Spaghetti polpettas! True italian meatballs

Now once upon a time you turned on theTV and saw a movie with two dogs eating spaghetti meatballs. Fast forward a few years, you go to Ikea and eat the meatballs. They're ok, but a bit tough.
Fast forward few days ago- you just HAD to make meatballs but make them delicate, creamy even, and full of flavour.
And so simple.
And the best part is- you can smuggle in veggies :)
This recipe is just how to make the polpettas-  if you want the recipe for the sauce, try this one . And cook some fettucine or spaghetti for the base- thin pasta goes well with the sauce.

To make it you don't have to be a rocket scientist- just mix, roll balls, cook and serve. Nothing more to that :)

Type of dish: main
Cost: cheap
Difficulty: easy
Serves: 4
Time: 30 min
Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 5-7 min

You'll need:
hand mixer with the chopping bowl end, a large saucepan with lid, laddle, medium mixing bowl, a large spoon, small plate, medium bowl, slotted spoon, cutting board, veggie peeler

  • 500 gr mixed ground meat- pork and beef
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 red chili
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 handfull mushrooms
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp vegeta
  • 1 bunch  chives, chopped
  • 1 pinch each: dried herbs: thyme, dill, parsley
  •  pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 bay leef
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • flour, any kind
Get your blender asembled (or mixer, magic bullet, whatever you call it), pack in mushrooms, onions, garlic, carrots and chili, and mix until everything is the size of large splinters. In a medium bowl, put in the ground meat, add the minced mixture, egg, breadcrumbs, vegeta, herbs, and chopped chives. Add salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Stir well together and heat up the saucepan with water. Add the stock cube and bay leaf and put the lid on. In the meantime, make the polpettas. Wet your hands ( it'll be easier to make the meatballs without the meat sticking constantly to your fingers), and form small balls, that are usually about 1 heaped tbsp of the meat mixture. Turn each meatball in flour on a plate, so it's covered in flour, and set aside on the cutting board. Repeat with all the meat, and when the water is boiling, add 6-8 polpettas to the pan, giving them time to cook and to float to the surface- this takes about 5-8 min ( including 3-4 min for the floating polpettas to cook). Remove them with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. to cool down, or, if you are making them for dinner, straight into the tomato sauce. Repeat with all the meatballs and either serve, or prep for freezing. Great for a next day office meal to share with a buddy:)


Supper idea- italian plate

Another idea to take home. This delicious plate is a mixture of what you can find in your fridge.
So a bowl of grape tomatoes, some prosciutto crudo, some salami, avocado with S&P and a bit of lemon juice, 3 types of hard italian cheese, some mini mozarella di buffala with a drizzle of truffle infused olive oil, bread and butter. To freshen the palette, some grapes.


Supper Idea - Pad thai with shrimps


This is a delicious dish worth making when you really need some good food. I had a slight hangover, and when i do, i prefer spicy food to give me a boost of energy. Lately I've been also stressing out on the use of meat, preffering over it shrimps or tofu.
This was a little bit time consuming but so worth it:) Just prepare it in advance, then you just throw it together!
For the sauce:
  • 1 cup chicken broth or veg broth
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar/ or palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp fresh white pepper crushed
For the rest:
  • Tofu cut in a small cubes and marinated in 1 tsbp soy sauce
  • 5-8 shrimps, thawed and with removed tails, soaked in 1 tbsp soy sauce and sprinkled with chilli flakes
  • 1 carrot julliened
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, crushed
  • 1 chilli pepper sliced
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • green onions, white parts cut widely, green parts set aside
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 pack of udon rice noodles
  • Chilli flakes
  • bean sprout
  • vegetable oil

Prepare the sauce by putting everything together in a bowl, mix well and set aside.
Bring a pot of water to boil, put in the noodles to soak and turn off heat. Check on the package to see if the noodles take 3 min or more to cook completly- mine were 3 min, so i soaked them 1,5min then drained and sloshed in cold water.
Heat up a large frying pan, add oil to a hot pan, and fry the tofu, and set aside. Then add to the pan the chilli, minced garlic, ginger, onions and white nion parts to fry until the garlic and onions are golden in colour. Then add the shrimps, tofu, the noodles, the bean sprouts, and 1/3 of the sauce, while stirring to cook the noodles and shrimp. Every time the liquid evaporates, add more, stirring all the time. When the noodles are done, they should be a little bit sticky, if not slightly mushy, the shrimps shoulb be pink and golden. Turn off the heat, stirr in the green parts of the onion, squeeze in some lime juice and serve!


