Meatball madness!

IMG_4667 A little while ago, Mr BBB and I went out for dinner and I saw a big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs being taken out to a nearby table. Ever since, a craving for meatballs has lingered in the back of my mind (and the pit of my stomach!), so last weekend I was determined to turn craving into reality. I used a mixture of ground meats as my base… IMG_4640 Organic beef, veal and pork. Combined with an array of other tasty additions… IMG_4641 Egg, oregano, GF breadcrumbs, red onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Rolled into balls… IMG_4644 And oven baked for 30 minutes or until cooked through. IMG_4652 While they may not have browned off in the way that meatballs cooked in the frypan do, they remained wonderfully juicy and were not dry at all. IMG_4649 To finish them off, I dropped ‘meatballs for two’ into a mixture of passata, fresh basil and garlic… IMG_4655 and allowed them to simmer for another 10 minutes… IMG_4663 Until they were covered in the rich tomato sauce. IMG_4661 (while I also had the GF spaghetti cooking). IMG_4645 And with that, dinner was done. IMG_4667 This recipe makes about 24 medium/large meatballs, so we had plenty leftover to use the next night(s). IMG_4668 I think they would also freeze really well, making them a good dish to prepare in advance, and reheat at serving time. IMG_4666 But for now….meatball craving satisfied! BBB meatballs (makes 24) – GF

  • 500g beef mince
  • 250g pork mince
  • 250g veal mince
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup GF breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1tsp cracked pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 180C, and line 2 trays with baking paper.
  2. Sautee onion in a little olive oil for 5 minutes, or until translucent. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Combine all ingredients (I use my hands for this!), until well mixed, then roll mixture into 24 balls (about 1/4 cup each). Place on the prepared baking trays, and spray lightly with oil.
  4. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, turning halfway through.
  5. Serve with your favourite tomato or pasta sauce.

What about you? Do you have a “secret” ingredient when it comes to making meatballs?

My favourite bolognaise sauce

Ahh what a lovely evening it has been. I well and truly got my ‘walk on’ today, with a 5km walk around the lake with a friend after work and then a 1km walk to dinner.  A new pregnancy walking distance record yay! Then rewarded, rather happily, with a big plate of GF pad thai noodles from my new favourite Thai place down the road. It was actually nice to have the night off cooking. And rather necessary as the spoils of our weekend ‘cook up’ had finally run out. See, with the unavoidable feeling that I am not able to fit as much into my day as I would like to (partly due to pregnancy fatigue making my ‘awake time’ shorter and partly due to trying to fit too much in!) I have been trying to make dishes over the weekend from which we will get a few meals. Or at least parts of meals throughout the week. This was exactly the reason behind my decision to make a big batch of bolognaise sauce last weekend. So very tasty – and so very versatile. And not too much trouble to make at all. Our lovely local butcher ground a combination of beef, pork and veal mince that I used as the base to my sauce. Then, when coupled with tomatoes, herbs and some vegetables…. IMG_3414 And with the patience of time…. IMG_3417 Our house was soon filled with the amazing aromas that only slow cooked dishes have the ability to generate. IMG_3420 A BBB tratttoria if you please 🙂 The next question being….what does one do with a big batch of bolognaise sauce and a desire to keep hungry mouths fed for a few days at least? IMG_3422 You will just have to wait and see…. BBB Bolognaise Sauce (Serves 6 to 8)

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 tbs dried rosemary
  • 1 tbs dried oregano
  • 500g beef mince
  • 250g veal mince
  • 250g pork mince
  • 700ml tomato passata
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tbs fresh thyme leaves
  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over a medium high heat Add onion and garlic, and cook (stirring) until the onion has softened.
  2. Add the carrots, oregano and rosemary, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  3. Add mince, and cook until the mince has browned. Use a spoon to break up the mince as best as possible and remove any large lumps.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and cover.
  5. Cook for 1.5 hours. Remove lid and cook for a further 30 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Remove the bay leaves prior to serving.

What about you? Do you have a ‘secret’ bolognaise ingredient? I like to add lots of herbs – thyme, oregano, rosemary….you name it!

Viva le France!

