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Prawn and Pineapple Curry

I recently had a fab prawn and pineapple curry at a Thai restaurant and we decided to make our own one Sunday evening for a ‘date night at home’. It’s a sweet and hot curry, really full of flavour and can be served with plain boiled rice and some stir fried veggies.

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It turned out really well, the only difference next time is that we will cook the spice paste a bit longer to really caramelize it.

Ingredients (serves 2)

Small tin of pineapple chunks or cubes from a small fresh pineapple
Half a teaspoon of tamarind pulp/paste
2 kaffir lime leaves
1 tin of coconut cream (approx 250 mls)
200mls water (if using tinned pineapple, use some of the juice from the can)
6 dried red chillies (soaked in hot water, sliced, and deseeded)
1 small red onion diced
approx 500g of fresh  raw tiger prawns (this is the weight with the shell on)
1 large clove of garlic or 3 small ones
2 cm of galangal (or ginger) peeled and finely sliced
2 lemongrass stalks (split most of the way along the length and then bashed) or 2 tablespoons of lemongrass paste
3 – 5 candlenuts (or macadamias)
1 teaspoon of blachan (shrimp paste) sliced
1 and a half teaspoons of salt
2 tablespoons of brown sugar

Method
1. Using a blender, make the chilli paste (rempah) by blending the chillies, some of the chilli soaking water, onion, garlic, galangal, lemongrass paste (if using the stalks, don’t blend them), blachan, candlenuts, salt and sugar.
2. Heat about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large pan and fry the blended paste. If using lemongrass stalks, add them now (and bash them a bit with the stirrer) to flavour the paste but keep them intact so that you can easily remove them before serving.
3. While the paste is frying, peel the prawns, remove the poop tube, cut them in half lengthways or butterfly them, and give them a rinse before patting them dry with kitchen paper.
4. The paste needs to be really nicely caramelized, it should go much darker, and should end up fairly thick and a little claggy, The oil will separate from the paste. It shouldn’t taste or smell too much of the blachan. This process will take about 10-15 minutes on a low heat.
5. Now add the coconut cream, kaffir lime leaves, tamarind and pineapple along with some of the water. Give it a good stir and add more water if it is too thick – it should be a nice medium consistency – not too thick but not too runny – you want the sauce to coat the prawns nicely and have some to soak into the rice.
6. Cook for around 5-10 minutes then add the prawns and cook until they just go opaque, don’t overcook them.
7. Garnish with crispy fried shallots (you can find these in Asian grocers).

Serve with rice, veggies, rotis.

A note on the lemongrass – I never blend lemongrass stalks because I find that however much you blend them, you still end up with fibrous lumps in the curry. I sometimes buy the ready made lemon grass paste in the veggie herb section at the supermarket:

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I find that a tablespoon is equivalent to a lemongrass stalk.
When using the actual stalks, I tend to peel off the outer fibrous layers, then I split them almost all along the length, but leaving a little bit in tact so that the stalk doesn’t break up completely. If the stalk is fat, I will make another slit along it. The trick is to expose the white inner layer. Once slit, you can bash them with a heavy object like a rolling pin to release the flavour then add them to your curries. Once the curry is cooked, just lift them out again.

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Thai Creme Caramel

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This little dessert is a real winner. It is dairy free (unless you use milk chocolate) and gluten free too, and it tastes amazing.
The quantities given here will make enough to fill about 6 ramekins – it depends on the size of your ramekins. If you have too much you can always make an extra ‘tester’ portion.

