Spiced Meatballs with Fiery Tomato Sauce

On 11th May 2016, This was Dinner

Sticking with the new cook book. Why wouldn’t I? These jumped right off the page at me. I’m a huge fan of the meatball and in a delicious spicy tomato ‘soup’, yes please!

Mr Whaite must have access  to the juiciest tomatoes as I had to improvise a little with an additional tin otherwise my sauce would have been the size of one of those sachets you get in pubs. I also changed a few of the spices too just because I have unused spices falling out of the pantry.

Get set…

  • Quarter some tomatoes
  • Preheat the oven to 190°c (fan)
  • Get a few butter, red chillies, sour cream, beef mince, sumac, cayenne pepper, ground cinnamon, tin of chopped tomatoes, oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Spread out the tomatoes and chillies on a baking tray and sprinkle with salt. Leave at room temperature for about half an hour to macerate.*

Mix the mince with the spices and some salt and pepper and form into meatballs, it should make around 16 if you use 500g mince. Leave to chill.

Pop the tomatoes and chillies in the oven and roast for around 15 minutes then pop the meatballs on the tray and cook for another 10 minutes.

Cover the meatballs in foil to keep warm. Put the charred tomatoes and chillies and any juices into a processor (remove the stalks from the chillies) and add the butter. Whizz up and add the tomatoes if yours is as dry as mine.

If you have added the tomatoes you will have to warm it through.

Dish it up…

Place the meatballs on the sauce and serve with a dollop of sour cream.

TWD_1105_Meatballs.jpg* To be fair I probably rushed this bit too.

Pot Roast

On 12th April 2016, This was Dinner

From time to time I’ve watched The Pioneer Woman. There she is, on her little ranch somewhere beautiful, cooking away and throwing scraps to the dog, whilst her husband does ‘man stuff’ out on the ranch. It looks like an idyllic life to live (minus the children 😉 not my thing!)*.

Pot roast is not something I normally do but I’d bought a piece of beef and a piece of lamb a little while ago when I couldn’t decide which one I wanted and I think I saw her make something very similar.

If you’re organised, it’s not a bad one to make as you can pop it in the oven and go off and paint your bench or something like I did.

Get set…

  • Preheat the oven to 180°c (fan)
  • Season some beef (I’m not even sure what I used, topside maybe)
  • Peel some shallots
  • Scrub and chop some carrots into shallot sized pieces
  • Prepare some beef stock
  • Get red wine, rosemary & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Heat some oil in a pan and brown the shallots, remove and set aside.

Do the same with the carrots.

Add a little more oil if required and brown themeat on all sides and remove.

Deglaze the pan with a good glass of red wine.

Pop the vegetables in the pan and sit the beef of top then add in the stock about half way up the beef and pop in a sprig of rosemary.

Cover and cook for 1-2 hours depending on the size of your beef.

When it is done, remove the beef and season the gravy. Pop it on the hob and bring to the boil to reduce and thicken the gravy.

Dish it up…

With home made Yorkshire puddings and crispy goose fat roast potatoes- what else?

TWD_1204_Pot_Roast*Obviously she does more than cook and look after her kids but for my little dream of putting myself in her place, she does OK?

Malaysian Beef Curry

On 3rd April 2016, This was Dinner

When slow cooking, shin beef turns into the most delicious, melt in the mouth bit of meat you could ever have. Pop it in a mouth buzzing curry and enjoy.

I’m not sure if it is proved but I believe that freezing chillies takes away some of the heat, so with that in mind I used one ghost chilli, two scotch bonnets and two yellow chillies for this. You can use less (or more if that is your thing), we like our stuff hot and this was H.O.T. Oh and I don’t deseed either – ever.

Get set…

  • Trim some shin beef and cut into chunks (don’t be afraid to leave some fat on)
  • Finely chop an onion
  • Peel & roughly chop some ginger
  • Peel a few garlic cloves
  • Roughly chop your chillies
  • Deseed and slice a pepper
  • Prepare about 250ml of beef stock
  • Toast some desiccated coconut
  • Pick a few coriander leaves
  • Get curry powder, cardamom pods, 2 star anise, turmeric, light coconut milk, oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Heat some oil and cook the onion until softened, let it cool a little.