The greatest chocolate cake- Penguin Cake

And I'm not talking brownies :) even though they are fool-proof, this recipe is even more fool-proof and will rise to your expectations. The batter is deliciously chocolate- as if you melted a ton of good quality milk chocolate bars and turned them into cake.

What I also love about this cake is that it's sweet but not overflowing with sugar. The cakes are sweet, of course, but the filling is with a small amount of sugar to balance out the overall taste. I might have to say, that after my absolute favorite, Black Forest cake, this is my second favorite that I absolutly adore.
And, of course, it's not that hard to make :)
Note: I doubled the chocolate batter as I wanted a thick cake.

Type of dish: dessert, cake
Serves: 6-10
Cost: medium
Difficulty: easy
Time: 1h
Preparation time: 20min
Baking time: 35 min
Oven Temp: 180C

You'll need:
1-2 same sized cake tins (or a large saucepan with a metal handle), large mixing bowl, medium mixing bowl, spatula, mixer, teaspoon, small saucepan

  • 110gram softened butter
  • 220 gr sugar
  • 3 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 gr flour
  • 100 gr cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 125 gr mascarpone cheese
  • 50 gr icing sugar
  • 220ml heavy cream 30%
  • 200 gr dark chocolate
How to:
Preheat your oven to 180C. Grease your cake tins . In the large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and crack in one egg, mix it in then add the other. Add the flour, milk, cocoa and baking powder and mix until you have a stiff looking chocolate smelling (and tasting) batter. Spread it divided evenly in the greased pans, smooth out roughly with a spatula and put in the oven for 30-35 min. Use a toothpick to check if the cake is baked inside.
Let the cake cool down, and in the meantime cream together in the medium bowl mascarpone cheese, heavy cream and icing sugar. At first it may try to splash out of the bowl, but after a minute it'll blend together and fluff up. Cover and put in the fridge to cool it down.
In a small saucepan, melt the dark chocolate bar, crumbled with 5 tbsp of milk. Heat on medium with a lid on, and mix well to dissolve the chocolate. Set aside.
When your cakes have cooled down, gently transfer one on a plate, flat side down, cover with the cheese filling, and put the other cake on top, flat side up. Spread the melted chocolate on top of the cake, set aside to cool down compleatly and keep in a fridge until serving.

It's just plain old good!

Healthy Stealthy Breakfast

When you want to have a gluten free breakfast, it's good to remember, that you should eat some oats, yoghurt, white cheese (if you are lactose intolerant like I am), a portion of fresh veggies, like cucmber, tomatoes, or some lettuce, and if you're a meat eater, some cold cuts or ham. I had delicious italian ham leftover from Christmas, so basicaly that's my meal. And, if you want more flavour to the cheese, sprinkle some chili cayenne, and on the side, sprinkle a mix of your favorite dried herbs (basil and tarragon for me!) pour some good quality olive ol over it to refresh the taste of them. Then you can mix your cheese in the oil herbs and it's delicious. I was actually well fed for most of the day with this small plate. If you feel that this is not enough, have a soft boiled egg too.


Lemon & thyme infused root vegetables

This is a slightly different, a bit rustic approach to baking root veggies- which, with a bit of olive oil and salt are delicious on their own. This version brings out a bit different tastes and an aroma that actually makes you want more, so why not?

The best part is, that this recipe seems very restaurantish and a bit exclusive in taste, which makes this a perfect side dish with some braised meat.

Type of dish: side
Cost: cheap
Difficulty: easy
Serves: 4
Time: 40 min
Prep time: 10 min
Baking time: 30 min
Oven temp: 180C

You'll need:
a baking dish casserole type, tin foil, sharp knife. cutting board, peeler, grating plane or a small grater

  • packet of root vegetables (4 carrots, 1 celery root, 2 parsnips)
  • 5 garlic cloves unpeeled
  • 1 lemon
  • 5-6 branches fresh thyme
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • additional: a small knob of butter
  • optional a splash of dry white wine

What to do:

Preheat your oven, grease the baking dish. Peel all the vegetables, and cut off the ends.  Cut the vegetables in stalks, the lengh of your thumb and half as wide.
Place the veggies in the baking dish. Mince half of the thyme, and sprinkle over the roots.
Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper over them and add a splash of olive oil and butter. Peel half of the lemon, just the yellow bit, and grate the rest onto the vegetables. Throw in the dish the garlic cloves and ev. add the wine. Cover up loosely with tin foil  (shiny side down) and bake for 30 min.
Serve hot and warm :)


Dinner Idea: pork sirloin in gravy with millet groats and peas

Some days, I sit down at home, after work, and my mind goes blank- what should I make for dinner? Then I have no idea. So I'm putting up the project with dinner ideas to keep track. These recipes take a bit more time to make, but are generally worth it and are great leftovers for the next day.

