Sometimes I really pinch the pennies. I don’t really know why, I just seem to do it. I live as if I’m really poor, but I’m not really that poor at all, so I guess at this point I’m just stingy. I explain my odd behaviour with those 5 years of university in which I never had money to do anything because if you spent too much early on in the week to buy cheese and, you know, food, you didn’t have enough towards the weekend to waste on alcohol, and God forbid you had to stay in over the weekend, or even worse, go out without drinking. After five years of taking penny pinching to extreme heights, I guess it’s just still ingrained in my system. I can’t not do it.
I don’t really need to pinch the pennies. I have a job, and rather than only spending money, I actually make some. Rich isn’t quite the right word, but I have enough to pay the rent and the bills, and still have enough left for cheese, which is really all you need. But I still pinch pennies. I skimp on socks (“no one will know my socks have holes in them as long as I keep my shoes on”). Half the stuff in the flat is hanging on for dear life with copious amounts of industrial tape. I reuse food containers instead of buying tupperwares. I don’t have wifi. And I never make meatloaf, because meatloaf requires so much mince and surely that’s really expensive.
And then I go out and I spend 15 quid on cocktails, never eating meatloaf.
It’s completely irrational, I know. I spend money on other types of food that I don’t really need. Clearly I realise I’m not actually poor, and yet meatloaf always seems like something so ridiculously meaty and unnecessary, that I won’t splash out on it. Well, something is going to have to change in my. I want meatloaf. Meatloaf is great. Meatloaf is happening, right now!
Meatloaf has some pretty funky names depending on where you get it. Here in Italy, they call it “huge meatball” (or polpettone), whilst the Dutch call it “mince bread” and the Flemish “meat bread”. The Italians tend to go for a large oven dish, making it into a large, meaty brownie, but I really like the idea of making a loaf of bread out of meat, so I make mine in the same tin that I use for actual bread. This one is a meatloaf with a surprise inside, or really just three hard boiled eggs. It’s kinda eastery and I suggest you make some soon to get into the spirit.
For one big-ass meatloaf, use:
- 200 gr bacon (those thin long slices, the sort of pancetta type)
- 1 kg of mince
- 1 onion
- 2 slices of white bread
- half a cup of milk
- 2 tbsp mustard, grainy is better but smooth works, too.
- four eggs – three boiled, one raw
- to taste: salt, pepper, and nutmeg
Preheat your oven to 175°C.
Crack your raw egg into a bowl and whisk it. Cut your slices of bread in pieces, put them in the bowl and cover them with milk. Leave to soak for a minute.
Meanwhile, put your onion in a food processor or blender and obliterate it into pulp. Add it to the bread mixture, along with the mustard, and mix well so that it becomes a bready, oniony paste. Now add the mince and the spices, and mix it all up. Use your hands, don’t be afraid.
Grab a bread tin and line it with pancetta. This part is a bit of a pain unless you have to super straight, perfectly rectangular slices of bacon. Anyway, line it so you have a bit of bacon hanging over the sides, that way you can cover the top of the meatloaf later.
Grab about half the meat, carefully put it in the baking tin, push down gently. Now put the three boiled and peeled eggs in lengthways, then top with the remaining mince. Now fold the bacon over the top so that the whole thing is wrapped up in bacony goodness, then shove it in the oven for about 50 minutes up to an hour.