Baked Meatballs in a Rich Tomato and Basil Sauce

Baked Meatballs
Comfort food at its best and a recipe the whole family will love. I cheated and used Lidls Italian style meatballs which were very tasty and beautifully seasoned - they will most definitely be going on the shopping list again!

I find meatballs tend to break up if I fry them so in this recipe I oven baked the meatballs separately before adding them to the tomato sauce just before serving. The kids enjoyed the baked meatballs with spaghetti but mashed potatoes or rice would be good as alternatives.

Baked Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

By Beth Sachs, 25th November 2015

  • 24 ready made meatballs - I used Lidls Italian Meatballs which have a lovely flavour
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 2 x 400g Tins of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 TBSP Sugar
  • 1 TBSP Tomato Ketchup
  • 1 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Handful of Basil, torn
  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200c. Place the meatballs in an ovenproof dish, drizzle with oil and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.
  • Step 2: Whilst the meatballs are cooking, gently fry the onion and garlic until soft and golden then add in the tomatoes, sugar, balsamic vinegar and ketchup. Simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes.
  • Step 3: Add the cooked meatballs to the sauce, along with the basil and then continue to cook for 10 minutes. Serve over your favourite pasta
Yield: 5 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Microwave Jambalaya

Microwave Jambalaya
Microwave meals are back and this is a fab bung it in the microwave recipe that's a real lifesaver when time is short...or when you don't have the use of an oven! People don't tend to use their microwaves for actually making meals but I've found I can do quite a lot in mine...veggie chilli, risotto's, as well as this really flavourful jambalaya with chorizo and red pepper.

I'll be posting more easy microwave meals in the coming weeks so keep an eye out on the blog.
Microwave Jambalaya

By Beth Sachs, 23rd November 2015

  • 400g Can of Chopped Tomatoes (with added chilli if you like it spicy)
  • Canful (empty can of tomatoes) of Easy Cook Long Grain Rice
  • 1 Red Pepper, chopped
  • 120g Chorizo Sausage, cut into chunks
  • 2 TSP Cajun Seasoning
  • Handful of grated cheddar
  • Step 1: Empty tin of tomatoes into a large microwaveable bowl. Fill the empty can with rice then add it to the bowl. Now fill the can with water and add this.
  • Step 2: Stir in the other ingredients, cover with clingfilm (pierce a few holes in it) and microwave for 10 minutes.
  • Step 3: Give it a good stir then return to the microwave for another 12 minutes, until the rice is cooked.
  • Step 4: Serve with some grated cheddar on top.
Yield: 4 portions
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 22 mins

Meal Plan 23rd - 29th November 2015

Monday 23rd November
Leftover Roast Pork with Spiced Red Cabbage, Cauliflower cheese, Sweet Potato Mash and Carrots

Tuesday 24th November
Meatballs in a Tomato and Basil Sauce with Pasta

Wednesday 25th November
Leftover Meatballs on Jacket Potatoes

Thursday 26th November
Chicken Kievs, Rice and Veg

Friday 27th November
Panini's with Coleslaw and Salad

Saturday 28th November
Prawn Stir Fry

Sunday 29th November
Pulled Pork Rolls with Apple Slaw

Oven Baked Chorizo and Cheddar Risotto

Oven Baked Chorizo and Cheddar Risotto
There's a cold snap on the way this weekend and I can't think of anything more comforting than tucking into a bowl of this chorizo and cheddar risotto on a cold November evening. I love oven baked risotto's as they can take care of them self, leaving you chance to get on with other stuff like bathing the kids, tidying up the toys and enjoying a nice glass of wine (well it is Friday!).

Enjoy the weekend whatever you are up to! We've got a birthday party, shopping for new school boots and anther trip to the brand new Lidls in Bude on the agenda, as well as lots of Christmas cooking for the freezer.

