Friday, 28 September 2012
Marvellous Meals with Mince
Josceline Dimbleby's book was a best seller in the depression of the 1980s. Now it's back to get us through the double dip...
By Katy PearsonHer own childhood memories of mince are of it being 'grey, watery and tasteless' but Josceline Dimbleby's 1982 mince-inspired cookbook was a runaway success.
Now, thirty years on Marvellous Meals with Mince has been updated and looks set to make mince a must-use ingredient again.
Josceline explains: 'This book is only a re-written and added to. It was a complete best seller in the last recession, which was at the beginning of the eighties, and it was re-printed nine times throughout the decade. If you mention it, almost every goes "Oh I remember my mother having that book."'
'Now we are in hard times again and mince stretches...'
David Nicholl, author of One Day named the book as his favourite. 'He said it was Marvellous Meals with Mince because his mother had given it to him to go to university with,' Josceline recalls.
And in defence of the lowly ingredient Josceline says, 'When I was at school it [mince] was completely disgusting. I mean, it was grey, watery, tasteless. But these are all very varied recipes. At first mince can seem rather boring but it was perfect for me because you can do anything with it. You can shape it, you can roast it, you can fry it, you can stuff it, you can make it into a pie, you can do literally everything with it.'
So that's dinner sorted then...
Marvellous Meals with Mince by Josceline Dimbleby, £9.99, is out now.
Pork, red onion and courgette tart (pictured above)
- 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
- 250g pork mince
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 25g butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 450g small red onions, thinly sliced into rings
- A small handful of mint leaves, finely chopped
- 500g of courgettes trimmed
- 300ml crème fraiche
- 2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
- ¼ whole nutmeg, grated
For the pastry
- 225g strong plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- ½ tsp salt
- 100g of cold butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
- 50g cold lard or vegetable fat, cut into cubes
- 1 cold egg
- 2 tbsp cold water
This is wonderfully creamy and best when hot. The old fashioned pairing of butter and lard makes the pastry deliciously crumbly, but use vegetable fat if you prefer.
For the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the butter and lard and use your fingers to crumble into rough breadcrumbs. Mix the egg with the water, and, using a knife, stir into the mixture.
With floured hands, gather into a call, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius /Gas mark 7. Butter a deep 21-23cm diameter loose based tin. On a floured board, roll the dough out larger than the base of the tin.
Line the tine with the dough, pushing it just above the rim. Prick the base with a fork and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cover the pastry with a piece of baking paper.
Fill the tin with baking beans and bake blind in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the pastry is pale brown. Remove the beans and paper and return to the over for 5-8 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven ad turn the heat down to 190 degrees Celsius/Gas mark 5. Mix together the garlic, pork and seasoning. Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.
Add the onions and pork and cook until the meat has separated and browned. Remove from the heat and stir in the mint. Cut the courgettes into narrow strips, about 7.5cm long.
Plunge into boiling salted water for 1 minute, drain and set aside. Whisk the crème fraiche, eggs, nutmeg and seasoning. Spoon the pork mixture into the pastry case and spread level. Arrange the courgettes in a pattern and pour over the egg mixture.
Cook in the centre of the oven for 25-35 minutes, or until the cream is lightly set.
- 500g of lean, coarsely minced fresh beef
- 50g rindless smoked bacon, finely chopped
- 2 tsp small capers (optional)
- 2 tsp of chilli powder
- Sea salt
- Sunflower oil
- 4 burger buns
- 75g Saint Agur or other blue cheese (optional)
I’ll never forget my first real taste of hamburgers - as they were called then - when I first went to America as a young newlywed in the 1960s. With juicy beef, pink in the middle and charred on the outside, they were a world away from the thin grey circles of something that were known as hamburgers in England at that time.
Now things are different, but homemade burgers still taste the best especially in the summer when you can cook them on the barbecue for the perfect charred flavour. I give them smokiness and depth by adding smoked bacon and capers.
Serve in hot seedy buns with a leafy green salad.
Put beef, bacon, capers (if using) and chilli powder into a bowl and mix together thoroughly using a wooden spoon.
Season with a little salt. Divide the mixture into four and pat firmly into flattened circles about 1cm thick and the circumference of your buns.
Cover each burger in a little oil. Heat your grill to its highest setting and pit the burgers high up under it.
Grill for barely 2 minutes on each side - the outside should be speckled dark brown to black and the inside crucially, should still be pink and succulent. Meanwhile cut the buns in half and lightly toast them.
To make this a deliciously tangy cheeseburger, crumble the cheese on top of each hot burger as you place it between the buns. Eat at once, of course.
Indian meatballs stuffed with cheese
- 500g lean beef or lamb mince
- 8 cardamom pods
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 6-8 large garlic cloves finely chopped
- Sea salt
- 3-4 pinches of chilli powder
- 1 large egg, lightly whisked
- 1 tsp of groundnut or sunflower oil, plus extra for oiling
- 100g soft white cheese
- Plain flour, for dusting
- A good handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
I love eating things with hidden surprises, and meatballs provide a perfect opportunity. Here the soft cheese centre blends perfectly with the spiced meat; lovely for a summer meal served with mint leaves and crunchy onion salad.
Place the minced beef in a large mixing bowl and mash thoroughly using a wooden spoon until pasty and sticky.
Carefully make a small incision in the cardamom pods and extract all the seeds. Place the cardamom seeds, coriander seeds and cloves into a coffee grinder or pestle and mortar and grind into a fine powder.
Using a pestle and mortar or a small bowl and metal spoon, pound and grind the garlic with a teaspoon of sea salt until you have a puree. Stir the freshly ground spices, garlic puree, chilli powder and egg into the meat until thoroughly combined. Using wet hands, form the mixture into ping-pong sized balls.
Oil a flat surface and flatten the balls out into fairly thing circles. Put a teaspoon of the soft cheese into the centre of each meat circle and carefully bring the meat up and around the cheese so that it is completely enclosed.
Spread some flour on a board or flat surface and roll the meatballs in the flour until thinly covered.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the meatballs for 5-8 minutes, turning carefully until browned all over.
Transfer the meatballs to a serving bowl and scatter with coriander leaves before serving.
Daily tip from the lady archive
"BE careful with your mouth make-up. By careless work you may obliterate well-cut lines, and you will always achieve a badly groomed look if your lipstick is smudged and badly applied."The Lady, Make-Up for Mouths, 8th January, 1942
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