Tag Archives: beef mince

Little Meatballs in Rich Cheese Sauce


Here I am, at the last post from this marvelous book, Josceline Dimbleby’s “Marvellous Meals with Mince”, 1982. I followed this recipe too, light years away and enjoyed it very much. I am not into mince meat but these recipes made it so delicious and easy, thanks to  the wonderful cookery writer Josceline Dimbleby. Thank you. 🙂

Today it is all about cheesy cheese and if you ask me, this recipe reminds me a lot of a pizza. Just imagine the swimming meatballs in a cheese sauce that melts away and elongates as you extract a meatball, just like a pizza. Isn’t it deliciously nice looking?

Little Meatballs in Rich Cheese Sauce

Many little meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 350 g/ 3/4 lb beef mince
  • 100 g/ 4 oz semolina
  • 2 rounded tbsp/ 4×15 ml tomato puree
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 tsp/ 2×5 ml oregano
  • 1 tbsp/ 15 ml oil or fat for frying
  • sare si piper negru

For the sauce:

  • 25 g/ 1 oz butter
  • 2 rounded tbsp/ 4×15 ml plain flour
  • 600 ml/ 1 pint milk
  • 225 g/ 8 oz grated cheese
  • 150 ml/ 5 fl oz carton of soured cream
  • 1/4 – 1/2 whole nutmeg, grated
  • salt and black pepper
  • grated Parmesan or extra grated cheese

Method:

  • To make the meatballs, put the mince in a bowl and add the semolina, tomato puree, chopped garlic and oregano. Season generously with salt and black pepper and mix thoroughly together. With your hands form the mixture into small meatballs, each about the size of a medium-size marble.
  • Heat the oil or fat in a large frying pan and fry the meatballs over a fairly high heat, turning them continually for 5-10 minutes, until dark brown all over. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a fairly shallow ovenproof dish (1 3/4 – 2 pint/ 1 – 1.1 litre capacity), such as an earthenware gratinee or flan dish, in which the meatballs cover the bottom fairly loosely.
  • To make the sauce, melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour. Then gradually stir in the milk. Put back on the heat, bring to the boil, stirring, and let bubble, still stirring, for about 3 minutes. Add the grated cheese and stir until melted. Then stir the soured cream and grated nutmeg and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour over the meatballs, covering them. Sprinkle the grated Parmesan or other cheese over the top. Cook in the centre of the oven, Gas Mark 4/ 180°C, 350°F for 45 minutes.

Enjoy your meal!

Elena G

Meat Loaf with Blue Cheese Filling


As you are accustomed by now, after the translation of the recipe in Romanian, comes the original English one. This is a personal’s Josceline Dimbleby’s variation of the American type of meat loaf from her book “Marvellous Meals with Mince”, 1982. She recommends to try it with baked potatoes, cooked in the oven at the same time, and a green salad or baby carrots. Or all at the same time, I say. You can also check her other recipes I followed, such as beef and anchovy meatballs with soured cream , cheesy fish cakes with spring onions , mousaka with Gruyère cheese . In Romania there is something similar to this recipe, called “drob” and it has a whole egg inside, plus it is made with lamb meat. For a variation, you can follow this traditional drob , but please use Google translate or any other app for translating because it is in Romanian. I chose this recipe over other as I find it very easy to follow and I also learn some interesting facts, too, that are said the way I understand and like. 🙂

Meat Loaf with Blue Cheese Filling

Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 450 g/ 1 lb beef mince (please buy good quality beef and mince it at home or at the shop, if you want to)
  • 75 g/ 3 oz finely chopped mushrooms
  • 50 g/ 2 oz fresh breadcrumbs
  • 100 g/ 4 oz streaky bacon, chopped finely
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 tsp/ 5 ml oregano or thyme
  • 3 tbsp / 3×15 ml tomato ketchup (the book mentions this but I find it hard to believe, though I may be wrong too, that it is the ketchup we know today  and it might be the tomato juice with pulp made at home or bought)
  • 1 large egg (size 1-2), beaten
  • salt and black pepper

For the filling:

  • 100 g/ 4 oz Danish blue cheese (you can replace with any other blue cheese I guess, if you like)
  • 1 tbsp/ 15 ml single cream or top of the milk (I find it hard to understand this top of the milk but probably others do)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • a good pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3 tbsp/ 3×15 ml tomato ketchup (same as above)
  • a few sprigs of parsley, to garnish

Method:

  • In a bowl mix all the ingredients (except those for the filling) together thoroughly and season well with salt and pepper. Grease a 2 lb (1 kg) loaf tin. Heat the oven to Gas Mark 4/ 180°C, 350°F.
  • Spoon half the mixture into the bread tin. Crumble the cheese in a small bowl, mix well with the cream or top of the milk and beaten egg and add the cayenne pepper. Spread this on the layer of meat in the tin. Spoon the remaining meat mixture evenly on top. Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour and then remove from the oven.
  • Turn up the oven to Gas Mark 9/ 240°C, 475°F. Loosen the sides of the loaf with a knife and turn it out very gently on to an ovenproof serving dish. Smear the loaf all over with the tomato ketchup and put back into the oven, cooking for 10-15 minutes. Serve garnished with sprigs of parsley.

Enjoy your meal!

