Category Archives: Main courses

Food Monday ~ Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

For the Meat Balls
Preheat oven to 200°C

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 Spanish onion, finely diced
2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
1 granny smith apple, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon concentrated chicken stock (or bouillon cube dissolved in hot water)
1 clove garlic, finely diced
cracked black pepper

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl until combined. Form into meatballs Place in an oven proof dish and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Tomato Sauce

6 medium vine tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
the other half of the onion, diced (see above)
1 crushed clove garlic
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
A dozen pitted black olives, cut in quarters
1 teaspoon of capers
Four anchovy fillets, chopped
salt and pepper to season.

Saute the onion and garlic in the oil until soft. Add in the fresh tomatoes and cook for a few minutes. Add the vinegar and honey and cook for about a minute. Add in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer until meatballs are ready.

Puree the sauce using a hand blender. Add the meatballs to the sauce, stir, reduce the heat and allow to sit at the lower heat for a few minutes.

Serve with a side salad and crusty bread.

Food Monday ~ Pulled Pork

Over recent months I have become aware of menus and recipes suggesting pulled pork. I have to admit to being rather slow to go and investigate further.  Back in February, a freebie magazine in Asda, caught my eye and since I was about to go home for my morning coffee, I added a copy to browse through with my sticky bun.

You can imagine my horror when I turned a page and my eyes were assaulted with this:

Photo of cooked port joint taken from Asda website.

“Who hacked the joint of meat?” was my first thought, quickly closing the magazine in case mammy was looking over my shoulder. I can still feel the rap on my knuckles as my hand went to pick off the half dislodged crispy corner of a joint, just as mammy was about to carve it.

After several weeks, I decided to give it a try and for once in my life, follow the recipe in the magazine…. Well almost!

Pulled Pork

2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
1 level teaspoon Mild Chilli Powder
1 level teaspoon Mustard Powder
½ teaspoon Table Salt
1 teaspoon onion granules
1 tablespoon Sunflower Oil

1.5 kg Pork Shoulder
500 ml Cider

Mix together the first six ingredients. Rub it all over the meat, but not the skin. Put it in a dish, skin-side up. Cover loosely with food wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Put the pork in a roasting tin, skin side up, and pour the cider round the meat.
Cover the tin with foil and then seal the foil to the tin edges, leaving enough room for air to circulate.
Cook in the oven for 3½ hours.
Remove the foil, increase the oven temperature to 200°C and cook uncovered for a further 30 minutes.
Pull the pork into shreds – the meat will be meltingly tender now.


Since the meat was supposed to be ‘meltingly tender’ read, ready to fall apart, I decided to use the slow cooker instead of the oven. I reduced the cider by half, left out the onion granules, but added the last half of a jar of Apple chutney with flame roasted tomato & garlic – about 100-150g.

I was up late that particular night, so set the meat into the slow-cooker at midnight, on the low setting, and off I went to my bed.  I left it alone until the middle of the afternoon, checking it at about 3pm. It was well cooked, so I switched off and removed the inner dish to a trivet to allow it to cool slightly.

There was more than enough for one sitting, so the first night I did as suggested – attacked one end with two forks. Once cold, I sliced the remainder with a carving knife….. I like my food to look neat.

I would try it again… in a few months, but with other spices and perhaps a different brand of cider.

Food Monday ~ Steak & Guinness Casserole

Steak & Guinness Casserole
Serves 4-5

1 or 2 pounds of frying steak
1 tablespoon of Flour
8 slices of bacon
3 ozs butter
5 medium size onions
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 sticks of celery, scrubbed and sliced
3-4 ozs of stringless beans, chopped
6 mushrooms chopped
1 tablespoon of Brown sugar
1 tablespoon of Raisins
1 bottle of Guinness stout (not the ‘draught’ variety)
Some chopped parsley
Glass of red wine (optional)

Put the flour in a food bag and add the diced steak, close the bag and toss to cover the steak with flour.
Melt the butter over a medium heat. Add the steak with the bacon, and brown on all sides. Then place the meat in a casserole dish.
Peel and chop the onions and brown over a medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, beans & mushrooms and cook for five minutes then place in a casserole dish with the meat. Add raisins, brown sugar, and chopped parsley, then pour on the Guinness & wine.
Cover the dish, simmer and cook over a low heat for 2.5 hours. Add water if the gravy mixture starts to thicken excessively.
Serve with boiled or baked potatoes.

