You’ll need: 800g minced halal beef; x3 400g tinned chopped tomatoes; 1 onion; 1 lemon; 2 red peppers; 1 medium egg; 75g breadcrumbs; spaghetti; fresh rosemary and sage; nutmeg; salt, pepper, olive oil (chili, basil, halal cheese optional)
- KIDS, get grating. Help your child to coarsely grate one onion and zest one lemon. If the onion starts to hurt their eyes, get them to wear goggles, which is good fun. Grating can take a bit of strength, so you may need to help and watch their fingers. Reserve the onion for the sauce, and the lemon zest for the meatball mix.
- Make a marvellous mix. Help your child to add all the meatball ingredients (800g of halal minced beef, 75g of breadcrumbs, lemon zest, a spring of fresh rosemary, a few sage leaves, half a tsp. of nutmeg (or something spicier if the kids like it)) one by one into a large bowl. (Parents, you’ll need to separate and add an egg yolk here.) Season with black pepper.
- Squish everything together. Help your child to squish everything together with wet hands until the mixture is completely mixed. Keep an eye on younger children to make sure that they don’t taste any of the raw mix.
- Roll meatballs. Children as young as three can now roll the halal meatball mix into walnut or gobstopper-sized balls, then place them on a board or tray. This mix should make 40 balls – counting these is great way to help teach older children basic division. Cover the meatballs with cling film and have a little tidy up.
- Prepare the red peppers. Firstly, peel two red peppers peppers with a vegetable peeler, cut off the tops and bottoms and remove the seeds. Cut the peppers in half and children from the age of four can cut the peppers into strips.
- Make the sauce. A grown-up will need to help here. Heat a tbsp. of olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and peppers and cook for 5 mins. Stir in x3 tins of 400g tinned chopped tomatoes. Get the child to help break up the pieces of tomato with a spatula or hand-blender for a smoother result. Gently simmer the sauce while you cook the meatballs. (For something hotter, you can add a chili here too.)
- Cook the meatballs. Brown the meatballs in the olive oil on all sides then pop them into the sauce, working in batches if necessary. Be careful not to break them up. Simmer the meatballs in the sauce for 15 mins, gently stirring until they are cooked through. It’s ready to eat now or cool and freeze in suitable batches for up to 6 months. Serve with spaghetti, some basil and some halal cheese, if you like.
We love this simple, tasty recipe to cook with kids, using fresh halal ingredients. Let us know if you have any recipes kids can help with that have been real successes.