Tuscan Meatballs au Gratin

tuscan meatballs with cheese
tuscan meatballs with cheese

These have to be our favourite meatballs. They have everything we love. Good quality beef, cheese and mediterranean flavours.

This dish is actually lighter than you might think. The trick is to remove any fat after cooking the meatballs by draining them in a colander. The lemon zest lifts the whole thing up, and the fresh herbs add freshness. A great dish for all year round. Serve over pasta, with french bread or in a sandwich, or make small ones and serve as an appetizer. Also make a double batch and put one in the freezer for an other day (without the cheese).


tuscan meatballs with cheese

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS:

Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 14-oz cans Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • a tiny grating of lemon zest, about 1/4 teaspoon
  • a pinch of sugar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup cream, I use half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano

Meatballs:

  • 1-1/4 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and grated
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Topping:

  • 6 oz. fresh mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon  fresh oregano

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large skillet melt the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook about 3 minutes . Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds until it starts to soften, Add the tomato paste. Stir in the sugar. Add the wine. Add the lemon zest.
  2. Add the canned tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Add the herbs. Reduce heat to a simmer and let it cook while you prep the meatballs.
  3. In a food processor, pulse the onion until it is finely diced. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until well combined. Roll the mixture into meatballs about the size of golf balls.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220° C / 425° F.
  5. Heat a large non stick frying pan and add the meatballs to the pan with no extra oil. The meatballs will start to release some fat as they cook. Cook for 15 minutes – it’s okay if they aren’t cooked all the way through since they are also going into the oven. Remove from heat and drain off all the fat in a colander.
  6. Place the meatballs in an oven proof dish.
  7. Pour the sauce over the meatballs, add the cream. Stir.
  8. Top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
  9. Place in the oven to bake until the cheese on top is bubbling , about 20 minutes.
  10. Garnish with the fresh oregano.

Enjoy!

Myra XO

tuscan meatballs with cheese
greek meatballs in tomato sauce

Greek Meatballs in Tomato Sauce, Keftedes me Saltsa Domata

greek meatballs

After having our first beach day of the season today I felt it more than appropriate to share this super delicious and easy dish with you that just screams SUMMER .

It’s the kind of dish you make in a breeze and it tastes heavenly, it reminds me of long hot summers in Greece.
You can serve it with pita bread and a Greek salad or oven fries, it’s all good and the point is to keep it simple.

greek meatballs in tomato sauce
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⏰ Prep time: 10 min
♨ Cooking time : 15
🍴 Serves : 4-6
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Ingredients:

• 1 lb. ground beef, pork, or lamb
• 1/4 – 1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
• 1 tbsp. dried oregano
• 1⁄4 tsp. ground all spice * SEE NOTE
• 1 small red onion, grated
• 1 clove garlic grated
• 2 large egg yolks
• salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
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• 1 tablespoon olive oil (Greek preferably)
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 1⁄2 tbsp. tomato paste
• a pinch of sugar
• 1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes
• 2 tsp oregano
• 1/4 tsp all spice
• 1 cup dry white wine
• salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 2 tbsp. chopped dill, for garnish

greek meatballs in tomato sauce

Instructions:

In a medium bowl combine the meat with the breadcrumbs, oregano, all spice, grated onion, garlic, salt, pepper and egg yolks.
Divide mixture into small balls or roll into ovals.
Heat a non stick skillet over high heat and working in batches, cook meatballs until browned on all sides for about 6-8 minutes. Transfer meatballs to a plate and wipe out the skillet with a paper towel.
Heat olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and a pinch of sugar. Tip in the can of tomatoes and the white wine. Add the oregano and all spice. Season with salt and pepper. Add the meatballs back to the skillet and cook for another 10 minutes. Garnish with Dill.

καλή όρεξη.

• NOTE: If you don’t have All Spice you can make a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves in equal parts.

Enjoy!
Myra XO

greek meatballs in tomato sauce

Bbq Honey Chicken Tenders Cobb Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

Let’s celebrate Spring in full glory with this amazing refreshing salad. It’s super easy to make and you can easily substitute the chicken with some succulent Shrimp or any other protein you like.