As I may have mentioned once or twice, Mr BBB and I are big Rugby Union fans.  So much so, that four years ago we timed ‘our trip of a lifetime’, aka 6 weeks travelling around Europe, to coincide with the 2007 Rugby World Cup hosted by France. IMG_3064 And, although we sadly bore witness to Australia’s shock loss to England in the Quarterfinal… IMG_3063 (Wallabies’ fans represent!!) We had an absolute blast during our time spent in France. IMG_3065 Baguettes and all 😉 But I digress…. Rather unsurprisingly, Mr BBB and I have had a wonderful long weekend given it was filled with lots of RWC quarterfinal action. And although we lost our pre-game meal companions (they took a trip to the coast), we saw no reason to not continue our international-themed dinners, even if it was just us. Did you miss the others?

With France playing England on Saturday night, we selected a French themed dinner.  On the menu? IMG_3040 Ratatouille! Ratatouille is a traditional French stewed vegetable dish, in which tomatoes, garlic, onions, zucchini, eggplant and capsicum are the key ingredients. IMG_3028 And, while some chefs insist on cooking all the ingredients separately, I opted for the easy method and threw all the vegetables in a pot together, with tinned tomatoes, brown sugar and a good amount of fresh parsley, and allowed them to simmer for 30 minutes or so. IMG_3044 The result? A rich and fragrant vegetable dish…  IMG_3041 Finished with a handful of fresh basil, stirred through at the end. IMG_3040 We served the ratatouille atop BBQ’d eye fillet steaks… IMG_3053 That in themselves were juicy and packed with flavour. IMG_3050 Along with some very *cough* French *cough* polenta to soak up the delicious vegetable juices. IMG_3047 I loved the flavours of this simple ratatouille. The eggplant was meaty in texture,  the capsicum and red onion added a touch of sweetness, and the fresh herbs finished off the dish nicely. IMG_3048 So simple yet tasty! And, we were sure to leave room for dessert, particularly when we knew what was on the menu. IMG_3055 None other than the classic crème caramel.  IMG_3056 Although, I have a confession to make. While I had all good intentions of making these from scratch, I didn’t realise that they needed to be refrigerated overnight. IMG_3058 Luckily this little pre-made version available straight from the supermarket fridge, allowed us to finish our French themed dinner in style! What about you? Do you have a favourite French dish? I have such fond foodie memories of a dinner we had in Paris in 2007, comprising a to die for French onion soup, and finished with the best crème brulee I have ever eaten.

Eggplant and basil parmigiana

It is hard to believe that only a week ago I was celebrating what seemed to be the start of Spring. For, in some cruel weather joke, the warm temperatures and sunny skies have been replaced with grey clouds and lots of rain. Luckily there was a break in the weather this evening so Mr BBB and I could head out for our evening walk. We missed out on our walk last night due to rain, and I actually really missed it. The star of last night’s dinner (and tonight’s…owing to leftovers!) was this eggplant that I picked up at the market on the weekend. It was starting to look a little worse for wear, so I knew it had to be used asap. IMG_2845       But what to make? eggplant I remember seeking eggplant parmigiana on a blog sometime ago, and knowing we had tomato passata and mozzarella in the fridge, well I had my inspiration. I started by slicing the eggplant and sprinkling it with a little salt. IMG_2855 They say that salting the eggplant will help draw out any bitterness, but to be honest, I don’t find the eggplants we buy here to be all that bitter. After half an hour, I patted the eggplant slices to remove any moisture, and had a think about how to prepare the parmigiana itself. I wanted the eggplant to be crispy, so I put together a mixture of chestnut flour (having had crispy success with it here), and also GF corn crummies. I then dipped each eggplant slice into a mixture of egg + milk (whisked) and into the flour mixture, until I had myself a plate of ‘crumbed’ eggplant slices. IMG_2862 Mr BBB took charge of the oil, and each slice was fried in vegetable oil for a couple minutes each side. Drained well on paper towel, then it was time to top. IMG_2865 Tomato passata… IMG_2866 A fresh basil leaf…. IMG_2867    IMG_2868 And mozzarella. IMG_2870 IMG_2871 Into the oven, cooked until the cheese was brown and bubbly….. IMG_2877 Then onto a plate. IMG_2879   I served the eggplant with a simple salad of mixed greens, cucumber and walnuts.  IMG_2883  Drizzled with this ‘Greek salad dressing’ that I was given as a gift a while ago. dressing IMG_2885 As far as tasty meals go, this is certainly one that I will be making again. IMG_2882 The eggplant slices were packed with flavour, yet not too heavy, and I really enjoyed the overall flavours of the meal. IMG_2880 While there was a little preparation work involved, I wouldn’t call it a difficult dish to make. And the bonus? IMG_2878 Enough leftover for a quick reheat dinner tonight as well! Eggplant Parmigiana (makes 12 slices)

