Theo Randall’s Tomato Risotto

Ok, here’s my first recipe for a long time – so I enlisted the help of fellow Wheelie Good Mealer Alice to help me make this recipe.  I know I say about speaking to people on twitter and people often think I’m exaggerating or “the boy who cries wolf”.  I have some good cyber friends who I speak to regularly and have met through facebook and twitter – some of which I’ve met in real life.  Theo Randall and I started speaking in 2012 after an episode of Saturday Kitchen, we’ve tweeted a few times afterwards but then we started tweeting regularly when I first set up Wheelie Good Meals in 2014.  Theo is a chef I admire and enjoy watching on television (even if he is a Liverpool fan) 🙂

Ingredients for Theo Randall's Tomato Risotto

Ingredients for Theo Randall’s Tomato Risotto

The ingredients are fairly simple, I’ve obviously altered them to suit what I had in the house so they are:

For the Tomato Sauce:

1 tin of tomatoes

Good glug of Rapeseed Oil

2 heaped teaspoons of Lazy Garlic

10 Basil Leaves

For the Risotto

Rapeseed Oil

1 finely chopped stick of celery

2 finely chopped red onions

200g Carnaroli Rice

1 glass of white wine

1 litre of hot chicken stock

2 or 3 Basil leaves

100g grated Parmesan Cheese

Butter

The recipe calls for extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic and fresh tomatoes…. but I was making do with what I had lol.

Theo Randall's Tomato Risotto - Chopping the onion and celery

Theo Randall’s Tomato Risotto – Chopping the onion and celery

Firstly, as always prep all your ingredients, as I always say it works for me to set them aside in small containers ready for putting in the pan… I’m not organised often but I try to be in the kitchen.

Theo Randall's Tomato Risotto - Heating the oil to make the tomato sauce

Theo Randall’s Tomato Risotto – Heating the oil to make the tomato sauce

We’re going to make the tomato sauce first, put a large glug of oil in a pan and heat – you don’t need to use as much as I did above either Alice or I were heavy handed.

Theo Randall's Tomato Risotto - Frying the garlic for the tomato sauce

Theo Randall’s Tomato Risotto – Frying the garlic for the tomato sauce

Cook the garlic on a medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Theo Randall's Tomato Risotto - Adding the tinned tomatoes to make the tomato sauce

Theo Randall’s Tomato Risotto – Adding the tinned tomatoes to make the tomato sauce

After a couple of minutes add the tomatoes and stir thoroughly, cook them for a couple of minutes.

Theo Randall's Tomato Risotto - Finishing off the tomato sauce by tearing up some basil leaves

Theo Randall’s Tomato Risotto – Finishing off the tomato sauce by tearing up some basil leaves

Add the chopped basil and stir thoroughly, cook for ten minutes or until the sauce has thickened.  Once that happened we took it off the heat.

Theo Randall's Tomato Risotto - Adding the onion and celery to the Pan

Theo Randall’s Tomato Risotto – Adding the onion and celery to the Pan

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy based saucepan,  Alice and I only had my wok at hand but it worked fine.  Once the oil in the pan is heated add the onion and celery and cook on a low heat.

Theo Randall's Tomato Risotto - Add the rice to the vegetables

Theo Randall’s Tomato Risotto – Add the rice to the vegetables

Add the rice and stir to combine, making sure the rice is covered in the stock and all the ingredients have got to know each other.

Theo Randall's Tomato Risotto - Add the wine and cook through

Theo Randall’s Tomato Risotto – Add the wine and cook through

At this point increase the heat and then add the wine, stir thoroughly until the wine has almost evaporated.  They say you shouldn’t cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink, I can see the logic but does it really matter, in this recipe Alice and I used a glass of Casillero Del Diablo Chardonnay.  This is one of my favourite white wines, it translates to Devil’s Locker/Cellar.  I thought this was appropriate beings how I’m a Man United fan… and then they went and sponsored Manchester United… win win!

Theo Randall's Tomato Risotto - Add the stock ladle by ladle

Theo Randall’s Tomato Risotto – Add the stock ladle by ladle

Now comes the slow relaxing bit, we are adding the stock, some people get put off by this stage but it’s really not as bad as it sounds.  Add the stock ladle by ladle, when the stock has been absorbed, add the next ladle of stock and stir.  Stir continuously until each ladle full have been evaporated, when cooked the rice should have a bite but not have a crunch.

