A Winter’s Morning

From last weekend…

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Spinach & Garlic Meatloaf

I feel I ought to tell you something before sharing this recipe.  Before this year, I had absolutely no idea what meatloaf actually was.

Really. It’s not (as far as I’m aware) something that’s popularly eaten in Scotland.  I had heard about it on American TV programmes and films and, in my head, I had a vague notion that it might be a loaf of bread with flecks of mince through it and that didn’t sound terribly appealing.  Turns out it’s more like a huge sliceable burger.  Hmmm, that doesn’t sound particularly appetising either, now that I write it down…

Well, fellow meatloaf virgins, you’re going to have to just trust me on this one: it’s good.  Especially when bulked out with lots of veg like this one is and served with a smokey tomato & paprika sauce (this but with a teaspoon of smoked paprika and a glug of red wine).

Spinach & Garlic Meatload

(Adapted from The New York Times Cookbook)

(serves 4 – with enough leftover for a couple of rolls)

500g spinach

1 onion, finely chopped

2 celery sticks, finely chopped

Olive oil

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

250g minced beef

250g minced pork

1/2 tspn nutmeg

1 slice of bread, whizzed into breadcrumbs

1 egg

A generous sprinking of salt & pepper

  • Heat a little oil in a frying pan and add the onion and celery.  Cook until the onion is translucent then add the garlic.  Stir then set aside to cool while you…
  • Drop the spinach into a pan of boiling water and pop the lid on.  Leave for a minute to wilt then drain.  Cool slightly then squeeze as much moisture as you can out of the spinach then chop roughly.
  • Add the spinach, onion mixture, meats, breadcrumbs, spices  and egg  into a bowl.  Season well then mix together well using your hand.   I recommend testing the seasoning by frying a tiny ball of the mixture in the frying pan and tasting to see if you need more salt or pepper.
  • Shape the mixture into the shape of a slightly deflated American football then wrap in bacon rashers.
  • Place on a baking tray and cook in a 180 oC oven for 1hr 15 mins.
  • Cool for 10 mins then slice.  Serve with a plain or smokey tomato sauce.
  • Roast in a …. oven for….
  • Remove from oven and let rest for 10 mins.  Slice thickly and serve topped with the smokey tomato sauce.

Feed The Birds

I am a fan of things that go cheep cheep and caw caw and tweeter tweeter and…  Well, you get the idea.  I like birds.   Winter can be a struggle for our feathered friends and I like to do my bit to help them out.

My plan was to write a big post collating all the tips I’d learnt about the best way to support winged wildlife in our gardens but I just don’t have time just now or, I suspect, any time soon. So I’m posting some birdy pictures (one new, the rest old) and I’m suggesting you visit the following pages for advice on feeding the birds this Winter.

Autumn Watch – Guide to Bird Feeding

RSPB – Feeding Birds