Tag Archives: balsamic vinegar

Pesto Meatballs

I love that you don’t need to make a sauce for these meatballs, the pan juices, passata and balsamic make a lovely sauce.

The quantity of pesto is a bit vague, I made a big batch of fresh pesto today and just used up the last little bit in these meatballs.

Serves 8.

Ingredients

1kg minced pork

80-100g pesto

Salt and pepper

36-40 bocconcini, drained

750mls passata

30mls balsamic vinegar

20g finely grated Parmesan

Method

Preheat the oven to 210 degrees Centigrade.

In a large bowl, combine the pork, pesto, salt and pepper.

Divide the meat into 36-40 balls, flatten the meat, pop a mozzarella ball on top and gently bring the meat together to enclose completely. Repeat with all of the meat and cheese.

Place the meatballs in a roasting tin, a little spread out if you can.

Bake for 20 minutes until beginning to colour.

Turn the oven down to 190 degrees Centigrade.

Remove the roasting tin from the oven, pour the passata over the meatballs and then dribble over the balsamic vinegar.

Sprinkle over the parmesan and then return to the oven, bake for 25-30minutes.

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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.

 

 

Lentil And Tomato Soup

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OK, bit of a cheat here!

I love sundried tomatoes, the flavour is so intense! By using them here you get a full on tomato flavour in a very hearty soup.

This recipe does make loads of soup, feel free to half but I make this quantity and freeze half for another day!

Serves 12-14.

Ingredients

60mls olive oil

2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

150g, drained weight, sundried tomatoes in oil

pinch of chilli flakes

2 tablespoons ground coriander

450g red lentils, rinsed

750mls passata

2.2 litres vegetable stock

4 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

Method

In a large stock pot or pan, heat the oil and gently cook the onions.

Once translucent, add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant.

Add the sundried tomatoes, chilli and coriander, stir through.

Add the lentils, passata, stock, tomato paste and vinegar. Combine well and bring up to a gentle simmer.

Simmer the soup for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally to stop it sticking to the pan.

Allow to cool slightly and then using a stick blender, blend the soup.

Season well.

Slow Roast Leg Of Lamb With Chilli And Herb Marinade

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One of the best ways to cook a leg of lamb with zero stress for the cook and tons and tons of flavour! If you like spoonable meat, this is the recipe for you.

This is one of our regular Sunday roasts, pop it in the oven in the morning and come back to it in the evening to finish it off.

The marinade might look an odd colour but trust me, it will taste fab!

As for stabbing the leg……….I really do mean stab it! Take your largest chopping knife and stab it until nearly through the leg and then turn the blade to make a hole big enough to fit a couple of fingers so you can pack the marinade down it.

Leftovers make a beautiful stuffed bread filling, if you have any!

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

3kg leg of lamb

70g flat leaf/Italian parsley, leaves picked

6 large sprigs of thyme, leaves picked

2 large sprigs of rosemary, leaves picked

4 cloves of garlic, peeled

1 large green chilli, deseeded

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 140 degrees Centigrade.

Process all of the ingredients, except the lamb, to form a thick paste.

Place the leg in your roasting tin and stab all over it, ideally holes that you can fit 1-2 fingers into but don’t cut all the way through.

Pour the marinade over the lamb and then use your fingers to pack the marinade into the cuts.

Smear the remaining marinade all over the lamb.

Lay the lamb, fatty, meaty side up and pour 500mls water into the tin.

Wet a piece of baking parchment while scrunching it up, spread over the top of the meat.

Seal completely with a piece of tin foil.

Place the roasting tin in the preheated oven and bake for 7 hours.

After seven hours, remove the foil, drain all of the pan juices into a pan.

Turn the oven up to 200 degrees Centigrade.

Spoon the fat from the from the pan juices back over the surface of the lamb and return to the oven.

Bake for a further 40mins, basting regularly with the fat in the pan.

To serve, heat the pan juices and serve the meat with the juices over the top.

Caprese Salad with Balsamic Pearls

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Now, I’m not into molecular style cooking. It doesn’t lend itself to a busy household and my lack of patience and skills!

However, last week I managed to find some balsamic vinegar pearls in an iconic Perth European food supplier. I couldn’t say no! They also happened to have some amazing fresh mozzarella so clearly Caprese salad had to be on the menu.

If you can’t find pearls, drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over after the oil.

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients

250g fresh mozzarella ball, drained and dried on kitchen towel and sliced thinly

4-6 large tomatoes, sliced thinly

6 basil leaves, torn

a little extra virgin olive oil

freshly ground pepper

1-2 teaspoons balsamic pearls

Method

Layer the tomato, a piece of basil, slice of mozzarella in a dish and repeat until all the cheese is used.

Drizzle over a little olive oil and season with pepper.

Sprinkle over the balsamic pearls and serve.

Italian Meatballs with Red Onion and Balsamic Sauce

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Super easy meatballs, six ingredients plus some polenta and you have a delicious gluten free dinner.

I buy the sausages from my butcher, normally his mild Italian sausages, you want a really meaty sausage with no fillers and certainly gluten free for me!

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

1kg Italian style pork sausages

few sprigs of thyme

60mls olive oil

4 large red onions, sliced thinly

100mls balsamic vinegar

350mls water

Method

Remove the sausage skins and form the sausages into balls, 25-30 depending on size.

Set aside in the fridge.

Using a large frying pan with a lid, heat 40mls of the oil and fry the onions until really soft, around 30mins.

Remove the onions from the pan, set aside on a plate.

Heat the remaining oil over a high heat and add the meatballs  fry for around 10mins, turning regularly until beginning to brown.

Remove the thyme leaves and add to the pan, cook for 1 minute.

Return the onions to the pan and pour over the balsamic vinegar and water.

Cook for around 25mins, covered and then uncover and reduce the sauce for around 10mins.

Serve over polenta or pasta.