  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 12 slices (sprinkled with salt, left for half an hour then patted dry)
  • 1 egg
  • splash milk
  • 1/2 cup corn crummies
  • 1/2 cup chestnut flour
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 cup tomato passata
  • 12 basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a tray with baking paper.
  2. Combine egg and milk in a small bowl, and whisk until well combined.
  3. Mix crummies and chestnut flour, and pour onto a flat plate.
  4. Dip eggplant slices, one at a time, into the egg mix, and then into the flour. Cover well, shake off excess, then set aside. Repeat until you have crumbed all eggplant slices.
  5. Heat a decent amount of vegetable oil in a shallow frypan. Cook eggplant slices (in batches) for 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towel.
  6. Line up all eggplant slices on the prepared baking tray. Top each with a spoonful of passata, a basil leaf and a sprinkled of grated mozzarella.
  7. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is brown and bubbly.

What about you? Do you have a favourite eggplant dish?

Lemon garlic lamb with lentil and tomato salad

Thankyou all for your sweet comments re my pregnancy and exercise post. It certainly has been an interesting few months for me, but slowly I feel that I am finding my groove again. And, with no magpie swoops on any of our walks thus far, I am hoping this is something that continues into the future. _____ It seems lamb has been a bit of a theme this week, with tonight’s dinner also including lamb. This time, however, instead of kebabs, it was lemon garlic lamb with a lentil and tomato salad… IMG_2746 (courtesy of the latest Healthy Food Guide magazine). As is becoming quite the norm, while Mr BBB and I were our for our evening walk, I had a gorgeous (but expensive) backstrap of lamb marinating… IMG_2744 In a simple mixture of lemon juice, garlic and oregano. IMG_2745 Then, when we got home, the rest of the meal came together relatively quickly.  While Mr BBB got his grill on outside, I worked on the salad inside. IMG_2748 Just tinned lentils, fresh tomato and spinach… IMG_2756 A squeeze of lemon juice…. IMG_2757 And our salad was complete. IMG_2758 Topped with slices of the marinated lamb (being sure that this pregnant gal’s was properly cooked through…) IMG_2760 And last, but not least, a drizzle of lemon yoghurt to complete the meal. IMG_2761 Just natural yoghurt, lemon juice and some cracked pepper. IMG_2392 While I am not a huge fan of natural yoghurt or greek yoghurt by itself straight out of the tub, I LOVE using it to top savoury dishes like this. It has so much flavour, without any scary ingredients, and can easily be jazzed up with a some fresh herbs or a good amount of cracked pepper. IMG_2764 Overall – this was a very tasty weeknight meal, with the added bonus being that it was super speedy to put together. IMG_2762   My favourite part was probably the lentil / tomato salad, which was packed with flavour despite only having a few ingredients. I think the key was using good quality tomatoes, as their juices released throughout the lentils and spinach wonderfully. IMG_2768 I think this is a dish that would work well if cooked en masse, and on a big platter in the middle of the table….banquet style. An idea for a summer BBQ perhaps???? But anyway – that would require Mr BBB to clear out our living room first…. IMG_2753  Which currently looks more like a bike shed than a living room?! Grrrrrr. And yes, we do have a garage……. What about you? What is your favourite way to use natural yoghurt when cooking?

