Sunday, 16 September 2012

Tapa’s Style Meatballs

Posted by Kim Fong On 8:05 pm

Another “winged it” night in the kitchen resulted in some really tasty tapas style meatballs. I say style, as it doesn’t follow a traditional Spanish meatball recipe and definitely can be made “vegetarian” with the substitution of mince meat with egg plant (aubergines), spinach and zucchini. More on this later.

… In other news, tried out my latest purchase – a 11-16mm f2.8 lens. Yep, wide angle! So I can capture everything on the plate at a close distance. I still love my 50mm prime but this adds to the spectrum of lenses. For those who don’t really care about photography, I’ll stop now – after all this is a food blog!

So back to the food! I served this with some fresh baby spinach. However, if its tapa’s you’re going for, then obviously it will accompany your other tapa dishes. Because it has a lot of bread crumbs, this is great on its own without more carbs and is actually pretty light. Enjoy!

500g mince beef
2 eggs
4Tbspn Worcestershire sauce
3Tbpsn tomato sauce (ketchup)
1 to 2 cups bread crumbs (the more breadcrumbs, the less meaty it will be)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
fresh herbs, finely chopped, to taste (eg. parsley, basil, oregano, chives)
Salt & pepper to taste
2 x 400g canned tomatoes, diced
1 tspn sugar
fresh herbs, finely chopped, to taste (eg. parsley, basil, oregano, chives)
knob of butter – about 50g
200g fresh mushrooms, finely sliced
4 to 5 cloves garlic, chopped
Olive oil – keep the bottle out – you’ll need it
Fresh baby spinach to serve
Parmesan cheese to serve

1. In a large bowl, combine mince, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, onion, half the herbs, bread crumbs, salt & pepper. Mix until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed together. Set aside.

2. Under medium heat, in a large fry pan, add butter  and a dash of olive oil. Once butter has melted, add mushrooms and a bit of garlic and half of the remaining herbs. Sauté under slow heat until cooked. Set aside.

3. In the same pan, heat add dash of olive oil under medium to high heat. While pan is heating up, portion meat mixture and form balls with your hands. As you form them, add to pan. Brown off the meatballs. 

4. Stir in canned tomatoes, sugar, remaining garlic and herbs (can save some for garnish). Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add sautéed mushrooms after 15 minutes.

5. Serve 1 to 2 meatballs over a bed of baby spinach. Top with cracked pepper and grated parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Cafe Cookies

Posted by Kim Fong On 10:19 pm

 I noticed lately that a fair few cafes and coffee shops around Sydney have been serving their coffees with these little cookies. I simply thought there were just butter cookies. Whatever they are, they're awfully tasty! 

Then a few months ago, I made a custard and fruit tart. (Decided not to blog it coz it looked a bit... dodgy) So the recipe I used for the base of the tart, was an almond based one, but I changed the ratios and added more almond meal than flour and balanced it with hazelnut meal. With the left-over "pastry" I decided to portion them and made little cookies out of them. They turned out REALLY well. I couldn't quite remember the almond meal to hazelnut meal to flour ratio so I sort of winged it. However it tasted like these cafe cookies. 

This weekend, I had cousins over from France and had to bring some dessert for the big family dinner. Instead of they typical cakes, I decided to make a batch of these cookies. I figured, after a big heavy meal, you probably just want a cuppa tea and a little bikkie. Yum! Yum! 

You can experiment a bit with the nut meal to flour ratios. But the kneading and  refrigeration bit is key to this recipe's success.

300g butter, cubed, at room temperature
150g icing sugar mixture
200g ground almonds
200g ground hazelnuts
1 1/2 tspn vanilla essence
2 eggs, room temperature
160g all-purpose flour

1. Put the butter in a mixer bowl and cream until smooth and creamy.
2. Add the sugar, ground almonds and hazelnuts, and vanilla essence. Mix until combined.
3. Add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating the previous one before adding the next one (the dough might look curdled at this point but don't worry, it'll come together once you add the flour).
4. Add flour to the dough in about three addition. Mix until just it comes together. Do not overwork. 

5. Form dough into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight (you can also freeze the dough at this point and thaw it in the fridge overnight).
6. Prepare baking tray, either line with bake paper or grease tray with melted butter. Preheat the oven to 175 C.

7. Remove dough from the fridge and unwrap. Using a tablespoon, portion into little balls, place them on prepared baking tray and flatten slightly. I find using my fingers to flatten a bit easier.

8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or it's golden brown. Remove from tray. Allow to cool before packing away or serving.

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