The Great Recipe Challenge – Fruition

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Irene Field

I know you have all been waiting to see what recipe would come to fruition this week. Which tome awaited my cooking skills (or lack thereof?). Vying for attention was Sophie Gray’s ‘Destitute Gourmet – Stunning Food from Small Change’


I am going to make a small diversion here, due to my train of thought. Whilst I can recall with a lot of the recipe books in my possession,  how they ended up residing with me, there are some I have absolutely no idea. Thank goodness the same cannot be said for my husband! Apologies to Sophie, as she fits into the category of ‘How Did I obtain you?’ Fear not Sophie, as there are two bookmarks inserted wherein. Sophie’s aromatic rice salad is a good one, and her Stuffed Bread instructions are a good reminder of how to stuff bread when embarking on picnics.

The purpose of my exercise however, is to attempt a previously untried recipe from each book in my possession. Said book was given to the other half. Fortunately I remember how he got here. His selection?  ‘Devilled Meatballs’ You are most probably thinking “surely Irene, you have made meatballs in your time on this planet” My response is yes, but with what comes into my minuscule brain, I have never attempted a recipe as such.

My greatest surprise however was the selection of this recipe by said better half. He is Romanian and along with other Romanian friends often comments how strange that Nzers mix fruit with meat. They puzzle at our fixation for mixing sweet things with savoury recipes. Think Apricot Chicken as an example. When I read the recipe, an ingredient was one apple. I pointed this out to him. “Apple = Sweet! Do you really want me to make this?” He answered in the affirmative. So that was it.

The meatball recipe was as expected. Mince, breadcrumbs, milk (unexpected) salt and herbs. Fry until lightly browned and remove from pan. To the pan add chopped onion, grated apple, chutney (I used a Moroccan Eggplant Chutney gifted to me), hot water and stock cubes (replaced with beef stock lurking in the freezer), brown sugar (more sweet) and soy sauce.  Thicken this sauce with cornflour and water, return meatballs to the pan and serve with rice.

I loved it, and it was a different sauce to have with meatballs. My greatest trepidation was ‘The Romanian Reaction’ In my better half’s defense, my cooking could be rocks, and he would still be polite, but would diplomatically suggest not making a recipe again. I waited. Would he have seconds? Would I be asked to make it again? Would a certain Catholic Pope keep wearing funny hats? Would Bears continue to do what they do in the woods? Or should that be, would Popes continue to do what they do in the woods and bears wear funny hats?

Well blow me down with a feather duvet. The recipe passed with flying colours. Sophie mentions in the recipe description that this is one Mince recipe she would not be averse to serving to guests, and I am in total accordance. It even passed the lunch box test.

And so we move on. Like sands in the hourglass. Apologies I was reverting to my soap opera watching days.  This has been my eighth challenge and only one has scored a booby prize to date. Next week’s recipe may have us ‘ducking’ for cover. Let’s hope my winning streak continues

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