Garlic And Fennel Meatballs With Onion And Balsamic Sauce

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As a family we love meatballs in sauce but sometimes I want to get away from the rich tomato sauces that the boys favour and this is when I reach for my Balsamic vinegar. By the end of cooking you have a mild vinegar flavour with a lovely sweetness from the onions and Balsamic.

You can make this ahead of time and just do the final simmer or bake before serving.

To make this gluten free I simply use gluten free penne.

Serves 6.

Ingredients

1kg minced pork

6 garlic cloves

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

salt and pepper

30mls olive oil

4 onions, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves plus three sprigs

100mls balsamic vinegar

350mls water

a small handful freshly chopped parsley

Method

Using a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic, fennel, salt and pepper until you have a paste.

In a large bowl, combine the pork, thyme leaves and garlic paste. Use your hands to combine the meat, thyme and paste very well.

Form into small, walnut sized balls, I get around 32 meatballs. Set aside.

In a large oven proof frying pan, heat the oil and add the onions, cook until they are soft.

Tip the onions into a bowl and set aside.

Add a little more oil to the pan if you need it and then add the meatballs, cook over a medium to high heat until they are sealed on all sides.

Return the onions to the pan, add the balsamic vinegar and water and bring up to a simmer, now, you can either cook this on the stove top, around 30 minutes gently bubbling away to reduce the sauce or pop the pan into a preheated, 200 degrees Centigrade, oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve with pasta.

 

 

Baked Sausages With Veggies

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Some nights, time or ingredients are limited and in order to get meat and three veg on the table I need to take some shortcuts! Tonight was one of those nights.

What was supposed to be gluten free toad in the hole, quickly morphed into sausages and veggies to save on dishes and make sure the boys did eat some vegetables on a busy night.

The better your sausages the less likely you are to need any gravy, I serve this with some hot English mustard.

Serves 6.

Ingredients

12 large fat, gluten free, pork sausages, around 1kg

12 rashers of streaky bacon

a little olive oil

2 red onions sliced

4-6 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped into large chunks

750-1000g tiny baby potatoes

1-2 large heads of broccoli, florets and a little stalk

pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade.

In a large roasting tin, lay out the onion slices, carrot chunks and potatoes.

Wrap each sausage with a bacon rasher and place on top of the vegetables.

Drizzle with a little olive oil. Season with pepper.

Pop the roasting tin into the oven and bake for 45 minutes.

Turn the sausages and return to the oven for 15 minutes.

Now, place the broccoli on top, tucking it into the other ingredients a little and bake for 15 minutes.

Tortilla Soup

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The boys have been watching a serious amount of Food Network recently on the television and requested this after one particular programme.

Here in Australia, it can be hard to find the correct chillies to make this a truely authentic tortilla soup so I’ve improvised with what I can find.

I like to make a batch of chicken stock from chicken wings for this and then use the meat from the wings in the soup at the end, I love the no waste way it works!

I start this recipe by making a paste that has tonnes of flavour, using the same technique as I use for starting my curries off. By the time you have cooked he paste down you shoul have half to a third of the original quantity and it should be really thick.

With two chipotle chillies this is pretty spicy so play around with your chilli amounts, younger kids might like one chilli with the seeds removed.

Tonight I didn’t have any corn tortillas lying around so nachos did just as well!

Ingredients

1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

1-2 chipotle chillies in Adobe sauce, seeds removed

6 large roma tomatoes, quartered

80mls water

30mls olive oil

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons smoked paprika

4 teaspoons ground cumin

2 litres chicken stock

juice of 1 lime

EXTRAS

Chopped chicken

Sliced avocado

Grated cheese

Tortillas

Method

Using a stick blender, whizz up the onion, garlic, chipotle chillies and Adobe sauce, tomatoes and water.

Heat the oil over medium heat in your soup pan, once hot, pour in the tomato mix and cook down, stirring regularly, allowing the water to evaporate until you have a thick paste in the bottom of the pan.

Add the stock and bring up to the boil, add the lime juice.It’s now ready to serve, I fill the soup bowl with chicken, top with the soup, cheese, avocado and fried tortilla strips or nachos.

Stirfried Rice With Sweetcorn And Chipotle Chilli

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Admittedly, this sounds a bit odd but as a way of using up leftovers and giving them a new lease in life this is fantastic recipe.

I like to have this rice with Mexican themed food but it goes well with pretty much anything and I’ve happily eaten the rice on its own or with an egg for breakfast.