Long Italian lunch – Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Remember when I mentioned that we indulged in a long Italian lunch last Saturday while watching Australia take on Italy in the Rugby World Cup? IMG_2656    Oh and remember when I promised you some recipes??? I sure do! And I haven’t forgotten. So let me begin shall I? Being a lunch ‘party’, I wanted to keep the dishes fairly light, something that Italian food is often not renowned for. So, I decided to steer clear of the usual lasagne or pasta route, and try something new. Cannelloni to be exact. And seeing as I really love ricotta, but ‘the books’ say that I should avoid it during pregnancy unless it is cooked / heated…. IMG_2601 I decided that spinach and ricotta cannelloni would be a fun lunch option. Coming together in 4 fairly straightforward parts. Part 1 – the noodles I am in no way qualified/inclined/talented enough to make my own pasta sheets, so I picked up this box of gluten free cannelloni tubes last week. IMG_2618IMG_2619 I have, however, had mixed success when it comes to dried GF pasta (particular when baking it – ugh crunchy lasagne anyone?!), so I decided to also have a safe option for my non-allergy family members and purchased some fresh lasagne sheets from the markets also… IMG_2612 (ps. I thought that purchasing the fresh sheets at the market would be cheaper than at the supermarket. They weren’t. Woolworths stock something similar for almost half the price. Food budget fail?! Although small business win perhaps?) Part 2 – the filling IMG_2600 With the noodles sorted, it was time to think about the filling. I found 3 big bunches of spinach on sale at the market, and after removing the leaves, washing them, blanching them in boiling water and then squeezing out as much water as I could, the spinach was ready to go! IMG_2606 Combined with ricotta, parmesan, pan fried mushrooms, basil and oregano, seasoned to taste… IMG_2609 And our cannelloni filling was complete! Part 3 – the sauce IMG_2582        I had originally planned to use jarred passata, but decided to jazz up some peeled tinned tomatoes instead. IMG_2585 So into a pot went the tomatoes, onions, garlic, herbs, roasted capsicum and sundried tomatoes, IMG_2587 Simmered for half an hour, then pureed until smooth. IMG_2593 The result? IMG_2595 A rich, vibrant and flavoursome tomato sauce, which makes me wonder why I have never done this before! IMG_2594 Sauce complete! Stage 4 – the construction With the noodles, filling and sauce all ready to go, it was time to put this lunch together. Starting with a layer of the tomato sauce in the bottom of two baking dishes (one for the GF pasta, and one for the ‘regular’ pasta). IMG_2611 I  stuffed the gluten free shells with the ricotta mixture first, to avoid any chances of contamination by their wheat-filled counterparts. This was rather messy work, but after a little effort, I had myself a baking dish filled with the GF cannelloni. IMG_2620 Laid side by side, and finished with another layer of the tomato sauce, and a sprinkle of grated mozzarella. IMG_2624 Covered with foil and into the oven for 45 minutes, with an extra 5 minutes uncovered to allow the top to brown slightly. Then,  it was on to the ‘regular’ cannelloni. As I was using fresh lasagne sheets, and not dried sheets or tubes, I spooned about 1/2 cup of the ricotta mixture along one of the short edges of the sheet, IMG_2614 Then rolled the sheet up around the filling to form a tube. IMG_2615 Placed seam side down in the other baking dish… IMG_2617 and repeated until we were out of both the lasagne sheets and the ricotta mixture. IMG_2616 Again, finished with the remainder of the tomato sauce, IMG_2622 And a sprinkle of mozzarella. IMG_2623 As this version used fresh lasagne sheets, and not dried pasta, I baked the dish for 30 minutes only, removing the foil for the last 5 minutes of cooking also. And the result? One big baking dish of ooozey cannelloni, that would keep even the biggest cheese lover happy! IMG_2660 And, while I can’t personally attest for the taste of the wheat version, I am calling it a success given that everyone went back for seconds 😉 IMG_2661 And, as for the gluten free version, I was pleasantly surprised that the noodles had softened, yet retained their shape, making them a decent GF pasta substitute. IMG_2662 So what are my post cannelloni thoughts?? While there was certainly a bit of effort involved in making the dish, it could put together in advance, making it a perfect ‘heat and eat’ option once my guests had arrived. And, when combined with a couple salads or side dishes, we had ourselves a relatively simple yet tasty meal for all appetites. Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni (makes 14+)