Oven Baked Chorizo and Cheddar Risotto

By Beth Sachs, 20th November 2015

  • 1 Onion
  • 150g Chorizo, cut into chunks
  • 300g Risotto Rice
  • Splash of White Wine
  • 700ml Chicken Stock
  • 100g Frozen Peas
  • 150g Cheddar, grated
  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200c.
  • Step 2: In an ovenproof lidded casserole gently fry the onion and chorizo in a little oil until softened.
  • Step 3: Stir in the Risotto Rice and make sure every grain gets coated in the oil.
  • Step 4: Add the splash of wine and let it reduce for a minute then pour in the stock. Bring it to the boil then put a lid on the risotto and pop it in the oven.
  • Step 5; After 20 minutes add the peas and cheddar and return (with the lid on) to the oven for another 5-10 minutes. If its looking a little dry add a little boiling water from a kettle.
  • Step 6: Give it a good stir before serving and sprinkle with extra grated cheddar if desired.
Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Spicy Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Curry

Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Curry

There's nothing better than a warming curry on a wet and windy evening. This is a lovely robust veggie version that will keep you feeling full until breakfast - and I even convinced hubby, who usually isn't satisfied unless there is meat on his plate (although he's still unconvinced by chickpeas).

If you wanted a milder curry then use Korma curry paste instead of Rogan Josh. I served this with naan breads and mango chutney but if you wanted to stretch it a bit further then serve some pilau rice alongside.

Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Curry
By Beth Sachs, 16th November 2015

  • 2 Red Onions, sliced
  • 3 heaped TBSP of Rogan Josh Curry Paste
  • 3cm Piece of Ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Red chilli
  • Bunch of Coriander, leaves removed (to use as garnish later), stalks chopped finely
  • 2 Sweet Potatoes, chopped into 2cm dice
  • 400g Tin of Chickpeas, drained
  • 400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 400g Tin Coconut Milk
  • Bag of Spinach
  • Step 1: Heat a glug of oil in a large pan and add the onion and curry paste. Cook for 10 minutes until the onion is soft.
  • Step 2: Add the ginger, chilli, coriander stalks, sweet potatoes and chickpeas and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tin of tomatoes then cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Step 3: Remove the lid and cook for  a further 15 minutes then stir in the coconut milk and bag of spinach.
  • Step 4: Cook for a few minutes to wilt the spinach then serve with warmed naan bread and mango chutney.
Yield: serves 4 adults
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Meal Plan 16th - 22nd November 2015

Meal Plan

Horrible horrible weekend, with lots of explaining to a confused 6 and 8 year old. My thoughts go out to all those affected by the tragic events in Paris.

This week I'm still running the cupboards and freezer down ready for Christmas and I'm also looking forward to the long awaited (for me anyway) opening of Lidls in Bude. I'll be there bright and early on Thursday morning as they open their doors for the very first time.

Monday 16th November
Cheesy Tomato Pasta

Tuesday 17th November
Mushroom Omelette's

Wednesday 18th November
Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potato Mash and Frozen Veggies (peas and broccoli)

Thursday 19th November
Panini's with Coleslaw and Salad

Friday 20th November
Oven baked Risotto but with bacon instead of chicken

Saturday 21st November
Pulled Pork (which is a Lidls weekend offer this week) served in rolls with coleslaw

Sunday 22nd November
Leftover Pulled Pork Macaroni Cheese

Chocolate Orange Biscuit Cake: An Alternative Christmas Cake

Chocolate Orange Biscuit Cake
Every year I make a Christmas cake and every year I'm the one that ends up eating the damn thing. So in a concerted effort to maintain my waistline, this year, instead of a traditional Christmas cake I'll be making an alternative Chocolate Orange Biscuit Cake to enjoy. After all, who can resist the quintessentially festive chocolate orange combo?

The beauty of a biscuit cake is that it can be made 3 or 4 days ahead and left in the fridge until you want to serve it (or a cold garage if the fridge is bursting at the seams!). All you need is a dollop of clotted cream and you're sorted. If this is being made for an entirely adult audience I would use all dark chocolate in the topping.

An alternative Christmas Cake - Chocolate Orange Biscuit CakeCHOCOLATE ORANGE BISCUIT CAKE
By Beth Sachs, 13th November 2015

