Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Cookbook Challenge - Week 3 - Hor d'oeuvres - Herb Meatballs with Rich Tomato Sauce

If it has a toothpick in it, it's an hor d'oeuvre (and free if you believe everything you hear on the Simpsons).

I really struggled this week, I had no event on that particularly needed finger food, so I couldn't use that for inspiration context, and I couldn't remember any that I've made before. When I was flicking through The Family Circle Recipe Encyclopedia and saw a picture with a toothpick in it, I was sold!

They're ugly, basic, and don't have that wow factor, but they're easy, quick, tasty, cheap and freezable.

The ingredients for the meatballs go in a bowl and you mush it all up with your hands, roll it into balls, and fry them in a pan with heated oil. Simple! 

Meatball Ingredients (I halved them, but I'll give them as published)


1 medium onion, finely chopped
750g beef mince
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cloves garlic (I didn't halve this - I love garlic)
2 teaspoons of cracked black pepper (I don't recommend using cracked pepper, my grinder is VERY slow, this took forever, but I didn't have any ground pepper)
1/4 teaspoon of salt

2 tablespoons plum sauce (check out my Nanna's homemade plum sauce - highly prized as she's stopped making it - maybe I'll ask her for the recipe and make it for my Dad)
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary (I didn't have any, but Gourmet Garden's herb blend worked well)
1-2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint or basil (I used basil, I'm not a big fan of mint)

You can just use any old sauce for dipping if you don't want to make the Rich Tomato Sauce (although I did, as it's really quick and easy too).

Rich Tomato Sauce
Deglaze the pan with 1 1/2 cups red wine, add 1 clove of crushed garlic, bring to boil then simmer to reduce liquid by half. Strain into a medium pan (this is entirely optional, I didn't do it, I just added the rest of the ingredients into the frypan) Add 3/4 cup tomato puree, 1/3 cup chunky bottled tomato sauce and 2-3 teaspoons Dijon mustard, again bring to the boil, then simmer to reduce liquid by half. Gradually whisk in 30g butter.

 See - toothpicks. Ergo, hor d'oeuvre. (Can I mix Latin and French? Anyway, you get my point)


  1. Good work! I'm struggling with what to make for this week too! Seeing as whatever I make is going to cricket training, I might stick with your toothpick theory!

  2. imasugarjunkie, if it's going to cricket training, I don't think you need to worry about it being small enough to lift on a toothpick, maybe the size of a cricket ball!

  3. Haha, I like the toothpick theory too. I'm also struggling on what to make this week but I do have a fall back recipe if I can't think of anything better. And I've just realised that the fall back recipe has skewers - ohmygod, the toothpick theory is true!

  4. Agnes, if it's online it must be true! I wonder if I can patent the toothpick theory? Meatballs were also my fall back recipe, being freezable meant that I could actually use them for a function at some point in the future - although I enjoyed them too much and just took them to work for my lunch :)

  5. I like the toothpick theory too, and it actually is true! Did the rich tomato sauce taste different from normal tomato sauce (since it contained tomato sauce anyway!)?

  6. Hey Rilsta, it actually tasted quite different. It may have been because where I read "chunky tomato sauce" I thought pasta sauce, although I think it would have still tasted different if I'd used a ketchup style sauce. Most of the flavour seemed to come from the red wine and mustard.


Free Hit Counter