Meatball Minestrone


I have had this dish a handful of times every year during winter for the last six or seven years. It is one of my favourites and I have it laminated tucked away in my files for many years to come and I hope for you guys too. It is a very simple dish but the beauty is that you can add and subtract what ever you want to make it your own. Once I have moved into my new house and into my new lab (Kitchen) I will start to ramp up things big time. I hope you enjoy.



– 1 Tbsp Grape Seed Oil

– 1 Onion, Finely Chopped

– 1 Garlic Clove, Crushed

– 2 Bacon Rashers, Chopped

– 1 Carrot, Coarsely Chopped

– 1 Stick of Celery, Coarsely Chopped

– 400g Can Tomato Soup

– 2½ Cups Beef Stock

– 1 Cup Pasta Shells

– ½ Cup of Frozen Peas

– Shaved Parmesan


– 500g Beef Mince (But you can use any)

– ¼ Cup of Breadcrumbs

– Salt and Pepper, to Taste


To make the meatballs, mix all ingredients in a bowl by hand. Next you want to roll out your meatballs so that they are about three centimetres in diameter.


Next heat the grape seed oil in a large saucepan over medium heat then add the onion garlic and bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion begins to soften. When this starts to happen add the carrot, celery, tomato soup and the stock. Bring to the boil and add the pasta. Reduce the heat and bring down to a simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.


Add the peas and meatballs to the minestrone, cover and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the meatballs have cooked through. Garnish with parmesan and serve with a nice big crusty roll.

Dont Let the simplicity of this recipe fool you – it is a great recipe and one of my favourites.

Credit to Barbara Northwood

Cuttlefish with Meatballs and Peas


Over the weekend it was a bit chilly so cooking a big hearty stew was in order to help warm us up. We decided to look to one of our favourite chefs, Rick Stein, for inspiration. In the week leading up to our cookup for this weeks blog we were sending ideas back and forth of different recipes in our Rick Stein books (and combined I think we are one book shy of the collection) before we came across an amazing sounding dish: cuttlefish with meatballs and peas. This is an excellent spanish dish and best served with a big crusty loaf of bread, which went down an absolute treat.


– 6 tbsp Olive oil
– 2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
– 1 Medium onion, finely chopped
– 90 ml (3.2fl oz) Dry white wine
– 1 Large vine tomato (about 200g), halved
– 2 tsp Tomato pur
– 15 g Slice crustless white bread
– 1.5 tbsp Milk
– 2 tbsp Chopped flat-leaf parsley
– 225g Minced chicken
– 225 g Minced pork
– 1 Pinch, freshly grated nutmeg
– 6 Large shell-on raw prawns
– 375g Cleaned cuttlefish, cut into 2cm strips
– 150ml Chicken stock
– 100g Shelled peas, fresh or frozen
– 1 Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Picada
– 2 tbsp Olive oil
– 2 Fat garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
– 10g Slice crustless white bread
– 10g Toasted blanched almonds
– 1 Small vine-ripened or beef tomato, halved
– 1 tsp Flat-leaf parsley leaves



First you want to grate the halved tomatoes for the sauce and the picada. Discard the skin. Right for the picada, heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat, add the garlic, the slice of bread and fry. Turning over now and then until golden brown all over. Lift out with a slotted spoon and add to the bowl of a mini food processor with the almonds, tomato, parsley and a tablespoon of cold water. Blend to a paste and set aside.


Next place 2 tablespoons of the oil, half the garlic and the onion into a large saucepan and fry for 10 minutes until the onions are soft and lightly golden. Add the wine, grated tomato and tomato purée and reduce to a simmer (stirring occasionally) for 6-7 minutes or until reduced and thickened. For the meatballs first you want to tear the bread into a small bowl, sprinkle with the milk and leave until soft.  Next break apart with your fingers and add the remaining chopped garlic, parsley, minced chicken and pork, nutmeg and a good pinch each of salt and black pepper. Mix together well and shape roughly into 3cm balls.


Heat 2 tablespoons of oil, add the meatballs and fry for 3 minutes. Shake the pan every now and cook until golden brown. Set aside on a plate and add the prawns. Fry for 1 minute on each side until just cooked through and set aside on another plate. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, then the cuttlefish and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until it is nicely caramelized and just cooked through. Set aside with the prawns.


Next we combine the tomato sauce and picada to a large pan then bring to a simmer for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, stir in the stock and bring to the boil whilst stirring. Add the peas, meatballs and cuttlefish and season to taste with salt and pepper. Lastly scatter the prawns in and simmer for 5 minutes until any remaining liquid has reduced, the cuttlefish has cooked through and throw some parsley on to garnish. Serve with crusty fresh loaf of bread.