Tag Archives: meatloaf

Meatloaf with a “Reservoir” & The Sultry Voice of The Splendid Table!

I don’t like TV cooking programs – there I said it. When I meet new people and they figure out how much I love food, they automatically think I also love to watch the Food Network (or something similar). I have to say that I’m not a big fan.


Marvellous Meatloaf

It’s not because I think I know more (far from it!) or that I am above it all in some way or another –  it’s just that the majority of them are either hokey, annoying, or so formulaic that their predictability is a little insulting  – I mean how many times can you watch the guy on Hell’s Kitchen poke a hole in someone’s food and scream, “this is bleeping slop” I wouldn’t mind but he’s actually a great chef, but somehow, his ratings are better when he verbally insults people than when he cooks something amazing.

Mexican Bush Sage from my garden

Mexican Bush Sage from my garden

The contrived set where the kitchen is pristine and the cook even more sterile-looking does not feel like real life to me. And now we have trendy cooking talk shows like The Chew who boast exposing viewers to “smart and intelligent talk” of “food, life and fun”.  Somehow I can’t help thinking of a Gravy Train (pun was most definitely intended)!

some cookbooks

Some cookbooks in my kitchen

I am however a fan of cookbooks and, while Mario Batali on The Chew doesn’t remotely interest me, I have several of his cookbooks. He is a great writer and his love of Italian food and culture along with his recipes suck me right in.

The other thing I like to do is listen to the radio while driving. When my kids were young I would play those awful children’s songs in the car. I had to, it was the only thing that would lull the crying! When they fell asleep I would switch to something more intelligent, something that would stop my brain from turning to mush. I was desperate for some connection to the adult world as my world at that time consisted of book’s and movies with titles like My first ABC and Thomas The Tank Engine and Friends Have An Adventure.

Cookbook from turn of 20th century with great illustrations (Now sitting atop my piles of cookbooks in the Crappy Kitchen)

Cookbook from turn of 20th century with great illustrations (Now sitting atop my piles of cookbooks in the Crappy Kitchen)

I immersed myself in Public Radio stations and got my news, current affairs and culture throughout the day, but the weekends were the best. This is when my public radio station let their hair down with programs such as This American Life, A Prairie Home Companion, Radiolab and the cooking program which airs on Sundays, and the thing I want to talk about: The Splendid Table.

my new little cookbooks

Little cookbooks which I bought in Tuscany last year

It turned out that most Sundays around noon I would find myself driving somewhere, to the supermarket for that big weekly shopping, to the movies with the kids, to a museum, a park, a day in a city etc and I invariably caught the voice of  woman who literally crooned about food. I couldn’t decide if her voice was annoying or intoxicating, but after years of finding myself not reaching for the radio knob to turn the dial I would have to say it was the latter.

a little white wine

Cooking on the beach in Slea Head, Ireland

Radio voices are either compelling or repelling, and whether you listen to a program or not hinges on how this voice makes you feel when you are listening. A voice is like a book, where you have the glorious opportunity to use your own imagination to fill in the blanks. Like when someone says, “the movie was good, but I think the book was much better”.  And all I have to say to that is “Bravo” to that person’s fine imagination and how the movie playing in their head was a superior version of the story!

My heavenly lunch (truely)

My heavenly lunch on a beach in Wexford Ireland

The voices on the radio are exactly the same for me. I get to decide what kind of person this might be just by listening to them. Of course what they are saying is important too, but how they say it, the tone and their use of the language is what will keep me listening. The “voice” of the radio program The Splendid Table is the voice of Lynne Rossetto Kasper and when she talks about food she makes me feel like I am looking at a person eating something so delicious that they cannot help sort of humming through the entire dish. Well, Lynne Rossetto Kasper hums through her entire show, whether she is talking to a chef who is cooking a dish right beside her or when she is advising a caller on what to do with the boatloads of basil in their summer garden.

As she interviews and talks to these different people you can feel her total passion for the entire food world. She has the power to convince even me that eating a hotdog from a road-side stand in the middle of nowhere should be on my list of things to do before I die! It is the voice of love and the voice of love is a very powerful tincture. I’m sure she has won many a male listener (and hopefully turned them all into the kitchen!)