INGREDIENTS COBB SALAD:

  • 1 lb. chicken tenders
  • 2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
  • ¼ cup bbq sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil for frying
  • 1 head of lettuce
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 20 cherry tomatoes (more or less)
  • 2 -4 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 small can of corn, drained
  • 1 – 2 avocados, peeled and stone removed
  • 1/3 cup olives
  • handful baby carrots

GREEN GODDESS DRESSING:

  • 1 avocado, peeled and stone removed
  • ½ cup natural yoghurt of choice
  • ½ cup natural sugar free milk of choice
  • Small handful of fresh Basil* see note
  • Small handful of fresh Dill* see note
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • A dash of tabasco
  • Juice of half a lime
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup of water or more for the right consistency

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. First we’ll marinate the chicken, place the chicken tenders in a bowl and season them with the Cajun seasoning , then add the bbq sauce. Mix to combine and cover. Place in the fridge to marinate, overnight if possible but any amount of time is good.
  2. Take out a large plate or platter and arrange a layer of lettuce on it.
  3. Meanwhile wash the peppers and pinch them with a fork all over, put them on a plate and microwave for 6 minutes, remove and cover with foil straight away. This is so the skin will loosen from the peppers. When cool enough to handle pull away all the skin and tear the peppers into strips, place them on the lettuce in a single diagonal row.
  4. Cut the tomatoes in half and arrange in a row on the lettuce
  5. Cut the eggs in quarters and arrange on platter.
  6. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  7. For the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a blender, and run until all is smooth. Add the water until you have the desired consistency.
  8. Now heat a non stick frying pan large enough to hold the chicken tenders in one layer and set to high heat.
  9. Add the olive oil and place the tenders in the pan, cook on one side for two minutes and turn. Cook for another two minutes and lower the heat to low.
  10. Cook for another two minutes or until cooked thru, check by pulling a piece open.
  11. Add the tablespoon of honey and stir around so it starts to caramelize. Turn off the heat and place the chicken tenders on the salad right before serving.
quick cream of tomato soup with basil

Quick Cream of Tomato Soup with Basil

quick cream of tomato soup with basil

What can be more comforting than a bowl of soup? If you need a quick fix, or are in a hurry to get dinner on the table, this one is for you.

INGREDIENTS

• 1 tbsp. Olive oil
• 1 small onion, peeled and chopped fine
• 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
• 2 medium carrots, washed and sliced
• 2 tbsp. tomato paste
• 2 cans peeled plum tomatoes
• 2 tubs passata
• 2 stock cubes, beef
• 2 tot 3 whole sprigs of basil with the leafs, left whole
• 1 – 2 tsp. sugar
• 1 Cup evaporated milk
• ¼ Cup Cream Cheese
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• A handful of fresh Basil leafs, for serving
• 1 Cup grated cheddar (loosely packed) for serving
• 1 tray ready made small meatballs

quick cream of tomato soup with basil

INSTRUCTIONS:

Heat the olive oil in a large pot.
Add onions, carrots and garlic and sautée until translucent. About 5 minutes on medium low heat.
Add the tomato paste and fry for 30 seconds.
Add the canned tomatoes and passata and the stock cubes (crumbled between your fingers)
Also add one can (from the tomatoes) filled with hot water.
Add the whole sprigs of basil, bring to a slow simmer and leave for 15 – 20 minutes.
Remove the basil sprigs and blend with an immersion blender.
Add the meatballs.
Add milk and cream cheese. Add the sugar one teaspoon at a time and check how you like it, adding the remaining teaspoon if necessary. I like it sweet so I added two, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
At this point check the thickness of the soup, if you want it thinner add some more milk or water and if you do, adjust seasoning again.
Sprinkle with some Basil leafs and serve piping hot and serve with some crunchy baguette.

Enjoy!

Myra XO

Beef Bulgogi Soft Tacos with 5 minute Kimchi and lime Aioli

These tacos are going to make you very happy, I promise. Don’t let the long list of ingredients turn you off, it is really as simple as can be. The Kimchi for instance is done in minutes rather than days. Obviously it is not fermented like the real deal, but just as tasty I assure you.

I pan fry the Bulgogi so it’s nice and quick and accessible to everyone. Then rolled in simple soft tacos or wraps, because it’s just so easy and fun. I like all things wrapped, not just food (think presents!) I am not the kind of person who has ever said, Oh, you shouldn’t have… seriously. Who says that, and who ever means it???? Anyway….moving on….