  • 14 fresh rectangle lasagne sheets (or equivalent GF cannelloni tubes)
  • 2 cups homemade tomato sauce (*see recipe below)
  • 800g ricotta
  • 2-3 bunches spinach, leaves removed, blanched and shredded
  • 6 button mushrooms, diced and sautéed for a couple minutes
  • 60g grated parmesan
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbs fresh basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 2/3 cup grated mozzarella (or more / less depending on what you prefer)
  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Pour 1 cup of the tomato sauce into a large baking dish and spread to cover.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, mushrooms, parmesan, oregano and basil until well combined. Season to taste.
  4. Working with one lasagne sheet at a time, spoon approximately 1/3 of the ricotta mixture along the short edge of the sheet, and roll to enclose. Place the roll, seam side down in the prepared baking dish. If you are using GF cannelloni shells, as best you can, spoon or pipe the ricotta mixture into the tubes.
  5. Repeat with the remaining lasagne sheets, until you have a full tray of cannelloni.
  6. Spread the remaining tomato sauce over the top of the cannelloni, and sprinkle with grated mozzarella.
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes if using fresh lasagne sheets, or 45-50 minutes if using dried shells.
  8. Remove foil for the last 5 minutes of cooking, to allow the cheese to become golden brown and bubbly.

Homemade tomato sauce (makes 3 cups)

  • 800g peeled tomatoes (tinned is ok)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbs dried oregano
  • 5 sundried tomatoes, sliced
  • 1small roasted capsicum, sliced
  1. Heat a splash of olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté for 2 minutes or until soft.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, and use a stick blender to puree until smooth.

But cannelloni aside, stay tuned for part 2 of our long Italian lunch……there are salads and brownies involved!! What about you? Ever made your own cannelloni? What is your favourite cannelloni filling?

Warm spiced carrots and chickpeas

Training: Yoga 1.5 hoursIMG_9603 I was going to call today a “rest day”, but as the day progressed I found myself craving a good stretch. One glance at the gym timetable and I had my answer…a 5.30pm power yoga class. And boy was it perfect. 90 minutes later and I was positively stretched, bended and yoga-fied. A great start to the weekend. Which reminds me of another highlight of our recent long weekend. Some friends invited Mr BBB and  I over for a roast lunch. Not wanting to turn up empty handed, I asked what we could bring.  “A vegetable side dish” was the response. Knowing they had already organised the roast vegetables, I decided to get a little creative in the kitchen. The dish needed to be warm, vegetable based, and quick. IMG_9615 And warm spiced carrots and chickpeas turned out to be just the dish I was looking for. IMG_9600 Spices, vegetables and chickpeas…  IMG_9601 Simmered together until soft, warm and full of flavour. IMG_9608  The rich tomato sauce worked really well with the other spices, IMG_9609 And the chickpeas made quite the hearty side dish. IMG_9617 This is definitely one dish that I will be making again. IMG_9619 Perhaps it could even be the main meal next time! Warm Spiced Carrots and Chickpeas (serves 8 as a side dish)

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cloved garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 red capsicum, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup water + extra
  • 2 tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and fry for 20 seconds.
  2. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until soft.
  3. Add paprika, cumin, coriander, turmeric and stir to coat the onion. Cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the carrots, capsicum, tomato and water, stirring to coat in the spice mixture. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the chickpeas, and continue to simmer for 20 minutes. Add more water if the mixture dries out too much.

What about you? What are your favourite vegetable side dishes?

Indian Feast – Part 1

Training: Ride 15km Our weekend was not only about biking fails. As mentioned, it was also about food wins! IMG_7939 But before I get to that, Katie asked what sort of snake it was that we encountered on Sunday’s bike ride. P4170001 And by encountered, I should mention that it was more of a "I rode over it without realising". Well, not realising until Mr BBB casually pointed it out a few moments later by saying "hey you know that you just rode over a snake?!". WTF?! Obviously that meant I had to go back and check that it was ok…. Mr BBB tells me that it was a red bellied black snake which, according to the wik:

“The Red-bellied Black Snake, Pseudechis porphyriacus, is a species of elapid snake native to eastern Australia. Though its venom is capable of causing significant morbidity, it is not generally fatal and is less venomous than other deadly Australian snakes. It is common in woodlands, forests and swamplands of eastern Australia.”

