The importance of where our meat has come from is a subject we should all be aware of. To retain all of its natural goodness and flavour you should look for ethically produced meats reared on grass in a happy, healthy environment. What is good for the animal is inevitably better for you as well. Personally I try to source as many ingredients as I can from local businesses, or at least from the UK. Having just moved from London to the middle of the Wiltshire countryside I find myself shopping less and less in supermarkets and more at the local farm shop, farmers markets and even picking eggs up directly from a farm down the road. Although this of course paints a very idealistic picture of rural England at its most quaint, I know that it’s not that easy for a lot of people and when time is of the essence, the last thing many people have time for is cooking. That’s where online companies like Abel and Cole, Meat Porter and Field and Flower flourish as they deliver delicious, free-range, grass-fed produce directly from the farm to your door at very reasonable prices. So whether you are a City slicker or a country dweller, you can rest assured in the knowledge that what you’re eating is conditioning your body rather than damaging it.
It is nigh on impossible to ‘tick’ all the ethical boxes in terms of eating locally, organic, fair trade, cruelty-free and avoiding big chain supermarkets, excessive packaging etc especially when time and money do not allow. However, if I was to suggest changing one thing in your diet it would be eating and sourcing good quality meat. Meat free from additives and reared in a crammed and cruel environment. My husband and I certainly can’t afford to eat meat every day, so we usually have it two or three times a week at most and when we do, I will try to make more than one meal out of everything. If it is a roast chicken for Sunday lunch, then the left over meat is used in a stir fry or salad and then the bones for a bone broth / soup, I try my best to be frugal.
Recently I was lucky enough to meet some of the lovely folk from Field and Flower and whilst I fed them my aubergine brownies and we discussed the benefits of a Paleo lifestyle they introduced me to their beautiful brand. Field and Flower are an online meat-box delivery company supplying only the highest quality meat from their farms in Somerset. Their range includes grass-fed beef and lamb as well as free-range pork and chicken, plus wild game and a selection of fish. Read more about who they are here and why they differ from other brands here.
As the darker nights are drawing in (the UK the clocks officially go back next week), the temperature’s starting to drop and the oven has come out of it’s summer hibernation, comfort food has become the word on everyone’s lips. To me, there’s nothing more comforting than a big bowl of meatballs, smothered in homemade tomato sauce with lots of herbs and spices over a big mound of sweet potato and garlic mash. I used beef mince from Field and Flower , the secret ingredient with my meatballs is apple, not only does the apple add another depth of flavour, but it also keeps the balls bound together and moist. I don’t bother skinning the apples for this recipe, the more texture and fibre the better in my opinion. 500g of beef mince goes a long way too and would easily feed a family of 4.
- 500g beef mince (I used Field and Flower)
- 3 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 small onion (optional)
- 1 garlic clove (optional)
- 1 400g tin cherry tomatos (I buy the Mr Organic cherry tomatoes)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- 1tsp pepper
- 2 small apples
- 50g ground almonds
- 100ml water
- Olive oil
- Pre-heat oven to 150°C / 300 °F
- Place ground almonds on a separate plate for later on
- In to a food processor place apples (remove core but keep skin) and blitz until finely chopped. Add onion and garlic (both optional) and blitz until combined and finely chopped
- Now add in ¾ of the beef mince + 2tsp smoked paprika +salt+pepper+oregano + egg and blitz until fully combined
- Add in remaining beef mince and pulse 2-3 times
- With clean hands roll in to meatballs. I usually make them about the size of a ping pong ball, roll in to ground almond mix just to lightly coat
- Grease the bottom of a cooking dish with olive oil then place meat balls in individually until all packed together (Makes about 18-20 meatballs)
- Place in oven for 10 - 15 minutes to seal
- Remove the pot from oven and carefully add the tin of cherry tomatoes (or homemade tomato sauce) + water (stir around carefully) and a generous sprinkle of paprika on top and a little thyme (you will use the rest to garnish)
- Place back in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes until bubbling and baked (the tops will have turned a gorgeous deep red)
- Sprinkle with a little sea salt, some more thyme and serve straight away
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