Theo Randall's Tomato Risotto - Stir in the butter to thicken and enrichen the sauce

Theo Randall’s Tomato Risotto – Stir in the butter to thicken and enrichen the sauce

When the risotto is almost ready add the tomato sauce and butter and stir.

Theo Randall's Tomato Risotto - Stir in the butter to thicken and enrichen the sauce - Finish off with grated parmesan and finely chopped basil

Theo Randall’s Tomato Risotto – Stir in the butter to thicken and enrichen the sauce – Finish off with grated parmesan and finely chopped basil

Last step of the process, add the grated parmesan and finely chopped basil and stir thoroughly.

Theo Randall's Tomato Risotto

Theo Randall’s Tomato Risotto

The risotto was fantastic, deep and rich with flavours of tomato, parmesan with a slight bite of celery.  Alice and I thoroughly enjoyed it and would most certainly cook it again.

Theo Randall's Tomato Risotto with Theo's recipe book "My Simple Italian"

Theo Randall’s Tomato Risotto with Theo’s recipe book “My Simple Italian”

The book is fantastic, there’s lots of insights into each recipe, the book explains Theo’s relationship to the recipes and what they mean to him.  You all know I love a good recipe book and have read this one cover to cover.  The other impressive thing about this book is that you don’t feel you need a catering degree to achieve the recipes, they’re explained clearly and laid out in a way that makes you a) want to follow them ad b) have confidence that you can achieve the end result.  You can rest assured that more recipes will be coming in the near future.

Theo Randall's Tomato Risotto - all gone!

Theo Randall’s Tomato Risotto – all gone!

The risotto didn’t touch the side as you can see, you’ll notice that the obligatory basil leaf is included, my mother would have been proud of us for including it lol.  I know I normally eat that… I love basil leaves but the risotto was too good.

Theo Randall's Tomato Risotto

Theo Randall’s Tomato Risotto

Well I’ve been away for a while but I’m back with a stunning recipe, thanks to Theo for his online friendship and support.  Alice has done a brilliant job taking the photos, and if I’m honest cooking the majority of this… but ssshhh don’t tell her I said that lol.

Cooking has taken a back seat over the last couple of months because of work but we’re back to normal again.  Don’t get me wrong business and life is manic, I’m running for council and working on lots of community projects but I’m cooking a lot more again.

My main course and dessert from my Come Dine With Me night

My main course and dessert from my Come Dine With Me night

I’ve taken part recently in a series of Come Dine With Me Nights with Rhian and her family.  We’ve had two good nights so far, my main course (Cajun Chicken and Herby Potatoes) and dessert (Lemon Posset) are pictured above, we’ve got one more night to go.  As soon as the scores are in I’ll let you know who the winner is.  I’ve got to mention Rhian, we’ve been friends for 14 years and she’s worked with volunteered with me for ten years.  I’m very lucky to have a fantastic group of friends, Greg, Gemma, Hayleigh and Rhian is no different she’s backed every event, campaign and cause I’ve been involved in.  Rhian is now going to work in the big wide world and has moved on to pastures new, I’d like to say she’d be missed but she knows I’d be lying lol.  Thank you Rhian for everything 😆 Wheelie Good Meals Social Networking

I’m planning a night out soon with Greg and my mother… but again ssshhh they don’t know that yet lol.  Don’t forget you can get in touch with me via Social Media, I’m back next Wednesday with a great “Waste Not Want Not Wednesday recipe, so keep your eyes peeled.  In the mean time, enjoy the Paralympics.

Take care, enjoy the weekend!

Mini Portable Pizza Pies

Merry Christmas, happy New Year and Happy Easter (oh wait we haven’t got there yet lol). It’s been a while since my last post, but I’m back, the beginning of the year has been slightly hectic but now things have calmed down I can start cooking… and eating again!