So, yes, this is made in a flash really. Just read it through, start with the marinade for the bulgogi, put it in the fridge (maybe do it in the morning if you have time). Then make the Kimchi. Stir together the lime aioli and leave the rest for later. Then at dinner time it’s a flash to get on the table. But don’t fret if you don’t have time to marinate it all day, even an hour gives off a lot of flavour. Also I leave the pear sliced and not chopped or grated (like in some recipes) because I love the flavour and texture when it’s cooked together with the beef.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS BEEF BULGOGI TACOS:

  • Kimchi
  • Beef Bulgogi
  • Lime Garlic Aioli
  • 2 Avocados
  • 4 – 8 Tortillas or soft Tacos depending on size
  • 1 – 2 extra lime for serving
  • some radishes for serving (optional, just for color)
  • salad greens

INGREDIENTS 5 MINUTE KIMCHI:

  • 4 cups shredded Napa cabbage
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic grated
  • 1 tbsp. grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp. honey or coconut sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru) or 1 tablespoon sambal oelek
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into match sticks
  • 8 ounces daikon or radishes, peeled and cut into match sticks

Instructions:

Place all the ingredients for the Kimchi in a bowl and crunch together with your hands, let marinate while you prepare the rest.

INGREDIENTS BEEF BULGOGI:

  • 1 pear, peeled and sliced very thin
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or Tamari
  • 2 -3 teaspoon or hot sauce or sambal oelek
  • 1 tablespoon grated peeled ginger
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 pound steak, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

Instructions:

  1. Combine pear, onion, garlic, soy sauce, hot sauce, ginger, sugar, and sesame oil in a large resealable plastic bag or medium bowl.
  2. Using a sharp knife, slice meat into very thin strips.
  3. Add to marinade, seal bag, and squish everything around until the meat is coated. Let sit at room temperature 30 minutes, or chill up to 8 hours.
  4. Heat 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high until oil is shimmering. Remove half of meat from marinade, letting excess drip back into bag and cook in a single layer without moving until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Toss meat and continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until cooked through and crisp at edges, about 3 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining meat.

INGREDIENTS LIME AÏOLI:

  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 cup Crème Fraîche
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • 1 tsp. dry garlic powder or granules, or 1 clove garlic peeled and grated (I prefer dry in this case)
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside until ready to use.

To serve the tacos, heat the tortillas or tacos as directed by the package.

Place some of the beef in the taco, top with kimchi and lime aïoli. Serve straight away.

Enjoy!

Myra xo

Five Spice Slow roasted Pork Belly

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I Couldn’t wait to share this with you. A great change from all things turkey.
I think Asian is pretty much the opposite of turkey and I really needed that. I love the holidays and everything about them, but it’s time for something completely different.
This five spice slow roasted pork belly is going to drive you mad with delight once you’ve tasted it.
Tender as can be with and a super crispy skin, aka crackling!
And best of all, this piece cost me around € 6, 50 is weighs around 1.3 kg. / 2.8 lbs and you could easily serve six people from this piece. Hallelujah to that.
It’s important that you dry the skin very very well, then make cuts in it with a Stanley knife but not all the way thru to the meat, just the fat.
I’ve marinated it overnight in a plastic zip lock bag, skin side facing up so that that part is not in the marinade.
Then the next day, bake in a hot oven for 20 minutes, then on slow for 2 1/2 hours. This may seem like a long time and it is, but you want to render away as much fat as possible.

five-spice-pork-belly9

           

Ingredients;
1 pork belly, without bone  about 1.3 kg / 2.8 lbs.
1″grated fresh ginger, (don’t bother peeling it first)
1 garlic clove, peeled and grated
1 tsp. Chinese Five Spice
1 tbsp. Pure Sesame Oil
2 tbsp. Hoisin Sauce
1 tbsp. Honey
1 1/2 tbsp. Soy Sauce or tamari  (gluten free)
1 tbsp. Conimex Ketjap Manis

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Method;

Mix the marinade in a bowl.

Place the pork in a zip lock bag, skin side down , pour and rub all the marinade over the meat, close the bag and carefully turn the skin side up.
Place the bag on a plate and leave to marinade for at least 8 hours or preferably overnight.

The next day,  Pre heat the oven to 220°C / 430°F

Remove the pork from the fridge an hour before cooking.

Remove the meat from marinade and discard the bag and juices.
Dry thoroughly with kitchen paper.

Take a sharp Stanley knife and make cuts all over the skin side of the belly diagonally, a third of an inch apart if you can.  All the way thru the fat but not yet touching the meat. This is important!

Rub with some salt and place in a roasting tin that has been lined with a double layer of foil.
Place in the hot oven and cook for about 20 minutes.
Lower the heat to 160°C / 320°F and cook for an other 2 1/2 hours. Cover loosely with some foil if the skin gets to dark, the foil does have to be tented to keep the crispyness.