So basically I rode over a deadly venomous snake. And lived to tell the tale ;)  And Mr BBB is trying to cover his grief by saying that it was a small baby snake. Pfffft – more like 10 foot long I say 😉 (Ps – The snake slithered away so I don’t think that it was hurt. I am sure he will be there next time we venture to Kowen Forest.) But I digress. Didn’t I promise you some food???? We invited two of our friends over for dinner on Saturday night, for our first proper dinner party in our new house (well aside from Christmas!). And, with the cooler temperatures having arrived, we decided that a slow cooked Indian feast would be the perfect way to warm up and catch up! On the menu:

  • Paneer with mushrooms and peas
  • Lentil and potato dahl with cashew almond sauce
  • Chicken Tikka
  • Tomato, cucumber and onion salad
  • Persian orange cake

The first curry came from one of our favourite curry cookbooks and proved to be a spicy, yet tasty addition to our menu. Paneer with mushrooms and peas Paneer is a traditional North Indian cheese, made from rich dairy milk. It is white in colour, and smooth textured, and is available at most supermarkets. The recipe I followed to cook our paneer was relatively simple, but it was packed with flavours. Starting with a spicy paste… IMG_7870 Onion, mint, garlic, ginger, chillies and coriander. Processed until smooth. IMG_7871 IMG_7874 With some extra spices… IMG_7879 Garam masala and turmeric. IMG_7880 Heated until fragrant, then in went mushroom,peas and the paneer cheese (that I had cubed and pan-fried in a little oil until golden brown). IMG_7883 Cooked until warmed through, then it was time for the final ingredient – yoghurt! IMG_7939 Topped with mint. IMG_7955 A creamy, spicy dish… IMG_7942 Packed with flavour… IMG_7951 And definitely not one for the chilli-shy ;)  I not only loved the little cubes of fried cheese… IMG_7958 But also the vegetables that had soaked up the spices, and the fresh herbs scattered throughout! IMG_7963 Alongside the paneer, we served a simple tomato, onion and cucumber salad. IMG_7937 Brought together with a little green chilli and a splash of fresh lime juice, IMG_7945 And finished with a good amount of fresh coriander. IMG_7938 Such a simple little dish – but it worked really nicely when served alongside the creamy, spicy paneer. IMG_7981 But wait – there’s more!  You will just have to stay tuned for part 2 of our Indian eats!! What about you? Do you like paneer? Happy Baking 🙂

Meat-less mozzarella meatballs

IMG_6532 Tonight’s dinner came about when I realised there was a portion of tofu in the fridge that needed to be used, and an abundance of tinned tomatoes in the pantry. Thus, I decided to make another batch of my tofu meatballs, or ‘meat-less’ meatballs if you will. IMG_6501 But this time…with a difference. When I previously made these meat-less meatballs, the end result was a little plain. So, this evening, I wanted to improve on the original recipe and add some extra flavour. Flavour improver #1: … IMG_6502 A surprise mozzarella filling!! Around which the balls were created.  IMG_6503 Repeated, until I had myself a little ball army. IMG_6504 IMG_6508 Baked until golden brown. IMG_6510 Gotta love that mozzarella ooze… IMG_6511  Time for the flavour improver #2. IMG_6513 A rich tomato sauce using tinned tomatoes, passata and red vinegar – into which I placed the balls. Simmered gently for 10 minutes. IMG_6515 Flavour improver #3….   IMG_6522 A big handful of fresh basil! IMG_6527 Resulting in meat-less meatballs that were packed with simple yet tasty flavours. IMG_6538 Is it just me, or are tomatoes and basil the most perfect match made in heaven?? IMG_6530   I was really pleased with how these turned out. Unlike last time, they were far from plain. And the mozzarella surprise ??? IMG_6545 Well it gave them just the right amount of flavour … albeit from the inside out 🙂 IMG_6537     A tasty vegetarian meal – and a great way to use leftover tofu! Meat-less mozzarella meatballs  (makes 16) – gluten free These healthy gluten free vegetarian ‘meat’ balls showcase the wonderful flavours of tofu, tomatoes and basil. With the added surprise of a mozzarella centre, they can also be adapted to be vegan by substituting non-dairy cheese.  Eat them “as is’’, or stretch their serving size by piling atop a bowl of spaghetti or perhaps even spinach.

