I love Ikea design but all that chipboard and self-assembly drives me slightly crazy. There’s nowhere better if you’re setting up home for the first time but I’m old enough now to realise it pays to save up and invest in furniture that lasts.
Still there are some things that make a trip to Ikea worthwhile. Where else can you buy 100 tea lights for £1.75 for example? But the main reason we go these days is to eat in the café. My husband Ben hates Ikea so much (mainly because it’s always heaving at our nearest one in Eastwood) but he can be persuaded if I mention the word ‘meatballs’.
I’ve been experimenting with recipes so that I can make Ikea style meatballs at home and I think this is a pretty good match. It’s an amalgamation of several online recipes the main one being by Celia Barbour for the New York Times.
When I told my butcher what I was cooking he reminded me of the Ikea meatball/horsemeat scandal, so at least if you make your own you don’t have to worry about that. Although it does mean that when I run out of tea lights I don’t have an excuse to drag my husband to Ikea any more.
Ikea style meatballs
Makes about 50 small meatballs
- 180ml of whole milk
- 3 slices of white bread, crusts removed
- A large handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 large onion, grated
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- ½ teaspoon of ground white pepper
- ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper
- 2½ teaspoons of allspice
- 1 pound of lean steak mince
- 1 pound of pork mince
- 180ml of beef stock
- 120ml of double cream
- Some flour
- Some oil
Warm the milk in a small saucepan until just steaming. Remove from the heat and add the bread. Press the bread down so that it absorbs the milk and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl add the parsley, onion, egg, salt, white and black pepper and allspice. Give it a good mix and then add the meat and milk-soaked bread. Mix everything up well with your hands.
With damp hands roll the meat mixture into balls about 1 ½ inches wide and coat lightly with flour.
Add the beef stock to a large casserole dish with a lid and put on a very low heat on the hob.
Fry the meatballs in batches in a frying pan with a little oil over a medium heat until they are well browned on all sides. They do not need to cook through at this stage. Once they are cooked add them to the casserole dish. When all the meatballs are browned put a lid on the casserole dish and gently simmer the meatballs in the stock for 20 to 30 minutes to cook through, stirring gently occasionally.
Before serving add the cream and heat until just warmed.
For that truly authentic Ikea café experience serve with oven chips and cranberry or lingonberry sauce.
Of, if you’re more classy/healthy, serve with small boiled potatoes.