Ate has been eyeing Vans shoes for some time now. And she asked mum's suggestion on the colour. RED of course! It comes up with every single conversation. At the dinner table, while in the car, while washing the dishes in the kitchen, while waiting for the three of you at swim class. The short of it is, she's saving up to buy a pair. I can't imagine the time mum and dad were in one of those Vans shoes too. It must be early 90s, way back in college when these shoes came into fashion. Along side K-Swiss and Tretorn and Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran hit the air waves. Simply, fashion comes around even after decades, it can still become in fashion and songs stay on for centuries. Anyways, there's something about the colour red that makes it stand out. Shoes or otherwise, its gorgeous, its radical, it's foxy, it's hot! And I could go on.
In the kitchen we have something red too! I love my La Chassueur red cast iron cookware which mum bought last year. Not the high end brand but it serves the purpose. Heavy bottom and can withstand 400 degree heat, which means its great for dishes like casseroles, stews, and that No Knead Bread (the purpose of why mum bought the cookware in the first place!) that we've never had the chance to do. Just yet.
This gorgeous red cast iron pot was used by Ate when she took a serious oath on Mother's Day (that day when everyone took over the kitchen and mum was secretly trying hard not to be the control freak she is in the kitchen) and prepared the lunch for the day. A simple spaghetti and meatballs dish (plus her simple chocolate truffles). The recipe is adapted from the Junior Masterchef Australia Cookbook Volume 1. I do have a simple fool-proof spaghetti bolognese recipe which also includes meatballs, but Ate was on a roll and she enjoyed every bit of the challenge. She now has a repertoire of dish(es) under her arms.
To make this simple pasta dish, use:
1 onion, quartered
1/4 cup, flat leaf parsley leaves
250g minced pork
250g minced veal
(Mum's not a fan of veal purely on the basis that these are quite young cattle that could have seen more days than they were allowed. But in this occasion mum left everyone to their devices to follow the recipe)
70g (1 cup) fresh breadcrumbs made from day-old bread (see Chef's tip)
(Ate just used the store-bought variety)
40g (1/2 cup) finely grated parmesan
2 eggs, lightly beaten
500g dried spaghetti
25g (1/3 cup) grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
(we use the same variety parmesan as the one above)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
700g bottle tomato passatta (sieved pureed tomatoes)
(this can be bought from any deli or providore, if not available in the local grocery)
1/2 tsp caster sugar
1. Process onion in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer half the onion to a bowl and reserve for the sauce. Add parsley to onion in the processor and whiz until finely chopped. Add minced pork and veal, breadcrumbs, parmesan and eggs, and season with salt and pepper. Process until well combined.
2. Carefully remove the blade and, using a measuring spoon and spatula, scoop out level tablespoons of the mixture onto a plate. Roll into balls (you will be able to make about 30 meatballs). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.
3. To make tomato sauce, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the reserved onion and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until soft. Add crushed garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes or until fragrant.
4. Add passatta, 250ml (1 cup) water and sugar, mix well to combine, then season. Bring to the boil, add meatballs. Cover and return to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 10 minutes. Gently shake pan halfway through cooking to ensure meatballs are covered with sauce. Remove from the heat.
5. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add spaghetti, return to the boil and cook according to packet directions or until al dente. Drain well and transfer to bowls. Spoon meatballs and sauce over spaghetti, then serve scattered with extra parmesan.
Chef's tip: To make fresh breadcrumbs, start with white or wholemeal bread that's at last one day old. Remove crusts and tear bread into large pieces. Process bread in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Store breadcrumbs in an airtight bag or container in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Spaghetti meatballs or bolognese is a simple pasta dish that is easy to make for any meal of the day. Promise me this - you will not ever try those spaghetti's-in-a-can variety. I mean really. Pasta in a can. Mum thinks they are just horrendous! There are plenty of fresh ingredients around so be kind to the environment. Lessen your carbon footprint! I don't mind two-minute noodles. But pasta-in-a-can is taking fast food to the extreme!