Ingredients
500ml coconut cream
approx 6 tablespoons of golden syrup (or maple syrup, or sugar syrup made with brown
sugar and water)
2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
1 to 2 tablespoons of caster sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
4 eggs
a pinch of salt
200g Dark good quality chocolate e.g. Lindt 70%
Fruits – I used strawberries and lychees
Cocktail sticks

Method
Heat the oven to 180 deg C.
Prepare a roasting tin which is large enough to contain all of your ramekins. The roasting tin will be a bain marie, so boil the kettle.
Grease the ramekins very lightly with a little oil or dairy free spread – just a very thin smear on a piece of paper towel.
Put approx a tablespoon of syrup at the bottom of each ramekin so that it spreads out and thinly covers the bottom of the ramekin.
Whisk the eggs in a bowl until they are light and fluffy – approx 2 minutes. Add the sugar, vanilla, salt and coconut cream and whisk again.
Pour the mixture gently into the ramekins (I used a ladle for mine), leave a gap at the top of the ramekin, don’t overfill them.
Place the filled ramekins in the roasting tin and pour some boiled water into the roasting tray so that it comes at least halfway up the side of them, bit don’t fill it up too much because you don’t want water to splash into the mixture.
Bake them in the oven for approximately 30 minutes until they are lightly set.
Cool them at room temperature, then put them in the fridge.
While they are cooling, melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a saucepan with some water in it or use a double boiler.
Wash the strawberries and dry them on kitchen towel. Remove the leaves. If using tinned lychees, drain them well and pat them dry with kitchen towel.
Coat some of the strawberries and lychees in chocolate by dropping them into the chocolate, turning them with a spoon and using a cocktail stick to lift them out onto baking parchment. Place them in the fridge to harden.
To turn the creme caramels out, run a knife around the edge of the ramekin, place a plate over the top and invert them. Tap lightly until they fall out onto the plate – they will spread a little.
Serve with some natural fruits and some chocolate fruits. Dust with a little icing sugar or cocoa powder.
For variations you can flavour the custard with something other than vanilla e.g. almond, hazelnut, pandan paste.

Toffee Fruits

One of my fond memories of UK Chinese restaurants is the toffee fruit dessert served with ice cream. You can get it in Australia, but it’s not quite as common or popular as in the UK.
Most restaurants serve toffee apple or toffee banana, but I have seen lychee before and theoretically you can do it with any firm fruit that can withstand deep frying. Pineapple and pear would probably also be good options.
The recipe is not the easiest thing to do at first, but once you work it out, the results are so worth it. My first attempt does look a bit clumsy and messy, but the guests loved them. Now I know what to do, next time the presentation will be better.

You can prepare and deep fry the fruits in advance to save time. The batter is enough to coat two apples, a banana and a can of lychees, it is fairly thick and made up of:

100g plain flour
1 large egg – beaten
1 tablespoon of peanut (groundnut) or corn oil
120 ml water
I used a large high sided frypan to fry my fruits but you can also use a wok, saucepan or deep fat fryer.

To prepare the fruits:
Apples – peel and core the apple then cut into 8 wedges
Lychees – peel and stone fresh lychees, for canned lychees, drain them well (make sure there is no liquid in the centre) and pat them dry with kitchen paper.
Bananas – cut them into chunks – I used zig zag cuts along the length of the banana.
Coat the fruits in batter and deep fry them in an unflavoured oil e.g. corn oil or peanut (groundnut) oil. Make sure that the fruit is fully coated with batter – a thicker batter helps with this. Fry the apple and banana for about 4-5 minutes turning frequently until the batter is a light golden brown. The lychees take a bit less time. Drain them on kitchen paper to keep them as crispy as possible.
If you are not serving them straight away – once all of the pieces have been fried, allow the oil to cool, sieve it to get rid of any debris, and keep the oil for the second frying.
When you are almost ready to serve re-fry the fruit pieces in the hot oil for just a minute to warm them up and get them crispy again.
Now the tricky bit, have a bowl of iced water ready and some sesame seeds handy.
In a wok or saucepan, warm 3 tablespoons of groundnut or corn oil. Add 9 tablespoons of white caster sugar and dissolve it in the oil over the heat. It may take on a strange appearance and look like white lumps, but persevere – keep stirring all the time and don’t overheat it. When it is ready it will turn a pale golden brown. Quickly coat the fruit pieces in the caramel, remember as you put the fruit into the caramel it will start to cool, so work quickly, then drop each piece into the iced water which will immediately set the caramel and then place the pieces on a serving plate.