Visit To Old Trafford

Mini Portable Pizza Pies - Greg and I at Old Trafford

Mini Portable Pizza Pies – Greg and I at Old Trafford

We were only a day into the New Year and Greg and I were off to the Theatre of Dreams Old Trafford, home of our beloved Manchester United. We were lucky enough to get tickets for Manchester United v Swansea, a game that always weighs with us because Swansea is our local Premiership team.

My mother wanted us to take some food with us, so she suggested making these Pizza Pies, as she calls them. She’s been cooking them for parties for years for us, she also cooks them for me if she goes away so I’ve got something to munch on. It was my turn to make them this time, although I didn’t make the pastry – my mother is the queen of pastry so why reinvent the wheel, her pastry is better than anything I do. It was a short crust pastry, I can’t give you the recipe because she makes it by eye but there is a good recipe on the BBC Good Food website. The pastry was rolled out and cut into circles which were put in lined cake tins.

Mini Portable Pizza Pies - The pie cases before being filled

Mini Portable Pizza Pies – The pie cases before being filled

I made two types of Pizza Pies one with Chorizo and a little bit of spice and one with tinned potatoes and herbs.

Chorizo Pizza Pie

Mini Portable Pizza Pies - Ingredients for the Chorizo Pies

Mini Portable Pizza Pies – Ingredients for the Chorizo Pies

Other than the chorizo the ingredients are fairly simple mainly store spices and a few store cupboard essentials. It’s a quick and easy recipe to make and great to take away on trips or for parties, you can mix up the recipe, add more spice – other types of meat like cooked chicken etc.

Mini Portable Pizza Pies - Chopped onion and peppers for the Chorizo Pies

Mini Portable Pizza Pies – Chopped onion and peppers for the Chorizo Pies

The first thing you need to do is preheat your oven to 1800C, then you’ll need to chop all the ingredients. I’ve used onion, peppers and chorizo in this one, you can use any form of cooked meat, I’ve had some with chicken in and they were lovely. You can also grate the cheese at this point, it saves time later – grate enough for both recipes!

Mini Portable Pizza Pies - The process of cooking the Chorizo Pies

Mini Portable Pizza Pies – The process of cooking the Chorizo Pies

Here comes the easy bit, whack it all in a pan and away to go! Firstly add some oil to a pan and heat it up, then fry the onions until they start to soften (1). Add the garlic and cook that for a few minutes (2), then add the chorizo and the chilli flakes (3). Cook the chorizo for a few minutes so that the oils start to come out, stir regularly so that all the flavours get to know each other. Add the roasted red pepper and stir continuously so that all the ingredients are mixed together thoroughly (4). Lastly add the tinned tomatoes and stir thoroughly, allow to cook through so that all the ingredients come to temperature (5). Let the ingredients cook until they start to thicken, season and take off the heat.

Mini Portable Pizza Pies - Filling the pastry cases and topping with cheese for the Chorizo Pies

Mini Portable Pizza Pies – Filling the pastry cases and topping with cheese for the Chorizo Pies

Allow the mixture to cool first then spoon into the individual pastry cases, remember not to fill them too full as you’re topping them with cheese (1). Top each individual pie with a handful of grated cheese (2).

Mini Portable Pizza Pies - The Chorizo Pies read to be eaten

Mini Portable Pizza Pies – The Chorizo Pies read to be eaten

Place in the oven and cook until the pastry is golden brown and the cheese is melted. As all the ingredients have been cooked earlier you’re just cooking the pastry case and melting the cheese. Once cooked take out of the tray and place on a wire cooling rack to cool, you can eat them out of the oven but they will be hot, be careful because of the cheese.

Vegetarian Pizza Pie

Mini Portable Pizza Pies - Ingredients for the Vegetarian Pies

Mini Portable Pizza Pies – Ingredients for the Vegetarian Pies

These are not spicy, they’re more Italian/Mediterranean orientated… with potatoes! You can cook these in the oven at the same time as the Chorizo Pizza Pies, not to waste the oven heat. I’m also using a jar of Sun-Dried tomato paste from Sainsbury’s which is not in the picture

Mini Portable Pizza Pies - Chopped Potatoes and Peppers for the Vegetarian Pies

Mini Portable Pizza Pies – Chopped Potatoes and Peppers for the Vegetarian Pies

Firstly, like their non-vegetarian cousins to start this recipe you’ll need to chop all the ingredients. I’ve used onion, peppers and tinned potatoes in this one, you could add other vegetables like courgettes, carrots, butternut squash or fennel for example.

