Instructor: In a lot of ways, cooking is like music. Different elements combine to make a symphony.
Dr. House: Difference is that Beethoven’s 5th isn’t going to be poop tomorrow.
Dr. Wilson: What was my one condition for allowing you to tag along?
Dr. House: “Try not to be a jerk”. I’m trying. I’m just failing.
Dr. Wilson: Roll your meatballs and keep an open mind. (House smiles) How hard are you trying not to make a ball joke right now?
Dr. House: They’re smoking. Your balls.
Dr. Wilson: Oh! Ow. No, no. They’re browning way too fast.
Dr. House: Blue is the color you’ve got to watch out for.
Dr. Wilson: Enough. My god, they’re… they’re still raw inside. By the time they’re cooked through, the outside will be burned.
Dr. House: I think there’s a medicated powder for that.
(House ‘Epic Fail’)
Watching Jamie Oliver has really inspired me. In spite of my minimal (i.e. non-existent) kitchen space, I want to start teaching friends how to cook. After all, if Rachel Khoo could open a restaurant in her tiny Paris flat, why not?
In the meantime, I cook for myself.
You would think that a medical drama would be the last place to look for culinary inspiration, right? But that’s where you’d be wrong.
I made no secret of my addiction to House and it just follows I had to watch it back-to-back.
I was feeling like having meatballs today so I bought some organic mince but, in spite of it being more expensive, I will avoid the other stuff like the pest as Jamie has also scared the hell out of me with his American Food Revolution. Good for him.
To the basic mince, I added crushed Jacob crackers (Jamie’s idea again), 1 egg and I rummaged the pantry to see which spices I had at hand, so that’s what I used.
I also like to roll mine in some flour, it just helps them go crispier. Another thing I do is put them in the fridge for a bit so that they don’t fall apart while I fry them.
Now, I normally fry them in very little oil first and then add the tomato sauce and leave them simmering there. As I was just going to have meatballs and tomato salad I had to think of another way of cooking them without simmering them in sauce as I really don’t like pink meat. (Call me weird but very pink meat is the one thing I will not eat).
And that’s when I remembered House.
House’s meatballs © Gabriela R.
500g organic mince (or have the butcher mince it in front of you)
Handful of creamed Jacob crakers (I didn’t count them, sorry)
Herbes de Provence
Balsamic vinegar, to taste
Caster sugar, to taste (you can also use honey)
Put the crackers in a tea towel and wrap them completely. Bash the hell out of them with a rolling pin. Alternatively, crunch them in the pestle and mortar. It will take a bit more time but it will also be less messy.
Mix the mince with the egg and add the crumbs. Add your spices and mix really well.
With wet hands shape your meatballs to the size of your choice. I prefer mine small. They also cook quicker. Roll them in some plain flour and dust off the excess flour. Place them on a tray or plate and put them in the fridge for a few minutes or until you’re ready to fry them.
Fry them in a very little oil in medium to high heat. When they’re brown and golden, add some balsamic vinegar because, as House rightly says, this slows down the cooking process. In a nod to Japanese teriyaki sauce, add a pinch of sugar to caramelise the meatballs. Cover with a lid and leave them to cook for about 5 minutes. When the vinegar is reduced, the meatballs are ready.
For the tomato salad:
Simply mix some cherry tomatoes with some pesto (I bought a jar).