Tips – if you are using a spoon to transfer your fruit from the caramel to the ice water, don’t let the spoon touch the ice water or your toffee fruit will stick to the spoon. Warm your spoon(s) first so that you are not dipping cold spoons into warm caramel. The Chinese use chopsticks to do this – so if you are a dab hand with chopsticks…maybe try them.
I am not quite sure if it is best to add the sesame seeds to the caramel while the fruits are being coated, or afterwards when they are on the plate. I think that they stick better if you add them to the caramel.
I placed my platter on the table and everybody just used their fingers to serve the fruits straight to the mouth – it was a lovely communal food moment. They are delicious with vanilla ice cream. As you can see from my picture, some of my lychees popped out of their batter coating. I think this was because they were not 100% covered in batter, so next time I will make sure that they are fully coated.

toffee fruits

Ricotta Pancakes

ricotta pancakes

I love a pancake, and I am always on the lookout for new pancake recipes. This one creates quite a thick batter and the amounts given are for one big one or two smaller ones. This one has no wheat flour, it is made with coconut flour and ricotta with some psyllium husk to make it light and fluffy. I topped mine with some frozen berries that I heated with a little water, a scoop of coconut yoghurt, honey and a sprinkle of granola.

Recipe – mix all the ingredients up in a jug or bowl:
60g ricotta (or coconut yoghurt)
1 egg (or egg replacer, aquafaba, or leave it out)
1 dessertspoon of psyllium husk
1 dessertspoon of coconut flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 dessertspoon of shredded coconut (optional)
a little water or soy milk

Heat a little oil in a frying pan (I use vegetable or groundnut oil), then scoop the batter into the pan (it will be too thick to pour). Smooth it out with a spatula and heat on low to medium heat for approx 5 minutes before flipping over and cooking for another 5 minutes.

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It looks quite thick but the inside is soft and light. Topping options are endless including nutella, strawberries, peaches, nuts, honey, agave syrup, yoghurt, and cream.

Satay

There are many satay recipes around and it is difficult to find a really authentic one, so I have decided to share my favourite satay recipe. These skewers taste lovely, especially if you cook them on the barbecue. The recipe takes time, and you need to allow time for marinating, but the end result is well worth it.

satay

If you are a busy person and you look at my recipe and think “blimey, I can’t do all that”, then make your way to Mr Weezee – he has two shops, one at Booragoon and one on Stirling Highway. Satay is his speciality – he supplies most of the restaurants in Perth, and you can buy chicken or beef satay either on sticks (12 sticks for $10) or as a pack of meat, fresh or frozen along with a pot of satay sauce. It is one of those things that I always keep in the freezer now for a good tasty dinner in super quick time. With the packs of meat, you just stir fry them with your favourite veggies. Here’s a tip, if you decide to make the trip to Mr Weezee on Stirling Highway, there is a wonderful cafe next door called Elixir.
Okay so here is the recipe – you will need a device to grind some ingredients to a paste. I have a Braun Multiquick, but there are plenty of other similar utensils.

braun

Satay Recipe
1.5 Kg meat (beef or chicken work best)
Grind the following to a paste:
6 stalks of lemon grass (remove the fibrous outer layers – just use the white middles)
10 shallots or 2 red onions
4 cloves garlic
1cm galangal (use an extra cm ginger if you can’t get galangal)
1cm ginger
1.5 tablespoons turmeric
2 tablespoons caster sugar (brown if you have it)
1 teaspoon salt

Chop the meat into thin strips (you can do chunks if you prefer, but they will take longer to cook) and marinate in the paste in the refrigerator overnight. Make sure you mix it well so that the marinade really penetrates the meat.
Soak some bamboo skewers in water (this stops them from burning), then thread the strips of meat onto the skewers like thick ribbons.
Cook on a barbecue or under a hot grill – the timing depends on how thick your chunks of meat are, after a few minutes cut one of the pieces of meat to see how it is doing. Serve with satay sauce (see below), cucumber, onion and rice.

