Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Ed's Mother's Meatloaf & Strawberry and Almond Crumble

I have always associated meatloaf with American diners that are known for serving comfort food. In fact, I had my first meatloaf from a diner when I was in high school in the States. I had a thick slice of meatloaf, served with mashed potatoes, green beans, gravy and banana milkshake to wash it all down (calories be darned!).

When I went to university back in the UK, I made my first meatloaf by importing a fairly traditional American recipe (the one that's topped with tomato sauce or ketchup). But I suppose each family would have their own variations to make meatloaf. Just to be clear, I don't personally know Ed. Nigella managed to extract this recipe from her friend's mother.

Last night I invited my friends Mark and Anna, two of my favourite people to feed, for a meatloaf dinner and we all agreed this meatloaf was absolutely delicious.  Meatloaf is mostly minced meat, so I think it's important to get good, freshly minced meat from the butcher.  Pre-minced meat from the supermarket tends to be dry which gives a crumbly texture to the meatloaf, making it harder to slice.

The mince is simply seasoned with salt and Worcestershire sauce, along with an egg and fresh breadcrumbs to bind the mixture. Cooled, slowly cooked onions in duck fat (yes, duck fat) are then added which gives such beautiful flavours to the meatloaf.

Three hard-boiled eggs are placed inside the meatloaf before wrapping the meatloaf securely with streaky bacon.  Now, you know why this meatloaf is so good!

Please don't be alarmed. Yes, indeed there's duck fat, the fat from the mince itself and bacon in this meatloaf.  But this is meant to be comforting and I wouldn't eat this every day.  I could but shouldn't.

I sliced the meatloaf rather generously so that every one gets some egg.  I served the meatloaf with baked potatoes, sour cream and chives, steamed sugar snap peas and however untraditional, but necessary, English mustard.  Gravy wise, I don't think it's needed here as the meatloaf is so moist, but if you must have gravy with your meatloaf, do make your favourite gravy.

For pudding, we went back to east side of the Atlantic and had strawberry and almond crumble. This is like the winter version of the luscious summer favourites, strawberries and cream.  Just think: plump strawberries, top them with vanilla, almondy, buttery crumble and bake in the oven until the berries bursts with pink-red juices.

Nigella says serving this crumble with lashings of cream is obligatory, not optional. Well, I've gotta do what Nigella says.

Strawberry and Almond Crumble
Recipe by Nigella Lawson
Serves 6 (in theory; in practise just me, Mark and Anna)

500 g strawberries, hulled
50 g caster sugar
25 ground almonds
4 teaspoons vanilla extract

for the topping:
110 g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
75 g cold butter, diced
100 g toasted flaked almonds
75 g demerara sugar

well chilled double cream, to serve
1 x oven-proof pie dish approx. 21 cm diameter x 4 cm deep

Preheat the oven to 200 C. Put the hulled strawberries into your pie dish and sprinkle over the ground almonds, caster sugar and vanilla.

For the crumble topping, put the flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl and rub in the cold butter with your fingers until they resemble rough, pale oatmeal.  Stir in the flaked almonds, and sugar with fork.

Tip this over the strawberry mixture in an even layer and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, by which the crumble topping will have darkened to a pale gold and some pink-red juices will be seeping and bubbling out at the edges.

Leave to stand for ten minutes before serving, and be sure to put a jug of chilled double cream on the table alongside.

P.S. Back to the meatloaf, make sure you leave yourself one piece for leftover meatloaf sandwich for lunch the next day.


  1. Looks sooooo good! Can't go wrong with a covering of bacon!! Your dessert is so simple too!

  2. OOOOOOH MY GOD!!! look at that meatloaf man!... that is one hearty loaf of meat... I love it... never made it before but this is inspiring!... love the hidden egg... I imagine this would make great sarnies too!... lovely x

  3. O M G, seriously. I can imagine this is the best meatloaf ever and it is gorgeous for ameat loaf too.

  4. Well, my meatloaf has bacon all over it, but onions fried in duck fat sounds marvelous. Plus the eggs.... You've got a winner there!

    Nigella does the BEST desserts, doesn't she?

  5. What a feast! That is the most impressive meat loaf I have ever seen!

  6. I love the idea of the egg in the middle :) This meatloaf has 'comfort' all over it hasn't it..., just the thing in the middle of winter & aahhem., duck fat..., anyone who doesn't love the idea of duck fat can sadly be no friend of mine :) You gotta love Nigella for bringing things to the next level huh. Good one Michael :)

  7. Michael, both dishes look fabulous, love the idea of dressing the meatloaf with bacon...yummie and the strawberry crumble sure makes a nice dessert :-)

  8. There's a traditional Italian 'meatloaf' dish that uses boiled eggs in the centre too... can't remember what it's called right now, anybody know? Oh, and nice to see your continuing with your nigella theme michael!

  9. What a meaty meatloaf! I think carnivores of the world just cheered. :-)

  10. Seriously? Only Nigella would find a recipe for meatloaf that was stuffed with eggs and wrapped in bacon! OMG I would eat the whole thing!!! And the crumble...yea, I'd devour that too!

  11. AJ: Can't go wrong with bacon.

    Dom: The leftover made great sarnies. I had it for lunch yesterday. so good English mustard.

    Jennifurla: It's definitely somewhere in the meatloaf hall of fame.

    Barbara: Indeed she does, but then, I am bias :)

    Joy: Thank you!

    Anna: Duck fat is awesome. You are definitely my friend.

    Juliana: Thanks. The crumbles were scrumptious.

    Angela: hmm.. I'm not too sure what it's called. No way for stopping me now. :)

    Kristen: Carnivores would be so happy.

    Jenn: Funny thing the recipe says the meatloaf serves 8 - 10. We (3 of us, greedy people) managed to demolish the whole thing.

  12. I seriously have to show my bacon obsessed sons this meatloaf, wow! The crumble looss delicious

  13. OMG-Michael, this brings back such comforting childhood memories...hard boiled eggs tucked into the meatloaf...don't be alarmed about the duck fat? I love duck fat, chicken fat, which the call "schmaltz"...wow! As a kid my mom would spread, chicken and duck fat on home made bread.

    The bacon you have on the meat loaf is such a superb quality, meaty, and crispy.
    Your strawberry almond crumble is divine!
    I think I'm cooking, and eating at the wrong house...sigh...if I made a meat loaf like yours, I would have to eat it in "hiding" and sharing it with my happy and "chubby" friends! ...self, included!

  14. Oh that crumble looks delicious!

    I've never had meatloaf with egg in it. Very interesting. ;-)

  15. Alisha: I hope your son enjoy this meatloaf. :)

    Elisabeth: spreading duck fat on home made bread... that sounds delicious. I must try that.
    Well, you are welcomed any time for dinner here.

    Maranda: Do give the meatloaf and crumbles a try. I think you'll enjoy them.