Every now and then I try and catch up with friends that I’ve neglected due to my very busy timetable, whilst I try to become a qualified nurse! And last night it was my good girlfriends from the town I grew up in. We’ve spent great times together and last night was another one to add to our collection. We always have lots of giggles and spend time discovering what’s new in each other’s lives. We’ve shared many years seeing one another through the ups and downs of life but at the end of it all we always have one another and now a good bowl of meatballs with the wine!
I spend many hours cooking and trying to find meals that my family love and Italian food is always one that goes down well. Meatballs are a firm favourite, trying many ways to make them but last nights was hands down the winner! I have moved on from browning them in a frying pan as its time consuming and messy, I now oven bake them and find they turn out perfectly! I make large batches each time and freeze them ready for a night when I have little time to whip something up, I sometimes put the meatballs into a good old store bought jar of sauce like ‘Llyod Grossman’s Tomato and Chilli’ if I’m really stuck for time otherwise I like to make the sauce as it adds to the flavour of the meatballs. The tomato and Chianti sauce better known as a Marinara sauce goes perfectly with the meatballs as I use the Chianti in both the meatball and the sauce.
The Mocha Baileys Icebox Cake…I had never made one before Monday evening, so was taking a little risk if it didn’t turn out so well but I can honestly say it was delicious!!! It will be added to my little book of recipes that I am developing for Olivia and Toby along with my meatballs in Chianti and Tomato sauce. This is a book I keep up on the shelf with all the recipe books I have accumulated over the years that nestles next to Jamie Oliver and Rachel Allen where I write my creations that my children and James love. I will give both of them a copy when they fly the nest, which isn’t for many years as they are only 3 and 9 but I assure you ‘Mumma’ will be left heartbroken but at least I’ll know that they always have their favourite meals and puddings in a book for them to create and hopefully pass on to their children! I give these recipes for all the Mumma’s that want a family fun meal that I promise the family will Love!
Oven Baked Meatballs
Serves 12 portions, Half recipe for smaller portion or bag up and place in the freezer once meatballs have been cooked and cooled.
1kg Good Quality Minced Beef Steak
850g Good Quality Minced Pork
1 Cup Parmesan
1 Cup Bread Crumbs (I use a rustic Mediterranean loaf from Tesco to add flavour)
1 Red onion finely chopped
2 Cloves of minced Garlic
2 Tablespoons of Fresh Parsley finely chopped
¾ Cup of good Red Wine (I used a Chianti)
½ Cup of Water
2 large eggs whisked
2 Teaspoons of Sea salt
½ Teaspoon of Pepper
Good Olive Oil
Quick Tip: I use a food processor to chop onion, bread, parmesan.
Pre heat oven to 180 degrees C. Place the beef and pork into a large bowl and break up with a folk, add the parmesan, bread crumbs, red onion, garlic, parsley, red wine, water, eggs, salt and pepper and mix well with you hands until combined. Take two large baking trays. Role lightly 1 ½” inch balls of the meat mixture placing them onto the trays as you go, this can take a little time. Drizzle with olive oil and place into the oven for 25 minutes until browned and thoroughly cooked. Once cooked take out of trays and put into sauce of your choice. Simmer in the sauce for 20 minutes on a low heat. Now enjoy!
Tomato and Chianti Sauce
2 tablespoons of Good Olive Oil
1 Yellow Onion finely chopped (I used food processor as I had it out for the meatballs)
2 Cloves of minced Garlic
1 Cup of Good Chianti
2 (600g) Tins of Chopped Tomatoes
1 Tablespoon of Chopped Parsley
1 ½ Teaspoons of Sea Salt
½ Teaspoons of Black Pepper
Heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or so. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Now its ready for meatballs to be added.
Mocha Baileys Icebox Cake
3 Cups cold double Cream
¾ Cup of caster sugar
¾ Cup of Baileys
3 Tablespoons of good quality Cocoa Powder (I use Green & Blacks)
1 ½ teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
1 ½ teaspoons instant Espresso powder (I use Nescafe Azerra)
20 Large thin Chocolate Chip Cookies such as Millies Cookies. (If you would like to make your own follow the cookie recipe on my previous blog however exclude cocoa powder and switch white chocolate chunks for milk chocolate chunks or use 400g of Lindt chocolate bars and chop into chunks.)
Shaved Dark Chocolate to garnish once finished
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the double cream, mascarpone, sugar, baileys, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and vanilla. Mix on low speed to combine and then slowly raise the speed, until it forms firm peaks.
To assemble the cake, arrange chocolate chip cookies flat in an 8-inch spring form pan, covering the bottom as much as possible. Break some cookies to fill in the spaces. Spread a fifth of the mocha baileys whipped cream evenly over the cookies. Place another layer of cookies on top, lying flat and touching, followed by another fifth of the cream. Continue layering cookies and cream until there are 5 layers of each, ending with a layer of cream. Smooth the top, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
Run a small sharp knife around the outside of the cake and remove the sides of the pan. Sprinkle the top with the chocolate, cut in wedges, and serve cold.