Satay Sauce Recipe
Grind the following ingredients to a paste:
4 stalks of lemon grass (again, discard the fibrous outer layers, just use the soft white inner core)
1 cm galangal (if you can’t find galangal just use an extra cm ginger)
1cm ginger
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon chilli paste (this is usually sufficient – add more or less depending on your taste)

You also need:
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
300g toasted peanuts coarsely ground
1 cup water
a quarter of a cup of thick tamarind juice (you can buy this in jars in asian supermarkets, but if you really can’t find it use lemon juice to add sourness to the sauce)
2 tablespoons sugar
palm sugar or honey if you need it to be sweeter
salt to taste

Heat the oil in a pot and fry the paste until it smells fragrant. Add all the other ingredients and cook until thick. Taste it as you go and add more salt, sugar,and tamarind if necessary to season to your taste.
ENJOY

Kakiage

I love tempura – the light batter and the soft veggies are such a great contrast. You can make your own dipping sauce for these kakiage, but I prefer to serve them with a nice thick homemade mayonnaise. Mine are a bit smaller than the traditional round ones that you see at sushi bars, but they cook fairly quickly and are great to be prepared in advance and then reheated in a hot oven for 10 minutes.

kakiage

Ingredients:
You can use any veggies, but I chose a combination of sweetcorn, broccoli, carrot and onion. This recipe makes 6 kakiage (plus a tester).

1 Onion thinly sliced
2 Small carrots cut into matchstick size pieces
1 Portion of kernels cut from the cob of one ear of corn (remove husk and silk first)
5 florets of broccoli cut into small pieces
8 tablespoons of plain flour
2 tablespoons of corn flour
1 teaspoon of salt
200mls of cold water (preferably from the fridge)
Enough vegetable oil to fill a small saucepan about a third full.

Method:
1. While the saucepan of oil is heating, prepare the vegetables and place them in a bowl.
2. In a separate bowl or jug, mix the batter ingredients – salt, flour, cornflour and water. Don’t overmix the batter – a few small lumps will be okay.
3. Add the batter to the vegetables and mix well.
4. Check that the oil is ready by dropping a very small droplet of batter into the pan. If it fizzes and rises up, the temperature is probably right.
5. Using a very large metal spoon or heat resistant spatula, scoop up a large spoonful of the batter/veg mixture. Carefully slide it off the spoon and into the oil. It might look like it won’t hold together, but it will – don’t worry.
6. After 3-4 minutes, flip the kakiage and cook for another 3-4 minutes on the other side. The kakiage won’t go really dark, but some of the veggies may look a little brown, The onion strands should be lovely and crispy.
7. Drain on kitchen paper and serve immediately.
8. Alternatively place in a an oven dish and cover with foil. When you are ready to serve, warm them up in the oven for 10 minutes at 190 deg C.
9. Serve with mayonnaise, or tentsuyu sauce with grated daikon.

Other good veggies for this recipe are potato, sweet potato, green beans, eggplant, squash, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccolini, spring onion. I would always recommend using onion because it adds so much flavour and gives some nice raggedy crispy edges.

Shepherd’s Pie

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Shepherd’s Pie is one of those lovely warming winter dishes, nice tasty lamb mince with a mashed potato topping, finished off in the oven and served with veggies of your choice.
On the day that I made these 3 batches for the freezer, the supermarket had most of the ingredients I needed in a ‘bargain bucket’, and other than being a little misshapen or ripe, there was nothing wrong with them, hence the large quantities. I’ll give you the recipe here for 500g of mince which will serve at least 5 people and potentially 6 if you pack it with extra veggies. You can make one huge pie or split it into 3 portions as I have done.
Traditionally it does not contain zucchini or swede, but add whatever you like to make your own version.
If you are vegan you can use vegan mince and vegan cheese.