Remove from oven. Let rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve with rice noodles, Bok Choy and some hoisin sauce. Or any other vegetable of choice. Leftovers are heavenly and it also freezes well, but you do have to remove the skin because this can get a little chewy after freezing.

If you try this recipe let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #thecookingspoonblog  on instagram! You’ll make my day.

Not quite what you’re looking for? How about Sticky Shrimp & Pineapple with Jasmin Rice.

Browned Sage Butter and Turkey Pasta with wild Mushrooms and Prosciutto.

browned-sage-butter-and-turkey-pasta-with-wild-mushrooms14

 

I can’t believe it’s already boxing day, and the count down to New Years has begun. I truly hope everyone had a great Christmas. Now we can sort of relax for a week or so, take a breath, relax, cook some simple meals and get ready for the end of the year.

This easy pasta dish is perfect for the “in between” days, make it with left over turkey, or use fresh turkey or chicken. And by all means throw in any left overs, like a little gravy, some vegetables or whatever you like.

This easy recipe is done in under half an hour.

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Serves 4

 

Ingredients;

2  to 3 medium chicken breasts,or 2 cups cooked leftover turkey, torn to pieces.

salt + pepper, to taste

4 tbsp. olive oil

4 tbsp. butter, divided

4 slices prosciutto

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped fine

1 garlic clove peeled and grated

2 tbsp. flour

 

1/2 cup white wine

1 cup stock

1/4 cup fresh sage

pinch of fresh nutmeg

1 lb. Pasta, cooked

1  cup mixed wild mushrooms

1 small onion

1 clove garlic, minced or grated

freshly grated parmesan cheese to serve

1/4 cup mascarpone or heavy cream

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

 

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Method;

Season chicken with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil. When the butter and oil start to sizzle, add  chicken and sage leafs and cook for 15 minutes on medium low, turning occasionally. Place the sage leafs on top of the chicken.  I like to use a cast iron pan for this because it gives the chicken a perfect crust.  Remove and transfer to plate.

Add the prosciutto to the pan and brown on both sides, for about two minutes, remove and transfer to plate.

Add the onion to the pan and cook gently for 4 minutes, add the garlic. Stir around and add the flour, cook for one minute and add the wine and stock, stirring to create a smooth sauce.

Add the mascarpone or cream, mix thru. Add the shredded chicken and two slices of torn up prosciutto.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and boil the pasta until al dente.

Heat another large skillet over high heat, add the remaining olive oil. Once hot, toss in the mushrooms in a single layer. Without stirring cook them until golden brown, flip them over.Transfer half the mushroom to a plate.

When the pasta is done cooking, drain but DO NOT RINSE! add it to the pan with the mushrooms and toss well. Add the cream sauce with chicken heat thru. Scatter over the remaining wild mushrooms, some parsley and serve straight away. Top with some of the crispy prosciutto. And serve with Parmesan.

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If you try this recipe let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #thecookingspoonblog on instagram! You’ll make my day.

 

Not quite what you were looking for? How about Garlic Herb Shrimp with Bacon over Angel Hair Pasta

Duck Breast with Cherry Sauce for two

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I kind of feel like I am having tiny Christmas dinners all throughout the month of December. And I gotta say, I’m lovin’ it.

This is one of those dinners. Simple as can be and festive as can be.

Duck goes really well with any kind of fruit and is usually paired with citrus, but it goes equally well with berries and darker fruits like plums or cherries.

The Duck breast has been treated in a different way because I really dislike the skin. I do like the skin when it’s crispy, but how long does the crispiness last , really? By the time dinner gets to the table and you actually start eating the crispyness is almost gone.
So, what I do and what may seem as a shocker to some of you, but I remove the skin and treat the breast more like a steak. Simply seasoned with salt and pepper and pan fried. I use a cast iron pan for this because it works best in my opinion.

Then I cut up the skin in tiny bits and render the fat, where I then pan roast the potatoes and finish them of in the oven. This gives you the best roast potatoes you can ever imagine, and you’ll be surprised to see how the skin disappears in the pan almost completely.

The cherry sauce goes so well with the duck, it’s a little bit sweet and a little bit sour, perfect against the intense duck flavour, and such a festive dish.

      

Serves 2 – 3

Ingredients Duck Breasts;

2 Duck breasts

salt and pepper

Thyme

duck-breast-with-cherry-sauce2

Method;

Remove the Duck from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes prior to cooking.

Remove the skin and chop fine. Place in a cast iron skillet and render the fat over low heat, until all the skin has almost disappeared. You will end up with about 4 to 6 tbsp. fat.