  • 350g Digestives
  • 100g Ginger Nuts
  • 100g Dried Fruit e.g. raisins, cherries
  • 50g Chocolate Candy - I used mini smarties
  • Zest 1 orange
  • 340g Butter
  • 240g Golden Syrup
  • 120g Dark Chocolate
  • 60g Cocoa powder
  • For the topping
  • 150g Milk Chocolate
  • 100g Dark Chocolate
  • 50g White Chocolate for drizzling
  • Chocolate Stars to decorate
  • Step 1: Line a 20cm springform tin with clingfilm so that it overhangs at the top.
  • Step 2: In a large bowl bash the digestives and gingernut biscuits with the end of a rolling pin. Add in the dried fruit, chocolate candy and orange zest. Set aside.
  • Step 3: In another large microwaveable bowl slowly melt the chocolate, butter and syrup (I do 30 second bursts then stir). Once melted whisk in the cocoa powder.
  • Step 4: Mix the melted chocolate with the crushed biscuits until combined. Tip into the prepared tin, level the top and place in the fridge for 2-3 hours to set (or overnight).
  • Step 5: Melt the topping chocolate (milk and dark chocolate), allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Step 6: Turn out the biscuit cake onto a large plate and peel off the clingfilm.
  • Step 7: Spread on the melted chocolate and use a palette knife to smooth the top.
  • Step 8: Melt the white chocolate and decorate with chocolate stars and drizzles of white chocolate.
Yield: 10 slices
Prep Time: 20 minutes, chilling time 2 hours+

Giveaway: Vonshef 6.5l Digital Slow Cooker

I've recently been working with Domu, an online kitchen and home shop, developing seasonal warming recipes for their new slow cooker recipe hub. My Slow Cooker Sausage, Mushroom and Red Onion Casserole is currently being featured on their website and was made in a Vonshef 6.5l digital slow cooker like the one in the picture above. Domu have kindly given me a brand new Vonshef 6.5l Digital Slow Cooker from their range to giveaway to one Jam and Clotted Cream reader in a competition.

All you need to do to enter is fill in the Rafflecopter widget below. UK entrants only please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blueberry and White Chocolate Muffins

Blueberry and White Chocolate Muffins

These blueberry and white chocolate muffins take minutes to make...and minutes to eat - they are that good! In fact they are so quick to whip up you could easily make them for a special weekend breakfast or brunch. They are definitely best eaten fresh though so if you have any leftover, pop them into the freezer and reheat in the oven for a few minutes when you next need a mid morning pick me up.

You could substitute the blueberries for raspberries or blackberries, or even dried fruit if you preferred. The white chocolate gives them a wonderful sweet edge without turning them too sickly.

Why don't you give them a try this coming weekend - or let your kids have a go at making them by themselves? I'm pretty confident my 8 and 6 year old could manage these no problem.

By Beth Sachs, 11th November 2015

  • 100g Butter, softened
  • 250g Self Raising Flour
  • 1 TSP Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 125g Blueberries
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 150ml Natural Yoghurt
  • 2 TBSP Milk
  • 50g White Chocolate Chunks
  • 2 TSP Light Brown Sugar
  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200c (180 Fan) and line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin cases.
  • Step 2: Melt the butter in the microwave and set aside to cool.
  • Step 3: In a large mixing bowl stir together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, sugar, blueberries and white chocolate.
  • Step 4: In a jug beat the eggs, yoghurt and milk with the cooled melted butter.
  • Step 5: Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients taking care not to over mix.
  • Step 6: Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin cases then sprinkle each one with a little light brown sugar.
  • Step 7: Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until lightly browned on top.
  • Step 8: Cool on a rack before tucking in.
Yield: 12 Muffins
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Butternut Squash and Goats Cheese Pasta

Squash and Goats Cheese Pasta

There's nothing better on a cold and wet Autumnal evening than tucking into a bowl of this squash and goats cheese pasta. Simple cooking at its best. The squash is roasted in the oven with a whole bulb of garlic and the creamy goats cheese contrasts the sweetness of the squash and garlic brilliantly. Blue cheese would also work here if you preferred.

Squash and Goats Cheese Pasta
By Beth Sachs, 9th November 2015

  • 1 Bulb of Garlic
  • 1 Butternut Squash, peeled, deseeded and cubed 
  • 350g Spaghetti
  • 150g Goats Cheese, crumbled
  • A few sage leaves
  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200c. Cut the top third off the garlic bulb, drizzle with oil then wrap in foil. Place on a baking tray along with the cubed squash and roast of 30 minutes.
  • Step 2: About 20 minutes in, cook the spaghetti according to instructions and drain. 
  • Step 3: Toss the roasted squash into the spaghetti then squeeze the roasted garlic cloves into the pasta too.
  • Step 4: Add in the chopped sage leaves and half of the goats cheese.
  • Step 5: Serve in bowls with extra goats cheese crumbled on top.
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
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