Ok that sounded weird, but I’m gonna put it out there.
This recipe that I am about to share with you is not technically a meatball, but a frikadelle. So what the frik is the difference? (pause for laughter).
To my knowledge from my upbringing the Danish word for meatball is frikadell, and traditionally these are cooked by steaming or boiling as opposed to frying, which is customary for the Swedish meatball köttbulle (kött= meat bulle = ball or roll).
Upon googling frikadelle, a bunch of Belgian and Dutch recipes show up, so it’s no coincidence that the recipe I am about to share with you comes from South Africa, where the Dutch have a big influence over both language and cuisine. Debby, who used to work in the recipe development team, is a passionate South African, so I 100% credit this recipe to her. The only slight change I have made is to add a couple of extra servings of vegetables on the side, because that is how I roll (see what I did there?!)
Next week this recipe features on the Family Menu, because every time it does, it gets a 5-star review.
South African frikadelle with marble mash and onion gravy
For the frikadelles:500 g Beef mince and beef sausage meat (can be pork sausage meat, but this week is a pork free week in the family bag)
2 tsp Frikadelle spice mix (see below)
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup Breadcrumbs
1 small Brown onion, grated
2 clove Garlic, crushed
1 Egg, beaten
2 tbsp Rice bran oil for frying
For the onion gravy:1 large Brown onion, sliced
2 cup Beef stock
Black pepper to taste
For the marble mash:400 g Orange kumara, diced
600 g Red kumara, diced
4 tbsp Butter, or to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
For the vegetables:1 head Broccoli, chopped
½ head Cauliflower, chopped
For the spice mix:1 tsp Ground coriander
½ tsp Ground nutmeg
½ tsp Allspice powder
Method:For the frikadelles, mince mixture in a large mixing bowl. Chop the onion for the frikadelle very finely, or grate coarsely, and finely slice the onion for the gravy – keep separate. Add spice mix, salt and pepper, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic and egg to the mince, and mix together with your hands or a wooden spoon. Roll into golf ball sized meatballs and set aside.
Handy hint: Keep hands wet when rolling meatballs to stop the mixture sticking to your hands. Get started on the marble mash. Scrub the kumara, then dice into 2-3 cm pieces. Place in a large pot, just covered with water and bring to the boil. Cook for 10 minutes or until soft. Drain the water from the pot and mash until smooth. Add the butter and salt and pepper to taste, then mix for another minute. Cover with a lid and set aside until the meatballs and gravy are ready to serve.
Fry the frikadelles while the kumara is cooking. Heat oil to a medium-high heat in a large heavy based pan. Add the meatballs and fry all over until golden brown and cooked through – about 6-8 minutes. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon, set aside and keep warm. If you don’t have a large enough pan to fit the meatballs comfortably, fry in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Retain the juices in the pan for the gravy.
For the vegetables, bring a medium pot of water to the boil. Cut broccoli and cauliflower into small florets, and chop some of the stem. Add to the boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes, then drain and toss with butter if desired.
Cook the gravy once the frikadelle are out of the pan, add the finely sliced onion. On a medium heat sauté the onion for about 3-4 minutes or until soft and a little browned around the edges. Add the stock to the pan, simmer steadily for 5-8 minutes or until the gravy reduces and thickens. Taste and season with black pepper as desired.
To serve, place the frikadelles on top of the marbled mash and pour gravy over the top. Season with salt and black pepper at the table and tuck into this hearty South African dish.
Use all the kit.Our slow cooker menu is designed with optimal convenience and flavour in mind. We recommend that you have some other kitchen appliances on hand – such as a blender or food processor, as these may be handy for some recipes.
Safety first!Place the cooker on a flat surface. My suggestion is to always use your slow cooker on a flat, heat-safe surface — like your kitchen countertop! — away from piles of loose papers or random kitchen towels, or where puddles of water might form (in other words, away from the sink or an open window).
