Colourful jelly for a good cause

Familiar family favourite

Tomorrow afternoon my older two girls are involved in a fundraising activity at their school for the Australian Red Cross. This year they asked me to make “exciting looking jelly cups” which will be sold on the day along with other goodies from stalls set up and organised by students in the junior school.  

I have only made jelly once before for a birthday party and that was somewhat of a disaster, because the warm liquid seeped through the fancy paper cups I had bought especially for the occasion before I even had a chance to pop them into the fridge to set. Here’s a tip – always, cool the jelly completely to room temperature before pouring into a paper based serving product even if the product states it is completely watertight! 

Having learnt from my messy mistake, I headed off to my local supermarket and stocked up on little plastic goblets, spoons, multiple packs of strawberry and lime jelly crystals, along with chocolate frogs and a jumbo bag of party mix sweets. 

After reading through through the instructions on the pack written in a fairy sized font that almost had me reaching for the magnifying glass, I then managed to accidentally split the bags of jelly crystals all over the kitchen bench, which mixed with droplets of water creating sticky, scented goo. I refocused, pulled out the reserve jelly packs and started again. Honestly, I am far more comfortable baking a Victoria sponge or chocolate brownies, simmering fruit for jam, turning out home baked fluffy scones or whipping up after school muffins from the top of my head rather than juggling about with fiddly themed jelly cups. 

Despite the kitchen bench drama, the green “Fog in a Pond” and red “Sweet Treats” jelly cups turned out better than expected. My girls are thrilled with the results and look forward to selling them at their stalls with funds going towards a worthwhile cause. 

After inhaling the sugary scent of hot jelly I really craved something wholesome for dinner. I needed to fill my home with an appealing, familiar aroma as far from jelly as possible! Home cooked Miniature Meatballs with Napoletana Sauce – a family favourite – ticked all the boxes. Thanks to my reliable Magimix food processor, I managed to chop up loads of garlic, onion, mushrooms, zucchini, fresh basil, celery and Italian tinned tomatoes in a jiff. The mixture was then sauteed in olive oil and butter and left to simmer for an hour over a low heat. This is essentially my Napoletana Sauce (recipe posted on the 2nd June). I included the button mushrooms for added fibre and flavour. 

The Magimix then made quick work of turning 500 grams of pork fillet into fine mince, which was mixed with an equal quantity of beef mince, 1 large egg, 50 grams of Parmesan cheese and half a cup of semolina with sea salt and pepper to taste. Mum and I rolled these into miniature meatballs the size of a peach pip (see photo below) and refrigerated them until later. Shortly before dinner time, while the penne pasta was cooking, the sauce was warmed up and the meatballs dropped in gently and simmered for 10 minutes. 

Raw miniature meatballs ready to be simmered in sauce

While the children washed up for dinner, the home cooked meatballs and sauce were piled into bowls with pasta and generous amounts of freshly grated Parmesan. Calls for “seconds please” echoed around the table as everyone munched away contentedly.