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Finally, April showers have arrived and as the raindrops start to run down the glass panes, I watch from the comfort of the kitchen. This weather always ignites in me the desire for glorious comfort food. And what could be better than meatballs, spicy tomato sauce and crispy paprika parmentier potatoes?

Mama’s Meatballs

I love meatballs so much so that I can say it with a straight face. In my books, they must contain a slightly crispy outer shell and when broken in half a soft and flavorsome core. I have many variations, but for this dish, I feel that simple clean flavors which compliment the rich tomato sauce work best.

  • In a big bowl, break two eggs and whisk with two tablespoons of flour (or gluten free flour) whisk, until the mixture starts to thicken into a creamy paste
  • Separate into smaller strands 500 grams of lean beef mince and add to the bowl
  • Season the mixture with salt and pepper, dried peperoncino/tablespoon of chilli sauce, dash of worcester sauce (g/f alternatives) and add two tablespoons of tomato puree
  • Mix together really well, until you can see that the ingredients have binded together
  • With your hands roll about a tablespoon of the mixture into balls
  • Meanwhile heat olive oil in a saucepan and once hot add the meatballs to the pan
  • Once cooked remove and place on kitchen towel to absorb any excess olive oil

Cheat’s Spicy Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce can sink or elevate a dish to perfection. However, a sauce that reeks of perfection can often be a time-consuming ordeal. The below recipe acts to balance time with flavour.

  • In a pan add a good swig of olive oil, squashed garlic cloves and a generous portion of peperoncino (vary according to your tastes) on a very low heat for at least 15 minutes
  • Once the oil has infused with garlic and chilli add 1 part passata, 1 part tinned tomato, 1 part red wine (full bodied) or water (use the tomato tin) followed by 1/3 tube of tomato puree to the pan.
  • Bring to the boil and add salt, pepper, a dash of worcester sauce and oregano
  • Simmer slowly for 30 minutes until reduced by 1/3

Blood-warming Parmentier Potatoes

These little cubes of deliciousness leave me speechless. Dead easy to make with infinate variations.

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C (medium heat)
  • On a chopping board, peel and cut potatoes in 2 cm cubes
  • Add to a bowl with a generous helping of olive oil, pepper, salt and one teaspoon of paprika
  • Mix well until the colour of the paprika is uniform across all the potatoes
  • Empty onto a baking tray and spread out, pop in the over for 30-40 minutes until crisp and golden. Check and turn the parmentier potatoes at the half way stage.

Parmentier  Potatoes