Vintage style cooker?So you’ve pulled out old aunt Berta’s cooker from the shed? That’s awesome! Please do me a favour and stay present for the first cooking session (after giving it a real good clean!). You don’t know what might happen. You can also check the heating element and calibration. Fill the slow cooker 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full with tap water (tepid, not too hot or cold), set it to the low setting, and then check with a food thermometer after eight hours. The thermometer should read at least 85°C. Personally I don’t believe in buying new stuff if it can be avoided so we have a hand-me-down from my mother in law and it’s great! Of course I have had to send some time getting to know the machine, and now we have a relationship for life.
Prepare in advance.If you’re short on time in the morning, prepare everything you need for your slow-cooked meal the night before, put it into the slow-cooker dish, cover and store in the fridge overnight. Ideally the dish should be as close to room temperature as possible, so get it out of the fridge when you wake up and leave it for 20 minutes before turning the cooker on. If you need to heat your dish beforehand, then put the ingredients in a different container and transfer them in the morning.
Size matters.Sorry lads, but it does… In the test kitchen we have found that using the right size slow cooker is pivotal to ensuring the cooking time is correct. If you slow cooker is a rather large one, it’s probably suited to 6-8 serves, where as a smaller one is suited to 4 servings. This makes a difference in that the surface area in a larger cooker will mean that a smaller portion will cook too quick, and may even end up drying out. Conversely, jamming too much food into a smaller cooker will likely slow down the cooking time because the poor thing will be overloaded.
To brownor not to brown?We definitively recommend that you brown the meat (or other ingredients) when it gives the option to. It might not seem like a necessity but it’s well worth spending a few minutes at the start of the recipe to optimise flavour in your dinner. You’ll thank us later!
Low fat – full of flavour.You don’t need to add a lot of oil to a slow cooker, the contents won’t catch as long as there’s enough moisture in there. You don’t need a lot of fat on your meat either. Normally when you fry meat, a lot of the fat drains away, this won’t happen in a slow cooker so trim it off, otherwise you might find you have pools of oil in your stew. This will give you a healthier result and it’ll still be tasty.
Leave it aloneOnce cooking, leave the slow cooker alone. I mean seriously! Step away! Fiddling and stirring will only increase the cooking time and could possibly affect the end result. Slow cookers are designed to do their own thing so you don’t need to keep checking the contents. Every time you take the lid off it will release some of the heat, so if you keep doing this you’ll have to increase the cooking time.
Root vegetables that take longer to cook will need to go at the bottom of the pot – closer to the heat element, whereas softer ingredients such as capsicums can go at the top, so that they don’t end up cooking to mush.
If you are going to cook frozen food in the slow cooker, such as a frozen piece of meat, it is recommended by the appliance manufacturers that it is first defrosted, and that the rest of the ingredients you add into the pot are room temperature (stock, canned tomatoes, etc.) or slightly warmed. This is to ensure that all the food reaches the proper cooking temperature within a safe cooking time, as designed.
To ensure your food is cooked safely, the contents of the slow cooker all need to reach 60-70°C within two hours of operation. The newer slow cookers on the market do this fairly reliably because the sides and the bottom both have heating elements; older slow cookers usually just heat from the bottom, which can make them less reliable for cooking frozen foods. As with all appliances, refer to the enclosed manufacturer instruction booklet for clarity regarding your specific cooker.
Leftovers? That’s a win!For me the whole point of using a slow cooker is to get some leftovers for lunch or even another dinner. It’s a cook once eat twice type scenario, which is great for busy folk like me.
As with all food that gets stored in the refrigerator or freezer, leftovers from your slow cooker need to be cooled on the countertop to about room temperature before placing into the fridge or freezer for storage. Do this within two hours of finishing cooking. Do not put the hot slow-cooker insert directly into the fridge.
When it comes to reheating, do not reheat food in the slow cooker. Again, it can take too long for the food to come up to a safe temperature. Safety experts recommend reheating cooked food on the stove or by another quicker method, until steaming. After that you can place the food in a slow cooker to keep it warm for up to two hours.