Mini Portable Pizza Pies - Store Cupboard Essentials, Sainsbury's Char-Grilled Red Pepper Paste

Mini Portable Pizza Pies – Store Cupboard Essentials, Sainsbury’s Char-Grilled Red Pepper Paste

There are two random in this recipe, there’s Sainsbury’s Char-grilled Red Pepper Paste, a product my sister bought for me years ago. It’s does what it says on the tine, it’s not so much of a paste as a purée and has the smoky taste of roasted red peppers, I use this in loads of recipes and always have a jar either unopened in my cupboard or open in the fridge, but if it’s open it doesn’t last long.

Mini Portable Pizza Pies - Store Cupboard Essentials, Mixed Herbs

Mini Portable Pizza Pies – Store Cupboard Essentials, Mixed Herbs

The other random ingredient is mixed herbs…. ok not so random you’re probably thinking but they are when they come from the dispenser above! Heather and her family bought it for me for Christmas it has a few different dry herbs, and a section for mixed herbs, it’s ideal for someone who has a small kitchen and doesn’t want to go to the expense or hassle of buying lots of herbs. It’s also great for someone who hasn’t got the time to mix all the dry herbs together – like me in this instance. If you haven’t got mixed herbs, you could use a packet of blogenese herbs or Italian herbs.

Mini Portable Pizza Pies - The process of cooking the Vegetarian Pies

Mini Portable Pizza Pies – The process of cooking the Vegetarian Pies

Again like the previous recipe, this is the easy bit, one pan cooking, what more can you ask for? Firstly you’ll need to add some oil to a pan and heat it up, then fry the onions until they start to soften (1). Add the garlic and cook that for a few minutes (2), once you’ve done that add the Sun-Dried Tomato Paste and stir through to ensure all the ingredients have combined (3). Give that a couple of minutes then add the Char-Grilled Roasted Red Pepper Paste and stir through to ensure all the ingredients have combined (4). Cook that for a few minutes then add the peppers and potatoes, these are already cooked so they won’t need long in the pan (5). Remember to stir continuously, next add your herbs and stir to combine all the ingredients in the pan – as I always say it’s like a party, you want to make sure all the guests meet each other (6). Lastly, add the tinned tomatoes and stir thoroughly so that everything combines really well (7).

Mini Portable Pizza Pies - The Vegetarian Pie filling thickening

Mini Portable Pizza Pies – The Vegetarian Pie filling thickening

Leave to thicken, season and take off the heat.

Mini Portable Pizza Pies - The Vegetarian Pie ready to be eaten

Mini Portable Pizza Pies – The Vegetarian Pie ready to be eaten

Repeat the same process as above, once cooled place the mixture in the pastry cases and top with cheese, cook in the oven until the pastry is golden brown and the cheese has melted. Once cooked take out of the oven and place on a cooling rack – or eat straight away if you dare!

Multi-Purpose

These are awesomely practical and massively tasty, they’re great for parties, trips or late at night when you come home from the pub.

Mini Portable Pizza Pies - Before they go in the oven

Mini Portable Pizza Pies – Before they go in the oven

You can use any hard cheese; you could grate Parmesan over or Gruyère for a more nuttier texture.

Mini Portable Pizza Pies - Freeze the leftover cooked Vegetarian Pie filling for use again

Mini Portable Pizza Pies – Freeze the leftover cooked Vegetarian Pie filling for use again

If you’ve got any leftover, put it in the freezer and you can have it again, you eat the vegetarian version with fish or meat, the chorizo version you can have with pasta or rice.

Mini Portable Pizza Pies - After they've been in the oven

Mini Portable Pizza Pies – After they’ve been in the oven

They can be frozen, eaten hot or cold and are great, as I’ve said in a number of different scenarios. They’re popular with lots of my friends and served Greg and I well when we went to Manchester.