Pop the onion in a processor with the ginger, garlic, chillies and turmeric and whizz up.

Heat some oil and brown the meat in batches then set to one side.

Add the paste to the pan and cook for a few minutes. Pop the curry powder in along with the cardamom pods and star anise. Stir then add the beef stock and stir well. Pop the beef back in the pan along with any juices.

Ad half of the coconut milk and simmer then turn low, pop the lid on and cook for two hours. Check it occasionally and if it looks like it is drying out, add water.

After the two hours, remove the lid and add the remaining coconut milk along with the pepper. Stir well and cook for another half hour.

Dish it up…

Serve garnished with the desiccated coconut and some coriander along with a side of jasmine rice.


This was another old scrap from a Morrison’s magazine.

Egg Fried Rice with Beef

I was look forward to my post for Gnocchi with Bacon, Blue Cheese & Cavolo Nero but you have to believe me when I say it tasted far better than it looked! It was so good though, I’ve posted the recipe below this one.

So on 28th January 2016, This was Dinner...

Note: To get ahead, precook some rice.

Get set…

  • Oil & season a large steak
  • Slice some mushrooms
  • Slice a couple of garlic cloves
  • Slice some spring onions
  • Lightly whisk a couple of eggs
  • Get cooked rice, soy sauce, sriracha, beansprouts, sesame oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Heat a griddle pan up high and cook the steak for 2 to 3 minutes each side, depending on how you like it. Remove from the pan and leave to rest.

Heat the sesame oil in a pan and add the mushrooms, cook until starting to soften then add the garlic, beansprouts and both sauces. Cook for a minute or so then add the rice.

When the rice is cooked through, move to one side and add the egg to the empty side of the pan. As it starts to cook, stir the rice back through. Add the spring onions and season to taste.

Dish it up…

Slice the beef and serve on top of the rice with an extra squirt of sriracha.


Here’s the original.

So the gnocchi…

And the problem was the gnocchi. Don’t believe the packet when it says its OK to freeze. It spoils it. We thought we were in for a terrible meal but it was actually really tasty, just not photogenic.

I’ve not used cavolo nero (or black kale) before but decided to use it last week when I saw it in the supermarket.

Get set…

  • Thickly slice some cavolo nero
  • Crumble some blue cheese
  • Get gnocchi, single cream, bacon, butter & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Cook some strips of bacon in a dry frying pan. Remove and chop into pieces.

If the bacon has released plenty of oil, add the kale but if not add a little butter first. Cook it, stirring all the time until it wilts. Add a little cream and the blue cheese and stir occasionally.

Cook the gnocchi in boiling salted water, drain and add to the kale. Stir well and season.

Dish it up…

Serve sprinkled with the bacon bit’s and an extra dash of black pepper if required.

I’d definitely use a stronger blue cheese next time. I bought it from Aldi as the cheese man at the market was on holiday so there wasn’t a large choice. Oh and I will definitely avoid freezing gnocchi in the future!

Country Beef Casserole with Dumplings

On 24th January 2016, This was Dinner

In 2016 I decided that I was going to try and keep track of what I read. I’m interested to see how many books I read in a year. The only problem is, I now want to pick up a book constantly to push myself. I’m on my third book so far, not bad considering I only read on my commute.

I started the year off with Joe Hart’s The River is Dark, then read Into Darkness by Anton Gill and am currently reading Next Stop Execution, The Auto Biography of Oleg Gordievsky. Let’s see what I can do.

I was very good today and made a soup to freeze before I made this casserole. This was a big old casserole for two people but at least it meant we have leftovers for a quick dinner on Monday.

In between stirs, I finally got around to sorting my food magazines. I always tear out the recipes that appeal to me and recycle the rest of the mag but I’ve not done any since last February which happens to coincide with the arrival of the four-legged, curly one!

For this meal I bought a tray of braising steak for a fiver and cut it into bite sized pieces as they were thin-ish steaks rather than chunks.

