Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Meatballs a la Surly*

This week's recipe comes to us courtesy of Tina, and takes you, step-by-step, through the creation of succulent Italian meatballs in a rich tomato sauce. I'm sure you'll enjoy the process as much as I did..


1lb beef steak mince
½ medium sized onion (grated)
1 large clove of garlic (crushed)
4 tbsp homemade breadcrumbs
1 medium egg
1 tsp (heaped) mixed herbs
½ tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Plain flour (for coating meatballs)
Not nearly enough time
1 small, truculent child
Ambitions of culinary prowess way beyond your means
1 firm grip on your sanity


Arrive home thirty minutes later than usual as childminder has fucked off to Center Parcs for the week, leaving you in the lurch and forcing you to farm your child out on various acquaintances. Serve macaroni cheese with peas to small child, in the hope that it will distract them for long enough for you to make the meatballs and cool them in time to start cooking them.

Remind yourself that you need to put some laundry on.

Grate the onion. Make a note to self re what a horrible experience grating an onion is and vow never to do it again. Place the onion, a teaspoon of ready-crushed garlic (do I look as if I’ve got time to faff around crushing garlic?), half of the giant 800g pack of mince you bought because you didn’t read the recipe before doing your shopping, the egg and some pepper into a mixing bowl. Begin to mix with your hands.

Realise that you haven’t got any herbs out of the cupboard. Wash and dry hands, retrieve seasonings. Add to mixture and continue to blend by hand.

Realise that you haven’t got any flour out of the cupboard. Wash and dry hands, retrieve flour. Notice that the only flour in the cupboard is self-raising. Resign yourself to it and attempt to put thoughts of giant meatballs filling the kitchen, intent on suffocating all in their path, firmly out of your head.

Fetch more cranberry juice for small child. Feign interest in small sparkly amphibian naming ceremony. Return to kitchen, finish mixing ingredients. At this stage, your kitchen should look like this:

Note that every bowl, surface and utensil should be involved.

Roll the mixture into balls of about 3cm diameter. Dip in flour, coating evenly, and place in the only thing to hand which is, bizarrely, a roasting tin. At this stage, it’s recommended that you cool the meatballs in the freezer for half an hour. However, since you have placed the remainder of the giant pack of mince you bought because you didn’t read the recipe before doing your shopping in the freezer already (in anticipation of throwing it away in two weeks to make room for Christmas things) there isn’t any room. Therefore you can cool them in the fridge for an hour.

Run bath for small child. Feign interest in cutting small things into smaller pieces, all the time panicking about everything else you need to do before dinner needs to be dished up in an hour and a half. Place small child in bath, garnish with toys and leave to simmer while you attempt to make sense of the bombsite that used to be your kitchen. Do the dishes and wipe work surfaces, weeping steadily and hopelessly.

Grate the other half of the onion. Note that it is just as horrible as the first time you did it. Place the onion and more ready-crushed garlic into a pan with some vegetable oil (who the hell keeps olive oil in the cupboard? Who?) and gently cook. Add two tins of tomatoes – one quality brand, one supermarket value range. Add Worcestershire sauce, a beef oxo cube and some pepper to taste. Bring to the boil and simmer gently, all the while keeping an ear cocked for signs of trouble/sounds of small child drinking bathwater two doors down the hall.

Realise that you forgot to put the laundry on. Put the laundry on.

Mash the sauce with potato masher as value tomatoes are forming huge, cheap-looking clumps. Stir.

Stir the sauce, put the oven on at 180 degrees C, wash the small child and the small child’s hair. Remove small sulking child (who is now going to bed with no story owing to exasperating behaviour) from bath, dry and leave to stew in bedroom.

Pour ¾ sauce over meatballs. Cover tray with foil and place in the oven for 45 minutes. Stir the remaining sauce. Brush the small child’s hair and teeth, and tuck into a warm bed with a timbale of cuddly toys. Garnish with a loving cuddle, kiss and leave to sleep. Wish desperately that you could get in with them.