Get creative!For me slow cooking is about so much more than meat and three veg, although that’s nice too! I like to experiment with vegetarian dishes and different types of grains and even pasta!
Designed for ease.We have designed most of our recipes to include as little hands on time as possible, as this is the beauty of slow cooking to me. That was you can enjoy a beautiful and flavourful meal which will fill your house with a stunning aroma, without being a slave to the stove for hours. So you can spend more time doing what you love. You’re welcome and enjoy!
Oh I just love this time of year! Anyone who knows me knows that I am a true autumn fanatic! The cold, chilly mornings and beautiful, sunny days. The rainy days when you don’t see the sun for a long time and the fire is constantly lit when someone is in the house. I love how relaxed this time of year can be and all the obligations seem to go away, I guess people become more recluse in winter. As much as I love to be social, this comes as a welcome break when there’s time for self-reflection and getting stuff done.
This time of year can be a hard time for people who like to eat seasonably, but I’m here to tell you it needn’t be! You might want to add a slice of tomato to your sandwich or some snow peas to your stir-fry, and capsicums grow all year around right?
Well, not quite. Sure, these days you can get more or less anything from the supermarket at any time of year, but that’s not the point.
For me, going to the Farmers’ Market, or connecting with some of our local growers is the best way to figure out what’s really in season. We do have some suppliers who continue to grow tomatoes and cucumbers all year around, and they use sustainable ways of heating a hot house so I don’t see a problem with sneaking the odd outlier into the menu (I’m no complete fanatic). However, I think it’s nice to make the most of what is grown within the seasonal window for many reasons.
Here’s my top 5 reasons why seasonal eating rocks:
- The food is more likely to be locally sourced and thereby higher in nutritional content. No shipping around the country (or God forbid from abroad) equals less loss of nutrient. Bonus points for lower food mileage! Double bonus point! You’re supporting the local community at growers – you’re winning at life!
- All the colours of the rainbow are still there – just visit your local Farmer’s Market and you’ll find purple, green, orange, yellow, red and white. Including a bit of everything means you’re getting a varied nutrient profile. Win!
- You might get to try something new, how does a side of yakon, daikon, turnip or golden beetroot sound?
- Less sprays and nasties are used for seasonal growing. The produce that’s in season can handle the jandle of the weather’s antics so they don’t need a helping hand from artificial sprays. Whatever your thoughts are on organic eating, that has to make sense, right?
- It’s all about the taste. Ever eaten a tomato in the middle of winter? Does it actually taste like a tomato or do you have to use your imagination a lot?
Below is a list of simple substitutions for summer produce in winter.
Summer varieties of lettuces – kales and cabbages or winter lettuces (more hardy varieties)
Tomatoes – radishes and baby turnips, finely sliced
Cucumbers – fennel and sprouts
Capsicums – finely diced pumpkin or butternut, kohlrabi or turnips
Aubergines/eggplants – mushrooms
Courgettes – broccoli or broccolini
I encourage you to go out and find the most delicious, fresh seasonal produce and cook up a storm!
Of course we are only human and we do make the odd exception here and there…. Every now and then we throw in the odd tomato or cucumber, just to keep things interesting. Because that’s what we’re all about: interesting and delicious meals, with minimum fuss.
Have a great week and happy cooking!