Mini Portable Pizza Pies

Mini Portable Pizza Pies

I hope you enjoy these, give them a go, you can download a step-by-step recipe here, but be warned you’ll need paper in your printer! I’ll be back on Tuesday with a quick and easy pasta/rice sauce and then Cauliflower Cheese Burgers on the weekend… yep you heard me, Cauliflower…. Cheese…. Burgers (happy days!)

Remember to get in touch, you can visit our social media pages below, or subscribe to the blog for regular updates.Wheelie Good Meals Social Networking

See you Tuesday

Rich signature

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Homemade Microwaveable Tomato Risotto

I’ve gone in a different direction today for my Time-Saving Tuesday’s post. I saw Sorted Food host a Question and Answer session on twitter recently so I asked them what their favourite Time-Saving gadget was in the kitchen and they said the microwave… so in honour of that here is my Homemade Microwave Tomato Risotto.

Homemade Microwaveable Tomato Risotto Ingredients

Homemade Microwaveable Tomato Risotto Ingredients

Here are the ingredients for the risotto. They’re quite easy to get hold of, I used Arborio Rice as that’s my preferred rice grain for risottos. There are two standout ingredients are Sun-dried tomato paste from Sainsbury’s which I use regular basis. The other key ingredient was a soft Brie style cheese from Pant Mawr Farmhouse Cheese. It’s a cheese I bought from my visit to the Brecon Food Festival, a review on that event to come.

Homemade Microwaveable Tomato Risotto - Pant Mawr Farmhouse Cheese

Homemade Microwaveable Tomato Risotto – Pant Mawr Farmhouse Cheese

The cheese is stunning, it’s soft and has a nice strong taste, but a cheese that anyone could eat even if you weren’t a cheese lover.  The recipe I adapted this from used Mozzarella but I chose to use the cheese from Pantmawr Farmhouse Cheese instead, but you could use Mozzarella.

Homemade Microwaveable Tomato Risotto - Adding Onion, Rice and Butter to start the process

Homemade Microwaveable Tomato Risotto – Adding Onion, Rice and Butter to start the process

First thing you need to do is prepare all the ingredients, blitz the onions in a food processor, weigh the rice and butter. You can also measure out the vegetable stock at this point and grate or food process some hard cheese. The hard cheese I featured in the picture of the ingredients is not the one I used, this like the Pantmawr Farmhouse Cheese, was bought from the Brecon Food Festival. I was going to use it but I thought I’d use one cheese at a time. Put half the butter, the rice and the onion in a large microwaveable bowl.

Homemade Microwaveable Tomato Risotto - Microwaveable dish covered and ready to cook

Homemade Microwaveable Tomato Risotto – Microwaveable dish covered and ready to cook

Cover and cook in the microwave on high for 3 minutes, remember that as I always say kitchen equipment varies in temperature and how they are used so use my times as a guideline.

Homemade Microwaveable Tomato Risotto - Adding Stock and Tinned Tomatoes

Homemade Microwaveable Tomato Risotto – Adding Stock and Tinned Tomatoes

Take out of the microwave and stir in the stock and the tinned tomatoes.  Add some water to the tin of tomatoes once you’ve emptied them into the bowl, slosh the water around to ensure you have all the tomato in the risotto. The original recipe uses Tomato Passata but I didn’t have any so I used tinned tomatoes and the Sun-dried tomato paste. Place back in the microwave and cook uncovered for ten minutes on high power.

Homemade Microwaveable Tomato Risotto - Adding Caws Preseli Cheese and the Sun-dried Tomato Paste

Homemade Microwaveable Tomato Risotto – Adding Caws Preseli Cheese and the Sun-dried Tomato Paste

Once the eight minutes is up, take out of the microwave and give it a good stir. Then add the soft cheese and the Sun-dried tomato paste and stir through thoroughly. You need to break the cheese up into small chunks and so that it distributes throughout the risotto, place back in the microwave and cook for 8 minutes.

Homemade Microwaveable Tomato Risotto - The risotto relaxing before final stages of cooking

Homemade Microwaveable Tomato Risotto – The risotto relaxing before final stages of cooking

Take out of the microwave and let it rest for a few minutes, do nothing to it because it needs to sit and relax. At this point all the flavours are settling down and getting to know each other.

