Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa "Meatballs"

Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa “Meatballs”

Hello Everyone! Before I begin, I would like to check in with everyone and see if you all were able to guess the theme for this month. I’m pretty sure that by this post, you’ll have an idea of a recurring theme, but nevertheless, I will share it with you guys right here, right now! Drumroll please!

BALL BALLS! Yes, you read that right, ball balls, and here is a little back story to the name – so there was one day, back when I was still living in Australia for my university studies, my then roommate and I were talking about Christmas I guess, well I actually don’t remember the root of our conversation but it was more like I misunderstood, or I didn’t quite hear the pronunciation of the word “baubles” when my roommate had said it. At that time, I assumed that she said “ball balls” and that, that was what those round Christmas ornaments were called. Fast forward to another time, I was correct by someone (sorry I can’t remember who) that it was actually baubles and not ball balls. I was so disappointed at the time because I thought ball balls was such an epic name to call these Christmas ornament. Just recently, and when I say recently I mean like about a year ago or so, Jialing shared with me a folder name in their office server and it was titled BALL BALLS, to which I replied to her “SEE I TOLD YOU THEY ARE CALLED BALL BALLS!” I was just overly excited at the fact that I wasn’t the only dumb one to call them ball balls.

Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa "Meatballs"

Jialing has been quite helpful this year in a way that she has helped me with some blog themes for this year. At first, she asked me what the theme of my blog would be for the month of December, and we both came up with the idea of doing ball-shaped food as we recalled our “ball balls” story. So, as I do not have a backstory for this particular recipe since I just came across it while browsing through Pinterest, I will just get right in to the recipe. Before you do, check out the original recipe by Erin over on The Almond Eater.

“Add a spicy kick to meatless meatballs with these vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Quinoa Meatballs. With simple ingredients, like cauliflower, quinoa, garlic, and breadcrumbs, they’re sure to be a hit for the whole family!” — Erin, The Almond Eater.

Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa "Meatballs" Ingredients

Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa "Meatballs"

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 40 MINS | SERVES 24 BALLS

INGREDIENTS

For the cauliflower quinoa ‘meatballs’

  • 1 cauliflower head, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 tbsp flour (whole wheat, all purpose or oat)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano

For the buffalo sauce

  • 1/2 cup hot sauce
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes

For the blue cheese-yoghurt dip

  • 3/4 cup greek yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Ground salt and pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 190C (375F or gas mark 5). Line a baking tray with aluminium foil and set aside.
  2. Cook the quinoa in a small sauce pot according to the packet instructions (about 12-15 minutes). While the quinoa is cooking away, steam or boil the cauliflower in a separate medium-sized pot at the same time until they are tender (about 15 minutes).
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the buffalo sauce by melting the unsalted butter in a heat-proof bowl, in the microwave (or over a stove as well). Once melted, stir in the hot sauce, minced garlic, and chilli powder. Set aside.
  4. Combine the yoghurt, blue cheese, mayonnaise, garlic, milk, and lemon juice in a medium-szied bowl and whisk together until combined but still chunky. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  5. Once the quinoa is done cooking, turn the heat off and set aside. Once the cauliflower is done cooking as well, drain (if boiled) and place half the cauliflower, along with the minced garlic, into the food processor or blender and pulse for about 10-15 seconds. Remove and transfer the cauliflower into a large bowl before adding the second half of cauliflower to the food processor/blender and repeat the process.
  6. Stir in the cooked quinoa, breadcrumbs, dried oregano, and half of the buffalo sauce together with the cauliflower and then place the bowl in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes, allowing everything to cool off a bit.
  7. After 15 minutes, remove from the refrigerator and, using your hands, form the mixture into golf ball-sized balls (or smaller, depending on your preferred size), placing the balls directly onto the prepared baking tray. If the mixture is too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time as needed.
  8. Drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil over the balls and bake for 15-20 minutes and golden brown and crispy on the outside.
  9. Once done, remove from the oven, Pour a small amount of the rest of the buffalo sauce over the top of each ball, making sure they all get covered with the sauce but without drowning them otherwise they will get soggy.
  10. Serve with the blue cheese-yoghurt dip and share with family and friends!

Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa "Meatballs"

Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa "Meatballs"

Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa "Meatballs"

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Svenska Köttbullar (Swedish Meatballs)

Svenska Köttbullar (Swedish Meatballs)

Hello Everyone! We’re finally into the last month for 2016! Gosh how time flies by so quickly! Anyway, I won’t go into another sentimental tangent on how the year is almost up and all that jazz, and I’ll just get right into it! Like I said on Instagram, I won’t reveal what the theme for December will be for Amcarmen’s Kitchen – instead I will have you guys guess what the theme is. You don’t have to guess right away, and I think the theme will only be a little more clear by the second or third week.

Svenska Köttbullar (Swedish Meatballs)

So, I first came across this dish, not through my travels to Sweden, but through the many adventures I’ve had when, as stereotypical as this will sound, visiting IKEA. Yes, IKEA – whether it was when I was still living in Australia, or travelling through Singapore, you’d definitely see me at their food court for either lunch, or dinner, depending on the time of day I visited there, with a plate of köttbullar. If you were to ask ten different Swedes about making köttbullar, you will most indefinitely get ten different answers. Sure they would be similar in some way or another, but most Swedes will have their own way of making köttbullar and so everyone will use a bit more or a bit less of this or that ingredient. Apparently, köttbullar is Sweden’s national dish, which some do question as it is not a particular exciting dish that speaks for the whole Swedish cuisine. Nonetheless, I think most real Swedes would agree that these meatballs are pretty good.

Svenska Köttbullar (Swedish Meatballs)

I can’t get over how deliciously amazing the gravy that accompanied my meatballs were. I think I probably ate half of it by the time every element for the dish was done, and I definitely drowned my balls in the gravy after. In southern Sweden many people prefer their ground meat with a little more fat, but the further north you go, the less pork you will find in the meatball mixture. However, bread or crumbs allowed to swell in milk are as important as the lingonberries on the side. They give Swedish meatballs their special soft consistency. I had some leftover herbed focaccia bread lying in the fridge from the week before and so I decided to cut them up into about 1cm cubes, drizzle them with a bit of olive oil and then toast them in the oven until browned and crisp. I then added the toasted bread into a food processor and pulsed until crumbed. Before we dive into the recipe, please check out the original recipe for Classic Swedish Meatballs over on BBC Good Food.

Also, you may notice that once you go through to the recipe that I mentioned about ‘blanching’ the balls before browning them. The reason why I decided to blanch the balls first is to maintain it’s round shape and therefore I shall not encounter a lifetime of sadness when it come to browning them after. I cannot express how much sadness I’ve experienced when making meatballs. Every time I fry them, the go flat on one side, and of course, when I try to flip them, they somehow get ruined, and when that happens, my day is ruined.

Svenska Köttbullar (Swedish Meatballs) Ingredients

Svenska Köttbullar (Swedish Meatballs)

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | MAKES 20 MEATBALLS*

*My balls were about slightly smaller than a ping pong ball and I managed to make 20 of them. You could probably make 30-35 balls if they are slightly smaller than mine.

INGREDIENTS

For the meatballs

  • 400g lean pork mince
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 large free range egg, beaten
  • 1 small brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley, plus extra to serve
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste

For the gravy

  • 3 cups beef or pork stock**
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste

Optional to serve

  • Chunky mashed potatoes
  • 2-4 tbsp of Lingonberry (otherwise red currant, raspberry, or cranberry jelly), less or more to taste

**I made my own pork stock by boiling a few pork bones with black peppercorns, salt, and dried bay leaves.

METHOD

  1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs and mix until well incorporated. Then, form the pork mince mixture into meatballs to the size that you want.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and the drop each meatball in one by one and ‘blanch’ for about a minute to a minute and a half before removing them from the pot. You may need to do this in batches if your pot is not big enough. Once removed, drain.
  3. Heat a large frying pan with about 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium-high. Add in the meatballs and brown all over, about 5 minutes altogether. Again, you may need to do this in batches. Once browned, transfer to a dish lined with a paper towels to absorb any excess oil from the meatballs.
  4. To make the sauce/gravy, first make a roux by heating the butter in the same frying pan on medium heat until melted and slightly browned. Then, slowly whisk in the flour, stirring until smooth. Continue to stir for several minutes as this allows the flour mixture to cook, until the roux is the colour of coffee-with-cream.
  5. When the roux has cooked to a lovely shade of light brown, slowly add the stock to the roux, stirring as you add the stock. The stock will sputter at first and the roux may seize up, but keep adding the stock slowly and keep stirring. Eventually the sauce will loosen and become silky.
  6. Serve the meatballs on a bed of chunky mashed potatoes, topped with the gravy and an optional of lingonberry on the side. Enjoy with family and friends!