  • 300g firm tofu, mashed
  • 1 onion, very finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup rice crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons GF flour
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 50g mozzarella, cut into small cubes
  • 1.5 cups tomato passata
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbs red vine vinegar
  • 1/2 bunch basil, leaves torn
  • oil spray, to grease
  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC. Line a baking tray with baking paper or a silicone mat. Spray lightly with olive oil spray.
  2. Combine the tofu, onion, garlic, almond meal,rice crumbs, flour, dried basil and tomato paste in a large bowl until well combined.
  3. With slightly dampened hands, grab a small handful of the tofu mix. Place a cube of mozzarella in the middle, and work the mixture into a ball around it, making sure the mozzarella is fully enclosed.
  4. Repeat until you have made 16 balls, and place on the lined baking tray.
  5. Bake in oven for 16 minutes,  turning them over halfway.
  6. Meanwhile, heat the tinned tomatoes, passata and vinegar in a frypan over a low heat. When the balls have finished baking, place them in the tomato sauce, turning them gently to coat, and continue to cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat, and gently stir through the fresh basil.
  8. Serve ‘as is’, or atop a bed of spaghetti or spinach.

What about you? Do you have any other ‘flavour ideas’  for these meatless meatballs? Happy Baking 🙂

Secret meatballs

Training: Run 5km Today the comfort of our new bed was all too much and I opted to sleep ‘in’ rather than head to the gym for a pre-work workout. Instead, I ventured out in the sunshine and took myself on a 5km run during my lunch break. I don’t mind exercising during my lunch break, it is just the frantic shower / eat lunch part that I have to fit in afterwards! Dinner Ssshhhhh – want to know a secret?? IMG_4569 Tonight, I made meatballs for dinner. IMG_4571 Ok so that is not much of a secret, but the fact they contained no meat certainly is! So I guess you could call them ‘no meat’ meatballs? Or, if you are not wanting your husband to give you ‘the look’, I guess you could give them a more mysterious title such as ‘secret’ meatballs. Tofu, GF breadcrumbs, almond meal, GF flour, herbs, onion, tamari and garlic. IMG_4553 Combined… IMG_4555 Rolled into balls and oven baked for 1/2 hour. IMG_4556 Served with GF spaghetti… IMG_4564 Fresh basil and tomato… IMG_4552 With passata and  ricotta sauce stirred through. IMG_4568 All together now. IMG_4567 I really liked the texture of these ‘meat’ balls, although they did seem to lack a certain flavour punch. IMG_4572 Next time I might add a little more chilli and fresh herbs for good measure. IMG_4570 But for now, a good sprinkle of parmesan worked just fine. IMG_4559 IMG_4583 Even if Mr BBB still gave me ‘the look’ 😉 Secret meatballs (makes 16) – gluten free (adapted from here) These ‘meat’ balls are not only healthy, but incredibly versatile. Stir them through pasta, or cook them into a casserole – the possibilities are endless. However you decide, tofu and herbs come together to create a dish that will have even the greatest meat lovers coming back for seconds.

  • 300g firm tofu, mashed
  • 1 onion, very finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 2 slices GF bread, crumbed
  • 2 tablespoons GF flour
  • 1 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • oil spray, to grease
  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC. Combine all ingredients, except oil, in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Shape into 16 balls.
  3. Spray a non-stick baking dish with oil. Add tofu balls and bake in oven for 15 minutes, then turn over and bake for 15 more minutes.
  4. Toss meatballs in cooked spaghetti and tomato / ricotta sauce. Serve sprinkled with fresh basil and grated parmesan.

What about you? Do you have any sneaky ‘meat’ dishes that you secretly make without meat? Happy Baking 🙂