Tag Archives: tomatoes

Meatballs, Mushrooms & Sun-dried Tomatoes

I have difficulty finding food dishes that will suit this household. However, beef always works so I decided that meatballs cooked with our own cherry tomatoes and a mixture of commercial lasagne sauce and sun-dried tomato, garlic and basil sauce plus some sliced sun-dried tomatoes and some basil-infused oil sounded really tasty.
Side dish of steamed cauliflower and another of steamed baby Brussels sprouts smothered in a cheese sauce and browned under the grill tickled my taste buds.

12 (350g) minced beef meatballs
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
2 cups chopped red and yellow capsicum
125 chestnut mushrooms medium sliced
4-6 sliced sun-dried tomatoes
5 tbsp commercial tomato lasagne/pasta sauce
3 tbsp tomato, garlic and basil sauce
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 pot Knorr paprika flavour pot
Several large dollops soured cream

Ingredients with my cherry-wood pepper grinder

Ingredients with my cherry-wood pepper grinder

I discovered these Knorr Flavour Pots a while ago and find them easy and very useful. A lot of other people must do as well because Knorr has increased the flavour range over the past months. Now Oxo has started its own range of flavours. Great! The more the merrier. I think what I find so good about them is that it doesn’t matter what I have decided to cook and what sort of sauce I am using, there will be a flavour pot to add a soupçon of flavour to the cooking. Anyway, I had some pots of paprika and added one to this tomato type dish. The caraway seeds are usually associated with a goulash but they worked well with this.  Meatball & tomato, mushroom mix

I used a mixture of basil-infused oil and groundnut oil to gently fry the meatballs. Then added all other ingredients except the cream, plus a knob of butter, seasoned and put the lid on. I came in here to write this up and the dish is cooking very gently for about an hour. When finished, I will need to thicken the sauce with some cornflower and add the soured cream.

Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts & Cheese sauce

The other part of this is the vegetables. I steamed enough cauliflower and Brussels sprouts to fill two smallish dishes; sprouts for me and cauliflower for Himself. The small pot of leek and cibouli, I micro waved for me. I like all manner of onion. Otherwise cook the onions first before adding the meatballs. Use however much onion you like.

I mix leek & cibouli with chilli oil. Cauli & sprouts in their own serving dishes

I mix leek & cibouli with chilli oil. Cauli & sprouts in their own serving dishes

Cheese sauce – what can I say. Home-made with flour, butter seasoning and milk with cheese added. Or packet or supermarket wet sauce pots. Doesn’t matter. Do whatever you like. But do use freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and if you have a bit of blue cheese, add that in as well. Pour the sauce over the cooked vegetables and brown under the grill. Some toasted sesame seeds would be a welcome addition, especially to the sprouts – or breadcrumbs.

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

The reason there is no carbohydrate except the thickening is that we are dropping our carbohydrate intake to a maximum of 20g (more or less) a day and increasing our fat (butter and natural fats) intake. This reduces blood sugar levels and drops body weight. All good.

Spicy Cherry Tomato Jam

There have been so many cherry tomatoes that if I didn’t do something with them, they would be lost. We couldn’t eat them fast enough.

So I googled Tomato Jam and lo! Recipes galore from which to choose. I eventually decided to use the base of a recipe from Delicious Magazine.

Delicious Magazine

Delicious Magazine

Ingredients
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
750g ripe cherry tomatoes halved
2 onions, finely chopped – I used echalion shallots otherwise known as cibouli onions
2 garlic cloves crushed
2 large mild red chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped
5 cm piece fresh ginger grated
250 ml white wine vinegar
300g soft light brown sugar
2 tsp fish sauce (nam pla)

I whizzed the onion and some of the vinegar together with a couple of teaspoons of bottled chopped chillies that were in the fridge.

Echalion or cibouli onions

Echalion or cibouli onions

I used ground spices instead of whole seeds because I haven’t a mortar or grinder and I did have bottles of spices. I had a tube of garlic paste and a bottle of ginger paste in the fridge and used them rather than having to go out and buy fresh.

I had some distilled malt vinegar and the remains of some white wine vinegar and so I mixed them together. I also tasted this as it was cooking and realised that it needed some salt and lemon juice. So I added that and kept tasting until it tasted less sweet but spicier. I added several drops of Nando’s hot peri-peri sauce to lift the flavour a bit. The fish sauce added at the end is a lovely soupcon of finishing flavour that makes the jam.

Dry toast the cumin and coriander for a minute over low heat until aromatic.
In a largish wide pan put the tomatoes and onions – whizzed if that’s what you do – the garlic and ginger and chillies. Add the spices, vinegar and sugar. Bring it all to the boil and then simmer until reduced to a jam-like consistency. I was stirring this mixture quite a bit and first added some salt, re-taste, lemon juice, re-taste, Nando’s sauce, re-taste. When it is just about right, tasting good and reduced way down, add the nam pla and cook for another couple of minutes.

This quantity made 4 smallish jars of varying sizes. I sterilised the jars in the oven at 130ºC for 30 minutes and boiled the lids for about 10 minutes on the stove. Spoon the jam into hot jars and seal. Let cool, label and store. This is a lovely jam – my neighbours all liked it and since I had scrounged for an empty bottle, I gave back the bottle full of jam. Win win.

Passes the taste test

Passes the taste test