Stir the sauce.

Check the meatballs. Clean loo and bathroom, tidy living room and stir the sauce. Brush hair, wash face (in an attempt to remove oniony smell from grating the onion, which more sort of exploded than anything else).

Realise that you have forgotten to put water on for pasta. Put water on for pasta. Panic, and boil kettle as it will be faster. Watch in mute disbelief as kettle and water in saucepan come to the boil simultaneously.

Greet Other Half warmly, stir the sauce. Put pasta (both sorts) into smugly boiling water. Chat idly, while wondering whether the washing machine will ever finish.

Remove meatballs from oven. Transfer to pan containing remaining sauce. Stir gently, watching for moue of distaste on mouth of Other Half concerning herby smell of meatballs.

Serve meatballs on top of pasta, piping hot. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve with a hint of hysteria. Vague disquiet ensues as you feel lost with no sauce to stir.

For an exciting twist, why not add more pressure in the form of guests? In-laws in particular add a soupcon of resentment to the mix, with fragrant results.

Carry on.

* These were absolutely gorgeous (except you were right, Tina - no cumin next time)


Blogger Meegan chimed in with...

You are hilarious.

As, uh, fun as this sounds, I think I will just order take-out and sip a beer while I wait for its arrival.

30 November, 2005 05:23  
Blogger zanna chimed in with...

I'm really sorry but I've got olive oil in my cupboard. It does sound delicious apart from the meat obviously. Think about your new kitchen and all the extra space you'll have in the new house (although you probably won't be able to cook tea while SP is in the bath as it'll be ten floors away from the kitchen)

loving your work

30 November, 2005 08:30  
Blogger Fifi chimed in with...


Darling, you should ALWAYS have olive oil in your cupboard...I find it is useful for slinging on random things then chucking them in the oven, thus avoiding tiresome stirring and at the same time making you feel you are being sort of healthy.

30 November, 2005 11:12  
Blogger Donna chimed in with...

fi fi ... I don't know how you dare show your face around here ... where's your latest blog entry? where's the photo of the breast cup thing? come on ... I expect better from you (and I don't even know you). You can't begin a blog, draw in readers, then desert us (well, technically you can, but come on, we need entertaining ....)

loving your meatballs chick ... I may even have to make some. But do I add cumin or not, what is the effect?

30 November, 2005 11:41  
Blogger Perry Neeham chimed in with...

Cumin or not? Never thought about cooking with it. Perhaps I'm just too vanilla after all.

30 November, 2005 11:50  
Blogger Homer chimed in with...

This post left me with mixed emotions - smug complacency that I consider that recipe really simple, and paranoid angst that your "bombsite" kitchen looks like mine AFTER I've cleared up.

Can cook/won't clean.

30 November, 2005 11:53  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

cumin. pronounced kewmin....

not adding semen. pervert.

30 November, 2005 12:20  
Blogger elvira black chimed in with...

Too too funny!

30 November, 2005 12:38  
Blogger mig bardsley chimed in with...

Was reading this and thinking excitedly Oh yes...I remember all that.
Then had another look at the picture...your kitchen is so clean! By that stage mine would have been splattered with flour and tomato and egg and mince!!!
I have such trouble pronouncing Kewmin (or maybe Koomin) since I always thought it was Kummin).

30 November, 2005 12:39  
Anonymous Other Half chimed in with...

Yet more comments from the gay community my love. What is it about your blog that attracts such attention ? Do you have something to share with the class ?

That said I've also attracted similar attention while parading round a dance floor to YMCA !!!

30 November, 2005 12:43  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

i love the gays and the gays love me. simple as that.

30 November, 2005 13:04  
Anonymous Other Half chimed in with...

Well, who wouldn't...I was going to add lots of loving, if slightly nauseating, platitudes but I will save those for later when I can lavish plenty of affection on you xxx

30 November, 2005 13:29  
Blogger Betty chimed in with...

No one should ever go anywhere near cumin. It smells like really rancidly sweaty old men in nylon jumpers.

