Cheesy Middle Meatballs Recipe

This sauce is the base for so many things I can’t even tell you! If you have the time to let it reduce for hours, then do. Top it up with water if you need to and stick any veg you’ve got lying around in it.  They go so soft and delicious, it’s hard telling exactly what’s in there so it’s perfect for fussy eaters.

The meatballs themselves are deliberately plain to let the sauce do the talking but you could easily spice them up by adding herbs or whatever you fancy. A nice variation is to use pork mince with some chopped sage running through. I’ve said it to serve 4 but with the hungry eaters in our house it usually only makes it to 2 or 3 so adjust as necessary but this amount makes about 14 large meatballs. 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

Olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 red pepper, finely chopped

3 garlic cloved, crushed

300g mushrooms, quartered

3 tbsp mixed herbs

splodge of tomato puree

2 tins chopped tomatoes

1 glass red wine

splashes of Wocestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar

1 chicken stock cube

 

For the meatballs:

1 kg lean minced beef

1 pack mini mozzarella balls

1 egg

3 tbsp breadcrumbs

salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

1.   Sweat off the onion, pepper and garlic in the oil until soft. Add the mushrooms and herbs and cook for a couple more minutes.

2.   Add everything else including the crumbled stock cube and leave to bubble for as long as you can (1-2 hours is best).

3.   For the meatballs, squidge together the mince, breadcrumbs, egg and seasoning. Push a blob flat in your palm and stick a mozzarella ball in the middle. Close the mince around it making sure there are no gaps.

4.   Cook in the sauce for 10-15 minutes and serve with spaghetti or rice!

3 Cheese Pasta Bake Recipe

Originally when creating this recipe, I used mascarpone in the sauce too, however having made for a few big dinners in our house and not having any to hand I’ve since decided it’s actually better without! We love cheese at ours and even thought mascarpone is delicious, I think it sort of masked the flavours of the cheddar and Parmesan. So, ignore the scoop of mascarpone in the video and enjoy this utter cheese fest in all its glory. This serves about 8 as it’s so rich, so definitely serve it alongside a fresh green salad to cut through the creaminess! 

Ingredients:

500g any pasta

100g butter

100g plain flour

100ml milk

500g grated cheddar

200g grated Parmesan, plus 100g

2 balls mozzarella

2 cups breadcrumbs

150g frozen peas

1 pack streaky bacon / lardons

 

Recipe:

1.  Pop your pasta in salted water to cook for 10 mins (definitely al dente as it’ll continue cooking in its sauce). Drain and toss in olive oil.

2.  In a large pan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook out for 3 minutes. Slowly add milk and beat to create a smooth white sauce.

3.   Stir in the cheddar until smooth again and then add the 200g Parmesan and the mozzarella. Stir until melted and gooey and great.

4.   Chop up the bacon and cook off until crispy. Add the peas and then stir through the sauce. Add the pasta and tip into a large baking dish.

5.  Stir the 100g Parmesan into the breadcrumbs and scatter over the top. Bake in a 200c oven for 15 minutes until the breadcrumbs are crispy and golden.

Morning After Friday Night Frittata Recipe

We’ve all been there. Blood turned into beer, or at least it feels like that come Saturday morning where your body clock still wakes you up at 8, despite you only crawling into bed a few hours previous. This is a true fridge-raid and you can totally make it your own. I’ve used more traditional Full English ingredients but I’ve also been known to stick leftover takeaways in a pan of eggs so don’t limit yourself! This is even better when its made for you, so ask nicely and promise to keep the restorative teas coming all day… 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Around 500g any veg or protein you’ve got leftover from the week e.g.

100g halved cherry tomatoes

200g boiled/baked potatoes

6 rashers of bacon

100g chopped mushrooms

100g chopped red pepper

handful spinach

5 large free range eggs, beaten

 

Recipe:

1.   Grill bacon. Fry mushrooms and pepper in a glug of olive oil. Add tomatoes and potatoes to get some colour on them.

2.   Chop the bacon into the pan and add the spinach leaves to wilt a bit.

3.   Add all this to the bowl of eggs to cover it. Add salt and pepper and return to the pan.

4.   Cook over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Transfer to the grill if you’re pan has a metal handle- if not, flip out onto a plate and slide straight back into the pan to cook the other side.

Great hot or cold

Gin and Tonic Cake Recipe

This uses a very special gin from Heston’s Waitrose collection but of course any wonderful gin will do. The freshness of lime in this cake gives a zestiness rarely found without tropical flavours so here it is really allowed to shine. To get the best from your zest, use a microplane to get just the brightest green zest from your limes. If you don’t have one (although I highly suggest you buy one, they are seriously a game changer…) you can finely grate them but make sure you don’t get the white pith- this will make it bitter rather then fragrant.

This cake actually gets better with time so don’t panic that you can’t finish it in one sitting, it will be equally delicious- in fact more so, a few days after baking if kept in an airtight tin. 

Ingredients:

225g butter

225g caster sugar

4 eggs

225g self-raising flour

4 shots Earl Grey gin

2 limes, zest

 

Icing:

25ml tonic water

8 shots gin

150g granulated sugar

2 limes, juice

 

Method:

1.   Preheat oven to 180. Grease and line loaf tin.

2.   Beat butter, lime zest and sugar together until very pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and beat completely in to mix between each one.

3.   Fold in the flour, add the gin and then bake in a loaf tin for 45 minutes.

4.   Mix icing ingredients together.

5.   When cake is out of oven, poke holes all over and pour over icing.

6.   Leave to cool properly until a crust forms then slice and serve!

Boozy Mini Eccles Cakes Recipe

Eccles cakes improve any afternoon tea spread and with the addition of brandy, these spiked ones are certainly a hit with grown ups! The fruit filling is similar to that of a Christmas cake or Christmas pudding but without the festive spices. Of course, it it ‘tis the season, then please do add some mixed spice or nutmeg to give them a wintery warmth, however just as is with a hunk of cheese is my absolute favourite way of enjoying them. 

Makes 12 mini’s or 6 large

Ingredients:

 

For the pastry:

250g block of butter (frozen)

350g plain flour

pinch of salt

ice water

 

For the cakes:

In addition to the above pastry or 1 pack shop bought puff pastry

200g sultanas

50g mixed peel

75ml brandy

juice and zest of 1 orange

zest of 1 lemon

 

100g soft brown sugar

1 tsp each of ground cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger

50g butter

50g brown sugar, plus 2tbsp extra for scattering

 

 

Recipe:

1.   The night before wrap the butter in foil and stick in the freezer. Pop your sultanas and mixed peel in a large bowl and let soak in the brandy and orange juice overnight too.

2.   The next day, grab a large bowl and sift the flour and salt in. Keeping the butter in the foil to keep it cold, grate it into the flour. Dip the end in the flour occasionally to make it easier. Take a knife and start to mix the butter and flour together. Sprinkle a tbsp. of water over and still using the knife, add a couple more to bring the pastry together. Finally use your hands to squish it into one mass. Cling wrap and stick in fridge to harden.

3.   While waiting for pastry to harden, melt the butter for the cakes and stir it into the sultanas and peel. Add the sugar and spices. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

4.   Preheat the oven to 200c. Roll out the pastry and cut out circles. Dollop a spoonful of the fruit mix in the centre and pinch up the sides. Place on a baking tray, pinch side down and slit the tops.

5.   Bake for 15-20mins or until golden brown and then scatter with sugar. Delicious warm with a cuppa or cold with a hunk of Wensleydale.