Svenska Köttbullar (Swedish Meatballs)

Svenska Köttbullar (Swedish Meatballs)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Pappardelle with Homemade Cheese-stuffed Meatballs

Pappardelle with Homemade Cheese-stuffed Meatballs

Pappardelle with Homemade Cheese-stuffed Meatballs

Hello Everyone! Oh wow – it has definitely been a while since I last updated my blog (well, I don’t think two weeks is “a while” but it definitely is for me)! I feel like I’ve lost touch on how to write since my last post, but I’m guessing that it is just the fatigue speaking here. In a nutshell, I’ve been super busy for the past two months, and it was really difficult for me to just sit down and write with a clear mind. I had been staying in the office until 9/9:30pm every night and have been working on Sunday’s as well since April. I know I shouldn’t be complaining because my other colleagues already do this on a daily basis and stay even later as well – it’s just that I am not used to this way of working.

Anyway! So what have I been up to? I don’t even remember if I have mentioned this in any of my previous blog posts – if I have, the annual Sukan Ria Antara Syarikat Inter-company Sports Fest 2016 finally closed two Sunday’s ago. You would think that that would be such a relief, but nooooooo! Just 3 days later, the opening of the 18th Consumer Fair snuck up on us, and that lasted up until Sunday. Though things have slowed down a bit, I still feel the stress from the past 2 months – and I believe it’s just because I haven’t had a proper rest yet. That’s right, right after the closing of the 18th Consumer Fair, we still had to report to work the next day at 8am *sigh*. Well, I’m just excited and really looking forward to the upcoming long weekend to just sit back, relax, and catch up on some cooking for my blog (doesn’t exactly scream relaxing, but cooking does made me happy).

Homemade Cheese-stuffed Meatballs

For the month of June, I will be sharing some delicious pasta recipes with you. I do believe that I mentioned about sharing some yummy mango recipes with you for this month – but I unfortunately did not have any time at all to make any dishes at all and mangoes are not in season anymore. So here’s a recipe for a classic bolognese sauce with pappardelle and homemade meatballs:

Pappardelle with Homemade Cheese-stuffed Meatballs Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the sauce

  • 250g pappardelle (or any other pasta)
  • 125g baby brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup of chicken or beef stock
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • 1 celery stick, sliced
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, cut into small chunks
  • 1 red birds-eye chilli, sliced (optional for that added kick of spice)
  • 1/2 green capsicum, diced
  • 1/2 medium-sized red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • Knob of unsalted butter
  • Mozzarella cheese, grated

For the meatballs

  • 250g minced beef
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 1/2 medium-sized red onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs*
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Bocconcini balls
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper to taste

*You can buy readily made bread crumbs from the shelves or you can make your own by lightly toasting some stale bread (if you have some in handy) and then blitz it in the food processor.

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 190C (375F or gas mark 5). Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. For the meatballs: Add all the ingredients, except for the bocconcini balls, to a large bowl and mix until well combined. Shape the mixture into small to medium-sized balls and press a bocconcini ball (cut into smaller pieces if it is too big) into the meatball. Gently place onto the prepared baking tray and repeat with the remaining meat, about a dozen to fifteen balls altogether depending on the size. Place in the oven and bake until browned, about 10 minutes. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. For the sauce: Heat about a tablespoon of oil together with a knob of unsalted butter in a large frying pan over medium-high. Sauté the garlic until golden and fragrant, then add the chillies and onions. Sauté until the onions are soft and then add in carrots, followed by the celery, and then the mushrooms. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft.
  4. Add the dried bay leaves, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, and stock. Give it a good mix and then turn the heat down to low, cover and let it simmer for about 15 minutes to allow the flavours to blend. Finally, add in the capsicum and meatballs, cooking for a further 5-8 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pappardelle according to packet instructions.
  6. Remove the sauce from the heat and serve over the hot pasta. Top with the meatballs and a handful of grated mozzarella cheese. Enjoy!

Pappardelle with Homemade Cheese-stuffed Meatballs

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com