Homemade Microwaveable Tomato Risotto - Adding the hard Cheese, Basil and butter before serving

Homemade Microwaveable Tomato Risotto – Adding the hard Cheese, Basil and butter before serving

We’re now at the final stages of the process, stir in the remaining butter, hard cheese and the basil. Season give it a good stir, leave it for a couple of minutes to allow the hard cheese and the butter to ooze through the risotto.

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Homemade Microwaveable Tomato Risotto

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Homemade Microwaveable Tomato Risotto

You are ready to serve now, I served mine on a plate, but I’d probably use a bowl next time and decorate with a bit of basil… you know my mother she loves a bit of green. This is a stunning recipe and I really enjoyed making it, I’m going to turn the leftovers into Arancini so keep your eyes peeled for that. You can download a step by step guide to my recipe here, give it a go, it couldn’t be easier.  This can be served as either a starter or as a main course, I had it as a main course.Sorted

Screenshot_2015-10-12-02-32-11

Sorted Food Tweet!

Here’s the tweet I received from Sorted food… not sure the ready meal reviews would be popular with them 😆 .

I hope you enjoyed this recipe, as always you can sign up to the blog for updates or you can visit us on our social media pages which are listed below.

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Thursday I’ll be reviewing the Brecon Food Festival I went to with Greg recently, then there’s another #StrictlySupper… I wonder what that could be??

Thanks for stopping by, see you Thursday.

Rich
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce - Ready to eat

Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

Well this recipe is a great one for the forthcoming cold nights, it’s Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce with Boiled Rice. I love meatballs and usually make mine from scratch, you’ll know this if you’e read my take on Dean Edwards Thai Pork Meatball Curry or my take on another of Digger Dean’s recipes my Lamb Kofta Curry (ok it’s not a meatball in name but it is really lol)

Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce - Ingredients

Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce – Ingredients

Because of how easy this recipe is I didn’t use much in the way of equipment, the picture below does not have an oven tray in it… it shout doh 😉 ! My original intention was to fry the balls in a frying pan, I tried some in the frying pan but chose to oven cook the majority of them, I felt they had a better texture and cooked more evenly that way.

Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce - Equipment used

Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce – Equipment used

The first thing you’ll need to do is cut up the onion, I just chopped them in quarters and then put them in a food processor, you can chop them up finely.

Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce - Quartering the onions for the meatballs

Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce – Quartering the onions for the meatballs

You’ll notice that my cleaver is in the picture above, it was an amazing Christmas present from Santa… yes folks Santa brings meat cleavers too! It’s lush, admittedly I wouldn’t normally use it to cut onions but it was all that was sharp in my drawer. Not the case now though thanks to Chris Vickery who has sharpened my knife… see the picture below which I shared on Instagram a few weeks ago

Knife Sharpening By Chris Vickery

Ok this isn’t my knife collection, but Chris is my knife sharpening guru – give him a call!, He’s the yoga of the knife world (no he’s not green) lol

The way I would do that is to chop them into half moons and then cut the finely along the clock face… not making any sense, I’ll try to show you below.

Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce - How to chop an Onion

Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce – How to chop an Onion

Put the bread in the food processor and blitz until you have breadcrumbs, then add 1 teaspoon of sage (more if you like it) and blitz that so that it goes throughout the breadcrumbs.

Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce - Dried Sage and breadcrumbs in a foodprocessor

Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce – Dried Sage and breadcrumbs in a food processor

If you haven’t chopped the onions yet, do it now in the food processor, doing it with the onions will stop it turning completely to mush… or that’s what I think anyway :lol:.

Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce - The Sage and breadcrumbs mix with the quartered onions

Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce – The Sage and breadcrumbs mix with the quartered onions

Take the sausage meat out of their skins and place in a big bowl, then add the breadcrumbs, onion and sage mixture and mix thoroughly. This is the bit I hate, so if you’re anything like me you should have a friendly Alice, Hayleigh or failing that a parent to help…. or anyone else off the streets if you’re feeling risky… no scratch that ignore me I’m waffling!

Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce - The Sausage meat with the Onion, Sage and breadcrumbs mix

Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce – The Sausage meat with the Onion, Sage and breadcrumbs mix

Next you’ll need to shape this pile of mincey loveliness into small balls, probably about the golf ball shape. I’d then put them in the fridge for about half an hour so that they have time to firm up, probably best to cover them too. After that you have two options you can pan fry them and set them aside to reheat in the sauce or you can cook them in the oven.

Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce - Different methods of cooking your balls!

Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce – Different methods of cooking your balls!

I tried both but chose the oven ones as the best outcome, I preheated my oven to approximately 1800C and once it was warm enough placed them on a baking tray in the middle of the oven. It is important to turn them regularly and take them out once they are golden brown. When they are ready take them out of the oven and set them aside covered in foil. You can allow them to cool down and then put them in the fridge.

Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce - The balls are in the oven

Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce – The balls are in the oven

Next it’s time to make the sauce, now this sauce is so adaptable and you can tweak it to how much spice or as little as you like. Personally, I hate it when chefs dump spice into a dish one at a time, I don’t think the flavour gets evenly distributed through, I always mix my spice together…. or at least try to. You can see them below, they are:

  • 1 tsp of Ground Cumin,
  • 1 tsp of Smoked Paprika,
  • 1 tsp of Mixed Ground Garlic,
  • ¼ tsp of Chilli Flakes,
  • 1 and ½ tsp of Ground Coriander,
  • 2 and ½ tsp of Mixed Dry Herbs
    Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce - The spices ready for the sauce

    Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce – The spices ready for the sauce

    As I said earlier use as much or as little as you like, you can add ginger, or some Turmeric to give it a more Indian flavour, the world, as they say is your lobster!

    Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce - Sweating the onions ready for the sauce

    Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce – Sweating the onions ready for the sauce

    Next you need to cut two onions for the sauce, I’ve chopped them in to half moons but stopped there, I didn’t want them too fine because I was going to cook the sauce low and slow. Sweat the onions in some butter (not featured in the picture earlier) and some oil. You want them to start to soften; you’re not making burger van onions though!

    Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce - Tomato Purée joins the onions for the sauce

    Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce – Tomato Purée joins the onions for the sauce

    Next ladies and gents we add the tomato purée and give that a stir through, it’s important to add this early on in most dishes so you cook out the harshness of it…. interesting fact but my friend Ben Way eats tomato purée on its own.

    Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce - The spcies are added to the Onions and Tomato Purée as the sauce progresses

    Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce – The spices are added to the Onions and Tomato Purée as the sauce progresses

    Then add the spices and give them a good stir, it’s important to remember to keep things moving at this point because the onions have become claggy from the addition of the purée and the spices may catch on the pan.

    Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce - One Tin of Chopped Tomatoes and 500ml approx goes in to the sauce

    Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce – One Tin of Chopped Tomatoes and 500ml approx goes in to the sauce

    Once you’ve taken some time to let the flavours get to know each other you can add the tinned tomatoes, once you’ve emptied the tin in fill it full of water and pour that in, if I’m honest I probably added two tins of water, because I let it reduce a little, plus I wanted a sauce.

    Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce - The sauce thickens and the balls are added back to re-heat

    Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce – The sauce thickens and the balls are added back to re-heat

    Add some balsamic vinegar (probably about 1 tablespoon full) and Worcestershire Sauce (I added a few glugs). I’d never put it in my tomato sauces before so I aired on the side of caution, not that I don’t trust my sister Heather…. but you can never be too careful.

    Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce - The sauce thickens and the balls are added back to re-heat

    Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce – The sauce thickens and the balls are added back to re-heat

    Now you can serve this with some good old fashioned mashed potatoes, I would normally, but as I was making it for you lovely people I went for rice instead. I put two cups of rice and four cups of boiling water in a sauce pan with a large pinch of salt. Put on the heat and bring to the boil, once it’s boiling I reduced the heat and covered it and left it for 10-15 minutes. Once that time was up I forked it through to get it nice and fluffy, how do you cook your rice? Share with me on social media.

    Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce - The sauce, meatballs and rice all cooking away nicely

    Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce – The sauce, meatballs and rice all cooking away nicely

    You’ll notice my balls (oooh matron 😳 !) are back in the sauce now, leave them there to cook through, they should already be cooked it’s just a case of bringing them to temperature.

    Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce - Ready to eat

    Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce – Ready to eat

    Serve and enjoy, I’ve kept both the balls and the sauce in the fridge and they would also both probably freeze, but I eat them too quickly for that. Remember you can download a step by step recipe from here

    Come back Tuesday for a review of a gadget, I’m not sure what one yet but I’ll review one lol. I recently asked #SortedFood what their favourite time-saving gadget was… here’s what they said

    Screenshot of a Twitter Conversation with #SortedFood

    Screenshot of a Twitter Conversation with #SortedFood

    Don’t forget you can drop me a line to give me suggestions for my Mystery Bag meals, email mbm@wheeliegoodmeals.co.uk

    Mystery Bag Meals Information

    Mystery Bag Meals Information

    Thank you for stopping by remember you can sign up to the blog for updates and visit us on our social media pages which are listed below.

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    I’d like to wish everyone starting back in university this week luck, especially friends and family, Ben, Siân, Adam and of course Ben “The Hair” Way and anyone else I’ve left out.

    See you Tuesday

     

    Rich

Time-Saving Tuesdays - Tesco Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta Bake In It's Packet

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Tesco Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta Bake

It wasn’t planned this way but keeping up with the six nations theme mentioned in my Comforting Classics Shepherd’s Pie recipe this review could be dedicated to the Italian Rugby team and indeed the guy with one of the coolest names in rugby Martin Castrogiovanni.

Time-Saving Tuesdays - Tesco Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta Bake In It's Packet

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Tesco Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta Bake In It’s Packet

I bought this ready meal from Tesco recently it’s not part of a range I’ve had before so I thought it was worth a go…. especially as it was on offer lol. The box describes it as

Penne pasta in a tomato sauce topped with mature cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese.

I had my concerns though, you know what I’m like about choking, and my teeth are useless so I didn’t know if I’d cope with stringy mozzarella (I’m 50 shades of falling apart I know) but I thought I’d give it a go.

Time-Saving Tuesdays - Tesco Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta Bake Cooking Instructions

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Tesco Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta Bake Cooking Instructions

As you can see the cooking instructions are fairly straight forward and include oven cooking which is ideal for someone who hasn’t got a microwave…. wait was that just a stupid thing to say…. I think so!! As you know my microwave is 700W so I cooked it for 6 minutes, I’m not sure if that was what Tesco would recommend but it worked for me.

Time-Saving Tuesdays - Tesco Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta Bake Nutritional Information and Ingredients

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Tesco Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta Bake Nutritional Information and Ingredients

Above are the ingredients and the nutritional information, this dish wash enjoyable. It didn’t set my world alight but it was comforting, tomatoey and cheesy, I had to add salt and pepper because there wasn’t enough for my personal taste. The pasta wasn’t too chewy, which is always a bonus in my eyes.

Time-Saving Tuesdays - Tesco Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta Ready To Be Eaten

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Tesco Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta Ready To Be Eaten

Two negatives really, the first was the cheese it tasted fine but I didn’t really see the purpose of the two cheeses, I don’t think the combination of the two added anything to the dish. My other observation, and probably the biggest is that it was all a bit claggy, it all stuck together in a lump as opposed to be a saucy pasta dish. You may be able to notice from then picture above that it was quite congealed, I noticed when writing this review that there was Pectin included in it. Pectin is a natural gelling agent which can be found in many different fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits. The word Pectin comes from the greek word for congealed or curdled, It is often used in jams and jellies to help them set, I cannot see why it was used here and I think the consistency of this dish was the only downfall.

6 starsI’ve given this a strong six out of ten, I’d eat it again if it was in the freezer and I can say I did enjoy it but it wasn’t my favourite. I don’t think I’d overly rush back to buy it again. As things stand I’ll be reviewing another ready meal next Tuesday but who knows…. that may change, if you’ve got a better idea let me know! Before then I’ll be posting my “Stunning Spiced Sausage Stew”, honestly I can guarantee that with valentine’s day coming around the corner, that recipe will be one to have in your back pocket.

If you want to keep on the Italian/Mediterranean theme why not try my Mediterranean Roasted Red Pepper Soup, it’s a great quick and easy recipe that texts next to no effort to make and is ideal for a cold winter’s nights