Ingredients:
500g lamb mince, rinsed. (If it is very fatty you may wish to boil it first for a few minutes to get rid of excess fat then rinse in a sieve with boiling water.)
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 sticks of celery diced
1 dried or fresh chilli (optional)
2 carrots diced
1 small swede peeled and diced (optional)
1 small zucchini/courgette diced (optional)
5 large ripe tomatoes diced (peel them if you feel so inclined)
a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
a lamb stock cube
1 tablespoon of Worcester sauce
Half a tablespoon of Soy sauce
a bunch of chopped chives (optional)
1 tablespoon of mixed herbs (fresh or dried)
2 bay leaves
200g of potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons of butter or spread
a little milk (optional)
40g approx of grated cheddar cheese (optional)
salt and pepper

1. In a large deep pan, heat approx 3 tablespoons of olive oil and add the lamb mince. Stir fry until it gets some colour and then add the onion, carrots, celery, swede, zucchini and chilli.
2. Fry until they begin to soften. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in some salted water in a large saucepan until they are soft enough to mash (takes about 10 minutes depending on the size of the dice).
3. To the lamb mixture add the tomatoes, fresh and tinned, herbs, Worcester and soy sauces, and crumble the stock cube in to the mixture. Rinse the tomato can with water and add, it if it needs thinning out a little.
4. Cook for approx 20 minutes, and taste. Add salt and pepper as necessary.
5. Drain the potatoes (leave a little water in the pan), return to the pan and mash with the addition of the butter, milk, part of the cheese and some salt and pepper to season.
6. Put the lamb mixture in an ovenproof dish and cover with mash. Top the mash with some cheese (as much or as little as you like).
7. At this point the pie can cool and be frozen for later use. If you are eating it now, pop it into an oven at 170 – 180 deg C for about 15-20 minutes until the cheese browns and bubbles. If reheating from frozen, thaw first (if you have time) for at least 2 hours, then reheat in an oven at 170-180 deg C for about 40 minutes. Cooking directly from frozen works but will take longer and a lower temperature is recommended to heat it through slowly before turning the heat up to 180 for the last 15 minutes.
8. Serve with a side of veggies such as peas, broccoli, spinach.
Optional other ingredients: Mushrooms, Eggplant, Button squash, Tomato paste, Sweet potato mash.

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Vietnamese Chicken Curry

Those of you who know me will know that I love a curry. This vietnamese chicken and sweet potato curry is one of my favourites – once all of the ingredients are prepared, you just chuck them in the pot and leave it to cook. Once the sweet potato is soft, it is ready to serve. It also benefits from the addition of a small amount of caramel – sweetness is very good for relieving hot raw spices, and if I am cooking a curry that tastes too hot, I will generally add a teaspoon of sugar, leave it for a few minutes and then taste again.
Vegans can adapt this curry by using vegan fish sauce and chicken substitute.

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I got this recipe from Ghillie Basan’s Vietnamese cook book, but I have added a few tweaks of my own.

