Sunday, May 27, 2012

retro meatloaf recipe

One day, for old time's sake, I decided to make a meatloaf. I threw a bit of this, and a bit of that, into a bowl, mixed it together with my hands, smooshed it together into a loaf tin and baked. It was a smashing success. It's one of those meals my daughter will often request (along with duck confit - eclectic tastes my gal) and is cheap, simple and delish. Here's how I make it:

500-750g beef mince
1 onion, grated or very finely diced
1 cloves garlic, grated or crushed
250g bacon, diced
1 carrot, grated
1 zucchini, grated
2 slices of bread, grated
1 tablespoon of dried, mixed herbs
a good sploodge of tomato sauce
a dash of worchestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 large egg

Simply add all the ingredients to a large bowl and smoosh them all together with your hands. Seriously! Wussy stirring with a wooden spoon won't combine it in quite the same manner.

Grease a loaf tin lightly with olive oil. Pack the mix into the loaf tin and cook in a 180 degree celcius, preheated oven for around 30 minutes - or until golden brown. The loaf should feel firm when you press down on it - that'll mean it's cooked through.

I like to put a baking tray 1/2 filled with water in the oven to help keen the meat moist. Another variation is that I'll line the loaf tin with bacon in a layer, and then bring the edges of the top so the meatloaf's completely surrounded with bacon. If I do, I leave out the chopped bacon in the meatloaf part - even I'm not that big a bacon fiend.

This recipe works just as well with chicken mince - but I'll also add some chopped pistachio nuts for interest. The amount of mince you use depends on the size of your loaf tin, and the size of your family. In an ideal world you'll make too much meatloaf for one meal and you'll have to have it sliced, on a sandwich, with pickles, the next day.

I serve this family favourite with mashed potatoes and steamed veg - and a nice brown onion gravy too.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

simple tuna noodle casserole recipe

Continuing on with my theme of being in love with retro recipes from the Leggo's Italian Cookbook from my youth, I'm giving another old fave a go. This tuna noodle casserole is a cinch to make, and hopefully my tuna-averse husband and daughter will enjoy it. Here's the recipe.

140g tomato paste
1 1/4 cups of water
170g tin of tuna
1/4 cup chopped green capsicum
1/2 cup chopped onion
185g cooked shell pasta
60g grated cheese
1/2 tsp basil (dried)
1/2 tsp oregano (dried)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley (fresh)

Combine water with tomato paste in a bowl. Add in the can of flaked tuna, green capsicum, onion and pasta. Then add grated cheese, basil, oregano, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.

Place in a casserole dish with a tight fitting lid and bake in a moderate, 180 degree oven for 35 minutes.

All this needs is some hot crusty bread and a green salad.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

low-fat potato bake recipe

I love a good potato bake - but I don't think it needs to be swimming in cream to taste good. Here's a simple way to up the yum-factor.

One and a half potatoes per person. Floury potatoes are good for this as the starch helps the sauce become more creamy.
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp of finely diced fresh rosemary
3 cloves of garlic
Good quality chicken stock (you'll need enough to cover the potatoes)
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup pouring cream
1/4 cup of vintage cheddar, or your fave tasty cheese.

Slice potatoes very thinly and place an overlapping layer in the bottom of a greased baking dish. Add a sparse sprinkling of onion, some rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Repeat until dish is full. You can also include crispy pancetta or bacon if you'd like.

Once you've added all your potatoes, slowly pour in chicken stock until it just reaches the top layer. Now, pour the cream on the top layer. Cover with foil and bake in a 180 degree celcius oven for 30 mins. Test by piercing with a thin knife. If it goes in smoothly then all the potatoes are cooked.

Now, add a layer of cheese and pop it back in the oven, or under the grill, so the top browns and gets all fabulously golden.

Serve to an appreciative audience.

For a vego version you could totally use vegie stock - I just like the added richness chicken stock offers.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

my version of Nigella's carbonara

This is so simple, and yet so delish. Ready?

250g bacon, sliced and diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
loads of parmesan

Put the spaghetti on to boil. While it's boiling, fry up the bacon in a little olive oil in a fry pan. When it's crispy add the crushed garlic and stir. Now, drain the spaghetti, leaving about 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

Remove pan from heat and add the spaghetti to the pan and toss in the eggs and stir, stir, stir until it becomes all creamy. If it needs thinning, add a small amount of the pasta cooking water and stir again.

Finally add parmesan and lots of cracked pepper, and serve.


That's it.