Get set…

  • Peel & chop some potatoes into chunks
  • Peel & chop some parsnips into chunks
  • Peel & chop some swede into chunks
  • Peel & chop some carrots into thick slices
  • Peel & thickly chop a large onion
  • If not bought as stewing steak, cut the braising steak into pieces
  • Sift 140g self raising flour
  • Prepare some beef stock
  • Preheat the oven to 160°c (fan)
  • Get 60g suet, dried thyme, dried parsley, chopped tomatoes (can), plain flour, oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Heat some oil in a large oven proof casserole pan. Brown the meat off in batches and remove and set aside.

Add a little more oil if required and add the onion and all of the vegetables. Cook for about 5-10 minutes, making sure you stir regularly and the veg doesn’t catch and burn.

Add about a tablespoon of plain flour and a sprinkle of the dried herbs.

Pour in the tomatoes, the stock and some seasoning. Bring to the boil then add the beef and pop the lid on and transfer to the oven. Cook for a couple of hours, stirring now and then.

Pop the sifted flour into a bowl and add the suet and some more dried herbs. Add enough cold water to make into a dough then form into about 16 small balls.

When the two hours is up, pop the dumplings on top of the stew and cook for another 20-25 minutes.

Dish it up…

Stick it in a bowl being careful to leave your dumplings on top.


You definitely get your five a day with this one!

I don’t think there is a single meal on this weeks list that I am not really looking forward to. As it is, I will have to postpone a couple as I’m up one with the leftovers from this and we have to go somewhere on Friday so won’t be eating at home.

This recipe is a Mary Berry recipe from this cook book here which is, shockingly in sale here for ridiculous money.

Sloppy Joe Pizza

On 22nd January 2016, This was Dinner

I don’t think we really do the sloppy joe in England. Sure, like everything else, we might make them but (and correct me if I’m wrong) you don’t really see them on menus. I’m going to guess it is because they are so messy that no one in their right mind would order one out. Would they?

These were more pizza than actual sloppy joe and I’m guessing even messier due to the addition of melted cheese. I tried (in vain) to eat them without getting it everywhere!

Get set…

  • Finely slice a chilli
  • Finely chop an onion
  • Tear up some mozzarella
  • Halve a couple of baguettes* lengthways
  • Get minced beef, passata, oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion. Cook until softened then add the beef. Brown the beef, breaking it down as you go. Add the chilli and some seasoning then pour in the passata.

Cook for at least 15 minutes uncovered. I do leave mine for longer as a personal preference.

Heat the grill (*I used par baked ones so they were still warm and didn’t need toasting but if you use fresh bread, toast them first).

Divide the mince over the baguette halves then scatter with mozzarella. Grill until the cheese is bubbling.

Dish is up…

Carefully halve again and serve. Make sure you have plenty of kitchen paper on hand as it might get messy!


The original BBC Good Food recipe can be found here.

Braised Coconut & Chilli Beef

On 9th January 2016, This was Dinner

Out with the old in January, I thought it was time to use up all the odds and ends in the freezer and pantry. This recipe stemmed from having a can of coconut milk, plenty of chillies and a piece of ginger. It was £3.05 f0r 2 glorious pieces of shin beef.


  • Finely chop an onion
  • Peel & bash 3 garlic cloves
  • Finely chop a ghost chilli (be careful!)
  • Peel & grate a piece of ginger
  • Cut some charlotte potatoes into pieces
  • Get ground mace, madras curry powder, sumac, shin beef, coconut milk, chopped tomatoes, dried thyme, oil & seasoning


Mix the curry powder with the sumac and mace. Season the beef and add to the spices, mixing well.

Heat some oil in a pan and brown the beef (in batches if needed).

Pop in a casserole dish then add a little more oil to the heated pan and cook the onion and chilli for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and any leftover spices, stir for a minute then add everything to the beef.

Pour in the tomatoes and the coconut milk along with a little of the thyme. Bring to a gentle simmer then partially cover and cook for a couple of hours. You might need to add some water from time to time.

After two hours, check the seasoning and add the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are tender.