So look into your freezer- you might find peas, or carrots, or both. Or green beans, who knows?
Point is, cook them tender with butter and a bit of olive oil and some Vegeta or sea salt. And keep them warm, tucked in some newspaper and dishclothes. Same goes with the groats- you can make them ahead of time, tuck the pot in paper and clothes, and the oldschool method was to keep it under the duvet until you came home from work- and them it was still warm and perfect. And if you don't feel comfortable with groats, make rice.

Type of dish: main
Cost: medium
Difficulty: easy
Time: 1h
Prep time: 20min
Cooking time: 40 min

You'll need:
 a cutting board, sharp knife, large frying pan with lid, a saucepan with lid, a medium small saucepan with lid, spatula, tongs, a small bowl, plate

  • 1-2 pork sirloins, clean and sliced in 4-5mm slices, crosswise ( you'll have a lot of this)
  • 1-2 medium onions or shallots, sliced thinly
  • Optional: 3-4 mushrooms, thinly sliced, for a bit of taste
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp flour
  • olive oil
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • bay leaf
  • 3-4 juniper berries ( dried)
  • fresh thyme, few sprigs
  • 100gr dried groats 
  • fresh or frozen peas, or carrots, or both
  • knob of butter
  • 1/2 tsp vegeta
Clean the groats- wash them a few times in cold water in the saucepan until the water isn't cloudy. Then drain and pour in 1 1/2 cups of water and cook according to package directions. Add a pinch of salt for flavour.
 Place the meat in the bowl, salt and pepper, then sift with 1 tbsp of flour. Mix well. Heat up the frying pan on high heat and pour in some olive oil. Start frying the meat in batches, till golden brown, transfer done meat to plate aside. When the meat is cooked, , turn down the heat, add butter add garlic and onions to the pan, fry for a bit until translucent, add 1/2 spoon of flour and mix for 30 seconds. Add the water, beef stock, juniper, thyme, bay leaf and the cooked pork. Stir a bit, and cover. Turn heat down to low and check every 3-4 min to stir.
In the small pan, pour in 1/2 cup water, the kob of butter, a drop of olive oil and some Vegeta seasoning. Add the frozen or fresh vegetables and cook 15 min, until tender.
When the sauce and meat thicken, the peas and groats are cooked, serve!


Easy salmon teriyaki salad

There comes a terrible time, when it's not the holidays, and you don't fit in your pants. That's when you take out the heavy guns and start eating salads in the dead of winter. Don't make it yuck. Make it at least good :)

Easy salad for next day- throw in a baggie and take to work- the sauces will marinate the hard veggies and the salad will be crisp if you put in on top in the baggie.

Type of dish: salad
Cost: medium
Difficulty: easy
Serves: 2
Time: 30min
Prep time: 10min
Baking time: 20min
Oven temp: 180C

You'll need:

a shallow baking dish, fork, cutting board, sharp knife, baggie or bowl.

  • lettuce of any kind,
  • 2 medium carrots
  • black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 salmon filet, skinned, cut in large pieces
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced diagonaly
  • 3 tbsp terriyaki sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce ( whatever your flavour)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
Preheat your oven, in the baking dish, lay out the salmon pieces, and pour in the terriyaki sauce. Mix around so all is well coated and pop in the oven for 20 min. In the meantime, julienne the carrots, and place it in the baggie or bowl, add the cucumber and add the oil and soy sauce. Sprinkle in some sesame seeds and when the salmon is baked, crumble the pieces on the veggies in the baggie. Let it cool down completely before puttting on top of that the shredded lettuce. Close the baggie and put in the frigde to take out before work. At work, tip the baggie over a plate, so the salad comes out reversed. Mix and eat.
If you plan on eating this at once, place everything the other way round- first in a bowl lettuce, carrots, cucmber, then the salmon, sprinkle with the sesame and pour over the soy sauce and sesame oil.


