O woe is me - I've just eaten the best meatballs ever...


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Steve Maskery

Established Member
26 Apr 2004
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I like cooking. I like eating. Most recipes are not made for one person.

So I have two freezers (plus a third on loan from a mate - well how else do you store your catfish?), both of which are full of leftovers, which I am trying to work my way through. It takes a long time...

I'm not always very good at labeling ("It'll be obvious what that is!"), so sometimes it's a case of taking it out and hoping for the best.

Tonight it was what I assumed were meatballs. I was right. Although what I though was just tomato sauce was something else. Not sure what, TBH, but it wasn't Tommy. It went in the bin.

So I made some new, rather wonderful tomato sauce ( onion, garlic, tinned tomatoes, red wine, anchovies, bay leaf, splash of brandy, pinch of sugar, S&P), coated the meatballs in egg and polenta, browned them off and baked them, Served with Pappardella, a sprinkling of parsley and parmesan.

They. Were. Fantastic. Best meatballs ever. So why am I so downhearted?


nev":341kxm1l said:
Yes! we often have Brown Surprise for dinner. Have to wait for it to defrost to see If we're cooking pasta, rice or chips to go with it.

Well I have never eaten a meal called Brown Surprise but I have eaten a few meals in my time were Brown Surprise has caught me out in the middle of the night.
John Brown":10upp9ji said:
Not a fasting day for me. Pancakes and Gratin Dauphinoise. Not together...
It's not every year pancake day coincides with my birthday!

Oh man, all you got for your birthday was cheesy garlic potatoes? Not even anything woodwork related? My heart goes out to you it really does
Careful Steve it was the Buzzard balls that did for poor old Paul Waters :lol:

Having an allotment & a times throughout the year a glut of certain veg we often make batches of soup from said veg & freeze it, the GLW is very adapt at telling one soup from another just by colour unfortunately the same can’t be said for me & I regularly have soup surprise when left to fend for myself 8-[
powertools":7avw4rww said:
Well I have never eaten a meal called Brown Surprise but I have eaten a few meals in my time were Brown Surprise has caught me out in the middle of the night.

Nothing brings your round quicker from the arms up of Morpheus than an early morning nudge :lol: :lol:
Never heard the expression "Brown surprise" before. I've often made and/or eaten such fare, and I feel nominatively qualified, if not compelled, to appropriate the term forthwith.
Suffolkboy":7i0lbgo1 said:

You can't write that you have a freezer full of catfish without elaboration.

When I was on holiday in Maine last year, I had fish & chips in a diner. It was the best fried fish ever. The chips were ordinary, but that fish - mmmmm. It was catfish, so I tried to get some when I got home. My local fishmonger is Morrison's, and whilst it is the best around, it's not sensational. No catfish. I have seen it there, but not for a very long time.

The last time I was the big Asian supermarket in Nottingham, what did I find but Catfish, grown in Vietnam, sustainably. But it comes in a big pack of 5 and one fish provides 2 portions. It fills a drawer. So my mate Charlie says, "I have a spare freezer you can borrow". So it is now full, with catfish, home-made sausages and the like. Now he says, "Have you finished with my freezer?", as if it is only needed for a week or two.

So I'm trying to eat my way through it all, but it is slow going.
I'd offer to help Steve but I can't stand tomatoes or onions, not too fond of garlic either so you can imagine there's never a "brown surprise" in my life as I have to know exactly what I'm stuffing down my throat. :lol:

If you put the old grey matter to work I'm sure you could design a jig to make labelling a doddle though. :wink:
As a practicing gourmand, you won't need me to remind you of this, Steve, but one thing I've noticed with many dishes I've cooked is that they taste better if left for a day or two to rest, either at room temperature or in the fridge. The flavours seem to meld, mellow and mature. It does occur to me that the meatballs, having been drawn from stock (as it were) have had a chance to develop their flavour, even though frozen; could it be that the recipe was a normal, basic one, just made, as you usually do, with good quality ingredients?
I agree that ageing a bit often improves the flavour. But been trying to find a really good meatball recipe for ages. Lots of hype but so often quite bland and disappointing. This was what I've been looking for, but now I don't know what it was :(
phil.p":3g1is8co said:
Farmed Vietnamese catfish is (genus) pangassius. One of the chipshops around here started to sell it as it is comparatively cheap, but gave up as they couldn't sell it.

Well, that and it was too much hassle. The dogfish kept chasing it round the shop. :D
Steve Maskery":3744r4xa said:
So I have two freezers (plus a third on loan from a mate -

I can beat that. I picked up our 4th (second hand) freezer last week.

Steve Maskery":3744r4xa said:
I'm not always very good at labeling ("It'll be obvious what that is!"),

I can totally identify with that, but at least 1/2 of the freezer capacity is stuffed with uncooked allotment produce so can identiy some stuff.
As a somewhat obsessive cook, and with there only being two of us most of the time now that offspring are at uni, I also got into the trap of filling a quite big freezer. As I am moving towards doing a pop up small restaurant, I am now getting my act together and being much more disciplined. If I have home made pies, fish, bread etc in the freezer that has to be consumed first before I buy anything else. I do think that meat in particular is ruined, or certainly compromised, by being kept long in the freezer. My aim is to use it for frozen stocks (as I make 5 litres of reduced stock at a time), frozen peas, one loaf of sourdough (I make 2 a week at least) and basic essentials like that. My wife on the other hand is pretty focussed on keeping it full of ice cream.

Can't help with meatballs. I find mince a bit repulsive unless I made it, and the concept reminds me of faggots which my cruel father made us eat as kids. Vile. Almost as vile as chitterlings.