Visit Alexandra's food blog: www.urbanfeast.com
Many places have a signature dish. Whether it’s 3-hatted fine dining or a fast food joint. Sepia has that crazy forest themed dessert. Quay’s got their snow egg. Hungry Jack’s has the Whopper. Maccas has their famous fries.
Luckily for me, my favourite signature dish is not something that breaks the bank, or is something I have to book a table for months and months in advance. Or is something that is going to totally block my arteries and push my sodium-levels sky-high.
I have pretty simple taste when it really comes down to it. Of course, I love good food and nice things. And my overflowing closet would probably point towards me being a tiny bit materialistic. Teeny tiny. But if you give me a cool box, some nice packaging, or even some sweet bubble wrap to play with I’ll be pretty content. Don’t lie, pushing those little bubbles in bubble wrap is crazy entertaining.
And that comes back to the food. My favourite dish, hands down, is Ikea meatballs with gravy. I’d have it for my birthday dinner, celebratory dinner, cheer myself up dinner, hey, maybe even graduation dinner, thought I would never really seriously suggest it (even though I would totally be wishing for it in my head). They’re just so good.
Most people are probably scratching their head right now. Meatballs at Ikea? This girl’s been playing in too many damn boxes. Ikea is a furniture store. Duh. Yes, it is also a furniture store. But more importantly than all that cool, trendy furniture that they’ve made a fortune on, is the meatballs. It always comes down to meatballs.
If you haven’t tried them, you’re really missing out on the whole Ikea experience. Whoever designed how that store works is a freakin genius.
When you’re little, there’s a sweet ball pit plus a crazy amount of stuffed animals from little broccolis to hearts with hands and you know, some regular animals too. When you’re a bit older you can make forts in the showrooms and have races downstairs on the giant trolleys. In your young-adult years you can dream about the home-styling skills you wish you had and pretend you’re super fancy because you can actually afford both a couch and a coffee table. When you’re testing out a relationship you can see how well your man puts together a dresser and how much the two of you freak out when after two hours of building you realize you still have one plank of wood and three screws that are supposed to be holding something up somewhere.
Or you can be like me and simply take your new-ish boyfriend to Ikea, discover the most adorable stuffed animal carrot, put it in your trolley like a little child, wheel it around and see if the guy sticks around. To be fair, he did call me crazy, but he didn’t run away screaming. I’d call it a win.
And when you’re in your thirties and can actually afford some of the nice furniture, you can use their cute whimsical ideas and deck out your house in true cheap Swedish style. And for anyone any age….there’s meatballs!
I told you, it ALWAYS comes back to meatballs. In my world, anyway.
When you’re there you gotta go for the classic, meatballs with chips, not potatoes, smothered in creamy gravy and accompanied by some sweet lingonberry sauce.
But I haven’t even told you the best part!
You can enjoy Ikea meatballs all the time! (I actually swear to you no one from Ikea is paying me to write this piece, I just really like them that much).
One big bag of meatballs at Ikea (which is about six servings) is only about ten bucks. And there are not a lot of preservatives. They’re not exactly the most healthy thing you can eat, but hey, life’s not all peaches and cream.
They sell them down in the marketplace, frozen, so you can just take ‘em out and defrost them anytime you like. I decided it was time to have a bit of fun and see just what these meatballs could really do. And so, I bring you…..Ikea meatballs in 3 NEW WAYS.
It was a lot of fun, I hope you enjoy making them and eating them at least half as much as I do.Pizza with meatballs, mozzarella and caramelized onions
Serves 310-12 Ikea meatballs, unfrozen in microwave for 3 minutes
1 store-bought pizza base
3 tablespoons tomato pizza base
1 onion, halved and sliced
1 teaspoon brown sugar
A few spoonfuls of diced tomatoes
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2 teaspoons minced parsley
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and sprinkle the brown sugar over the top. Cook, stirring frequently until the onions begin to brown, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions have softened and are medium golden brown. About 15 minutes longer.
Preheat the oven according to the pizza base instructions. Spread the tomato pizza base over the pizza base. Cover in ¾ of the shredded mozzarella. Place the tomatoes, meatballs and onions on top. Cover in the rest of the mozzarella. Bake in the oven according to pizza base instructions. Garnish with parsley.
Angel hair with pesto, meatballs and walnuts
Serves 415-20 Ikea meatballs, unfrozen in microwave for 3 minutes
400g Angel hair pasta
5-6 tablespoons pesto
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
¼ cup shaved parmesan
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cook the angel hair pasta according to directions. Top with pesto, meatballs, walnuts and parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!
Banh Mi sandwiches
Serves 44 Vietnamese bread rolls
16-20 Ikea meatballs, unfrozen in microwave for 3 minutes
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into strips
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Sprinkle of soy sauce
Large sprigs of cilantro
Toast the bread tolls and spread with mayonnaise. On one sandwich pile a layer of cucumber, then a layer of carrot, then a layer of chilli. Pile the meatballs on top then sprinkle some soy sauce on top and on the other side of the bread. Top with cilantro and close the sandwich. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches.
Last week's post: Buffalo chicken wings
Visit Alexandra's food blog: www.urbanfeast.com