EPICURIOUS: COMFORT FOOD

21 Jan 2018

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In the long, chilly winter evenings, there are times when instead of spending a long time in the kitchen, you want to snuggle on the couch with a book and a coffee or indulge in a movie and some popcorn. Here’s a meatloaf recipe along with a side of deliciously baked cauliflower, rounded off with a fruity dessert. These are one-pot recipes with easy and quick preparation. They will slowly cook in the oven and the leftovers are delicious too.

The origins of meatloaf can be traced back to the fifth century in Apicius, a Roman cookbook attributed to Marcus Gavius Apicius, believed to be a Roman gourmet. The cookbook presents a recipe for patties made of chopped meat, bread and wine. Meatloaf contains a milk and bread panade to help lock in moisture. It survived the Great Depression and other thrifty times and is still a popular dish to make and devour. In the 1970s and 1980s, other meats would be mixed with beef and the dish was elevated to dinner-party-worthy status. In the 1990s, upscale versions appeared in restaurants, and today, innovations continue as loaves are stuffed, wrapped or infused with a variety of popular flavours. Meatloaf can be served on its own or with just a side of baked vegetables.

Get cozy with these hearty one-pot meals

MEATLOAF 

INGREDIENTS

900 gm ground beef or goat meat
1 can evaporated milk
1 packet vegetable soup mix powder
2 lightly beaten eggs 
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 teaspoon cumin powder 
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon crushed garlic 
Salt to taste

For topping
3 tablespoons tomato ketchup
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

METHOD

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all the ingredients for the meatloaf and knead well or grind in a chopper. Place the mixture in a deep oblong baking dish. Combine ingredients for topping and spoon evenly over the meat. Bake till done. Check with a tooth pick. Serve hot in a platter garnished with lettuce or other greens.

BAKED CAULIFLOWER

INGREDIENTS

1 cauliflower
2 tablespoons white flour 
2 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice 
1/4 teaspoon mustard 
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Salt to taste

For topping: 
A knob of butter 
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
1 teaspoon crushed red chilli 

METHOD

Melt butter in a pan and stir in the flour. Keep the heat low and slowly add milk. Mix to a smooth paste, add all other ingredients and keep stirring until a creamy roux is ready. Keep aside.

Cut away only the leaves and stalk of the cauliflower head. Boil a pot of water with a pinch of salt. Dunk the whole head of cauliflower and boil till it becomes tender. Be careful not to over boil. When done, remove from water and chuck the water out. Place cauliflower on a platter. Pour the sauce over, top with butter, breadcrumbs and crushed red chilli. Bake till breadcrumbs become golden and the white sauce is bubbling gently. Serve hot.

GUAVA DELIGHT

INGREDIENTS

1/2 kg of ripe guavas (yellow, but not over ripe) 
1/2 cup sugar
1 heaped tablespoon cornflour
1/2 cup or more water, to
boil guavas 
2 tablespoons of caramelised sugar (this should be prepared when
the dessert is ready)

METHOD

Wash and peel guavas. Cut into halves and scrape the seeds out. Boil the guavas in a pan till they soften. The water should just cover the guavas. Add sugar and further boil till the sugar. Check for sweetness as per preferred taste.

Remove guavas from the water with a slotted spoon and arrange face down in a deep platter.

Dissolve the cornflour in a small bowl and add to the water in the pan to thicken it. Let it cool. Add cream and mix well. Pour over the guavas.

Top with caramelised sugar. The quantity of sugar in this recipe depends on how sweet you like your dessert to be.

Published in Dawn, EOS, January 21st, 2018