Posted in American Cuisine, Barbecue, Beef Dishes, British Cuisine, Casseroles, Greek, Indian, Thai & Chinese Cuisine, Italian Cuisine, Mediterranean, Oven, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Turkish Cuisine

Basic Meatball / Burger Mixture


This is a basic recipe that can be used to make all kinds of meatballs or burgers.  In Turkey we like our Köfte, which are meatballs flattened into small discs.  In Italian and Indian cooking I tend to roll the meatballs into small balls.  You can even put small cubes of cheese in the middle of the balls which are especially nice when cooked in a tomato sauce and served with spaghetti. This is my husband’s recipe which he learned from his mother.


500 g minced beef

1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs (if using freshly ground – only use half a cup if using fine breadcrumbs bought in the shop or it will be too dry)

1 egg

1 onion (finely grated)

1 tsp cumin

A pinch of thyme

Salt & pepper

A pinch of hot chilli flakes (optional)


Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with your hand.  Knead it for a good few minutes then form into a ball.

Now you can pull off small amounts to form into meatballs which you can freeze for later or cook straight away.  You can also divide up larger amounts to make burgers too.

Posted in Italian Cuisine, Pasta

Penne Carbonara




2 tbsps olive oil

small knob of butter

1 clove of garlic (crushed)

300g/11oz bacon, chopped

3 free range egg yolks

a handful of button mushrooms

50g/1¾oz parmesan cheese (grated), plus extra for serving

100ml/3½fl oz double cream

Salt and ground black pepper

350g/12oz penne pasta

3 tbsp chopped parsley


Heat a frying pan until hot. Add 1 tbsp of the olive oil and the bacon and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside.

In a small sauce pan, fry the button mushrooms in the butter and remaining olive oil with the garlic until tender.

Whisk the egg yolks, parmesan and cream in a bowl and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Cook the penne according to the packet’s instructions in a pan of salted boiling water.

Drain the pasta and add it to the cream mixture, stirring continuously until smooth. Add the bacon, mushrooms (including the oil) and parsley and stir until well combined.

To serve, spoon pasta into bowls and sprinkle with a little extra parmesan.

Posted in Beef Dishes, Cheese, Italian Cuisine, Pasta, Quick and Easy

Peppered Salami and Sausage Rigatoni


Today I wanted to eat pasta but was bored with the same old style.  So I pulled some stuff out of the fridge and this is what I came up with.  It not only tasted good with a slight peppery tang, but I was able to use up some odds and ends from the fridge.  Served 2 so adapt for more people.


Rigatoni pasta (small tubes of pasta)

3 hot dog sausages (sliced into small pieces)

2 slices of peppered salami (cut into squares)

2 small chilli peppers (finely chopped)

½ red pepper (chopped)

3 spring onions (chopped)

5 cherry tomatoes (quartered)

Worcestershire Sauce

½ tsp olive paste

1 tsp pepper paste

2 tsps pesto (basil sauce)

3-4 tbsps water

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil

A few cubes of strong white cheese

2 tsps parmesan cheese (to sprinkle over the top)



Put the pasta (however much you like – I used half a box for 2 people) into a pan of boiling water.

Fry the sausages in a little olive oil until slightly browned.  Then add the peppered ham and chilli peppers.  Cook for a few more minutes on a medium-low heat then remove from the frying pan to a seperate dish.


In the same frying pan (without cleaning it) add a little more olive oil and fry the red peppers and spring onions then add to the sausages.  Now fry the tomatoes.  Add a dash of Worcestershire Sauce.

photo2  photo4

Now add the olive paste, pepper paste and pesto and stir in.  Add the water (you may need more depending on the consistency).


Return the sausage and ham back into the frying pan and mix well.

Allow it to simmer on a low heat until the pasta is ready.  Salt and pepper as you like.

When pasta is ready strain it well and return to the saucepan.

Add the sauce to the saucepan and stir well.

Pour into large bowls and decorate with the small cubes of cheese and the grated parmesan.