Delicious Spaghetti and Meatballs.

Moist, flavorful beef meatballs simmered in a thick sauce of tomatoes and other vegetables will have your children eating their plates clean and you get to fill them in with hidden vegetables they may not otherwise agree to eat.

Win. Win.

Smells, looks and tastes amazing!

Let’s get started.

Our ingredients for the meatballs are:- 500 g beef mince (not lean), one grated onion, 1 egg, 4 minced garlic cloves, salt and black pepper, 1/ cup of breadcrumbs, 1 tsp mixed herbs (basil, oregano,thyme and parsley) and 1 tbsp of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Preheat your oven at 200 ° C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Mix all the above ingredients together and scoop a tablespoon rolling into balls. I made 20 balls.

Place on the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes after drizzling with some olive oil. Turn / flip them after ten minutes.

Note: A lot of people fry the meatballs to lock in the juices and get a nice char or crispness to the meatballs’ exterior. Baking them as I did gave the same result without the frying up. The balls crisp up well on the outside but are juicy and tender on the inside. Well cooked, full of flavour and oh so tasty. The fat in the mince and the cheese inside work well to ensure they remain moist inside.

As the balls bake, you can get started on the sauce. You will need:-

  • One onion chopped
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 celery stalk
  • Four tomatoes, sliced
  • Grated mixed vegetables- I used one carrot, one eggplant and one courgette.
  • 1 teaspoon of dried mixed herbs.
  • One can tomato sauce
  • A pinch of sugar.
  • A teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce.
  • One cup hot water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to serve.

Method.

Heat your pan and add the olive oil as well as the minced garlic.

Let it cook in the oil and release it’s lovely aroma, before adding the onion and celery.

Mix well and cook till onion is softened, then add the herbs.

Let cook a while then add the sliced tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Let them cook on low till mushy, before adding the grated mixed vegetables.

Let them also cook a bit. Add the Worcestershire sauce, the canned tomato sauce and a pinch of sugar. Mix well as it cooks and thickens. Add the hot water, lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Sauce will be smelling so good. Check seasoning and thickness before adding the baked meatballs. Still on low, let them simmer for another 20 or so minutes on low.

Once the sauce is ready. Serve with your spaghetti and some grated Parmesan on top.

Dig in and enjoy this tasty, filling and colorful dish.

This is comfort food as its best. Definitely worth a try.

Love,

Wanjoro.

Yummy Minced Beef And Eggplant.

If you know me, you know my love for this purple vegetable also known as aubergine. I like it’s color, flavor, texture and its versatility in different dishes. It also doesn’t hurt to know it’s good for you, being chock full of antioxidants, as well as other nutrients.

A major challenge for many people is how to get their family to eat it. Roasting it is great and also as a curry. In this simple weekday meal, I roasted then mashed it and added to a spicy beef mince curry simmering and it was a hit with the kids! Try it with your fussy eaters and let me know how it turns out.

Our ingredients are:-

500g beef mince, two ripe tomatoes, two medium eggplants, garlic ginger paste, crushed coriander seeds, and Kenyan curry powder.

So this curry powder has been in the Kenyan Market for as long as I can remember and it’s found in almost every Kenyan kitchen. I don’t think it’s ever rebranded. It’s always found with that distinctive green and yellow and red can that makes it easy to pick out anywhere. And the flavoring and aroma it lends to food is amazing. (Watch out for counterfeit ones though).

Back to the recipe. Clean, slice and sprinkle egg pant with salt and set aside.

In a large saucepan, add some coconut oil and cumin seeds, once they splutter add roughly chopped onion and let cook for a while.

Once the onions are softened, add the mince and let it cook till brown and dry, before adding the ginger garlic paste and spices.
Once the spices are cooked, add your grated tomato, cover and let the sauce cook.

Meanwhile, roast the eggplant at 180°C for about 20 minutes till soft. Let cool a bit then mash into a paste.

Add the pureed eggplant and blanched peas to the beef mince mixture. Cover and let cook for 20 minutes on medium low heat. Check your seasoning, Squeeze juice of half a lemon , garnish and serve.
Final plate garnished with coriander leaves.

You can have this with rice, any bread of choice, pasta or even mashed potatoes. Enjoy!

Goat Cheese Cottage Pie.

I recently found out the difference between cottage pie and shepherd’s pie. Apparently, shepherd’s pie is made with lamb mince and cottage pie is made with beef mince. So I have been making cottage pie and calling it shepherds pie all along! Well!