Season the duck breast on both sides, heat a cast iron frying pan over high heat with three tablespoons of the duck fat.
Place both duck breasts in the pan and don’t move them for about 3 minutes then turn the over. Cook for another 3 minutes.
Remove to a plate and let sit covered with foil for about five minutes.
This is medium cooked, if you like it less done cook it for 5 minutes total. For completely done 7 to 8  minutes, it depends a little bit on the size of the duck breast and the thickness.

Slice and serve with the pan roast potatoes and cherry sauce.

duck-breast-with-cherry-sauce12

cherry-sauce-for-duck-01

Ingredients Cherry Sauce;

1/2 C. brown Sugar or sugar of choice

1/2 C. Red wine Vinegar

2 whole Star Anise

1 Cinnamon Sticks

3 C. frozen Cherries (no stones)

1 tsp. corn starch

1 tbsp water

Method;

Place the sugar, vinegar, star anise and cinnamon in a medium non-stick frying pan over high heat and bring to a simmer. Add the cherries and cook, turning occasionally, for 8–10 minutes or until just soft and the sauce has reduced a little. Make a slurry with the corn starch and water, add to the sauce and let thicken.

Ingredients Roast Potatoes;
1/2 Lb., potatoes, peeled
2 tbsp. fat rendered from duck breasts.
salt

Method;

Pre heat oven to 220° C  / 428° F
Par boil the potatoes for about ten minutes, drain, and let them steam off.
Heat the (oven proof) pan with rendered duck fat and roast the potatoes until they start ro turn golden brown. Place the pan in the oven and roast for an other 20 25 minutes until crispy and golden all over, turning ocasionally. Season with salt.

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If you try this recipe let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #thecookingspoonblog  on instagram! You’ll make my day.

Not quite what you’re looking for? How about Clementine Cranberry Roast Pork

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Stuffed Peppers and Aubergines

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Great vegetarian main dish!

During the holiday season you want to be able to serve a great main dish to your vegetarian guests that’s not just everyone else’s side dishes.

Well here to the rescue with this fantastic vegetarian main course. You can prepare it a day ahead and cook it in the oven on the day itself. Leaving you plenty of time to pour those drinks and catch up with your friends and family.

And we both know that it doesn’t have to be Christmas to serve these delicious stuffed vegetables, how about meatless Monday?

How about your new years resolutions? Has anyone started thinking about them? I have thought of a few, I want to start running more (ehem) I want to start running.

I walk a lot though. I bought a step counter thingy, ok let me look that up…..so, a pedometer and ever since I got it I have walked more and more, it’s almost like a curse. Now when I need to get cream for instance like yesterday evening, all of sudden it occurred to me that I had to make caramel for my daughters cake, I will walk , normally I would take my bike or car, but now I do walk everywhere. I think I probably walk about 8000 steps a day, which isn’t enough it should be 10.000 they say but hey, I’m moving.

And of course another good resolution would be to eat less meat. I think twice a week is more than enough. I already do that but my daughter for instance is such carnivore.She would have spare ribs for breakfast if she could.

So, give this a try and let me know if you miss the beef? I bet you won’t.

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Serves 4 as a main dish or 8 as a side

Ingredients.

2 Aubergines

2 red peppers

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 garlic, peeled and grated

1 pack of Quorn mince or vegetarian mince, 340 grs. / 12 oz.

2 cups cooked spelt or brown rice

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 tbsp. tomato paste

1 tsp. agave or honey

1 tbsp. flour

1 cup vegetable stock

a handful parsley, chopped

2 tsp. Cajun seasoning

1 cup grated cheese like cheddar or gouda or vegan substitute

salt and pepper

Bechamel sauce;

4 tbsp. olive oil

1/3 cup flour

2 cups soy milk

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Method;

Pre heat oven to 200° / 390°

Wash all the vegetables, dry them and cut them in half. Cut the core and seeds out of the peppers leaving the stalk on. I actually try to cut the stalk in half too so everyone gets a bit of green.

Remove the flesh from the aubergine leaving about a quarter inch of the sides.

Cut up the flesh.

Put a large frying pan on the heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil. Cook the onion and garlic until beginning to colour. Add the aubergine and celery and add the other tablespoon of oil. Season with the Cajun seasoning and cook for about 15 minutes until the aubergine is soft.

Add the quorn and spelt and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and sweetener. Cook for an other minute.