Recipe
One and a half tablespoons curry powder (I use Indian Madras curry powder – if you feel really adventurous you can make your own)
One and a half tablespoons garam masala
1 tablespoon turmeric
500g chicken skinned – thighs are juicier, but I like to mix thigh and breast meat (If you are vegan you can replace the chicken with Tofurkey chick’n pieces)
One and a half tablespoons brown sugar (any type)
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 shallots (or half a red onion) chopped finely
2 garlic cloves chopped or crushed
4cm galangal (if you can’t find it, use ginger), peeled and grated (it will be mushy when grated)
2 lemon grass stalks (remove the outer fibrous leaves, cut the end off to reveal the white middle, keep about 3cm intact, and make 4 long slits in the other part then bash with a mallet or flat heavy knife blade to release the flavour)
2 teaspoons chilli paste (sambal oelek – or use a large dried red chilli)
1 medium to large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons fish sauce (use vietnamese nuoc mam if you can find it) If you are vegan use vegan fish sauce
600ml coconut milk
small bunch coriander chopped
salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix the curry powder, garam masala and turmeric in a large bowl. Add the chicken and mix to coat with the dry spices.
2. Heat the sugar on a low heat with one and a half tablespoons of water, after a while it should dissolve and turn golden. Remove from the heat.
3. Heat a large wok and add the sesame oil. Stir fry the shallots (or onion) with the garlic, galangal and lemon grass until they smell fragrant and lovely. Stir in the chilli paste.
4. Now add the chicken with all of the dry spice mix (don’t leave any behind) – stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
5. Add the coconut milk, mix well. Then add the caramel, fish sauce and sweet potato. Rinse out the caramel saucepan with 150ml water, and add it to the curry.
6. Bring to the boil and then simmer until the chicken is cooked and the sweet potato is tender.
7. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in the coriander. Remove the lemon grass stalks before serving.

Pasta Sauce

I like to make pasta sauces in advance – they are a great way of using up leftover vegetables, and can be really economic to make if you have a supermarket that offers misshapen or odd veggies at a lower price e.g. The Odd Bunch. If you have children, they won’t notice how many veggies are in the sauce because it will taste so good and also be very nutritious. My sauces tend to be red or green and both go really well with pasta. The red sauce is tomato based and great for meatballs (or Bolognese if you add mince to it), but it is equally nice on its own. The green sauce goes really nicely with fish and pasta, I tend to add some cooked salmon or crab to the green sauce and serve it with a nice penne or fusilli pasta.

red sauce

FOR THE RED SAUCE
2 stalks of celery chopped (leftover celery freezes really well, chop it up and place portions into zip seal bags)
1 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 fresh red chilli chopped (or a teaspoon of chilli paste)
1 jar of passata
2 teaspoons of vegetable stock powder
Mixed herbs (dried, fresh or in a tube) – use whichever herbs you like, I used a large teaspoon of mixed dried herbs
Salt and pepper to season
Optional: tomato paste, sun dried tomatoes, capers, olives, roasted capsicum in a jar – this is great for using up all of those half used jars in the fridge.
Any veggies, for the sauce in the picture I used: 1 zucchini, 1 sweet potato, 3 large mushrooms, and half a red capsicum. You can also use eggplant, squash, carrots, cauliflower, swede, fresh tomatoes – anything that you have lying around will work. Chop all of the veggies into small pieces and keep the hard veg separate from the softer veg as it will take longer to cook.

METHOD
Using approx 2-3 tablespoons of oil (olive or vegetable), fry the onion, celery, chilli and garlic for a minute.
Add the hard vegetables e.g. carrot, swede, sweet potato, zucchini, squash.
After approx 5 minutes, add the soft vegetables and the passata. Add the herbs, vegetable stock powder and seasonings and continue to cook until all of the vegetables are soft and a little mushy.
Using a stick blender or food processor, whizz up the vegetables into a smooth sauce. When dividing portions for the freezer, 500ml of sauce is a good portion size for two people. Taste and adjust the seasoning to suit your taste.

