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


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



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!

Gnocchi with Kale Pesto Recipe

Gnocchi is one of those things that just soaks up flavour- much like its main ingredient, potato! It can have yummy sauces added it to it, like this take on pesto or it can itself be flavoured. A favourite autumn lunch of mine is gnocchi made with some mashed steamed squash or pumpkin and a simple brown butter and sage ‘sauce’ (literally just brown some butter and crisp up some sage in it…). Pesto is another super easy sauce to jazz up to your tastes. I’ve used kale here for a lovely bitter note but just as easily you could use spinach or any other leafy greens- I’ve been known to use carrot tops before! Whizz it up as smooth as you like but a bit of texture always add to the dish.

Serves 2


1 kg baking potatoes

salt and pepper

1 egg

300 g plain flour


For the pesto:

85 g toasted pine nuts

85 g Parmesan (or veg alternative)

3 garlic cloves

75 ml olive oil

85 g kale

zest and juice of 1 lemon



1.   Spike the potatoes all round, wrap in kitchen paper and microwave for 10 minutes.

2.   Cut in half and remove the flesh into a bowl. Add the flour and seasoning. Stir through and leave to cool for a few minutes then squidge in the egg to make a dough.

3.   Roll into balls. Leave in the fridge to harden up slightly while you make the pesto.

4.   Blend everything for the pesto together until smooth.

5.   Cook the gnocchi in salted water until they float to the top.

6.   Stir through the pesto until warm. Serve!