Plum Cake

When you have plums on hand, and you wake up in the mornign thiking of plums and a sweet cream vanilla sauce, it means it's time for baking a cake.
As I've said before, I don't make cake much, because for 2 people, where one eats most of it ( T. claims cakes to be too "sweet" ), I found a few years ago these great biking dishes, that are large enough to hold meat, and the exact size I needed to make cakes without going overboard on the quantity.  Thank God for ceramics.

It's a very basic cake, with no need to use a beater, but you will have to kneed a bit the dough.

Type of dish: cake, dessert
Cost: cheap
Difficulty: easy
Serves: 4
Time: 1h
Prep time: 30min
Baking time: 30 min
Oven temp: 180C

You'll need:
cutting board, medium mixing bowl and a large mixing bowl, workplace to kneed the dough,  sharp knife, medium baking dish or tray

  • 5-10 plums, pitted and sliced
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • optional: 1 tbsp Grand Marnier
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 cups flour
  • 50 gr butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
In the medium bowl, mix the plums, lemon juice, cinnamon, and optionally, the Grand Marnier. Set aside to marinate.  Smear the bakig dish with  bit of grease.
In the large mixing bowl, sift the flour, salt, baking powder, add the sugar, butter and egg. Take off all rings, bracelets and roll up your sleeves so you don't get dirty. Pinch the ingredients together, until they start blending into a hard dough. Sift some flour on your workplace and transfer the dough there and start kneeding. When the dough is slightly warm, roll out or flatten the dough out so it fits in the baking dish. You can also just tear off small pieces of the dough, flatten them into small rounds and lay them out on the dish. On top, you can either plop all the plums on, and spread them slighty out, or you can arrange them in a orderly manner. Doesn't matter. Sprinkle with the brown sugar on top. You can also grate a bit of the dough on top.
Preheat your oven to 180C and bake the cake for 25-30 min, or until dough is golden- brown.
Let it cool for 10 min and serve hot with vanilla icecream, or with whipped cream, or just a cup of tea:)


Raclette party

Raclette if one of the few dishes where everybody eats from one plate.
Similar to fondue, this requires a special hot plate to keep the cheese melting and the potatoes baking.
We got a raclette set one year from our friends, and truth be said, the first time we did a raclette party, we drank way too much wine, to too little food. But it was a lot of fun. Hands up if you like fun!

And what can you also do with the raclette machine? Well,if you're considering getting one, or putting it on a wishlist, try getting one that has a plain top with no grill marks or any other kind of cute embelishes. Why? Because if you don't have a snazzy fancy schmancy crepe frying pan, this works just as well.
I've got the kind with a snowflake on top, so when I made crepes, they came out really fat and with the snowflake. So that kinda worked out.

What kind of cheese for raclette? Well, use the smelly raclette type. But it's smelly and heavy, so drink lots of wine folks, and have a salad on the side.
And you'll be merry merry :)
So what would you need to make this look and taste good?

  • raclette cheese - about 200-250 gram per person :)
  • 2 lettuces, shreded with a light vinaegrette
  • potatoes, boiled, cooled, cut in half, about 6-8 per person
  • pickles like: pickled pickles, bell peppers, sherkins, mushrooms, you name it.
  • cold meat : ham, rossette, cured and regular bacon, pancetta, slices of sausages
  • fresh veggies: carrot sticks, zucchini slices, tomatoes
  • you can also serve grits, to warm up on the spoons with cheese.
  • wine White and red. Lots of it, and lots of water to drink
Set your guests around the table, hand out eacha plate and a spoon, set the table with all the food and let the party begin- who shall eat the last slices of bacon with a tiny bit of cheese? Who wants dessert? You'll probably hear groans after that question :)


Herbed toasts

Serve these gorgeous bits with a thick soup for that extra ooompf:) Sadly, too easy to make, but only with the help of an oven....
Sorry guys without ovens :)

 Get ur choppers out, and a baguatte that can be a day old.
As for the ingredients, you'll be needing:
  • 15 thin slices crusty baguette
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley or oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic salt or granulated garlic
Heat up the broiler on your oven. Prep a baking tray with tin foil, and set aside. In a small bowl, mash together the ingredients with a fork, until mixed well. Smear the bread sliced with the butter paste and place on the tray. Broil for 5-10min and serve warm, not hot!