Jamie Oliver’s Meatballs Alla Norma


Meatballs alla normaI just realised it has been a month since my last post! Where has the time gone? In my defence, when I haven’t been at work for most of the last month I’ve either been at rehearsal, travelling to rehearsal, working on my songs and lines or trying to recover from rehearsals for the local musical I am currently involved with that opens in a week and a half. It is the most challenging role I have played in my 15 years of involvement in community theatre and it has taken up a lot of my spare time. It is just as well Jerome is currently visiting his family in France as I haven’t been home much.

Before Jerome left for his trip, I was looking through one of my books by Jamie Oliver, Save with Jamie and his Meatballs alla Norma recipe caught my eye for three reasons:

  • it was quite stormy that night so I wanted to cook something warm and comforting;
  • I had never actually cooked with polenta before; and
  • I don’t cook a lot of eggplant and was looking for different recipes to use it in.

I have to admit that I didn’t really like this recipe. I found that there were too many fennel seeds in it for me (I don’t really like aniseed flavours), however Jerome really liked it so it wasn’t a failure. It was just that the aniseed flavours dominated a bit too much for me. The recipe also uses three different pans so it makes a bit of washing up. If I made it again I would make and cook the meatballs first, then reuse the same pan to make the sauce to save on a bit of washing up.


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My spaghetti bolognaise

After years of making spaghetti bolognaise from a jar, I recently started making my own at home. I make a big batch and freeze the leftovers. It is certainly not a traditional or authentic recipe. Doing what I often do when I want to try a new dish, I looked at different recipes for inspiration and then went of and started cooking and adding things myself, such as mushrooms and Worcestershire sauce. Neither are traditional ingredients, however I love mushrooms in this sauce, and for me the Worcestershire sauce just adds something. I always add it to my home made hamburgers and just added it automatically the first time I made this.

This recipe is something I taste as I go and make adjustments to at the end if needed (salt/pepper, maybe some more vinegar). Depending on the tomatoes you use or the sweetness of the red wine, you may need to add a small amount of sugar at the end to overcome some lingering tartness/bitterness. However I have only needed to do this one and only needed to add a small pinch. While it does have around 3 hour cooking time, most of that is taken up with the sauce slowly simmering away on the stove top, with the most you need to do is stir and taste occasionally. It’s certainly not something you want to make on a busy work night, but it’s a great one for an afternoon of cooking on the weekend. You can chop the vegetables quite small or keep them a bit larger if you prefer a chunkier sauce. It’s really up to you. click here for the recipe