- Chill out
- Be a role model
- Hide them in plain sight
- Offer, offer, offer
- Get them involved
For the rice:300g Paella rice (or short grain rice) 2 Chicken stock cubes
For the chicken:600g Diced chicken breast 1 tsp Salt 1 tsp Pepper 2 tbsp Olive oil 3 tbsp Butter 1 Brown onion, chopped 2 Carrot, sliced 1 cup Chicken stock 2 tbsp Piripiri or hot sauce (optional) 1 Lemon, juiced 4 tsp Sazon goya spice mix
To serve:20g Coriander, torn
Spice mix recipe (makes roughly 30g):½ tbsp salt 1 tsp black pepper 1 tbsp garlic powder (not salt) 1 tbsp ground coriander ½ tbsp ground cumin 1 tbsp dried oregano 1 tsp ground turmeric
Method:For the rice, bring a small pot of water to the boil and crumble in the stock cube. Stir in the rice, partially cover with a lid and cook for 12-15 minutes until tender. Drain well and steam out for a minute or two, then cover with a lid to keep warm and set aside until serving. Prepare the rest of the meal once the rice is underway. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, on a medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and fry for 6-8 minutes turning occasionally until browned. Peel and finely dice the onion and slice the carrot into rounds while the chicken is browning. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside in a bowl. Handy hint: If using a stock cube for the chicken, boil the kettle and pour 1 cup of boiling water into a jug, crumble in the stock cube and mix with a fork to dissolve the cube. Using the same pan the chicken was cooked in, reduce the heat of the pan to medium and add the onion along with half the butter. Stir as it cooks for 3-4 minutes, then add the carrot and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Pour half the stock into the pan and stir to deglaze the pan. Add the chicken back to the pan along with the hot sauce (if using), lemon juice, spice mix and the rest of the butter and stock. Allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes on medium-low heat, while stirring occasionally. To serve, place a mound of rice onto each plate, spoon over the chicken and garnish with torn coriander to taste.
Hot, sweet and sour pork chops with vegetable stir-fried rice Serves 4
For the pork:½ cup tomato sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tbsp orange juice (1 orange)
2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
4 pork chops
For the stir-fried rice:300 g long grain rice
1½ cups water
4 tbsp rice bran oil, for frying
1 tbsp ginger, chopped
4 cups green cabbage , shredded (½ small head)
4 small carrots, diced
4 spring onions, sliced
2 green capsicum, diced
4-6 tbsp soy sauce, to taste
Method:Prepare in advance: For best results marinate pork chops in the fridge overnight. For an authentic fried rice dish, cook the rice the night before and store in the fridge, which will remove the moisture.
For the marinade, combine ingredients in a zip lock bag or bowl. Add pork and coat well in the mixture, set aside.
To cook the rice, place in a medium pot with the water and salt. Bring to a boil, stir once, then cover with a lid and reduce to a low, yet steady simmer. Cook for 10-12 minutes, resisting the urge to lift the lid. Remove from the heat and rest with the lid on for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Pre-heat the grill to high and line an oven tray with tin foil.
Prepare the vegetables while the rice is cooking. Peel and finely chop the ginger. Shred the cabbage finely. Peel and finely dice the carrot. Dice the capsicum very finely, discarding the core. Slice the spring onion on the diagonal, including most of the green part.
Place the marinated pork chops on a rack over the foil-lined oven tray and place under the grill. Grill on each side for 4-5 minutes, then remove from the oven and rest for 2-3 minutes before serving.
Handy hint: Don’t be tempted to remove the fat from the chops before cooking, as it will add flavour. Cut off fat just prior to serving if you don’t wish to eat it .
Stir-fry the rice once the pork chops are cooking. Heat a large pan or wok over a medium-high heat and add some of the rice bran oil. Add the ginger and stir-fry for 30 seconds without burning. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, discard, and add the eggs. Beat the eggs in the pan as they scramble, then remove from the pan. Keep heat at medium-high and add more rice bran oil. Once hot, add the cabbage, carrot and capsicum and stir-fry for 5-6 minutes until vegetables are just tender. Bring heat up to high and stir in the rice. Let the rice heat through for 2-3 minutes, then place the scrambled eggs back in and stir-fry for another 1-2 minutes. Add half the spring onion (the white ends) and reserve the rest for garnish. Add soy sauce and cook out for another minute. Add more to taste if desired. Once the soy sauce is cooked out and the rice begins to dry out, remove the pan from the heat and serve immediately.
