Spanish meatballs

29 Dec 2014

Recently, half of my flatmates were out one night leaving just Charli and I at home for dinner. Pondering on whether it was worth cooking something for just the two of us, we decided to go ahead anyway and treat ourselves to a little candlelight dinner date. I think a lot of the time we are so busy living in the future and worrying about tomorrow, that we don't often stop and appreciate the present and what's happening in our lives today. Charli has grown to be one of my closest friends in the last 24 months, and with her leaving in two short weeks to live on the other side of the world I've really tried to make the most of the time I have left with her.

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After deciding I would cook I headed to my trusty spreadsheet (yes - I do actually have a spreadsheet!) of recipes that I save and collect as I trawl the internet. I had been wanting to try these Spanish meatballs for a while and thought our little date would be the best opportunity! After all, Charli has been to Spain many times visiting her boyfriend so I figured she'd be a good judge :)

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I cooked while dancing to Taylor Swift's new album and drank cider along the way. The meatballs turned out great however a little to hot for my liking so if you're like me and aren't a huge fan of spice you probably want to tone down the chilli flakes on this one. I opted for mashed potatoes and while half way through cooking them realised I was also going to make mashed peas! Rushing around the kitchen like the flamboyant girl I am, I whipped up some mashed peas in no time which added a nice colour contrast (and taste!) to the meal.

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Charli and I spent the night giggling, drinking cider, eating and enjoying each others company over the dinner table. Oh the difference lighting a candle and calling a meal 'a date' can make! I'm going to miss this girl once she goes. Here's to hoping we can squeeze in another 'date' before she leaves :)

Spanish meatballs

Ingredients

Meatballs
500 grams of beef mince
500 grams of lamb mince
2 tbsp of crushed garlic
2 tbsp of freshly chopped parsley
1/2 tsp of cumin
1/2 tsp of paprika
1 egg
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
1 cup of breadcrumbs
1 tbsp of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tbsp of crushed garlic
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
400 ml of tomato puree
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tsp of chilli flakes
2 tablespoons flour
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

To make the meatballs, add all ingredients in a large bowl and combine using your hands. You want a mixture that is dry enough that the meat stays together but not too dry that you have clumps of breadcrumbs. You may have to experiment a bit here. It takes a bit of trial and error the first time.

Form meatballs to a size of your liking by rolling the mixture in the palm of your hand. Place in an oven proof dish and drizzle with some olive oil. Shake to even out the oil and bake in oven for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, make the sauce by adding oil to a saucepan over medium heat. Once sizzling add the garlic and onion. Stir and wait for the garlic aroma. Slowly pour in wine, beef stock and tomato puree. Use a whisk to combine and wait until bubbling. Add cumin, paprika and salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer about 1/4 cup of the sauce to a small bowl and whisk in flour until incorporated. Transfer back to the sauce pan and whisk to combine until smooth. Shake in chilli flakes to your liking and turn the heat down to simmer for about 15 minutes.

Add cooked meatballs to the sauce and serve with mashed potatoes and peas.

This recipe is inspired by Grab a Plate.

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