enjoying a glass of lovely red wine, with the meatballs slowly bubbling away.

I believe that our thoughts influence our cooking and so my thougts inspired a heartwarming meal, that helps me to slow down and smell the wafts of the lovely spiced aroma in our home. .. I guess I sound like my mother’s daughter now.. yearning for the farm, family and friends around my table, no rush, surrounded by love and joy.

Enough of my self pity as I sit in layers of clothing in this cold.. I hope you enjoy this recipe, and as it will show, there is so much you can do with the right combination of spices

Flavourful Meatballs with Herb ‘d Provence Cous cous

1 pack of minced beef

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon of ground coriander

1 teaspoon of turmeric

2 teaspoons of cumin seeds, ground

2 pinches of salt

2 pinches of black pepper

2 onions, finely chopped ( use a food processor)

2 slices of stale bread

1 egg

1 teaspoon of paprika

juice of half a lemon

1 cup of chicken stock

half a cup of white wine

half a cup of warm water

2 tablespoons of butter

For the Cous Cous

2 teaspoons of butter

salt and black pepper to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons of Herb ‘d Provence

 

To start, take one onion, and half a teaspoon of all the spices, including the salt and pepper ( 1 pinch) and put them in the food processor. Process fine, just before it makes a paste. Take the bread slices and break them into crumbs. Mix this with the mince, egg and your paste you made. Start rolling the mince into little balls, about the size of a walnut.

Take the remaining spices and put it in your food processor, along with the other onion. Process to the same texture as the semi-paste you made for the meatball mixture. Add your olive oil and butter to a pan. Wait for the butter to melt. Now add the onion and spice mixture. Cook for about 8 minutes. Now, add all the remaining ingredients and allow to bubble for about 5 minutes.

Add your meatballs to the pan. Swirl the pan so that the sauce moves around the meatballs. Turn the gas down to low. Put the lid on and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Now toss the meatballs around, so that the other side of the meatballs are also covered in the sauce. Simmer for another 10 – 15 minutes, or until cooked.

While the meatballs are cooking, measure the cous cous you required. Place it in a bowl. Now, take the Herb ‘d Provence herbs and sprinkle it over cous cous. Season with salt and black pepper. Boil water, enough to just cover the cous cous. When this has boiled, pour it over the cous cous, mixing it twice with a fork. Cover completely with a plate or some plastic wrap and allow to stand for 10 minutes.

Lift the plate / take off the plastic wrap and take 2 teaspoons of butter and mix it through the cous cous with a fork. I served the meatballs with mixed roasted vegetables, along with the cous cous, but you can serve it with any vegetables of your choice, or even a lovely fresh rocket salad.

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She’s always a “hearty” woman to me…

11 Jul

Today’s post was inspired by my beautiful mother, which includes the song -“She’s always a woman to me” from Billy Joel. There was a recent add on tv from John Lewis and the way that they portrayed this woman, with the song, was almost a replica of my mother. It depicts how she met her husband, got married, worked, started and fed a family and how her life turned out… tune in, I will attach the video to my blog, just so all of you will know what I am talking about. This is the wikipedia explanation for Billy Joel’s song: “She’s Always a Woman” is a song from Billy Joel‘s 1977 album The Stranger. It is a love song about a modern woman, with whom he falls in love for her quirks as well as her flaws. Now, just to clarify this, my mother has NO flaws! She is the most perfect woman, and oh how I am blessed to have such a mother!

Ever heard of having your heart connected to another with a long string? That is what it feels like to me, with my mother in another country. Till this day, it amazes the hubby how my mother and I are connected. One example? I asked my mother one afternoon in a email what she was cooking that night and it turns out we were cooking the exact same dish, without even speaking to each other. We share everything, from cleaning tips to “calming down after the toilet seat was left up again” and how to make a wilting, dying plant grow again and flourish! So, this brings me to the rest of the inspiration for today, “harvest diaries”, a book I am reading about the daily chores on a organic wine and fruit farm. The way the writer describes her day is so similar to my mother. From when I was little, everything my mother grew, always flourished. She would tend to the garden, make fresh delicious food, be a shoulder to cry on, be a career woman,wife, mother, sister, a friend and make all of it seem so simple and easy. She puts her heart in everything, and that is why this blog is titled “hearty” woman to me.

In winter, we would come home and you could hear the fire crackling, which she lit earlier and smell a lovely waft of homemade lentil soup and fresh bread and when entering the kitchen be embraced by her in a warm hug. This is beauty to me. She can enjoy anything and everything, mend anything, cook anything and it is all a picture of love and contentment. Of course, I could never be close to this, but, I now live for planting flowers, herbs and vegetables, making our house a home, to cook something simple and turn it into a feast, and all the while,not thinking about not being a stick and embracing my curves, pale skin and loud personality, because this is who I am, and all of this came from my mother ( and of course I have to say my father ;-p) She showed me what is important in life. So, in her words, when I am not particularly feeling like the beauty prom queen I am ( wink wink) look at yourself in the mirror and say “hello you drop dead gorgeous, beautiful thing!”

Well, I don’t need that anymore, because I know that certain things aren’t worth fussing about. I would rather fuss about my Lentil soup and try and figure out what I would add to make it taste like something magical happened in my kitchen ;-p So on the menu today, Red split lentil soup and home made bread 🙂 This one is for you mom, still know I won’t be able to top your lentil soup, but I might come close!

Homemade bread

125ml warm water

15g instant yeast

250g strong white bread flour

1 teaspoon of salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

twig of rosemary

3 sundried tomatoes

Mix your yeast into your warm water. Set aside and allow it to stand for about 10 minutes, until it starts creating a thick froth. Sieve your flour and salt into a bowl.  Mix together with the yeast and olive oil and put it in your mixing bowl with a kneading hook. Put the machine on low and keep it going for about 10 minutes, adding flour and warm water if neccesary. The dough is correct if you touch it and it springs back immediately. Now, rub a bowl with olive oil and rub the dough ball around it. Cover with a cloth and blanket and keep in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours. Punch it back about 7 times and knead again for 4 minutes. Cover again and allow to rise double the size. Preheat your oven to 230 degrees celcius. Rub your loaftin with olive oil. Now place your dough in the tin. Push some rosemary sprigs in your bread, and put the sundried tomatoes on top. Grind some salt over. Now allow it to bake. It is done when it has a hollow sound when you tap it.

Red Split Lentil Soup

2 onions roughly chopped

4 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon of sunflower oil

2 teaspoons of cumin seeds

2 teaspoons of curry powder

juice of 1 lemon

75g of strong mature cheddar, grated

4 teaspoons of red pesto

1.5 litre of vegetable or chicken stock

Grated parmesan for garnish

salt & pepper to taste

Heat a casserole saucepan with the oil and add your onion and cumin seeds. Fry for about 5 minutes and now add your curry powder.

Add your lentils and stock and bring to the boil. Squash your garlic slightly and add to the soup. After this, simmer your soup for about 30 minutes. Then, add the lemon juice, cheese and pesto and mix through.

Flavour with salt and pepper. Dish up, grate over some parmesan and enjoy with your freshly baked bread! Happiness! 🙂

And for those that would like to watch the add that I think resembles my mother, here you go 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYOsWWKHZVw