I came home thinking that I really need to research some of my favourite foods—specifically the ones that are recipeless and simply reside in the minds of great cooks.
Turns out this involves following them around the kitchen and taking notes. But here is the result! My mother mixed up the sauce and our domestic worker, Lorraine, made her fantastic oondfrikkadelle (oven-baked meat balls).
250 ml hot water
1 cube beef stock (about 15 ml)
2 tbsp honey
125 ml red wine
3 tsp Bisto (a kind of gravy powder)
1 tsp mezzina (corn flour)
Dissolve the beef stock and the honey in the water. Mix the wine, Bisto and mezzina together. Add the mixtures together.
butter for frying
1 tsp crushed garlic (one or two cloves of fresh garlic, chopped)
1 onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 medium-sized carrot, grated
1 slice of bread
500 g beef mince
80 ml instant oats
nutmeg, coriander, cloves (all in powder form)
1/2 tsp salt, pepper to taste
bunch of parsley, stems discarded, chopped
1 big tbsp Mrs Ball’s chutney
tomato sauce (ketchup) or a small sachet of purée
Preheat the oven to 180°C. (That’s 350°F.)
Melt the butter in a pan. Get the garlic and the onion frying. After a while add the carrots, then later the tomato and a sprinkle of sugar. Once it’s all softened up a bit you can turn off the heat. Fill the time in between with the steps below.
Pour some milk over the slice of bread—just enough to soak it.
Put the meat in a bowl and add the spices to taste, basically a good shake or two of each. Add the salt and pepper, then the parsley. Add the chutney and a dash of each of the sauces. (Braai sauce is used to season meat for barbequing. You can probably substitute and meat-related sauces. These aren’t essential ingredients, they just add some flavour.) Add the egg and mix everything well.
Add the soaked slice of bread to the meat mixture and mix well, then add the vegetables from the frying pan and mix again.
Shape the meat balls and pack them in an oven dish. Pour the sauce over. Bake them for about 30 minutes. Enjoy with mashed potato and greens!