Sunday Menu in a New Kitchen - Beef Balls and Apple Crumble

It is said that all beginnings are difficult. Well, I don't start with cooking and baking, but I start to do it in a new kitchen of our newly rented apartment. And that's the issue here! We've bought just basic utensils such as knives, cutlery and similar stuff, and I can only dream about any advanced kitchen accessories. This creates situations like "How can I measure 200g of butter?". Yes I know, there are usually marks on the edge of a butter wrapper showing 50g, but what if the original cube of the butter is no longer a cube or any other regular geometric pattern? These situations then result in something like "Ok, lets guess, it could be like this much..." :o)

In spite of similar troubles, I decided to make a Sunday menu and I planned:
  • Apple Crumble
I wanted to make an apple dessert because I bought many beautifully looking apples last week, but then realized they were very floury. And what else to do with them. I was searching on internet and in my cookbooks for a while, looking for a recipe where fruit dominates, because that's the only type of dessert my boyfriend likes. And now I have to say a crumble is the answer! It was a great success, my boyfriend loved it and so did I. Another great thing about crumble is that it's soooo easy and quick!

  • Beef Balls
I found this recipe only because I wanted to try something new from one of many cookbooks we have, and the beef balls looked very conveniently as I had minced beef in a freezer. Again, it was a fabulous choice even if I didn't use all ingredients listed in the recipe!

Apple Crumble
Serves 8

200g plain flour
200g demerara sugar
200g unsulted butter (cubed at room temperature)
100g porridge oats
1 handful raisins
butter for greasing

Fruit base:
8 eating apples, peeled and cubed
1 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp demerara sugar
2 tbsp rum

1 Place the cubed apples in a pan, sprinkle with the sugar, pour in the rum and simmer gently for 5-10 minutes until slightly softened but still quite firm. Set aside and allow to cool a bit.

2 Preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F/ Gas 4.
3 Mix the flour, porridge oats and sugar in a bowl. Add the butter and rub between your fingers until it is the texture of breadcrumbs.
4 Place the apples in a large greased ovenproof dish and mix with the flour, sprinkle with the sugar and the raisins. (You can mix the raisins with the crumble mixture if you like instead of sprinkling them on top of the fruit.)
4 Top the fruit with the crumble mixture.
5 Bake for 30 - 40 minutes until the crumle mixture is starting to brown and the fruit mixture is bubbling.
I used muesli we usually have for breakfast instead of porridge oats (because I didn't have any) and I added more flour to the mixture to make it less sticky. The result was outstanding!

Beef Balls with pickled garlic
Serves 4

450g (1lb) minced (ground) beef
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp white pepper
1 small handful leaves coriander, chopped
1 small handful Thai basil, chopped
1 spring onion (scallion), finely chopped
3 teaspoons fish sauce
1 egg

3 tbsp oil
3 tbsp green curry paste
3 tbsp finely chopped ginger
11/2 tsp ground turmeric
3 tbsp fish sauce
3 kaffir lime (makrut) leaves
21/2 tbsp tamarind purée
3 tbsp chopped pickled garlic
11/2 tbsp shaved palm sugar (jaggery)

1 To make the meatballs, combine all the ingredients together well. Then taking a tablespoon at a time, roll the mixture into small balls. You should have about 24 balls.

2 Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and add the curry paste, ginger and turmeric and cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes, or unit fragrant.

3 Add the fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves and tamarind. Bring to the boil then cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the meatballs, pickled garlic and palm sugar and simmer for 15 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.