Saturday, February 4, 2017

Beef & spinach meatballs in tomato sauce

At a picnic recently we were discussing various ingredients we add to rissoles or meatballs to add to the flavour or moisten the mixture. With that discussion in mind, I thought I would add some spinach to minced beef and see how the resultant mix turned out. As I love meatballs in any shape or form and I also love spinach, it is not surprising that I enjoyed the end result. You can eat them alone, or serve with rice or pasta, or gnocchi as I did. Enjoy!


500 gr minced beef
1/2 cup thawed frozen spinach
2 spring onions
2 clove garlic
2 heaped tsp crushed ginger
Dried basil
Olive oil
1 cup pasta tomato sauce



Crush the garlic and ginger
Chop the spring onions roughly
Place the beef, spinach, garlic, ginger, basil and sping onions in a bowl
Using hands combine well
Using a spoon and your hands form into meatballs of desired size
Place the tomato sauce in a pan and bring to a boil
Turn down heat and simmer
Add olive oil to a pan and quickly seal the meatballs in batches, adding them to the sauce when sealed
Simmer for about 30 minutes until meatballs are cooked
Serve with rice or pasta with grated Parmesan.


It had been many years since I last cooked spanakorizo.  I don't know exactly why this had happened as I love it.  But maybe it was just one of those dishes you love and cook all the time and then stop. The trigger for me came one weekend when my teacher Roza in Athens was talking to me about cooking spanakorizo with some fresh spinach she had purchased at the laiki.  

Hmm, I haven't cooked that for a while, I thought enviously. I am sure Roza's dish with its fresh ingredients was tastier than mine which was made with the frozen spinach, canned tomatoes and some fresh basil that I had on hand.  However, I enjoyed mine and will be making it again!


2 tbs butter
5 spring onions
1/2 cup white rice
1 can chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup water
350 gr frozen spinach
1 clove garlic
2 tsp crushed ginger root
Handful basil leaves


Chop the spring onions finely
Heat the butter in a pan
Add the spring onions and cook until soft
Add the rice to the pan and stir for a few minutes
Add the tomatoes and stir to combine
Put the water in the tomato can, rinse and then add tomato water
Stir to combine
Bring to the boil, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until almost tender
Meanwhile, crush the garlic and ginger root
Place the frozen spinach in a bowl with the garlic, ginger and basil
Microwave for 5 minutes until the spinach is ready (or steam if you prefer)
Stir together to combine
Uncover the rice and stir through the spinach mixture
Continue to cook until the water is absorbed  and the mixture is tender.
Serve hot with grated Parmesan.

Roasted capsicum splash & chicken

This recipe is barely cooking!  But I did prepare the ingredients, assemble them and then bake in the oven so I guess cooking was involved. The trigger for it was the Christmas gift from my nephew of some yummy Yarra Valley Roasted capsicum salad splash. One evening I saw it sitting on the kitchen bench and I decided I would try it with the chicken thighs I had been planning to cook for dinner with pesto. And the result was delicious served with some nutty brown rice.


700 gr chicken thighs
4 tbs roasted red capsicum salad splash


Preheat the oven to 180c
Roughly chop the chicken
Arrange the chicken in an oven-proof serving dish
Spoon the splash over the chicken
Stir to ensure that the chicken is covered with the splash
Grate Parmesan over the meat
Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Meatballs with winter vegetables

I always enjoy meat balls in any shape or form.  If you have some meat balls and tomato pasta sauce already prepared this is a very quick meal for an evening when you are late home, and a meal that focuses on winter vegetables.  You could serve it with wholegrain rice or pasta, or have it alone


20 beef meat balls
1 cup tomato pasta sauce
0.5 turnip
0.5 swede
1 leek
1.5 cups broccoli
Olive oil
Shaved Parmesan


Peel the turnip and swede and slice
Clean and peel the leek and slice finely
Break the broccoli into flowerlets
Heat the olive oil in a wok
Add themeat balls and leek
Stirfry quickly until the leek is tender
Add the vegetables and stirfry a while longer
Pour on the tomato sauce and stir through the other ingredients
Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer using a simmer plate if needed
Simmer for about 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally
Serve with shaved Parmesan.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Octopus and bocconcini salad

The smell of Spring in the air and some warmer weather have made my mind turn to salads. This one was one pulled together from ingredients on hand.  The pickled octopus I had was in a dressing which I used.  If you want to add another or more dressing add one of your choice.


210 gr bocconcini
3 tomatoes
1 Lebanese cucumber
150 gr grilled baby octopus
2 small carrots
1/2 green pepper


Drain the bocconcini, cut in half and place in salad bowl
Wash the tomatoes, cut in wedges and add to the cheese
Slice the cucumber lengthwise and then crosswise and add to bowl
Peel and slice carrots and add
Cut and seed pepper, cut into bite size strips and add
Add baby octopus and its dressing .
Serves two

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Chia, tahini and kefir

Chia, tahini and kefir indeed, but also currants, dried figs and raspberries are combined in this delicious breakfast.  Yes, you have to have a bit of forethought and prepare it the night before.  But the five minutes preparation the night before is well worth the effort. 

This is another breakfast in my series of "Breakfasts without Bread" for those of my friends who believe that there cannot be breakfast without bread! The amounts, where specified, are for one serve. The photo above is of the breakfast ready to eat, and that below was taken just after the ingredients had been put together.



2 dessertspoons chia seeds
2 tsp tahini
2 dried figs


Place the chia seeds in a bowl for an individual serving
Add the tahini and stir to combine well
Chop figs roughly and add
Pour on enough kefir to fill the bowl
Stir to combine, making sure the chia is not in a pocket
Top with a few raspberries (frozen or fresh)
Sprinkle with currants
Place in the refrigerator overnight

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Salmon pie

Earlier in the year when I was doing a FutureLearn course, I experimented with making a couple of Elizabethan vegetable pies. This time I decided to experiment by making a pie which contained salmon as well as vegetables and using verjuice as before and Dijonaise rather than butter. This pie didn't have the richness from the butter but the more delicate flavours allowed the salmon to be tasted more.



250 gr salmon fillet with skin
1 carrot
2 cauliflower flowers
2 handfuls frozen baby peas
2 tbs verjuice
1 tbs Dijonnaise
Puff pastry


Preheat the oven to 180c
Remove the pastry to thaw to room temperature if frozen
Chop the carrots as you wish and add to baking dish
Break the cauliflower into florets and add
Add the Dijonnaise and stir
Microwave the carrot and cauliflower for 1 minute (or steam lightly)
Make space in the middle and place the salmon fillet there
Add frozen peas
Pour over verjuice
Cover the pie dish with a sheet of puff pastry and decorate as desired
Pierce the top in a few places
Cook in the oven for 45 minutes


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