Moroccan Meatballs

An alternative take on classic meatballs, with a Moroccan twist. A simple and quick meal, perfect for midweek, that will add some spice to your cooking repertoire without slaving over a hot stove for hours.

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Christmas has come and gone, and the goose is still fat. Oh dear. Anyone else ready to cut their wrists this January? I have limited willpower at the best of times, but during the festive season, what little willpower I do have, ups and scarpers off on holiday. So here we are (again), trying to lose some poundage. This means that baking in the HC house is out-of-bounds, and dishes are of a much healthier persuasion. No cheese sauces; no pastry; limited carbs… Bloody dull, but when needs must (cries silently into her vegetable soup…).

I’ve made a deal with myself to get blogging more frequently this year, so for about the first month at least, my servings will be on the less calorific side – I can usually manage a month, then it all goes pitifully downhill. Watch this space. So no macaroni cheese; no cheese & bean pastry; no homemade pizza etc etc. You’ll know the diet is over when pudding starts reappearing.

This is a recipe I’ve been making for many years. It’s nigh on impossible to find low fat lamb mince, so if you’re being religious about your healthy eating you might want to buy some lamb leg steaks and blitz them in a food processor. I’m never that religious (can we start to see my problem?) so regular lamb mince does just fine. These meatballs are a lovely Moroccan twist on the usual, and a really quick and simple dish to prepare.

Ingredients (serves 4 adults)

1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1.5 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp clear honey
zest & juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 vegetable stock cube
50g breadcrumbs
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
500g lamb mince
cous cous to serve

1. In a large pan heat the oil, then add the onion and cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until soft and golden.

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2. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the ground cumin, the honey, lemon juice, tomatoes, stock cube and 300ml of boiling water. In most recipes I would tend to use bottled lemon juice as I always have some in the fridge, but this recipe requires zest, so only a real lemon would do.

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3. Bring the sauce to a boil and then simmer, uncovered whilst you prepare the meatballs.

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4. In a bowl moisten the breadcrumbs with the milk – I often have a small bag of breadcrumbs at the bottom of the freezer but on this occasion I didn’t, so had to blitz a piece of bread. I tend to also freeze the ends of bread for times like this. Saves waste too.

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To the breadcrumbs mix in 1/2 teaspoon each of cumin and cinnamon, the lemon zest and the mince. Season well.

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5. Shape this mix into approximately 32 small meatballs and drop them into the simmering sauce. Cover your pan and simmer for about 5 minutes.

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6. Remove the lid and simmer for about 10 minutes more (timings are fairly flexible here, you can leave it to simmer for longer, just keep an eye that the sauce doesn’t reduce too much – if it does, add a little water and pop the pan lid back on).

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7. Prepare the cous cous by adding hot stock to the cous cous in a bowl, and covering it with clingfilm for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Definitely use stock to make your cous cous, otherwise it’s fairly tasteless.

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8. Serve your Moroccan meatballs on a bed of cous cous.

Moroccan Meatballs - a gorgeous alternative using the spices of Morocco | thehecticcook.com

On that note, I’m off out tonight so the Husband and the kids are getting pizza 😛

Happy cooking!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:5]

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes are a great family meal that are so easy to make, and a nice change from bolognese and cottage pie.

I’m back! Sorry, between one thing and another, I’ve been a bit absent. Ok, so some of it was lazy-itis. But I did manage to get the new blog page up and running (thank you Kim!) so I hope you like it. Yes, it’s not overly complicated, but as my computing skills are not overly complicated (read absolute basic) it’ll do for now. I’m hoping to ‘snazz’ it up a bit over the coming months.

In case you care, and even if you don’t, this is a summary of what’s been happening in the HC household:

We’ve ridden on a tractor…

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Granny and Grandad came to visit…

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We’ve eaten some ice-cream…

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And eaten some more ice-cream…

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Now it’s half-term, the Husband has had to go away with work, so there’s been a lot of this…

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And obviously, because I’ve been left in charge, someone had to go and hurt themselves…

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Yup, Alice face-planted the pavement earlier today. The pavement won. These things always seem to happen when you’re solo parenting. But the ice-cream (see above) fairly perked her up 🙂

This is a good half-term meal. My kids actually really enjoyed it – and got into a fair mess with it, so be ready to clean up. It definitely originates from across the pond. I took a few recipes I found on Pinterest (where else?) and came up with my own version (I very much doubt mine is original, but as I haven’t found one the same, I’m taking the credit).

Ingredients

500g beef mince
2 cloves/tsp garlic (I used paste)
1 onion, chopped 
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
500g passata
1 beef oxo cube 
200ml water
salt & pepper
chilli flakes, if desired

1. Brown the mince in a large pan – I don’t use any oil to do this as you don’t really need it. Add the onion and garlic and let this cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, letting the onion soften gently.

Sloppy Joes | thehecticcook.com

Sloppy Joes | thehecticcook.com

2. Add all of the remaining ingredients and cook over a low heat for about an hour.

Sloppy Joes | thehecticcook.com

This can be cooked in a slow cooker as well, just cook on low for about 6 hours.

Serve this in toasted buns with whatever you like on the side. I served it with chips and salad.

Sloppy Joes - a really simple dish, perfect for those busy week nights, that will keep everyone happy | thehecticcook.com

 

It’s not the easiest, or tidiest things to eat. Don’t serve this if you’re trying to impress someone. But it’s ridiculously easy, and so friggin’ tasty – a nice change from bolognese and cottage pie too.

Sloppy Joes - a really simple dish, perfect for those busy week nights, that will keep everyone happy | thehecticcook.com

Happy cooking!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:22]