I used to run a catering company making my own dishes and pies to sell at local farmer’s markets. I decided it was one of those things to ‘keep me occupied’ while I was on maternity leave with my second baby. What I hadn’t bargained for was that every Saturday morning I would sell out of over 100 individual pies, mainly venison with red wine and juniper, chicken and leek in cream sauce and a lovely spicy butterbean – certainly NOT Slimming World friendly but they were tasty – and homemade pastry – it makes me salivate thinking of those pies even if I do say so myself. At the time I couldn’t bear the thought of eating one but Mr K didn’t seem to have that problem. Then I would come home to a slightly frazzled Mr K who had dealt with the children virtually from Wednesday night onwards as I had been stuck in the kitchen.
On the side I also made other dishes to sell frozen as the pies were taking over my kitchen, not to mention all of my time. It was some single male friends’ who started me along this route as they were all happy to have frozen meals that they could just take out and heat up but knew it was all good, home cooking. The recipe for meatballs was by far the most popular dish that would sell out time and time again and occasionally people would buy all of my stock of this dish through fear or me not having time to make any more.
Alas, time took over, I went back to work and with 2 young children the catering was not making enough money for me to make the ‘big leap’ into renting an external kitchen – oh what could have been, but enough of that.
This dish is a not really a UK meatball – normally they are cooked IN the sauce, which rather leaves them looking a little insipid in my opinion and can be a little ‘bouncy’ on the teeth, Mr K hates me saying that but if you feel the same then you will know what I’m talking about. They are made with pork but you can also do half pork, half lamb. You can throw everything in together and if you have lots of happy little pairs of hands like I do then gather them around the dining table with the big bowl of mix and let them get on with it – a child’s hand is the perfect size to make these and I’m a huge fan in sharing the chores love – just remember to get them to wash their hands first – and before you know it they are ready for the oven.
Meatballs in a Tomato Sauce – serves 5 with some leftover, syn free if using breadcrumbs as a HEX B
- 1 kg meat – I use pork mince but sometimes half pork, half lamb – lean
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- Handful sage leaves, finely chopped (or other herbs – use whatever you have to hand – but NOT coriander – it just doesn’t work)
- 1 large or 2 small lemons, rind grated
- Wholemeal breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 can tomatoes, chopped or if whole, chop them up
- 1 jar pasatta
- tomato puree
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp sweetener
Heat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
Mix together pork, onion, garlic, sage, lemon rind, breadcrumbs and egg, season well.
Take a small piece of mix and fry in a pan until cooked to make sure you have enough seasoning to your taste (you will be surprised how much seasoning this takes).
Get small hands to make as many meatballs as you wish and put them in a roasting tin – I always cook these in the oven as I like the textural change roasting them makes.
Put in oven for around 30 minutes, shake a couple of times.
While meatballs are in oven throw tomatoes, puree, pasatta, garlic and sweetener in a pan and cook through and cook some rice or pasta, whichever you fancy.
When all cooked throw meatballs into sauce – you can add some olives at this point, but remember to syn them.
Serve over raw spinach, pasta or rice.