Beef Meatball Goulash With Rice

Originating from medieval Hungary, Goulash is a deep, rich, belter of a dish. Back in the 9th century goulash was eaten by Hungarian shepherds. They would take cooked, seasoned meat and dry it in the sun to preserve it. Then they would store it in bags made from sheep stomachs. When they wanted to eat it all they would have to do was add water to the bag and they had a meal.

In terms of ingredients I can’t say how close this was to the traditional dish. For sure it would have used paprika (Hungarian paprika is renowned to be some of the best in the world). Not only does it give lots of flavour, it adds that deep red colour that makes it so appealing.

The use of fresh herbs really kick this one up a notch. Those rich flavours are contrasted with the freshness of the parsley. 

Red Onion, chop it into thin half moons

Green pepper, slice it as thin as you can

Garlic, grate it

Parsley, roughly chop it

Cook the onion and pepper till soft in a pan with some oil. Season with salt and pepper. Once soft add half of the garlic, dried thyme and ground coriander. Also add all of the paprika.

Cook this mix for a couple more minutes and add the tomato purée and chopped tomatoes. Bring to the boil and then add the stock pot and water. Mix it all up, lower the heat to simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes.

While that is simmering, put the basmati rice in a pot and add 500ml water. Bring to the boil and then pop a lid on the pan, lower the heat to medium and leave for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes remove the pan from the heat and leave the lid on till you are ready to serve.

While the rice is cooking, put the mince into a bowl with some salt and pepper, then add the remaining garlic, dried thyme and coriander. Mix in the panko breadcrumbs. Make into enough balls for 3 each. (Don’t compact them too much, just enough to keep them together. Half submerge the meatballs into the sauce. Pop a lid on the pan and cook for 10-12 minutes, turning halfway through. 

Once the meatballs have cooked add the spinach to the pan and put the lid back on for a couple of minutes until it has wilted. Season if you need to and then remove from the heat and stir in two thirds of the sour cream.

Fluff up the rice and serve as a bed for your sauce and meatballs sprinkle over your parsleyand a dollop of sour cream.

Caribbean Spicy Sausages

Just try and stop your mouth watering. Look at the colours, vibrant, fresh and what it all boils down to, damn tasty.

Take a good old English tradition and turn it on its head. This dish did it perfectly. Spicy sausages with roasted vegetables samothered in mango chutney and jerk seasoning revive this often dull and lifeless dinner into a fantastic assault on the taste buds. Don’t get me wrong I love bangers and mash, but so often you see cheap sausages, lumpy mash and gravy that may as well be water. Cooked properly and the traditional English staple will win hands down for me. Its what I grew up with. But this fusion of flavours is a welcome change.

The vegatables are sweet and sticky but also come with that irresistible jerk flavouring that provides that lovely heat. The sausages were just good quality sausages. I don’t know what the flavourings in them were but that had a nice spicy flavour. The mash was soft and buttery. Again I don’t know what they were but for mash you need a high starch potato like russets. This means they will mash better and soak up all that butter or milk. I always season my mash especially with pepper.

Slice your peppers into 1 to 2 cm wide slices. They don’t have to be all even, the smaller ones will roast more and get that amazing crispness on the skin. Peel and chop the onion into large 2cm peices. Peel and chop the carrot into batons as big as your little finger.

In a bowl mix olive oil, the jerk seasoning and the mango chutney mix this with the veggies in a tray so everything is covered. Season with salt and pepper and then lay the sausages on top. Prick the sausages a couple of times with a sharp knife. Put it all in a pre heated oven of around 200 degrees and cook for 25-30 minutes.

Peel and chop the potato into 2cm peices, pop the in a pot of boiling water until they are soft in the middle. Once they have cooked drain and put back in the pan with a knob of butter and a splash of milk. Season with salt and pepper and mash until smooth.

Serve it up on a plate and sprinkle with some roughly chopped parsley. Amazing.

Mexican Broth with Spicy Beef and Beans

I wasn’t expecting much here. The thought of a bowl of broth doesn’t really set my taste buds tingling. It is hard to think you can be satisfied by what really amounts to a lumpy drink. Once again me and my thoughts have been proven wrong. 

Not only did this meal satisfy, it had more flavour in it than the previous weeks meals put together. There are a number of ingredients that made this dish. The smoked paprika not only imparted that deep red colour but also as it’s name states a rich smokiness that adds a whole new dimension. The Mexican spice adds a lot of heat that builds progressively, thankfully the soured cream does enough to cool it before it gets too much. 

Cook your onion and garlic in a pan before adding the beef mince, mexican spice and smoked paprika. Once the beef has browned add the pepper and potato. After five minutes pop in the mixed beans and the passata. Once its all mixed together thoroughlyadd the stock and water. Bring everything to a simmer and let it cook for ten to fifteen minutes.

While its cooking rub your tortillas in olive oil, cut them into thin strips, season with some salt and pepper and put them into a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for around five minutes. They will come out lovely and crisp. Stir through the coriander before serving the broth. Top it off with a nice dollop of soured cream and some of the tortillas.

Tender Stir-Fried Pork with Black Bean Sauce and Cashew Nuts

As much a pleasure to make as it was to eat. My knife skills got a workout with this one. There is something very satisfying about chopping veg really fine. A perfect garlic, ginger and onion mix accompanies the black bean sauce. The rich, sticky, deeply savoury sauce grabs your taste buds and doesn’t let go.

Cornflour, who knew. If you want soft succulent pork with a nice crisp outside then toss it in cornflour first before adding it to your pan. It produces the same tender meat but with a slight crisp to the outside, adding a little texture to the mix. Before you cook the pork cook your cashews in a dry pan until they turn brown. Then leaves them to one side. Then in the same pan add some oil and cook your pork in batches. If you crowd the pan then there will be too much steam and that will basically stew your meat and loose that crisp your trying to achieve with the corn flour. Put the pork to the side and in the same pan again add some more oil and cook your pepper and carrot for a few minutes then add the garlic, ginger and the whites of your spring onion. Cook for a minute then add the pork back to the pan. Mix in your black bean sauce and mix for a minute before serving on a bed of rice. Like most things its the little extras that makes the difference between something nice and something great. Here it is the cashews, every now and then you get a crunch and that subtle nuttiness that works so well with all the other flavours.

I used a new macro lens filter for some of my shots. I cannot afford a proper macro lens so this filter lets me do closer shots. Obviously its not as good as an actual lens but for my purposes it seems to do just nicely.

This meal was from our HelloFresh box www.hellofresh.co.uk