I planned to cook this the other day and was stopped in my tracks about half a dozen times. I finally had it ready for the oven quite late in the evening and was suddenly floored by tiredness. Not wanting to stay up late to remove it from the oven. I gave it ten minutes at 200C and then turned the oven right down to 110C and left it in all night. I woke to a warm kitchen and a wonderful aroma.


The aroma had me drooling, so I baked a spud and had a portion for breakfast. Well, breakfast is supposed to be the most important meal of the day. Right?

Food Monday ~ Lazy Baked Chicken

Lazy Baked Chicken
Preheat the oven to 190ºC

1 lb Chicken breasts diced
½ Green Pepper diced
½ Yellow Pepper diced
1 lb Broccoli cut in florets
1 Carrot diced
I Onion chopped
1 leek sliced
2 sticks of celery
vegetable oil
balsamic vinegar
white wine (optional)
salt & freshly ground black pepper
Grated cheese for topping

Brown the chicken pieces on either side. Dice the vegetables & onion and place in the bottom of an ovenproof dish.  Season with salt & pepper, add a dash of vegetable oil and balsamic vinegar and a dash of white wine if you have it.  Lay the browned chicken breasts on top and sprinkle with the grated cheese.  Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes.
Serve with baked potatoes or pasta.

Food Monday ~ Sweet & Sour Pork

Sweet & Sour Pork
Serves 5-6 people

1 kilo pork fillet, cubed
1 medium onion, sliced
15mls tomato purée
30mls soy sauce
300mls vinegar
600mls water
300mls pineapple juice
50g brown sugar
2 carrots, cut in batons
½ red and ½ green pepper, chopped
10mls parsley, finely chopped
25g chopped cucumber
2 apples cored and chopped
cornflour to thicken
small tin pineapple chunks
10ml vegetable oil for frying

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the pork. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 mins.
Add tomato purée and stir.
Add soy sauce, vinegar, water, pineapple juice and sugar. Bring to the boil and thicken with the cornflour dissolved in a little cold water.
Reduce the heat and simmer until the meat is cooked.
Add the chopped parsley, fruit & vegetables, cook for a further 5-7 minutes.
Serve with boiled rice.

Food Monday ~ Coronation Chicken

With the summer finally here and the hype all around for the Diamond Jubilee, I combine both with a cold dish that is my version of Coronation Chicken.

Coronation Chicken
Preheated oven to 180°C

For the Marinade:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
1 bulb garlic, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
10 ml medium Curry Powder
Salt & fresh ground black pepper to season
1 to taste nutmeg
500g chicken breast cut to bite sized pieces

For the dressing:
3 fluid ounces creme fraiche
90 ml mayonnaise
1-2 limes, zest and juice
3 inches fresh ginger root finely grated
30 ml Mango Chutney
50g Sultanas

To Garnish:
50g flaked almonds

Mix the marinade ingredients together in a shallow dish. Add the chicken and toss well to coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours or overnight.

Lift the chicken with a slotted spoon and drain excess liquid.  Spread in a single layer on a prepared roasting tin and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Drizzle over olive oil.
Roast in a preheated oven at 180°C for 25 minutes, baste occasionally until the chicken is cooked through. Leave to cool completely.

To make dressing, place creme fraiche, mayonnaise, lime juice and zest in a bowl. Peel and grate the ginger,  add 2 teaspoons of the lime juice to the dressing. Stir, cover and chill in the refrigerator until chicken is cooked and cold.

Combine the chicken and dressing, add the Mango Chutney and sultanas adjust the seasoning, and refrigerate.

Garnish with the flaked almonds and serve with boiled new potatoes and green salad.
Serves 4-6

Variations: Use as a filling for individual precooked pastry cases or as a sandwich filler.

