When I need minced beef, I tend to buy the prepacked burgers because they can be dismantled easily, and this way I don’t have to queue at the meat counter.

In the supermarket yesterday, I noticed that the organic fresh burgers were at the end of their shelf-life and reduced, but I was working with what cash I had in my pocket and didn’t have my card with me, so limited myself to what I needed.

Today, of course, they were back at full price, but that’s my own fault. I stocked up on:

  • 60g (non-organic) parmesan (1,15€)
  • Tinned tomatoes (0,83€)
  • 500g spaghetti (0,71€)
  • 250g 15% fat beef burgers (3,85€)

There seem to be lots of recipes for meatballs on the interwebs but I bumped into a friend in the supermarket while I was looking for breadcrumbs who suggested that I didn’t actually need breadcrumbs after all, so I went for the simplest option.

  • One medium egg
  • 250g minced beef
  • Four or five cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Two medium onions, finely chopped
  • Remains of a red pepper, cut into small pieces
  • One tin tomatoes
  • Quite a lot of chopped fresh coriander
  • Some chopped oregano
  • Paprika
  • Chilli powder
  • Cumin
  • Turmeric
  • West Indian Hot Pepper Sauce

Break the egg into a large bowl and whisk it, then add the mince and about half the garlic and onions. Add about half the chopped coriander and a dash of the pepper sauce, or Tabasco if you are this way inclined. You now have, essentially, a steak tartare which can be seasoned to taste and mixed thoroughly by hand into a big ball. Leave it in the bowl, and turn your attention to making the sauce.

In some olive oil, fry the onions, garlic and pepper then add the spices in whatever quantities you approve of; I didn’t go for mad-spicy but fancied a bit of a kick. Stir everything together, then add the tomatoes and stir everything again. Let everything simmer a while, then add all but a sprinkling of the coriander, stir and season. Cover, and leave to cook over a medium-low heat.

Fashion the meat-mass into as many meatballs as you require, around ten or so. Make sure they are firmly squished, then heat some olive oil in a frying pan and introduce them into the pan when the oil is hot. Sizzle the meatballs in the oil, turning them with the help of a wooden spoon and a fork so that they are sealed (for the most part) and then cook them gently.

When the meatballs are cooked to your liking, pour in the tomato sauce and stir to cover them. Leave them to simmer while you prepare the spaghetti.

Fashion the spaghetti, meatballs and sauce onto a plate to vaguely resemble an invisible, omnipotent, noodly presence, sprinkle the remaining coriander and some parmesan over the top, and devour.

There is another helping left for lunch tomorrow.

I’m down on some things from the cupboard but am quite well-stocked with staples like pasta, rice and cornflakes, but have got to the end of the month with the pot at 27,30€, which is a significant improvement on last month.