You say To-ma-to, I say To-maa-to

 

Day two into our bank holiday weekend, after a fun day full of adventures (Borough market and Europe’s oldest operating theatre) we knuckled down to do what weekends are all about. Food prep. Today we decided to prepare a massive batch of Tomato sauce, freeze most of it and use the rest for pizza (tonight) and pasta tomorrow.

 

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Ingredients

This recipe makes 8-10 portions, we plan to double it next time.

  • 4 cans of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 8-10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1-2 medium carrot, cut into large chunks
  • 1 medium onion, split in half
  • 1 large stem fresh basil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

Method

  1. Move oven rack to lower position and preheat oven to 150°C.
  2. Place tomatoes in a large bowl and remove the ends, gently squish tomatoes until pieces no larger than 1/2-inch remain.
  3. Heat olive oil and butter over medium heat in a Le Creuset (we used 3.5 quartz pot) until butter is melted.
  4. Add garlic and stir, for about 2 minutes i.e. before it gets brown.
  5. Add chilli flakes and oregano and stir for about 1 minute.
  6. Add tomatoes, carrot, onion, and basil stem, and stir to combine. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over high heat.
  7. Cover Le Creuset with lid slightly ajar and transfer to oven.
  8. Stir every hour, until reduced by about half and darkened to a deep red.
    This takes 4-5 hours (reduce oven temperature if the sauce is bubbling too rapidly or the browned bits begin to turn too dark).
  9. Remove pot from oven and use tongs to discard onion halves, carrots, and basil stems. I would transfer these bits to a sieve so that all possible juices can be put back into the pot.
  10. Blow torch plum tomatoes and remove skin. Then remove the insides so only the flesh remains. Cut these up and add to the pot.
  11. Also add the chopped up basil leaves and fish sauce.
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It is all about the ingredients (one day we can afford Waitrose, till then Tesco will have to do)
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Simple yet effective

A multitude of meatballs

Another weekend, another lazy day. It started off well as James decided to make crepes for breakfast although we didn’t have any lemon juice so it was plain sugar crepes for me. Later on, we got to enjoy some matcha with a nice sweet from Minato Kitchen that we had brought the previous day, these sweets are small for £1.50 however they taste amazing and the fruit flavour doesn’t taste artificial at all.

To continue the food trend, we decided to make meatballs as we have none left in the freezer. We took a trip to Tesco’s and were ready to make a big batch.

Mighty meatballs of deliciousness
Mighty meatballs of deliciousness

Ingredients (makes 60 small meatballs)

Sauce

  • 3 small onions
  • 6-8 cloves garlic (we like it very garlicky)
  • 1 chilli
  • Bottle of red wine (essential and even we don’t cheap out on this)
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g tin whole peeled tomatoes
  • Beef stock (2 cubes)
  • Basil (a few generous teaspoons)
  • Oregano (also a few generous teaspoons)
  • Carrots (5-6 sticks, grated)

Meatballs

  • 3 tbsp fine white breadcrumbs
  • Milk (enough to fully soak breadcrumbs)
  • Garlic (a few cloves)
  • 500 g minced beef (15% fat)
  • 500 g minced pork (5% fat)
  • Garlic powder (1 tsp)
  • Onion powder (1 tsp)
  • Paprika (1 tbsp)
  • Parsley (a few generous teaspoons)
  • Parmesan (to taste)
  • Flour, to dust

Method

  1. Put breadcrumbs into a bowl, pour just enough milk to cover and leave to soak.
  2. To make the tomato sauce, heat oil in a pan and fry the onion, garlic and chilli until soft.
  3. Splosh in a fair amount of the wine, then add all the tomatoes along with the basil, oregano, carrots and some seasoning. Let the sauce simmer to reduce and thicken and then add beef stock.
  4. While the tomato sauce is cooking, prepare the meatballs. Put the minced beef and pork into a large bowl and add the garlic, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and parmesan. Squeeze the breadcrumbs to remove excess milk, then add to the bowl. Mix well, using your hands, and season with salt and pepper. (Don’t scrunch it up too much or you will lose the texture and the meatballs will be too dense.)
  5. Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
  6. Shape the mixture into balls, the size of a thumb (James’ thumb), and dust in flour. Use the first one as a standard measure (i.e. make sure all others are vaguely the same size as it).
  7. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. When hot, fry the meatballs, in batches, until golden.
  8. Deglaze using the remaining wine.
  9. Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce . Bake in the oven for an hour or so.
  10. Serve with spaghetti
Step 1 - soak breadcrumbs in milk
Step 1 – soak breadcrumbs in milk
Make the sauce
Make the sauce
Handy tip - we use pre-grated frozen parmesan
Handy tip – grate all the parmesan then store it in the freezer
Meatball conveyor belt production
Meatball conveyor belt production