I made mine with a couple of changes, a little spicier too. The original can be found here.


On 2nd October 2015, This was Dinner

I went back to the gym for the first time in months today. It really is true that you don’t regret it when you are there, my waistline is telling me I regret not going. I just need to push myself to get there.

We should have been having Jamie Oliver’s Rich Grits last night but things didn’t go according to plan. I forgot to get the prawns out and I didn’t have the cheese. Not a very tasty rich grits. We had sausages, waffles and leftover chardonnay sauce.

Mr S was going to start the lasagne but got caught up with something else so we ended up eating this about 10.30 at night. This is fine if your are staying up until two in the morning but I was very tired. Not the greatest idea.


  • Finely chop an onion (cut a slice off first for the béchamel)
  • Finely chop a couple of garlic cloves
  • Chop some chestnut mushrooms
  • Grate some cheddar
  • Grate some parmesan
  • Preheat the oven to 170ºc (fan)
  • Get minced beef, a can of chopped tomatoes, red wine, sun dried tomato purée, Worcestershire sauace, 300ml milk, 6 peppercorns, a bay leaf, ground nutmeg, 15g butter, 15g plain flour, lasagne sheets, oil & seasoning ready


Pop the milk in a pan and add the onion, peppercorns and bay leaf along with a pinch of nutmeg.

Gently heat and just before it starts to boil, remove from the heat and cover. Leave to infuse.

Heat  some oil in a pan and add the onion. Cook until softened. Add the garlic and stir for a minute.

Add the beef and cook until browned, making sure you break up the pieces. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another minute. Add the wine to the pan and turn up the heat, let it boil a little.

Add the tin of tomatoes along with the mushrooms and a dash of worcestershire sauce. Season well and bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat and leave to cook whilst you do the other stuff.

Strain the milk. Melt the butter in a pan and add the flour, keep stirring for a minute until combined (don’t let it burn). Remove from the heat and gradually add the milk. Stirring continuously so it doesn’t go lumpy. Pop back on the heat and simmer, still stirring, until thickened.

Spoon a third of the bolognese into an ovenproof dish. Cover with a layer of the pasta sheets, then a layer of the béchamel. Repeat twice more then sprinkle with the cheeses. Cook for about 40-45 minutes,

I had some parsley that needed using up so threw it on just for some colour interest on the photo.

TWD_0210_LasagneThis recipe is taken from a Good Housekeeping book called Healthy Family Recipes which I picked up on the cheap a few years ago.


On 8th June 2015, This was Dinner…

When I cast my mind back to when we first embraced the cook books and started cooking ‘properly’, we made burgers. We were both underwhelmed and decided they were not worth the effort. Well of course now I know different and after trying various versions, these are the best, and the simplest. So good I think it is the 3rd or 4th time we have had them this year.

I’d actually froze these half-pounders the last time I made burgers, making the others as mere quarter-pounders*

These burgers are made using only minced beef brisket and a little seasoning. No onion, nothing else, pure beef brisket.

We gently griddled them until cooked through then added some sliced cheddar for the last couple of minutes, Adding a splash of water and the lid for a good gooey melty cheese.

We served these on toasted brioche buns with mayo on top and salsa on the bottom and some leftover onions from yesterdays barbecue.

TWD_0806_burger*which is more than enough for me.

Corned Beef Hash

On 21st March 2015, This was Dinner

Scandanavian hash last Saturday and good old corned beef hash this Saturday. And guess what? Mr S managed to open the corned beef tin in one attempt, without the ‘key’ breaking off. Honestly, the 21st Century should have heralded a corned beef tin advancement!


  • Peel and cube some potatoes
  • Slice an onion
  • Cut a tin of corned beef into cubes
  • Get eggs, baked beans, oil & seasoning ready


Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until just cooked. Drain and leave to dry out.

Heat some oil and butter in a pan and add the onion. Cook until softened.

Add the potatoes and cook for a while. Don’t turn them too often, you want them to start to crisp up before turning gently.

Add the corned beef and follow the same actions as with the potato, you want it to start to caramelise a little. Season well.

Served with baked beans and a fried egg.