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients

60mls olive oil

50mls water

1 clove garlic

2 chipotle chillies in adobe sauce, seeds removed

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

600g cooked and cooled rice

400g frozen sweetcorn, defrosted

60g fresh coriander, leaves and stalks roughly chopped

Method

Using a stick blender, whizz the oil, water, garlic, chipotle chillies and adobe sauce to form a thin paste.

Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat, pour the chipotle paste into the pan and cook over the medium heat until all of the water has evaporated.

Turn the heat up to high and add the rice, breaking up any lumps.

Stir the rice well so that it’s completely covered in the chipotle paste.

Add the sweetcorn to the pan and again stir well.

Now, stirring the rice occasionally, cook for 5 minutes, I like to let it form a crust on the base as it cooks as this adds lots of colour to the dish.

Stir through the coriander and serve.

 

 

Date And Vanilla Squares

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These have been in the boys lunch boxes this week and have been very popular as their sweet treat!

As a gluten, nut, egg and dairy free treat these are fab as they are no bake and all you need to do is whizz the ingredients and squish them into a prepared tin.

Ingredients

200g pitted dates

100g sultanas

50g shredded coconut

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons coconut oil

Method

Line a square 18cm tin with baking parchment.

In a food processor, process the dates and sultanas, followed by the coconut and finally the vanilla and coconut oil. Allow the mix to begin to come together while you process.

Tip the date mix into the prepared tin, top with another piece of baking parchment and using the back of a spoon, squish into the edges with the parchment between the spoon and dates.

Pop the tin into the fridge and cool for an hour before cutting into squares, wrap the portions in baking parchment and keep in the fridge.

 

Gluten Free Pizza Bases

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Over the years I have tried out a few gluten free pizza base recipes but nothing ever seemed to work particularly well so I just avoided pizza after a while.

Now that my youngest has coeliacs too I really needed to get pizza back on the menu and this is the best base according to him! More of a deep pan pizza than thin crust,  it freezes well and we find it best to let it cool a bit before eating to avoid it snapping in the middle of the slice of you are using your hands or you could just use cutlery!

Please excuse the overload of toppings, the boys get to make their own pizzas and and meat features heavily!

Makes two 25cm pizza bases.

Ingredients

150g ground almonds or almond meal

100g chickpea flour

40g LSA, ground linseed, sunflower and almond

2&1/2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder

280g plain Greek yogurt

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade and place a roasting tin on the bottom shelf. Boil a full kettle of water.

Line two pizza trays with baking parchment.

Take two bowls and place the egg yolks in one and the whites in another.

To the yolks add the almonds, LSA, chickpea flour, baking powder and yogurt, beat until you have a creamy consistency.

Whisk the egg whites and salt until forming stiff peaks, gently fold one third of the egg whites into the yolk mixture. Add the remaining egg white, folding in gently.

Pour the batter onto the prepared tins, spreading with the back of a spoon to form the pizza discs.

Take the kettle and fill the roasting tin half way with boiling water.

Place the pizzas in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until risen and coloured.

Top the pizzas and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes until the toppings are cooked.

Leg Of Lamb With Red Wine And Garlic

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This is one of the simplest ways to roast lamb and gives you spoonable, moist meat, full of flavour with the added benefit of the potatoes cooking with the meat and pan juices to save you making gravy.

While the oven is on for this I like to roast some veggies at the same time, tonight it was beetroot, carrot and parsnip with some fresh parsley, thyme and rosemary.

Use the pan juices to pour over the meat as you serve, any leftover meat and juices can be used to make shepherds pie the following night.

Serves 8-10 depending on portions

Ingredients

2.8kg leg of lamb

4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

50mls olive oil

2 onions, peeled and cut into 1cm rings

750mls red wine

750mls stock or water

salt and pepper

2-2.5kg baby potatoes, skin on

Method

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Centigrade.

Take the leg of lamb and stab all over with a sharp knife, slide a slice of garlic into each stab hole. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper.

Lay the solid onion rings into the base of a roasting tin, place the lamb on top and pop into the oven for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven, pour in the wine and stock, cover tightly with foil, return to the oven and turn down the temperature to 160 degrees Centigrade. Roast for four hours.

After the four hour roast, add the potatoes to the pan, cover again and roast for 1 hour.

Now, carefully pour as much of the pan juice as you can out of the roasting tin into a small pan.

Return to the oven to let the meat and potatoe colour up, around an hour, basting occasionally.

The meat will be spoonable so no need to carve, I just use some tongs to pull it off and reheat the pan juices to pour over the top.

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