Moving along, let us get started on another of my comfort food classics. I love this recipe as it reminds me of home, has my favourite goat cheese and is delicious and filling. My kids love this dish too and if one of them had their way, we could be eating this every other day.

I already had some leftover mashed tubers from this recipe, (you guys have to try it please)and the mash made a delicious topping for the filling. You can also use good ol’ mashed potatoes.

Ingredients: 1 chopped onion, minced garlic, coriander stalks, carrots, courgettes (chopped into small pieces), two grated tomatoes, 1 cup green peas, about 1 kg beef mince, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp mixed ground spices, 1/2 tsp black pepper and salt to taste.
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan, add the beef mince and break it down as it cooks, once it is dry and brown, add your onions, coriander stalks and garlic, then add your mixed spices and mix well. Then add the tomatoes, and let cook a bit.
Add your vegetables and the Worcestershire sauce.
If too dry, add a splash of water, cover and let simmer for about 40 minutes till its completely cooked and a bit dry, but not too dry.

Preheat your oven to 180°C. And prepare your baking dish.

I really really love this cheese. It is fresh and has some rosemary mixed in that makes every bite a delight. The mash is tasty too with pumpkins, green bananas, potatoes and arrowroots; the two blend in so well together.
Mix in the Goat cheese with a fork into the mashed tubers.
Arrange your mince and vegetables into your baking dish. Top with the mash and bake for about 25- 30 minutes or until Browned on top.
MY little sous chefs enjoy ‘decorating’ the mash before it goes into the oven. Let it rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

This is a complete meal on its own, so I usually serve it as it is. It has all the food groups and you really don’t want other flavours competing with the main star do you?

A perfect comfort food that is pleasing to adults and kids, easy to make and so delicious!

Meatloaf.

Minced beef always features one way or another on our weekly menu here. The kids love mince meat so the challenge for me is to just get different ways of making it.

Someone on twitter shared this meatloaf recipe a few weeks ago, and I though it was worth a try. It was my first time making meatloaf and I think I will make it again given the happy and sated responses from my gang. Let’s get started shall we?

Ingredients: A kilo of minced beef (not lean), Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, onion, garlic, an egg, breadcrumbs, olive oil, dried mixed herbs, salt and pepper, honey and dhania jeera
In a bowl, mix your ketchup and honey, about 2 tbsp each and mix well, set aside. ( I put in a lil bit of mustard too.

Grease your loaf pan and preheat your oven to 180°C.

In a large bowl, add your meat and add one finely diced onion, minced garlic, a tsp each of black pepper, dried mixed herbs, ground dhania jeera, Worcestershire sauce, salt, one egg, one cup of breadcrumbs and salt. Mix well then add to the greased loaf pan.

I really need to learn how to dice my onions into teeny weeny pieces.
Pour the honey, ketchup glaze but leave a bit aside and bake for 60-75 minutes.
The loaf kinda shrunk, I covered it with foil for about 20 minutes to let it rest before serving and also got time to make the salad.
Served it with a courgette mint salad. Slice one carrot, one courgette and one small onion and one tbsp of fresh mint leaves, chopped.
For the dressing, Juice of one lemon, tsp of minced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper will suffice.
I loved how the meatloaf turned out and will definitely make it again.
The salad was light and refreshing enough to match the meatloaf’s flavours.

I think it came out quite well for a first try right?

Ain’t that a pretty plate?

Comfort Food

Food makes me happy. I love preparing it, cooking and of course the eating part.

Potatoes in all their different forms are one of my favourite comfort foods. Be they boiled, fried, baked, mashed, whole or in wedges, I just love them!

I like shepherd’s pie as it is easy to whip up, delicious and filling, hence a favourite with the kids and adults. And the best part is the recipe is not cast in stone; you can play around with the filling and spices as you wish.

The Irish potatoes here are a bit different, waxy in nature therefore don’t fluff as much when mashed. But they are still a yummy treat. The filling was beef mince, peas, carrots and a handful of corn.

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Peel and cube potatoes. boil with some salt and minced garlic
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Mash the potatoes with some butter a bit of cheddar cheese and black pepper.
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Fry your mince in olive oil with some onions, garlic, mixed vegetables and mixed herbs. Add also some tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and remember salt and pepper to taste. 
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Once cooked, put the mince mixture in an oven proof dish and spread evenly.
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Add the potato mash mixture on top of the mince and also spread evenly. you can make fork tracks like I did or leave it plain.
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Bake in a preheated oven for about 30 min, at 200 degrees Celsius
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Let rest for about 20 minutes before serving 
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Had mine with some simple buttered cabbage that will not overtake the shepherd’s pie flavours. Enjoy!