It’s the veal thing

[Recipe 1] DUTCH VEAL ROLLS (blinde vinken) and BRAISED RED CABBAGE with APPLE (rode kool met appeltjes) transforms into
Reuban sandwich
“If it smells like someone let a wicked fart loose in your kitchen, you’re on the right track.”
I intended to make my own fermented sauerkraut for this post, but when I came across that particular comment whilst browsing food blogs, I chickened out. That, and reference to possible contamination by pesky microbes had me dishing up Braised red cabbage with apple (rode kool met appeltjes) instead. While not strictly sauerkraut as it’s not fermented; it comes pretty close in flavour. It’s my own take on my dad’s recipe – the cabbage is simmered in chicken stock with fresh apple, Dijon mustard and spices, and is quite delicious! You’ll find so many ways to use the leftovers during the week – this little picture shows our lunch at work on Thursday, photographed on a cutting mat (see tips/ingredients below the main recipe).
Braised red cabbage is the perfect accompaniment to Dutch veal rolls (blinde vinken). The name translates literally as ‘blind finches’, a classic quirky Dutchism. They’re lovely spiced logs of minced veal and pork, traditionally wrapped in paper-thin slice of veal, but I prefer to use pancetta. I also like to add grated apple (firm pear works well too). They’re simmered in stock and my boys LOVE them as they’re basically fancy sausages.
Cranberry and goji berry jam on sourdoughBy making double the quantity of Dutch veal roll mixture, you can serve up Swedish meatballs later in the week (or later in the month if you choose to freeze them)! Unsuspecting family members will have no idea this is the same mince mixture, rolled into balls. I’ve served them up Ikea-style (minus the horse meat); with mashed potatoes and home-made Cranberry and goji berry jam (I’d love to make Swedish lingonberry jam, but where on earth can one buy lingonberries in Australia)? I threw the goji berries in on a whim and they added a lovely tartness to the sauce. Goji berries are packed full of protein and vitamins, in fact they apparently contain 500 times more vitamin C than oranges! After much experimenting, I’ve found that simple is best with this jam. No need for vinegar, onion or wine. It’s gently sweetened with maple syrup and has a nice burst of zing from the ginger and lemon zest. Delicious! Recipe link is here. We spent 5 days at Apollo Bay Music Festival last week, and this jam went down a treat on sourdough smeared with White Castello cheese (pictured).
So, we didn’t miss the sauerkraut at all, but one day I’ll work up the courage to whip up a batch. Has anyone made it? If so I’d LOVE to know if it was a success, and if the resulting putrid-smelling kitchen was worth it.

Blinde vinken (Dutch veal rolls)[Recipe 1] Dutch veal rolls (blinde vinken) and braised red cabbage with apple (rode kool met appeltjes)

Ingredients for braised red cabbage with apple (makes 4 cups):
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red (purple/Spanish) onion, finely chopped
2 large green apples, peeled and chopped into small pieces
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 small head red cabbage, shredded, inner core discarded
1¾ cups (435ml) store-bought or home-made chicken stock, plus extra ¼ cup if required
½ cup (125ml) apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon marjoram

2 tablespoons brown sugar
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Ingredients for Dutch veal rolls (serves 4 for 2 meals):

4 slices wholemeal bread, crusts removed, cut into pieces
½ cup (125ml) milk
500g (1 lb) minced (ground) humanely-farmed veal
500g (1 lb) minced (ground) free range pork
½ cup chopped parsley
1 small red (purple/Spanish) onion, very finely chopped
1 large green apple, peeled and grated

½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon marjoram
2 eggs, lightly whisked
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
100g (3.5 oz) thinly sliced pancetta
Olive oil, for frying, extra

1 cup (250ml) store-bought or home-made chicken stock, or veal stock
Pan-fried kipfler potatoes, to serve

