On Saturday, Harry and I decided to go and investigate what lies on the bed of the River Thames. So after checking the tide times and to add a bit of exercise, we went for a quick cycle along the towpath, then got our wellies on, armed ourselves with a couple of sticks (for digging) and off we went. I love spending dad time with Harry as it’s so important that he gets to do things only a boy can do with his dad, not saying that mum is adverse to getting covered in mud, but we just seem to do it better, lol.
The River Thames is an amazing place weather it be in full flow or at low tide, it’s a magical place to explore and it wasn’t long before we found our first piece of “treasure” an old rusty chain but hey, in the mind of a 9 year old boy this chain could easily have come from a viking ship many years ago and I’m not going to argue with him, he could be right! Next was an amazing old padlock, obviously from the treasure chest from the viking ship and then a couple of bits of metal. All these bits were carefully placed in our bucket to be cleaned and examined later back at home. Spending time with your children is such an enlightening process for adults, it helps you rediscover your own childhood and awakens memories of things you thought long forgotten.
We got back home late in the afternoon,tired and hungry and just as it was getting dark. Harry set about his task of cleaning his latest viking horde and I set about cooking us a warming feast of meatballs and tomato sauce.
Easy, amazing tomato sauce and the most mind blowing viking meatballs ever , possibly?
Marcela Hazan’s Tomato sauce
You know when you go into a really good Italian restaurant and you eat their tomato sauce topping and you ask yourself “How can I make that sauce” well here it is and it only has 4 ingredients:
- 1 can of good quality chopped plum tomatoes
- 1 medium size yellow onion, peeled and halved
- At least 70 grams of unsalted butter
- Salt to taste
Simply place all the ingredients into a heavy based saucepan over a medium heat, bring to the boil and reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer for around 45min-50min stirring and squashing the tomatoes gently now and again but treating them with love. At the end of the cooking period take out the onion and either discard or puree and keep in fridge for using later in another recipe. You should be left with a shiny, smooth sauce with a sweetness and richness that will bring even a simple plate of pasta alive.
Try with these meatballs…
Faith Durands meatballs:
- 1 1/4 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup fine dried breadcrumbs
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 pound ground beef, such as ground chuck
- 1 pound ground veal
- 2 1/2 teaspoons chunky kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 3/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
- About 4 tbsps finely chopped fresh sage, from 2 small herb bunches
- 1 1/2 cups finely diced or grated yellow onion, from about 2 small yellow onions
- 4 large garlic cloves, finely minced or grated
- 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- Olive oil
Pour the milk over the breadcrumbs in a small bowl. Stir them together and set them aside for at least 10 minutes for the crumbs to soften.
Mix the pork, beef and veal together thoroughly in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the salt and a generous amount of black pepper, then add the cayenne and smoked paprika.
Stir in the chopped parsley, sage, onion, garlic and Parmesan. Mix with your hands until these are very thoroughly distributed through the meat.
Stir in the breadcrumbs and milk, as well as the eggs, and mix thoroughly.
Shape and cook the meatballs immediately, or refrigerate the meat for up to 24 hours. You can also freeze the meat (in one big lump or as shaped meatballs) in a sealed container for up to 3 months.
To bake the meatballs, heat the oven to 350°F and form them into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place them on a baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until they are just barely cooked through and no longer pink inside. To keep them tender, do not over bake, remove from oven and add the tomato sauce, sprinkle over a little fresh parsley and best parmesan and serve with rice, enjoy!