Food Monday ~ Ground Beef Noodle & Sour Cream

Ground Beef Noodle & Sour Cream
Serves 3

½ oz butter
1 small onion finely chopped
8 ozs beef mince
4 ozs tagliatelle*
½ teaspoon celery salt
12 fl ozs tomato juice
Pinch thyme
Pepper & Salt
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
5 ozs sour cream

Heat Butter in a large pan, add onion and cook until soft.  Add meat and brown.  Meanwhile cook noodles to directions on packet drain and refresh with cold running water.  Spread cooked noodles over Meat and add tomato juice, celery salt, and thyme, Worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper.  Cover and simmer for about 30 mins stirring occasionally.  Stir in sour cream.
Serve with bread & side salad.

* Spellchecker didn’t like my use of Tagliatelle. It suggested Taleteller – It knows me too well. 😆

Food Monday ~ Sweet & Sour Chicken

Sweet & Sour Chicken
Preheat oven to 200ºC      Serves 4

1 onion chopped
½ green pepper sliced
½ yellow pepper sliced
1 carrot diced
few green beans (optional)
1 lb chicken breasts diced
8 oz can pineapple chunks drained (reserve juice)

1 tablespoon cornflour
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon tomato sauce
1 tablespoon sherry
Juice from pineapple
dash worcester sauce
seasoning to taste

Mix all sauce ingredients together.  Set aside.

Fry onions until soft.  Add peppers, carrot and beans and cook for a few minutes.  Remove from pan and keep hot.  Seal chicken in the pan and then layer chicken with Vegetables and pineapple in a casserole dish.  Pour over sauce, cover and cook at 200ºC for ten minutes, then reduce oven to 190ºC for 30 minutes.  Test and season to taste.  Serve with wild rice.

Food Monday ~ Duck Parcels

Duck Parcels
Preheat the oven to 200°C

1 shallot, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 teaspoon dill
4 slices bacon or pancetta, chopped
2 duck breasts
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cooked beetroot (not pickled)
375g puff pastry *
A little beaten egg.

Place the chopped shallot, celery, carrot, dill and bacon or pancetta in a bowl and mix together.
Slice the beetroot and set aside.
Remove the skin from the duck breasts and discard.  Wash &dry the meat and season with salt & pepper.
Cut the pastry into four pieces a little larger than a duck breast.  Brush two pieces of the pastry with beaten egg and divide the vegetable mixture between them leaving  a border round the edge, place a duck breast on top of each. Divide the beetroot slices between them, placing them on top of the duck.  Brush the other two pieces of pastry with the egg and place egg side down on top to form a parcel. Seal round the edges with a fork. Brush over the top of each parcel with egg and put a couple of slits along the top.
Place on a greased baking tray and bake for 30 minutes or until dark golden in colour.
Serve with a spicy sauce, fantail roast potatoes and a green salad.

This spicy sauce recipe came with a bottle of Cassis and works well with the parcels.

Spicy Sauce

1 teaspoon butter
1 shallot
50 ml cassis
150 ml red wine
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
50g butter chilled

Melt a teaspoon of butter over low heat and add the chopped shallot. Stir gently for about 5 minutes to soften, add the cassis and simmer to reduce to about 1 tablespoonful.  Add the wine, bay leaf and cinnamon stick and simmer again until reduced by half.  Remove the bay leaf and cinnamon stick.  Cube the butter and add to the sauce a little at a time, stirring constantly.
Season and serve immediately.

* I use ready rolled

Food Monday ~ Sticky Chicken Drumsticks

Sticky Chicken Drumsticks
Preheat the oven to 200°C
10 chicken drumsticks
2 tablespoons of honey
1 tablespoon of wholegrain mustard
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of white wine or vermouth
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Finely chopped fresh herbs of your choice
A good pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper

I place all but the drumsticks in a Pyrex dish and mix to combine.  Add the drumsticks rolling to cover with the marinade.  Cover and leave to marinate for at least an hour or overnight.

Cover the dish in foil or lid and bake in the oven for About 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and spread the drumsticks on a shallow baking dish and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Reduce the juices over a medium high heat and simmer and whisk until the sauce thickens. Serve the chicken with a tasty salad and coat with the thick sticky sauce.