I am a bit homesick today. Which can sound strange to people that know me because I am lucky enough to call home both Kosovo and Bulgaria :-). I was raised in Bulgaria and created my own family in Kosovo…It may look that I am a bit overstretched I know but isn’t it wonderful to have two homes, just in case you grow bothered by one ;-)!
I guess I am homesick because I miss my parents. Might be the whether, its so grey and cold over here, and the rain doesn’t help at all. It is supposed to be spring but there is no trace of sunlight and the warmth of spring. But at least my kitchen is always warm and cosy..it is my little universe where I can savour memories, recreate flavours, have a culinary journey and treat my hungry boys with home-made hearty dishes.
Is there any particular dish that you remember vividly from your childhood? What is that flavour you’ve always associated with home? Is it me only or you also sometimes re-enact moments from childhood when mum was preparing your favourite dish?
As a kid I loved the dish I am presenting today, and I still do. I remember getting back from school and being hit by the unmistakable, wonderful scent of tomato sauce in my mum’s kitchen. I adored the red fleshed, sweet and full of summer flavour tomatoes on the kitchen counter, waiting to be peeled and chopped. I would be frolicking around the stove, trying to taste the sauce and would always be smacked by my mum, telling me to be patient and wait until it was ready to eat. I am still that impatient… wink!
Sometimes my mum fried the meatballs (without adding rice) and served them topped with tomato sauce, other times she would just drop them in the boiling sauce. I am doing the second option today.
500 g beef mince
Plain flour for coating
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste.
2 x 240 g tins of peeled tomatoes ( The sauce is much tastier with fresh tomatoes, but the ripe sun-kissed ones are still not in season over here)
3 bunches of spring onions (here a bunch is made of 3 spring onions)
3 cloves of garlic
To prepare the sauce start by chopping the spring onions and sautéing them with the olive oil in a large pan. Add the chopped garlic, stir for a minute or two. Chop the peeled tomatoes and add to the onions. Fill in one of the empty tins with water and add to the tomatoes. Season with salt to taste and stir. As soon as the sauce starts to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer.
In a large bowl mix with your hands the minced beef, finely diced onion, rice, the egg, salt and pepper until well combined. Wet your hands and shape the mince into medium size meatballs, then coat them lightly in flour.
Add the meatballs, one by one, to the tomato sauce and cook on low heat for about 45 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Just before serving add some chopped parsley. Serve with cooked pasta or crusty bread. Note: the flour used to coat the meatballs will thicken the sauce so keep the pan on low heat, stirring carefully in order to avoid burning at the bottom.
* All the pictures in this post are taken by me. I am now more confident to shoot my food 🙂