We have escaped to the beach for a week, and I am more than ready to embrace the experience! Dear friends of ours who live not just far away, but in a different country altogether, rented a beach house for 1 week and invited us to join them. I couldn’t think of a better place in the world to hang out with them, a place where the most important decisions would be what to make for dinner and if we should pack beer or wine to enjoy while lounging on the sand with the waves at our feet!
After our big joyful hello, we took a tour of the fabulous beach house. It had everything we could desire, and more: spacious, well-stocked kitchen (even had sharp kitchen knives), massive dining room table, airy screened-in porch for lazy evening cocktails, an outdoor shower and space galore (it would be easy to find a quiet place to read and write).
I came armed with groceries for the week and my friend Celine just laughed and told me she knew I would do this and left space in the fridge for my mountain of food. I did this so I wouldn’t be burdened with shopping in a strange supermarket and waste good beach time. My plan was to go from the house to the beach, and back to the house. I wanted nothing to interfere with our time together.
It has been less than 24 hours since our arrival and we have already enjoyed hours on the beach, had cocktails on the porch, and cooked a magnificent dinner. The dinner for tonight has already been discussed, wine stocked in the pantry, and we are well under way to having a glorious week.
Meatloaf (serves 8)
You will need:
3 lbs ground meat (can be a combination of beef, pork, buffalo, lamb, or pick just one of them)
3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 large sweet or yellow onions, small dice
1 orange pepper (red will do fine too), small dice
4 to 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 slices white bread (can be anything from rolls, buns to loaf bread)
1 cup milk (any %)
1 lb streaky bacon
1/2 cup marinara sauce (if you don’t have any made, using jarred sauce is fine)
1 tbs mild madras curry powder
1 tbs smoked paprika (if you cannot find the smoked variety, use sweet paprika instead)
1 tsp sea-salt (I use Maldon sea-salt flakes: look in my pantry section for more information)
several grinds freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven 400*
1 – Prep the onions, peppers and garlic. Place a saute pan on medium heat and add the oil. Saute the onions, peppers and garlic until soft (about 12 minutes). Set aside.
2 – Tear the bread into a bowl and add the milk. Leave to soak for about 10 minutes. In large mixing bowl, beat the two eggs lightly with a fork. Add the ground meat, spices, salt and pepper. Add the soaked bread, sautéed veggies, and marinara sauce. Mix together until everything is well-incorporated. (I find that my hand works the best)
3 – Divide mixture into two and place in a roasting pan or good quality saute pan. Form into loaves (they don’t have to be perfect).
4 – Cover with bacon stripes, by placing on top and tucking the ends under the loaf as you go. You can do it horizontally or vertically (I did one of each for variety). Place in oven for 1 hour
5 – Remove from oven and cover with foil to rest for about 10 minutes before serving. You can also leave for longer as the meat will stay warm for up to 40 minutes.
This can be served in so many different ways. Everyone I cooked for clamoured for mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans (and of course I gave in to this laborious request out of love and a desire to please!)
However you can also serve it on a bed of greens, with pasta and a light red sauce, or, make a meatloaf sandwich with your favorite bread and condiments.
* I will post the green bean side dish later this week*