I always start out with grand intentions, and then quickly discover I have neither the time, nor commitment, to see things through, but, I would like to start a regular Tuesday post on what we’re having for dinner. Why Tuesday? For me it’s a quiet routine day. Aside from school drop offs and pick-ups, and the usual housework duties and the responsibities of having chickens, a dog and of course the little guy still at home with me, we have nothing pressing on. Hence, it is a perfect day to create a dinner menu (yes, as I had mentioned in my previous post, I am nowhere close to creating a weekly menu, for now it is daily). I may even get into the habit of photographing these dinners. You never know!
So let’s start. Tonight we are having one of my favourite, recently discovered meals of Finnish meatballs with sour cream sauce, a cranberry and apple relish, boiled potatoes and whatever greens I can pick from the garden, and other veggies lurking in the crisper. At every dinner I like to provide a protein, a starchy vegetable or grain, a green vegetable, and often a second vegetable (usually an orange one), in addition to a digestive (whether that is a fermented vegetable or soy product, a cultured dairy product, a pickle, or a bitter herb etc.). Tonight’s menu has those elements covered.
So here’s how it comes together.
Cranberry and apple relish (based on a recipe by Cythia Lair in “Feeding the Whole Family)
1 1/2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
2-3 medium tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup
the grated rind of 1 lemon
good pinch salt
Mix all ingredients together in a medium saucepan, cover and bring to the boil. Remove cover and allow to simmer on low heat for 20 mins until thickened. I find this makes two jars – one for immediate use and one for the freezer.
Finnish meatballs in sour cream sauce (based on a recipe by Tessa Kiros in “Falling Cloudberries”)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
Place 3 slices of bread in a large bowl and pour over 2/3 cup of milk. Allow to absorb for 1/2 hour
add 1 kg beef mince (or a combination of beef and pork mince)
mix in 1 egg
1 tsp ground allspice
season with salt, pepper.
Mix this well and form into small meatballs (ping pong size or smaller), and place on baking paper lined baking trays, spaced apart. Bake in oven for 15-20 mins till cooked through. The original recipe calls for the meatballs to be cooked in batches in a frypan in butter and oil, but I find batch cooking takes up a lot of time and after reading Kimi Harris’ suggestion on her blog, The Nourishing Gourmet, to bake meatballs in the oven I thought it was worth a go. I was not disappointed. Meanwhile, make the sauce.
In a frypan over medium heat, melt a generous pat of butter till sizzling then sprinkle over a heaped tablespoon of plain flour. Stir and continue to cook until slightly browned and no longer smells of raw flour. Meanwhile heat 2 cups of chicken or beef stock (preferably home made), then add to the pan. Mix this together until smooth and simmer till it has thickened. Add 1 cup of sour cream and gently heat till combined. At this stage I like to add the meatballs and allow them to gently heat in the sauce for 10 mins while preparing the veggies.
Serve the meatballs with a good ladleful of sauce alongside your veggies and a good dollop of the relish on the side.
It is not a particularly attractive dish, certainly not the way I photographed it – awards in food photography I shall never win! – but it tastes delicious, is nourishing and comforting, and is honest good food. I have simply boiled some new potatoes while steaming some pumpkin above, mashing the pumpkin and serving both with butter. The beans were lightly simmered in water and served with butter and salt.