To serve, heap vegetable rice onto plates and top with pork chops. Garnish with the remaining spring onion.
My top four fun facts about quinoa:
It’s not a grain – it’s in fact a seedYou know the tiny spiral that appears when you cook quinoa? That’s the germ – i.e. the very inner of the seed. Although people often refer to quina as a grain it’s botanically a seed of a plant that is closely related to spinach. This also means that quinoa is gluten free, making it a great alternative for couscous for coeliacs.
The year 2013 was officially the year of quinoaThat’s right. In 2013 the UN deemed that quinoa would solve so many of the world’s economic, cultural nutritional and food supply related issues that it gave the super food it’s very own year of distinction. The UN regognised quinoa as a potential tool for empowering farmers in underdeveloped areas, primarily in South America, to produce this adaptable crop for the local community, providing empowerment and good nutrition.
It’s a complete proteinNot many vegetarian proteins can boast this fact. Without boring you all with a full biochemistry lesson, it basically means that the protein is complete with all nine essential amino acids. Essential means that the human body can’t make them for themselves, so we need them from the foods we eat. Incomplete proteins need to be consumed alongside other foods (within a 24 hour period) that have the particular amino acids that are absent in that food – these are known as the limiting amino acids. Foods such as quinoa that have a complete set of essential amino acids will act as a valid protein component of a meal and don’t need to be combined with other grains or pulses.
If it’s bitter, it’s your own faultEach quinoa seed is coated with a bitter, waxy substance called saponin, which needs to be rinsed off before cooking. Simply place the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse under a cold tap for a minute, then place ain in a pot of cold water and bring to the boil.
We have featured many quinoa recipes on our menus in the last five years and most of them have been delicious! I’d love to hear which one you loved the most!
Macedonian lamb moussaka with yoghurt-dill dressing and side salad
For the moussaka:2 tbsp olive oil
¾ red onion, finely sliced
500g lean lamb mince
2 tbsp Macedonian spice mix (see below)
800g potatoes, sliced
Butter for greasing
For the topping:4 eggs, beaten
2 cups whole milk
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black or white pepper
For the dressing:2 pots natural yoghurt
2 tbsp dill, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Pinch of salt
To serve:150g mesclun, torn
2 carrots, grated
¼ red onion, finely sliced
Drizzle of olive oil and red wine vinegar
For 2 tbsp Macedonian spice mix:2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp dried dill or parsley
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp ground cumin
Method:Pre -heat oven to 210°C. <
Get started with the moussaka. Heat olive oil in heavy frying pan over a medium heat. Add onion (reserving some for the salad) and cook gently for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add mince to the pan and cook until is lightly browned – about 3-4 minutes, breaking it up as it cooks. Sprinkle in the spice mix and cook out for a minute or two, then remove the pan from heat and set aside. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water if it’s burning or looking dry.
Scrub and slice the potatoes thinly into 2-3 mm rounds while the mince is cooking. Set aside. Combine the eggs and milk in a bowl for the topping and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Handy Hint: Take a moment to read the following paragraph and gauge the quantity of ingredients to choose an oven dish of the appropriate size.
Butter a deep baking dish, then lay out half of the sliced potatoes and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Spread out all the mince, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay out the remaining potatoes and season again with salt and pepper. Press down to firm up the mixture and remove any air pockets, then pour over the milk and egg mixture. Ensure the potatoes are covered in the egg.
Cover the dish with tin foil and pop in the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the potatoes are soft enough to pierce with a knife. Remove the tin foil and cook for another 10-12 minutes, finishing off under the grill to brown if needed.
While the moussaka is in the oven, prepare the rest of the meal. Finely chop the dill and combine with the remaining ingredients for the dressing. For the salad, shave or grate the carrot and combine with finely sliced red onion and torn mesclun in a bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil and vinegar if desired.
To serve, dish up the piping hot moussaka straight from the oven. Serve the salad on the side and dot with the yoghurt dressing.