'I'm making meatloaf again tonight,' I said to Peter. 'The one with the black sesame seeds on top?,' he asked. 'Yep,' I replied. 'Great,' he said, his eyes lighting up. 'That's my favourite and it's a keeper.' Words like that coming from my man are music to this cook's ears.
We're not always singing from the same page of the hymn book, or reading from the same cook book, if you know what I mean. There are many days when our taste buds just aren't aligned. For example, Peter might be hankering for me to make Vietnamese lemongrass and chilli chicken, whereas I would be happier with steak and mushrooms. Or I feel like eating Angel hair pasta with salmon and ricotta, but Peter would prefer pork piccata. Usually there's a playful 'It's not always about you' discussion and then we strike a happy medium, where I will cook one of the dishes that night and the other dish the following evening. That way everyone is happy.
There is always good quality minced meat in our freezer. We buy it in bulk and then separate it into 500g packages, which are perfect for making meals such as lamb burgers, meatballs with spaghetti, chilli con carne, or stuffed aubergines.
The recipe I'm sharing with you today is one that has been on my repertoire since the early 90s, when it was given to my by the owner of a cafe in Bungendore, New South Wales. Since then, I've changed it to suit my family's tastes and it has always been hugely popular. Funnily enough, the first time I made it for Peter was just before Christmas. For some reason, I wasn't sure that he would like it. For starters, it has Worcestershire sauce in it (which he usually won't touch... needless to say I didn't mention that to him), and I thought it may have been a little too 'Aussie' for him. To my absolute delight, he not only liked it, he loved it and is happy for it to feature regularly on the home menu! It's quick, simple and delicious! I hope you and your family will enjoy it too.
1kg lean beef mince*
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
6-8 button mushrooms, finely chopped
6-8 cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly whisked
1/2 -1 cup fresh white bread crumbs or rice crumbs+
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
olive oil, for the tin
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. Brush or spray the base and sides of a heavy-based loaf tin with olive oil and line the base with baking paper. Combine all of the ingredients (except the sesame seeds) in a deep pyrex bowl. With clean hands, work the ingredients together until they are well mixed. Press the meat into the prepared tin, pat down the top and brush or spray a little olive oil, then sprinkle over the sesame seeds. Bake for 40 minutes or so until well browned. Serves 6-8.
* Use good quality minced beef. It should be lean and pure meat. One of the chef's who presented a class at my cooking school years ago pointed out that some unscrupulous butchers actually add water to the mince to add weight to the meat! That's why sometimes when you fry mince meat, the pan fills up with liquid.
+ Those who are gluten intolerant should use rice crumbs instead of bread crumbs.
Bushman's meatloaf is an Aussie dish...
So tell me dear readers, are the taste buds aligned in your household? And what's your strategy for making sure that everyone stays satisfied when it comes to mealtime?
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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- Liz Posmyk
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.