Add the tablespoon of flour and cook for a minute or two. Add a cup of stock and stir around, it should be getting a little  thick, the idea is to bind the filling a little bit so it holds better in the vegetables. Fill the peppers and aubergine halves and place them in a baking tray that has been covered with parchment paper.

To make the bechamel sauce;

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a low heat.

Add the flour and whisk into the oil until smooth.
Cook  for 2 minutes, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and changes to a lighter colour.
Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly to stop lumps forming.
Cook for at least five minutes so the flour is  fully cooked.
Season with salt and pepper.
Pour the sauce over the filled vegetables. and cover with aluminum foil, place on a rack in the middle of the oven.  After 30 minutes remove the foil and sprinkle generously with the grated cheddar. Return to the oven for additional 20-30 minutes.
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 If you try this recipe let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #thecookingspoon on instagram! You’ll make my day.

Clementine Cranberry Roast Pork

…with crème fraîche mashed potatoes.

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First of all I need to tell you that a Pork Roast is the best deal to feed a crowd. If you’re on a budget and have a lot of people coming over for Christmas, skip the Turkey, skip the Beef and go for roast pork, it’s the way to go, really.

This piece of meat cost me just 5 €, yes, that’s right 5€!

I almost wanted to ask the guy at the market if he had made a mistake. Almost….but I didn’t I figured he knew what he was doing, right?

And imagine what you can do with all the leftovers, we had this roast the other day obviously, and my daughter ate a huge baguette the next day with  thinly sliced pork and sate sauce, which was pretty awesome. But there are tons of other things you can make, like taco’s, enchiladas, ragú. I always look forward to left overs, it’s almost even better the next day.

I like to serve it with my crème fraîche mashed potatoes and lots of vegetables.

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Serves 6

Ingredients Spice mix;

1 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. ground Coriander

1/4 tsp. ground Black Pepper

1/4 tsp.dried Thyme

1/4 tsp. Onion Powder

1/4 tsp.  Simply Organic Garlic Powder Certified Organic, 3.64-Ounce Container

1/8 tsp. Allspice

1/8 tsp. Ground Cloves

1/8 tsp. Cinnamon

Needed;

A large roasting tin

Ingredients Roast;

Boneless pork Shoulder or Butt 2.8 – 3  lbs

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. butter

3 celery sticks, cut into pieces

3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

2 onions, peeled and quartered

2 garlic bulbs

4 clementines

3 bay leaves

2 C. red wine

1/4 C. Cranberry jelly

salt and pepper

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Method;

Take your pork roast out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for an hour. Preheat the oven temperature to 320°F./ 160°C.

Place all the seasoning and spices in a little bowl and mix.

Dry the pork roast thoroughly with kitchen paper and tie up with kitchen rope if necessary. Season the pork roast all over.

Heat a frying pan of high heat and add two tablespoons of butter and two of olive oil., When hot add the roast and sear all over until you have a nice dark brown crust, this takes about 15 minutes. Rotating the roast to brown evenly.

Meanwhile cut up our vegetables and place in the bottom of a roasting tin, cut the tops of two garlic bulbs and place in the tin along with the vegetables. Cut two clementines in half and place in the tin as well. Season the vegetables generously with salt and pepper

Place the roast on top of the vegetables with all the juices from the frying pan, squeeze over the juice of two clementines and add 2 cups of red wine and  three bay leaves. Cover with aluminum foil and roast for two hours, checking after an hour to see how the liquid is doing, add some water if necessary.

After two hours, remove foil and cut away the kitchen twine if you have used it and spread the cranberry jelly over the roast. Return to oven and roast uncovered for an other half hour.

When an internal thermometer reads about 71° C /160° F, it should be just done.

Take the roast out of the oven and let it rest for 20-30 minutes.

Tip: Use this resting time to finish off your other side dishes and make the gravy.

To make the gravy, pass all the ingredients from the roasting tin through a sieve, heat the gravy and taste , add some cranberry jelly if you like and thicken with a teaspoon of corn starch diluted in some cold water.

   

Crème fraîche Mashed Potatoes;

2 lb.  russet or Yukon gold potatoes

1/4 C. butter

3/4 C. hot milk

1/4 C. Crème fraîche

Peel and cut the potatoes in half add to a pot of cold salted water, cook for about 20 minutes until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and mash with 1/4 cup butter. Add the hot milk and the crème fraîche season with salt and pepper. Mash until desired consistency, I like my mash a tiny bit chunky but that’s personal.

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If you try this recipe let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #thecookingspoonblog on instagram! You’ll make my day.