Use your loaf!

Meatloaf hasn’t enjoyed a particularly good rep in Stovies’ house, purely because in movies the prospect of meatloaf us usually met with a groan and eaten under duress. Perhaps it’s just the name that makes it seem unappealing, Mr Stovies solution to this would be to rename it meatcake. Mrs Stovies just wants to cook it more often! This recipe will feed eight fairly ravenous folk for a celebration feast.

Stovies’ Mighty Meatloaf:

500g Minced beef
500g Minced pork
200g Breadcrumbs
12 Slices Parma ham
1 large Red onion
1 tsp Garlic powder
2 Eggs
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp Brown sauce
2 tbsp Tomato ketchup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Small handful fresh mint
2 Sprigs fresh rosemary
A handful fresh parsley

Very finely chop the onion, it needs to be really small so even better, grate it (and suffer onion flavour hands for ever!) or pop it in a magimix type contraption. Transfer to a large mixing bowl with the minced pork and beef.

Make the breadcrumbs and sling them in too. Top tip here: use breadsticks instead of stale bread and simply chop up in a blender. They come out a lot like panko crumbs.

Next put the garlic powder, eggs and condiments into the blender with the herbs. You will need to remove the leaves from the stalks although not each and every one, just enough to get rid of the woody or stringy stalks. Whizz until finely chopped then add to the meat. Thoroughly mix the while lot together with your hands. Yes, it’s messy and feels squelchy but it’s worth it. Alternatively use a food mixer with a dough hook or a bread machine with the heat turned off. Please don’t use a mixer with knife blades, you’ll end up with sludge!

Roll out a piece of clingfilm about 80cm long onto the work surface then place another next to it, overlapping enough to make a square. Repeat, this time at 90 degrees to the first layer. Make one last layer then lay the Parma ham on top, in the middle, towards the front. To make the ham wrapping paper the right size lay out eight slices vertically, overlapping slightly. Use the remaining four slices horizontally above the other strips to make a large rectangle. Dollop the meaty mix in a line across the ham, leaving an inch or so of space at either side. It’ll be 2-3 inches tall when its all on. Using the clingfilm as an aide, wrap the ham around the meat then tightly roll the whole lot up, twisting the ends to make a neat sausage shape.

Cocoon the meatloaf in another couple of layers of clingfilm the place in a roasting tin half filled with water. Bake in a medium oven, gas 4, for 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 hours. To test if it is ready, pierce the centre of the loaf with a knife. It the juices run clear, Bob’s your uncle. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes before unwrapping and carving.

Dish up with mash or roasties, plenty of seasonal veg and a simple red wine gravy.

Wibble wobble, wibble wobble.

We at Stovies love this jelly, as do many of our friends who receive little jars of it in the run up to Christmas each year. Some of those jars aren’t so little any more – the biggest jelly fan received a litre of the spicy nectar last year. So, in honour of James*, as Mrs Stovies can no longer keep up with his chilli consumption, here is our simple yet delectable formula for chilli jelly. It goes well with everything; cheese, cold meats, sausages and scotch eggs or simply as a dip.   Image

This recipe will make a good few jars. The exact amount will depend on the juiciness fo your apples and the size of your jars. Mrs Stovies tends to have 5-10 of varying sizes ready to go.

You will need:
About 1kg apples. Cooking apples will make a less sweet jelly. Eating apples, like Granny Smiths, will give the jelly a sweeter taste, a little like thai chilli sauce.
About 1kg sugar. Caster or granulated will do fine, you don’t need jam sugar.
A sprig of rosemary
A few tsp chilli flakes

Roughly chop the apples, and put into a large pan, skin, core and all along with the rosemary. Cover the apples with water and simmer for half an hour then strain through a jelly bag.

If like us the last time you saw a jelly bag was at your Great Aunt’s house, lay a very clean tea towel over a large colander and balance it on top of a pan. Let the apple mush sit in the straining device for a few hours to get all of the liquid out. It’s tempting to squeeze the pulp to maximise the liquid but don’t, if you do the final jelly will go cloudy.

Measure out the apple juice back as you transfer it back to the large pan. Add 1lb of sugar and 1/2 tsp chilli flakes for each pint of liquid. Cook on a high heat for about three quarters of an hour, until you reach setting point.

To test for setting chill a small plate in the fridge. Pour a spoonful of the hot liquor on to the plate and pop back in the fridge for 5 minutes. If the jelly goes crinkly when you poke the edge with your finger it’s ready. If not keep cooking and checking every five minutes until it is. Be careful not to over cook it. There was once a disaster in the Stovies kitchen when the jelly was forgotten. Not only did the jelly turn to toffee but the chilli matured to volcanic intensity!

Pour into sterilised jars – the easiest way to sterilise them is on a tray, along with the lids at gas 3 / 160’C for 20 minutes. When the jelly is nearly cool screw on the lids.

*Bike guru extraordinaire. If it’s broken he will fix it. If it’s not he will make it better. Much better. Go and see him, you’ll find him here.