Thursday, 13 June 2013

Theo's Ball Ball Buffet

This meal was inspired by my 17 month old baby who loves balls and helping himself at meal times.  It features a selection of ball shaped food; Richmond Mini Meatballs, home made Gnocchi and dough balls, along with tomato and herb sauce, garlic butter dip and grated cheese. It might sound a bit complicated but it was very easy and quick to put together.

This post is an entry for BritMums’ Hungry to Happy Challenge sponsored by Richmond Mini Meatballs. I received a voucher to allow me to buy Richmond Mini Meals and use them to create a meal idea.

Dough Balls

I kind of cheated on these, but they are still home made. I used my bread maker!! I use our bread maker a few times a week, but it tends to be one of those things a lot of people have but don't use. This is a simple alternative use for it.  

I followed the Pizza dough recipe on my bread maker, adding water, plain flower, olive oil, salt, sugar and yeast.

I then set the bread making going and went and put my feet up for a bit. When I came back I had a tin full of pizza dough ready to use. I greased a baking tray.

And then floured my hands and rolled the dough into little balls, making sure they were spread out as they do get bigger when cooking. I cooked them in the over for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Time Taken: 2 minutes to throw everything into the bread maker. 5 minutes to roll the dough balls.


Gnocchi is an Italian dish of soft dumplings. There are many different varieties. I opted to make potato gnocchi. You can also buy them ready made in the fresh pasta aisle of larger supermarkets.

The ingredients are 2 Potato, 280g of plain flower and an egg.

Peel and cook the potato. Boil in a pan, drain, leave to cool and mash. 

Add the mashed potato to the egg and flour and mix into a dough. Roll the dough into balls.To cook the gnocchi you simply boil it for about 5 minutes until it floats in the pan. It tastes better with a pinch of salt in the water but we left that out as cooking for small children.

Time Taken: 2 minutes to peel the potatoes, 10minutes to mash the potatoes, make the dough and roll them into balls.

Richmond Mini Meatballs

This was by far the easiest part of the meal.  Simply put them on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 8 minutes.

Time Taken: <30seconds to put them on a baking tray!

Tomato and herb sauce

I made this simple sauce to accompany our ball ball food. I used an onion, tin of chopped tomatoes and basil and oregano to flavour. Saute the onion, add the tomato and herbs. I used my stick blender to smooth out the consistency to the desired level.

Time Taken: 5 Minutes

Garlic Butter Dip 

This was made primarily to accompany the dough balls. It's very strong on the garlic which my hubby and Theo love. I used margarine (butter would have been better but we didn't have any), 4 cloves of garlic, garlic power, herbs. I finally chopped the garlic and combined all the ingredients together. I used the stick blender to ensure the garlic was broken down as much as possible in the butter. This results in a very strong garlic butter dip, great with hot dough balls.

Time Taken: 3 minutes

The Finished Meal


This meal was very easy cook and relatively quick. There are a lot of different components but it was easy to time preparing one thing whilst another was cooking. Abigail was unwell today, but under normal circumstances I'd have got her rolling the dough balls for me. The entire meal took 45minutes to make (I did have to start the dough going an hour before I started cooking). Had I used ready made gnocchi I could probably have reduced the prep/cooking time to around 30minutes.

Theo was absolutely delighted with his Ball Ball meal. It had balls, it tasted great and he was allowed to help himself! He was there long after we had all finished, duel wielding the last couple of dough balls. The rest of the family were pretty happy too. Everyone helped themselves to a bit of everything. The meal balls where a definite hit, with the only complaint being they wanted more.

Disclosure: I received a voucher to buy Richmond Mini Meatballs to take part in the challenge. The recipe idea and opinions are my own.

1 comment:

kateonthinice said...

Like how you have broken down the different elements of the meal. Commenting for myself and on behalf of BritMums and thanking you for taking part