Simple food from the Crappy Kitchen

Now that my kids are older and have inherited my love of food, if we happen to catch The Splendid Table on Sundays while driving to the supermarket there is a very large chance (99%) that I will get a sidelong glance from my son in the passenger seat or a little tap on the shoulder from my daughter behind me when something is described by Ms. Rossetto Kasper with such reverie that I will be quietly begged to stick those ingredients on my shopping list.

Ide's request every year is for this chocolate cake. The frosting color is the only thing that changes!

Birthdays are a great excuse to make cake and have a party (stay tuned as two are coming up!)

As was the case a few weeks ago when she watched the chef Lucinda Scala Quinn make her mother’s recipe for meatloaf. I am really not a big fan of meatloaf, I suppose because I did not grow up eating this ubiquitous American dish, but her sultry voice won me over and I ended up making it to the utter delight of my children (who are now old enough to cook this themselves!).

This is what I made for Tom's Christmas Party

This is what I made for my friend’s Christmas Party

As you can see by the pictures, it is mouth wateringly good-looking, but I am in no way qualified to really expound on how wonderful it is as the voice of The Splendid Table does a far better job than I could ever do, a job she has been doing now for 16 years.

meatloaf from the Splindid Table

Meatloaf from The Splendid Table

  I have never looked her up on the internet to put a face to the voice for the same reason I have no real desire to meet a celebrity or talk to a renowned writer: it would probably not match up to how I see them in my head, and don’t you find that they always seem smaller in real life! I’m being silly of course but the satisfaction I get from reading a book or watching a movie, and yes, listening to the voice of The Splendid Table is enough, is perfect in and of itself.

mix eggs, vanilla, oil adn vinegar together

My daughter is now the baker in the family!

So, if you are pottering around your house this Sunday or driving along some lonely stretch of road, turn on the radio and find the voice of The Splendid Table. It will make you smile, make you hungry and most certainly decide that daily question of “What’s for dinner!”


*I did alter the recipe a little to suit me better. I added some fresh herbs just because they are in my garden at the moment and I added some hot pepper flakes for a little zing*

You will need:

2 lbs ground beef (use something with some fat content) OR mixture of ground lamb and beef

3/4 cup breadcrumbs (I made them by whizzing a few slices of bread in my food processor)

1/3 plus 1 tbs milk (any %)

1 small onion, grated

1 medium carrot, grated

1 large egg

2 tsp sea-salt

several grinds black pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (optional)

2 tbs finely chopped Italian parsley

1/2 tsp thyme leaves

1 small sage leaf, finely chopped

“Reservoir”  ingredients:

1/2 cup ketchup

1 tsp sriracha sauce (or other hot sauce)

1/4 cup sweet pickle relish (If you don’t have this, use 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet pickles)


Preheat oven 375*

1 – . Combine the breadcrumbs with the milk in a small bowl and let sit. Crack the egg into a large bowl and whisk for a moment with a fork. Add the meat followed by the herbs, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper flakes, onion, carrot and the soaked breadcrumbs. Mix it altogether with your hands until it is fully combined.

Make meatloaf

Mix meatloaf

2 – Combine the Reservoir ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

make reser

Make reservoir

3 – Place meat in a loaf pan and using your index and middle finger make 3 holes in the meatloaf, going almost to the bottom of the pan. Spoon the reservoir sauce into each hole reserving what is left over for later.

Assemble meatloaf

Assemble meatloaf

4 – Place in preheated oven for 55 minutes. Remove and let it rest on the stove-top or counter for 15 minutes before serving.

Cook in oven

Cook in oven

Serve this with whatever you like. It is traditionally served with mashed potatoes, gravy and a green vegetable but don’t let that stop you from serving it alone, with pasta, rice or even making it the star of a robust dinner sandwich!

The Beach: Day 1. Also, Meatloaf for Dinner (serves 8)

Delicious Meatloaf recipe is included in this post (just scroll down)

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!

The Beach

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).

Lucky find on the beach: horseshoe crab

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.

friends 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.

Afternoon stroll

Stay tuned!


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)

2 eggs

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.

saute onions and peppers

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)

Mix meatloaf ingredients together

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).

form loaves

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

Wrap in bacon

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.

Cook in oven for 1 hour

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*

Life Guards off-duty for the day