Monday, August 8, 2011
A few weeks ago, you may have read on my other blog about the 'Christmas in July' dinner that I went to. Our host planned the delicious menu and asked each of us to pick what we wanted to bring. As I was to be out all day on the day of the party I chose to make Meatballs in Vodka Dill Sauce from the beautiful cookbook "Snowflakes and Schnapps". I thought I could make it the day before.
However, things did not go according to plan. It turned out that Friday was busy too, so I ended up making the meatballs at 4:30pm on the day of the party. Here are some things that went on behind the scenes, the things the that the girls at the party did not know.
• 5:15pm - Panic - when I realised I had forgotten to buy the dill. I didn't think that the sauce with vodka, but without dill would taste any good. I decided to make a different sauce.
• While I was thumbing through my recipe books in search of a different sauce, the meatballs were in the pan. They did not have enough time in the fridge and were sticking to the bottom and falling apart. I turned on the oven, perhaps a little higher than I should of and put the remaining raw meatballs onto a tray. In the oven they went.
• I found a recipe for Norwegian goats cheese sauce, that I had made in the past. However the past was very long ago, had I really loved it? I decided I would serve the meatballs with two sauces on the side.
• I 'googled' Swedish Meatballs.' This Jamie Oliver recipe came up first on my search. I completely trusted Jamie, I don't think I had ever cooked a recipe of his and failed. Perhaps I should have stuck to the recipe!
• Because I had chosen, at 5:45pm to make two sauces, I didn't add my meatballs to the sauce as Jamie suggested in his recipe.
• We don't live anywhere near Ikea and there was no lingonberry sauce in the house. I wondered could I use quince paste??? Not bad, but not great either. There was no choice, quince paste it had to be. I had to get in the shower.
• Oh no! the meatballs were overcooked - not burnt - thank goodness. I probably should have been paying attention and not gone off for my shower without checking them first.
• Half an hour later, I was showered and dressed in semi-formal. I took one look (and taste) of the Norwegian goats cheese sauce and left it behind. It was goats cheese/sour cream overload. I had no intention of eating it.
I arrived at the "Christmas and July" with my slightly over cooked meatballs and (after sitting a while before serving) my now gluggy sauce. All I could do was smile and pour myself a glass of wine.
Of course the lesson learned here is: If you want to cook beautiful looking, delicious tasting, food - do not rush.
As they say on Masterchef "It shows on the plate" Yes, Gary it does!
To prove to myself that I can actually cook Swedish Meatballs, I have played a little bit this week and come up with my own version of the dish. One I would be happy to serve my friends and family.
I have combined many recipes, however the meatball recipe is almost entirely the one I was given in London many years ago. I had lived with a Dutch woman who had lived in Sweden for many years. One night I was heading out with friends and she was frying her meatballs in pan. The smell coming from the kitchen was amazing. She gave one of the meatballs for me to try. It was the yummiest meatball I could remember tasting. For me, the cream and nutmeg were a revelation. The next day I asked her for her recipe. She spoke and I wrote.
I did not get her recipe for the sauce. I don't think I asked because at the time, so long ago, I did not know there was suppose to be sauce. Last Saturday night, I really wished I had gotten the second part of her recipe.
Here's what I have come up with. It's a simple recipe, just remember to take your time and make it with love.
• 300 grams beef or veal mince
• 300 grams pork mince
• 1 egg (lightly beaten)
• 3 slices stale white bread (crusts removed pulsed into breadcrumbs)
• 1 tablespoon cream
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 onion (finely diced)
• 2 tablespoon parsley (finely chopped)
• pinch of nutmeg
• salt and pepper
for the sauce
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 tablespoon plain flour
• 350 ml beef stock (hot)
• 2 tablespoons cream
• salt and pepper
• lingonberry jam
Soak the breadcrumbs in the cream for 1/2 hour. Meanwhile in a frying pan, saute the onions in the butter until soft. Add the onions to a bowl with the other meatball ingredients and mix well. Roll into small balls about 1 inch in diameter and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
To cook the meatballs: fry the meatballs in 1 tablespoon of oil for about 10 minutes until cooked or spread out onto a greased baking tray and cook at 200 degrees for 10 - 15 minutes. To make the sauce, add the butter to the pan and once it is melted add the flour. Gradually whisk in the hot stock and cream. Whisk continuously until smooth and slightly thickened. Season to taste. Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Serve with lingonberry jam, mashed potato and green beans.