FOR THE GREEN SAUCE
2 stalks of celery chopped (leftover celery freezes really well, chop it up and place portions into zip seal bags)
1 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped
2 teaspoons of vegetable stock powder
3 tablespoons of yoghurt, coconut cream, cashew cream, sour cream, ricotta or coconut yoghurt
Mixed herbs (dried, fresh or in a tube) – use whichever herbs you like, I used a large teaspoon of mixed dried herbs
Salt and pepper to season
Any green veggies, for the sauce in the picture I used: 1 zucchini, 1 head of broccoli, 1 large mushroom (okay it’s not green but I wanted to use it up), and a bunch of broccolini. You can also use kale, spinach, swede, green capsicum, yellow capsicum, cauliflower, green cabbage – again, anything that you have lying around that is predominantly green or yellow will work. Chop all of the veggies into small pieces and keep the hard veg separate from the softer veg as it will take longer to cook. You can also use any edible stems and leaves, just chop the stems a bit smaller e.g. broccoli stems.

METHOD
Using approx 2-3 tablespoons of oil (olive or vegetable), fry the onion, celery, chilli and garlic for a minute.
Add the hard vegetables e.g. zucchini, swede, broccoli.
After approx 5 minutes, add the soft vegetables. Add the herbs, vegetable stock powder and seasonings and continue to cook until all of the vegetables are soft and a little mushy.
Add the yoghurt, cream or ricotta. You may also need to add some water if the consistency is too thick.
Using a stick blender or food processor, whizz up the vegetables into a smooth sauce. When dividing portions for the freezer, 500ml of sauce is a good portion size for two people. Taste and adjust the seasoning to suit your taste.
If you wish to cook crab pasta for example, heat the sauce, prepare the pasta in a separate pot. When the pasta is almost cooked add approx 100g of cooked crab per person to the sauce, heat through for a few minutes, then drain the pasta and combine the sauce with the pasta.

green sauce

Meatballs

Home made meatballs are so versatile and freezable, and once made ahead they are perfect for a quick midweek dinner with some pasta sauce and pasta, and the best thing is that if you make them yourself, you know exactly what goes into them. If you need gluten free or dairy free meatballs, beware of buying them in a supermarket because some manufacturers add milk, flour, and gluten containing breadcrumbs.

meatballs

Here’s the recipe that we use, and this quantity makes approximately 40 meatballs. We portion them up for the freezer by wrapping 8 in cling film and then placing them in a zip seal bag. We get 4 dinners out of approx 1 kg of meat, so that’s 125g of meat per person per meal which equates to 4 golf ball sized meatballs per person. If that’s too much or not enough for you, feel free to divide it up into larger portions or smaller portions to suit your family. If you want to be super swish you can weigh the finished mixture (makes sure you
note the weight of the empty bowl first), then you can weigh each meatball to make sure they are even.

Ingredients
1kg of minced meat (we vary ours but tend to mix two meats e.g. 500g of 5 star beef and 500g 3 star pork – this ensures that there is enough fat in them, but feel free to make them ‘leaner’ if you need, or use other minces such as turkey, chicken, veal, lamb etc.)
1 large onion, grated or whizzed up in a food processor (if you fry up the mashed onion first, this will release some of the water and make for a more manageable mixture, but you don’t have to).
2 slices of bread whizzed up into breadcrumbs (we prefer wholemeal, you can also use gluten free bread)
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons of your favourite mustard – Dijon is a good choice
2 teaspoons of vegetable stock powder
Some herbs – dried mixed, minced in a tube, or fresh chopped such as parsley, basil etc.
Salt and pepper – approx half a teaspoon of each
Optional extras – if you want a spicier meatball you can add chilli, paprika, cumin, coriander, turmeric. If you can eat dairy, you can also add grated parmesan to the mixture.
You can also add a dash of nutmeg or some tomato paste if you like a tomatoey flavour.

Method
Mix everything together in a large bowl until all of the ingredients are nicely combined then shape into golf ball size balls.

Cooking
When you are ready to cook them, brown them in a little oil first in a frying pan, then add the sauce of your choice. Start your pasta cooking in a separate pot, and by the time the pasta is cooked (approx 12 minutes), the meatballs should be cooked through. Cut one in half to make sure. Obviously larger meatballs will take longer. Garnish with parmesan and black pepper (you can also buy good vegan parmesan if you prefer dairy-free).

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