For the braised red cabbage with apple (this can be made up to 3 days in advance):
Heat oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Fry onion and apple for 5–8 minutes, until onion is soft and transparent and apple begins to turn golden brown.
Add mustard seeds. Cook for for 1-2 minutes. Add cabbage, stock, vinegar, mustard, cloves, marjoram and brown sugar. Simmer over a low–medium heat, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add a splash more stock if it is drying out. Season.
Set aside until required. Braised red cabbage can be served cold or re-heated gently on the stovetop. It improves with age so is best made at least the day before.
For the Dutch veal rolls (these can be made up to 3 days in advance, or frozen):
Soak bread in milk for 5 minutes, and gently squeeze out.
Place minced meat, parsley, onion, apple, spices and eggs in a large bowl. Add the squeezed-out bread. Mix well and season.
Divide mixture in half (approx. 650g/1.4 lb), and reserve one portion for the Swedish meatballs.
Roll the remaining veal mixture into eight log shapes. Wrap each in pancetta.
Heat olive oil in a large non-stick frypan. Add veal rolls and gently fry until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Cook in two batches if required, and return to the pan when cooked. Pour in stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 8–10 minutes. Turn the veal rolls over and simmer for a further 8 minutes.
Remove veal rolls from the pan and keep warm on a plate covered with foil. Bring pan juices to the boil and simmer until reduced by half. Drain in a fine mesh sieve. Set aside strained juices and reheat when required.
Serve the veal rolls and pan juices with braised red cabbage and pan-fried kipflers or thickly-sliced rye bread.

  • Uncooked Dutch veal rolls can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 1 month. Place baking paper between the layers. Defrost overnight in the fridge. Drain on kitchen paper to absorb excess moisture before cooking.
  • Braised red cabbage can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. The flavour improves with time.
  • Braised red cabbage is fabulous in a Reuben-style sandwich (pictured in the intro text) with Edam cheese, pastrami and Dijonnaise (2 teaspoons Dijon mustard mixed with 2 tablespoons mayonnaise). 
  • Braised red cabbage is also delicious served with pork schnitzels, Slow-cooked beef brisket, Pulled pork or served up Dutch-style, nestled on a bed of endive and potato mash with a big fat rookwust sausage resting on top (my Dad’s specialty).
  • If you don’t have the time or inclination, you can buy ‘kapusta czerwona’ (braised Polish red cabbage) by the jar at European delicatessens – the flavour is very similar to Dutch braised cabbage. Warm gently on the stove-top.

Swedish meatballs (Ikea style)

[Recipe 2] Swedish meatballs with cranberry and goji berry jam

Ingredients (serves 4):
Half quantity (approx. 650g/1.4 lb) reserved Dutch veal roll mixture
2 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
2 cups store-bought or home-made chicken stock
150ml (5 fl oz) cream (I use light cooking cream)
Creamy parmesan mashed potatoes, to serve
Cranberry and goji berry jam, to serve

Steamed green beans, to serve
Chopped fresh dill, to serve

Roll mixture into 20–25 walnut-sized balls. Refrigerate for 30 minutes if time permits.
Heat olive oil in a large non-stick frypan. Add meatballs and brown well on all sides, about 8 minutes. Cook in two batches, transferring to a plate lined with kitchen paper.
Add flour to pan, and cook, stirring for about one minute. Gradually pour in stock and cream and bring to the boil. Return meatballs to the pan. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are cooked through.
Serve meatballs and their sauce with Creamy parmesan mashed potatoes and Cranberry and goji berry jam, with a side of steamed green beans. Scatter with chopped dill.

  • Meatballs can be frozen, raw, for up to 3 months. Place baking paper between the layers. Defrost overnight in the fridge. Drain on kitchen paper to absorb excess moisture before cooking.
  • If you don’t have a deep-sided non-stick pan; cook the meatballs in a shallow-sided non-stick pan first; and transfer them to a deeper pan for cooking in the sauce.
  • The Cranberry and goji berry jam is beautiful served with sourdough bread, spread thickly with White Castello cheese (pictured in the intro text).
  • Dried wild goji berries are available from health food stores or online from Loving Earth.
  • I always buy 300ml (10 fl oz) tubs of cream, and freeze the leftover 150ml (5 fl oz) cream in its tub. Nearly all my recipes that contain cream use 150ml. Allow the cream to defrost in the fridge overnight and use it for this recipe again or for:
    Caramelised onion and goat’s cheese tart or
    Chicken and leek pot pie or
    Creamy pumpkin fettuccine with toasted walnuts or
    Sticky date pudding with toasted hazelnuts or
    Roasted red capsicum and fresh herb tart