I have a confession to make. This recipe for meatloaf nearly didn’t make it to the blog. Not because it’s not a good recipe, it is. But because I am not really happy with the pictures. That’s the problem with being a cookery writer and not a photographer. However, Mr B insisted it should go in because he likes it! So please forgive my photography skills and give it a try anyway. He’s right though, it is really tasty, and makes a good weekday meal.
As a professional cookery writer, developing recipes comes naturally to me. As a result, I have acquired a large bank of fabulous recipes over the years which I wanted to share with my friends and family, not just through my books but here on-line too. When I started this blog a few months back I was taking the pictures on my phone. They were OK, and sometimes even pretty good. (I was very happy with the picture of the coffee truffles I shot last week.) Nothing like the standard I have become accustomed to as a professional food stylist though. So there is my dilemma: I want all pictures to be good. When shooting for work all my effort goes into producing the food to look fabulous and I don’t have to think about lighting, focusing, how a camera works etc. That’s all down to the photographer. Here I have to be the photographer too so a couple of weeks ago I picked up a “proper” DSLR camera of the first time and these are some of the first pics I took with it. Just using the auto setting. I’ve still got a lot to learn.
This week I took a crash course in how to use a digital camera and I am beginning to find my way around the settings. These pictures were taken by my tiny kitchen window a couple of weeks ago and, given the relative absence of sun in the UK recently, that has proven very limited but I have also managed to set up some better lights at home so I am hoping there will be some improvement here too. I could have put off posting this recipe until I had time to re-shoot it, but I have so many more recipes I want to share with you and just not enough time. So I decided to post it now – hopefully you will look back with me in the future and will see an improvement.
I know in the States meatloaf is a regular staple but here in the UK it does not appear to be that common. I could be wrong though. It’s a shame we don’t make it more often as it is simple to make and very tasty. Many varieties, including this one, also taste good cold which makes it a really versatile dish. Serve it for lunch, supper or even on a picnic. Even without the layer of peppers and mozzarella it would still taste great. However, I do think it makes it more interesting if you keep the layers albeit a little harder to slice and serve but that’s not a reason to compromise on taste.
Do line the loaf tin though – the first time I made this recipe I skipped that step and ended up with only half the meatloaf turning out. The bottom layer of meat had stuck to the base of the tin – Oops! You only need to line the long sides and the base so you can do it with one strip of baking parchment. It also helps the loaf stay together if you try leave a small gap around the edge of the tin when arranging the peppers and cheese in the middle.
Once turned out I garnished the loaf with a sliced tomato but that’s optional.
Step by step meatloaf with mozzarella and red peppers
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 450 g lean minced beef
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 50 g fresh breadcrumbs
- 3 tbsp fruity brown sauce
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 pointed red pepper seeded and cut into thin strips
- 125 g mozzarella sliced
- Preheat the oven to 180℃/170℃ fan /gas mark 4. Line a 900g loaf tin with baking parchment.
- Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and stir continuously. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and cook, while stirring, for another minute. Allow to cool slightly.
- Place the onions, beef, oregano, breadcrumbs, and brown sauce in a large bowl. Mix well.
- Add the eggs and beat until well combined.
- Pile just under half of the mixture into the lined loaf tin and press level. Arrange the red pepper strips down the centre of the tin. Cover with the sliced mozzarella.
- Spoon the remaining meat mixture on top and press down well. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
- Allow to stand for 10 minutes the turn out and slice to serve.