recipes

Meatloaf

sticky glazed meatloaf

It may be sacrilegious to say this, but this meatloaf performed in true loaves and fishes style recently. Spanning a number of meals (ie intended dinner to lunchtime rolls with relish) and across the suburb – to my mother and her temporarily housebound neighbour, it just kept on giving. All were sated and many enquired about seconds. Not customary for the humble weeknight meatloaf – but this one was holding a couple of illicit secrets close to its glazed chest. Bourbon and coffee.

I’m not sure how many meatloaves I’ve shaped and baked over the years, but most have been met with reasonable appreciation – although never requested for birthday meals. Hearty, hale and hot, they do their winter mealtime job well. However, as with all things in life, there is always room for improvement. So when Masterchef’s hale and hearty Matt P coated his meatloaf in homemade barbeque sauce, it occurred to me how just how naked our meatloaves had been.

Once this sauce was whipped up, there was plenty to dress the meatloaf in and ample over to freeze for rissole and burger nights to come.

250ml tomato sauce
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp English mustard powder
120g treacle
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp paprika
2 tbspn Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup  maple syrup
¼ cup cider vinegar
2 tbspn brown sugar
3 tbspn bourbon
1 espresso shot

  1. Combine all ingredients except for bourbon and espresso in a saucepan set over medium heat.
  2. Cook for 20 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add bourbon and espresso, stir to combine.

If you need a simple meatloaf recipe to play with this one makes a good starting point. If there are herbs or condiments that you prefer, simply add them and take out those that don’t appeal. Shape the loaf and bake it for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and brush liberally with the barbeque sauce and bake for a further 30-40 minutes or until well cooked through. Slice and serve with mash and steamed greens. Now you’re ready to feed the masses.

Meatloaf glazed in BBQ sauce

Postscript: If a strong shot of coffee and good swig of bourbon has a kid eating meatloaf and a neighbour feeling better, then I say bring it.

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family · recipes

Chocolate

chocolate cake

I’m not afraid of spiders,
and lions don’t make me quake,
but there’s one thing I cannot pass,
and that is, and that is,
a chocolate cake!

But why are you afraid of a chocolate cake Grandma? was something I often wondered, when in early childhood, as I followed my grandmother around her garden she would recite this and other childhood rhymes to me. Now, many decades later, I have come to understand the essence of this verse clearly. One of the most divine (and irresistible) experiences of life, is certainly a slice of fresh, lavishly iced, rich chocolate cake.

My preference is for chocolate rather than cocoa in a chocolate cake and moist fudginess (the sour cream takes care of that). Turn out one of these, and let’s see if you have the courage to pass it.

1 cup boiling water
125g dark chocolate, broken up
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250g softened butter
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
3 eggs separated
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 1/2 cups plain flour
a pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup sour cream

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Grease a large bundt tin or two loaf tins.
  3. Combine water, chocolate and bicarb in a bowl and stir until chocolate is melted (it foams up and becomes light and airy). Leave to one side.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and then beat in the egg yolks one at a time.
  5. Stir in the vanilla and gradually mix through the chocolate mixture.
  6. Sift the remaining three dry ingredients and fold into the mix alternately with the sour cream.
  7. Beat the egg whites until peaks form and fold into the mixture.
  8. Spoon mix gently into prepared tin(s) and bake for40-45 minutes (loaf tins) or 1-1 1/4 hours for large tin. Test with a skewer to ensure cake(s) are cooked through.

Our cake was topped with a chocolate icing – melted butter and chocolate, icing sugar, vanilla essence and 2 tbsp of boiling water, but it is equally good dusted with icing sugar and served with fresh thick cream.

slice of chocolate cake

Postscript: if you reside with locusts, as I do, this recipe is brilliant as the end result will be a large generous cake, or two regulars (one for now and the other for the freezer – if it makes it there)