23 September 2014

Traditional Meatloaf

Now I'm not going to pretend that meatloaf is an easy thing to make attractive in a photograph. I can flat out tell you that it is not. No amount of finely chopped parsley can make it pretty or look super yummy. Yeah I don't think meatloaf qualifies as food porn. Unless you are really, really into meat, who knows?! So I guess you have to trust me with this one when I tell you this meatloaf IS tasty and yummy!

I wanted to make this recipe on the blog as since living in the UK, I have only just realised that meatloaf is not something the Brits eat! And it was requested I shared my recipe on here. So here it is, my mamma's meatloaf recipe.

Traditional Meatloaf
serves 4

500g good quality minced beef
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of ketchup
dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
1/4 to 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (to make it gluten-free, I substitute the breadcrumbs with 2 tablespoons of coconut flour)

Fry the mirepoix (your celery, carrot and onion - little lesson in French cooking thrown in for ya) in a little oil until soft.

You do not want to colour the mirepoix or it will make the meatloaf taste a little bitter. Add the garlic at the last minute and fry a few seconds, add a pinch of sea salt and some black pepper too. Now put aside and let cool completely.

This is an important step as you really do not want to add anything that is hot to raw meat. It could cause food poisoning and nobody wants that.

Prepare a baking tray with either aluminium or baking parchment. I brush a little oil on it just to make sure the meatloaf won't stick.

When the mirepoix is completely cooled, add to a big mixing bowl with all the rest of the ingredients and give it a good mix.

Shape into a loaf on your prepared baking tray. Make sure you 'press' the meat tightly into a loaf so that it does not fall apart when it cooks.

Then make a 'glaze' with 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of tomato ketchup and a few (or a lot in my case) dash of hot sauce (like Tabasco). Brush this glaze all over the loaf. On the sides too.

Bake into a preheated oven at 180 C/350 F for 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer reaches 160 C/320 F.

Serve with a big bowl of steaming hot buttery mashed potatoes and some steamed green beans. Gravy optional, but recommended. Tomato ketchup on the side non negotiable.

Now Brits listen up. A cracking way to use your leftover meatloaf if to make a sandwich with it. Try it. And thank me later.


- If I do not have time to chop and fry the mirepoix separately and wait for it to cool down, I use another mix of vegetables which do not require all the faffing about. I finely chop green onions and a small red or green bell pepper and add them directly to the meat without cooking them beforehand. Saves lots of time!

- Bacon. Sometimes I add some lardons or cubes of pancetta whilst I'm frying the mirepoix. Sometimes I cover the meatloaf with slices of (streaky) bacon - that's what my mum does - on top of the tomato glaze. Both are equally delicious.

14 September 2014

Les Tartines

A few weeks ago, I went to grab brunch at Le Pain Quotidien. They have a few locations dotted around the city and do a wonderful brunch. Their tartines (open faced sandwiches) are just so full of flavours, even the husband is a fan. We both feel very French when we go in there (although LPQ is actually Belge). If you want a beautifully presented plate for brunch, go have a snoop.

So it inspired me to make my own tartines. Especially after I grabbed those heirloom tomatoes at the market.

How perrrty are they?

I made vegetable cream cheese, inspired by Queen Ina Garten to spread on warm toasts.

Crunchy veggie cream cheese

280g of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 big stick of celery, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1/2 teaspoon of pink Himalayan salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil (fresh would be amazing too!)
freshly ground black pepper

Mix all the ingredients together and spread on your freshly toasted bread.

Now go wild with your toppings! I chose beautiful toms and thinly sliced radishes.

I think beetroot would also be super nice, smoke salmon obviously would be amazing too and, just throwing it out there, what about just having it with no toppings, that would be acceptable too.

Simplicity at its best.

7 September 2014

Rosemary and Sea Salt Oven Fries {with side of burgers}

When you live in flat on the top floor, with a small balcony, cooking dinner on a barbecue is not an option. Sadly. And for this Canadian, lighting up the barbecue should be a daily occurrence in the summer months. So, sometimes, the next best thing is to try and replicate those charred lovely flavours by using the oven!

I started by making "fries".

Very loose ingredient list here. Chop some potatoes into chuncky sticks. Rub them with a little oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pop in a pre-heather oven to 200° C/ 400°F.

I like the skin on my fries. It's full of fibres, vitamin C and potassium. And it's damn tasty too!

Check them often and turn them every now and then. And in the last 5 minutes of cooking, add some springs of rosemary. They will crips up and become super yum. Once out of the oven, sprinkle generously with your favourite sea salt (I use Maldon).

I also made a side of burgers to go with these. To keep it healthy.

I had Montreal steak spices in the cupboard… winner! Mix a tablespoon of this (or any steak spice) with a pound of minced beef, form into patties and fry them in a very hot griddle pan for 2-3 minutes on each sides. I then add cheese and grill them in the oven for a minute or until the cheese is all melty.

My favourite topper for buggers is guacamole and bacon!

But the fries are pretty tasty too.

Almost fooled myself these came straight from the bbq…