Elena G

Shepherd’s Pie


Everybody knows about Shepherd’s Pie. I hope. 😉 I really like this dish and when I have first eaten it, I didn’t know what to expect. I discovered a very tasty and homey food. It makes me smile just talking about it. That is why I have made it several times and I would do it again, on a freezing winter day. It goes very well with boiled vegetables and a red wine. And a warm heart. 🙂

Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 115 g (4 oz) mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500 g (1 1/4 lb) lean chuck steak, minced (ground)
  • 150 ml (1/4 pt) red wine
  • 150 ml (1/4 pt) beef stock (if you don’t want to use wine, just put 300 ml of beef stock  or water)
  • bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2-3 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée (paste)
  • 675 g (1 1/2 lb) potatoes, boiled
  • 25 g (1 oz) butter
  • 3 tbsp hot milk
  • 5 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • salt
  • pepper

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a saucepan or big pan, add the onion, carrot,mushrooms  and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Stir the beef into the pan and cook, stirring to break up the lumps, until lightly browned.
  • Blend a few spoonfuls of the stock or water with the flour, then stir this mixture into the pan. Stir in the remaining stock or water and wine, and bring to a simmer, stirring. Add the bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, tomato purée (paste), the cover and cook very gently for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Uncover the pan towards the end of cooking to allow any excess water to evaporate, if necessary.
  • Preheat the oven to 190 °C, 375 °F, Gas Mark 5.
  • Put the potatoes in a pan with water, to boil, until very tender. Drain then mash with the butter, milk and seasoning.
  • Add the tarragon and seasoning to the mince in the pan, then pour into a pie dish or baking dish.Top with a layer of sliced tomatoes, then an even layer of potato. Mark the top with the prongs of a fork.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes, until golden brown.

Bon appetite!

Mousaka with Gruyere Cheese


I feel so relieved! My exams are over. So is my stress. I can continue writing here, without thinking that I have an exam tomorrow or I have to learn for one. So I add today the recipe I put some weeks ago in Romanian. This is the English recipe of mousaka, the Greek type . But this one comes with a twist: it has Gruyère cheese in it. I loved it the moment I put my eyes on it, as it has cheese and aubergines, one of my favorite vegetables. Plus, it is traditional to make with aubergines, not potatoes. I have made mousaka with potatoes some years ago just to see how it tasted, but I didn’t like it. My fave is this one. If you are lucky to have this book: Josceline Dimbley “Marvellous Meals with Mince” – 1982, than you can just skip this.

What I like about this recipe is that it has exotic spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, that add a special flavour and fragrance to the dish.

Mousaka with Gruyère Cheese  

Ingredients:

  • 550-675 g (1 1/4 – 1 1/2 lb) aubergines (approx. 3)
  • lemon juice
  • 2 onions
  • 25 g (1 oz) butter (80-82 unsalted butter, if you find)
  • 450 g (1 lb) lamb mince (you can add half lamb and half beef mince if you like)
  • 1 tsp (5 ml spoon) ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 6 tbsp water
  • a good handful of parsley, chopped
  • 200 g (8 oz) Gruyère cheese, sliced thinly (the original recipe states 100 g, but my experience has shown me that it is not enough, plus I love cheese, so there is never enough for me)
  • salt and pepper

For the topping:

  • 50 g (2 oz) butter
  • 50 g (2 oz) plain flour
  • 450 ml (3/4 pint) milk
  • a little grated nutmeg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp single cream
  • salt and black pepper

Method:

  • Peel the aubergines, slice into 1/4 – 1/2 inch (5 mm – 1cm) rounds and immediately smear with lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Then rub all over with salt and leave in a colander in the sink for half an hour, to drain away the bitter juices. I can tell you that there won’t be much or no bitter juices.
  • Peel and chop the onions. To do this I have discovered in London the excellent Alligator Onion Cutter. I hate cutting onion so I have purchased one there. I saw it in Selfridge and other stores. It is worth it having one, believe me. Heat the butter in a large frying pan and cook the onion over a gentle heat until softened. Add the minced lamb and fry over a rather higher heat, stirring and breaking up with a wooden spoon until it is separated and sealed. Stir in the ground cinnamon and  a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Then stir in the tomato purée and water and bubble until the water is absorbed. Turn of the heat and stir in the chopped parsley.
  • Bring a large pan of water to the boil and empty the aubergine slices into it. Cover the pan and boil for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.
  • In a 2 1/2 – 3 pint (1,4 – 1,7 litre) ovenproof dish (a glass one shows tha layers attractively) make layers of aubergine slices, mince mixture and Gruyère cheese, starting and ending with a layer of aubergine.
  • To make the topping, melt the butter in a saucepan, remove from the heat and stir in the flour. Stir in the milk, gradually at first. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time and then bubble gently, still stirring, for about 3 minutes. Season lightly with salt and black pepper add a little grated nutmeg. What a lovely flavour!Remove from the heat.
  • Whisk the egg yolks with the cream and gradually add the white sauce, stirring in thoroughly. If the sauce is al all lumpy, whisk until smooth and then pour on tp of the aubergine and meat layers.
  • Heat the oven to Gas Mark 4/ 180°C, 350°F and bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes, until a rich golden brown on top.

Bon appetite!