30 November, 2005 13:47  
Anonymous Anonymous chimed in with...

Round our way, spectacular meatballs are made (not by me, I might add) with the use of matzah meal in place of the breadcrumbs/flour.

...and now I'm hungry again.

30 November, 2005 14:20  
Blogger Lee chimed in with...

Yeah, me too.

Next time, make enough for all of us!

30 November, 2005 15:14  
Blogger Whinger chimed in with...

The gays DO love SG because she is delightful and reminiscent of Madonna. :)

Meatballs look delightful. Perhaps you could add foreign guests to the mix.

30 November, 2005 17:11  
Blogger looby chimed in with...

That's a lot to take on - cooking and bathing a little'un - well done!

30 November, 2005 17:12  
Blogger Inexplicable DeVice chimed in with...

Thumbs up from another gay.

All I can think of is giant meatballs taking over the world. Absolutely hilarious (unless it actually happens).

WV:fatvwey I hope the "fat" part isn't indicative of eating to many giant, evil, world dominating meatballs?

30 November, 2005 17:51  
Blogger Perry Neeham chimed in with...

Sorry Surly *grin* I can't help it. Oh, and I put my hand up to being a bit of a perv.

Great post BTW!

30 November, 2005 19:12  
Blogger Amanda chimed in with...

i shall try this recipe. if i don't run bath for small child, will it taste the same? i lack the small child. i can run the bath without a small child in it though. will that work?

30 November, 2005 20:25  
Blogger Steve chimed in with...

Cheese and peas? Cheesy peas? Eeeewwwwwwww.

30 November, 2005 20:28  
Blogger Urban Chick chimed in with...

i want to eat the meatballs but i want to eat them at your house in my guise as 'more pressure in the form of guest'

you busy saturday?

30 November, 2005 21:25  
Blogger Sniffy chimed in with...

You forgot the nutmeg. That's almost a criminal offence.

30 November, 2005 23:55  
Blogger Claire chimed in with...

Sorry I couldn't help with the topic, but I may be able to help with Christmas!

How bout getting an iPod or XBox 360 for cheap (or even free!) before christmas from the cheapest place to buy your Christmas Presents

Over £10 million worth of gifts have been sent over the past year!

All the best, Claire

01 December, 2005 02:25  
Anonymous Other Half chimed in with...

...and so it begins, yet more whoring of websites that interrupt peoples enjoyment of the blogsphere. I wish those wankers who are trying to pimp goods or services rather than just enjoying the bon homme of these sites would fuck off.

01 December, 2005 08:59  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

i don't get it - are real people deliberately spamming now?


01 December, 2005 09:08  
Anonymous Other Half chimed in with...

Looks that way. Even if it is a devoted reader I would hope they know by now your views on such activity....and therefore resist the temptation to influence your large readership with crap like that.

01 December, 2005 09:17  
Blogger Urban Chick chimed in with...

i just clicked through on her name and her blog looks normal if dull

maybe the nasty spammers are taking over bloggers' identities?

bloody irritating nonetheless

01 December, 2005 09:38  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

her "blog" is just thinly veiled advertising. how sad that people are prepared to spam for cash.


01 December, 2005 09:52  
Blogger Donna chimed in with...

and I pretend to work for cash .... I think I'd be happier spamming blogs all day ... oh, hang on - what do i do all day?

01 December, 2005 10:07  
Blogger Bela chimed in with...

I already have a kitchen that looks like that; does that mean I don't have to cook those meatballs?

They do sound nice, though. And I love cumin. :-)

01 December, 2005 12:16  
Blogger RickB chimed in with...

ahh. not exactly related but that reminds me of my favourite delia moment, honest to god this exists in my mums 70s version of How to Cook (strangely missing from later editions):
"Stuffing a bird for the first time can be particularly traumatic, especially at Christmas when relatives and other guests are milling around"

01 December, 2005 14:19  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Web Site Counter
Counters Who Links Here