Monday, December 29, 2008

Homemade Spaghetti Meatball Recipe

I used to love the meatballs in Ikea. However, the last time I ordered it, I was disappointed to discover that the meatball was processed and had the texture of the pork meatball you would normally find in the Chinese porkball noodles. What happened to the chunky mince??? Anyway, after that disappointment, I decided to cook my own meatball. Usually, this would require a lot of work but I found a recipe where instead of frying the meatball, you could bake the meatballs instead. So, there is no need to slave over the stove. Just pop it into the oven.

2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
3 slices bread, crumbled (toast lightly and blend in food processor)
1 kilogram minced beef (can substitute with pork)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (can substitute with other herbs - fresh herbs preferred but if not availble, can use dried herbs)
1 clove garlic, smashed, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In a medium bowl, beat eggs lightly; add milk and bread and let stand for about 5 minutes. Add minced beef, onion, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper; mix gently until well blended. Shape into about 24 meatballs, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place meatballs in a generously greased large shallow baking pan. Bake meatballs at 220°C for 25 minutes.

If you wish to serve spaghetti with the meatball, you can whip up this classic tomato sauce to accompany the spaghetti. In my earlier days, I used to buy the spaghetti sauce in a jar. Then J & I "outgrew" the tomato-based sauce and moved on to olio. Since I discovered this simple recipe, we have re-discovered our taste for this classic sauce.

Tomato Sauce
1 kilogram ripe plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup snipped fresh basil, oregano, or parsley

Peel, seed, and finely chop the fresh plum tomatoes. Or, if you're lazy, like me, skip the first 2 steps. Heat oil over medium heat, sauté onion until tender. When it just begins to turn golden, add remaining sauce ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt, if necessary.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain. Serve spaghetti topped with meatballs in sauce; sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Simply Red Bistro, Sheldrake Point, New York

New York City was exciting, but after a week, we were happy to leave the bustling city to explore the rest of New York State. We headed towards the lovely wine region of Finger Lakes. Our first stop - Ithaca, located on Lake Cayuga. Based on the glowing recommendation from our bed and breakfast hostess, we decided to drive to the Sheldrake Point, a winery in Ovid, about 20 minutes away from Ithaca to have our dinner at Simply Red Bistro. It was worth it. Apart from its great location by the lakeside, we had one of our best meals here during our New York trip.

We were there on a Monday night, which happens to be their Southern Night with live music. We were there early but the place was already packed. Fortunately, we managed to get a spot at the bar. Do make reservations if you plan to visit to avoid any disappointments.

J opted for the Country Style Pork Ribs whilst I had the Creole Seafood Jambalaya. The pork ribs were so flavourful and melts in your mouth. It was definitely better than the one we had in New York city! I've never tasted Jambalaya before and I was not disapppointed. The seafood- shrimps, scallops, mussels were so fresh. Cooked together with chorizo and wild rice in seafood stock, it was a meal to be had! The cornbread...Yummy!

We were really full after our main meals but we were told that the desserts were delicious and should not be missed. So, we ordered the Slow Ass Ginger Spice Apple Cake (which was highly recommended) and the Dark Chocolate Capuccino Mousse (I can't resist anything with dark chocolate). I'm glad we heeded the advice as the desserts were absolutely wonderful!

We really enjoyed our meal at the Simply Red. Not only did we meet talented Chef Sam Izzo (we were amazed at how young she was), we also enjoyed great conversation with the bartender and the gentleman we sat next to at the bar. Good food, great conversation - an unforgettable experience all round.

Simply Red Bistro
7448 Rte 153, Ovid, NY 14521
607 532 9401 ext 111

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Thoughts

Christmas is not about Santa
Nor is it about presents
Jesus is the reason
For the Christmas season

Every mall is decked with bright cheery Christmas trees and decorations. Crowds of shoppers doing their last minute Christmas shopping. We dream of turkey and pudding, and wonder about the presents we'll be getting under the Christmas tree. While it is wonderful to exchange presents and cards and spend time catching up with family and friends, let us remember that Jesus is the reason for the season. It was this time more than 2000 years ago when a baby boy was born to a virgin, a gift from God to His people - a Saviour to redeem us from our sins.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Rising above the pain

Amidst a heartbreaking tragedy, a man rises above his pain and forgives. "I don't blame him, I don't have any hard feelings. I know he did everything he could," Don Yoon said. He asks people to pray for the pilot. Yoon lost his entire family - his wife, 2 baby girls and mother-in-law when a fighter jet crashed into his home in San Diego on Monday.

I was in tears when I saw the press conference two days ago. Here was a man who have just lost his loved ones to a tragic accident. No one would blame him if he demanded for justice and accountability from the authorities. Yet he did no such thing. Instead he exhibited such compassion for the pilot and deep belief in God. May God's grace and comfort hold him up in this time of sorrow.

Psalm 23
A psalm of David.

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Words of Wisdom

Sunset at Santorini,Greece

"When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator"

Mahatma Gandhi

After witnessing the other night's smiling moon phenomenon and many beautiful sunsets, I can't help but be reminded once again about how great God is. I am in awe.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Smiling Moon

Last night, I received an SMS from a friend. It said "Go look at the moon. Quick. It is smiling back." I thought it was a really strange message but decided to go out to the garden and check it out. True enough, there was a sleeping crescent moon and two stars above it. It looked exactly like a smiley face. What a wonderful phenomenon! J took out the camera and tripod and managed to capture it. There is no photo manipulation. It is exactly the way it looked last night.