Meatballs are always enjoyable but they are so much better when you make them yourself.

If you haven’t already done so, then try this recipe and you are in for a treat.

If you like you could spice it up a bit with some curry or harissa, and vary with whatever vegetables you have to hand.

Mediterranean meatball gratin. \ Photography: Claire Jeanne Nash. Food styling: Janine Kennedy

I am a big fan of San Marzano tomatoes. Toons Bridge Dairy in Co Cork make a very good buffalo cheese.

Sometimes Parmesan shavings are difficult to find, but the grated Parmesan is fine.

Pork is good value but there is a lot of imported pork in our shops so I always look for the Bord Bia Quality Assured mark. Mint and peas are a great combination. I like to serve this with buttery mashed potatoes.

Thank you for the kind comments about my TV series which is just coming to an end. They are very much appreciated. And right now we are out filming the next series and loving it.

Happy cooking,



Mediterranean meatball gratin

Mediterranean meatball gratin. \ Photography: Claire Jeanne Nash. Food styling: Janine Kennedy

Serves four

375g (13oz) fresh Irish extra lean mince

4 cream crackers, crushed into fine crumbs

1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 egg

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 celery stick, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 courgette, chopped

1 red pepper, seeded and chopped

2 x 400g (14oz) cans chopped plum tomatoes

Pinch of sugar

1 ball buffalo mozzarella, chopped

225g (8oz) spaghetti

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Freshly grated Parmesan or shavings, to garnish

  • 1 Place the mince in a bowl with the cream crackers, parsley and egg. Season with salt and pepper and make about 12 even-sized balls.
  • 2 Heat half the oil in a large non-stick pan and gently sauté the vegetables for about 15 minutes until softened. Add the tomatoes with the sugar and simmer for another 15 minutes until well reduced, then blitz with a hand-blender until smooth.
  • 3 Heat the rest of the olive oil in a clean pan and sauté the meatballs for 8-10 minutes until almost cooked through and nicely browned. Pour over the sauce and simmer for another 10 minutes until the meatballs are tender.
  • 4 Scatter over the mozzarella and flash under the grill until bubbling.
  • 5 Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions. Serve with the Mediterranean meatballs garnished with the Parmesan.
  • Pork steaks with new potatoes & peas

    Serves four

    550g (1lb 6oz) fresh Irish pork steaks, well trimmed

    Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

    1 garlic clove, finely chopped

    1 tsp fresh mixed herbs, such as thyme, rosemary and/or sage

    3 tbsp rapeseed oil

    450g (1lb) baby potatoes

    100g (4oz) frozen peas

    1 tsp fresh chopped mint

    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 Bash the pork medallions with a rolling pin to flatten them. Put into a shallow dish with half of the oil, half the lemon zest along with the garlic and mixed herbs. Season with salt and pepper and allow to marinade for 15 minutes if time allows.
  • 2 Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6). Cut the baby potatoes into quarters and drizzle over the rest of the oil and roast for 25-30 minutes until tender.
  • 3 Heat a griddle pan. Add the pork and cook for a couple of minutes each side, turning carefully.
  • 4 Cook the peas according to instructions on the packet, then toss with the potatoes, the rest of the lemon rind and the mint, then season to taste. Arrange on plates with the chargrilled pork escalopes.