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The Ultimate Meatball Challenge – Competition time!

Posted on November 29, 2012 by in beef, Dinner Divas

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Ultimate Meatball Challenge

It was The Ultimate Meatball Challenge and it all happened here in Nina’s Kitchen! Wow, what fun we had, cooking, filming, challenging, but most of all laughing and more laughing! Who can make the ultimate meatball? That was the challenge put to the two contestants and ordinary contestants they were not!

During the first episode of Dinner Divas, I prepared a Mexican Family Feast. I had to make meatballs as part of my menu and because I have always thought that I can cook the ultimate meatball, I was in the least bit worried about this part of my menu.

Lights, camera, action!!!

Ultimate Meatball

Caro and Aubrey choosing ingredients

Sadly the judges Caro de Waal ( Food 24) and Aubrey Ngcungama(former Come Dine with me South Africa contestant and judge on the Dinner Diva Show) did not think my meatballs were up to standard, it would have helped a lot if I remembered to put it on the table in the first place. Anyway, the verdict was “over-seasoned” and “over-cooked”! It took me exactly two days to get over it! For heaven sake, I take pride in my meatballs and have always thought that I can make the ultimate meatball! “Who the hell are these judges anyway?”

Ultimate meatball

The pantry

It was then that I came up with a master plan….. The Ultimate Meatball Challenge. I challenged the judges, Caro and Aubrey to come and cook their meatballs in my kitchen. My house, my ingredients and my rules! It was time for them to put their money where their mouths are and show me how it was supposedly done! They both gladly accepted the challenge and it was  “Game on!”

Ultimate Meatball

The judges – Anel and Nina

I invited Anel from Lifeisazoobiscuit to be my fellow judge as the judges also had a problem with her meatballs in her episode so it was time to get even!

I supplied the basic ingredients and each contestant could bring his/her secret or special ingredient which they thought could make the Ultimate Meatball!

Ultimate Meatball

The main characters in the story – Nina, Anel, Caro and Aubrey

The basic ingredients I supplied were:

beef mince

pork mince

lamb mince

a wide selection of herbs and spices

onions and spring onions

bread crumbs

lemons and limes

Ultimate Meatball

The lovely Caro de Waal

We had an absolute blast! We had such fun, lots of laughs, but indeed we learned from each other. Both contestants chose pork and beef for their meatballs, just in different ratios. This is where the similarities ended, Aubrey went the  Italian route with added Parmesan and Caro added her “secret ingredient” to create her showstoppers. After much fun, it was time to judge…. Points were given for:

Ultimate Meatball

Aubrey being a natural on TV

Creativity 5

Taste 5

Texture 5

Moisture 5

Seasoning 5

Ultimate Meatball

Even the much loved Martelize Brink from RSG popped in!

After much tasting and debate, Anel and I both felt Aubrey’s meatballs had good flavor, but needed a little salt and also because he is such a creative character, we expected something more innovative  and different like his personality.

Ultimate Meatball

A kind word to your competitor!!

Caro’s meatballs were absolutely delicious. Her secret ingredient did the trick and she stepped out as the winner of the Ultimate Meatball Challenge.  The fact that she sautes her onion and garlic before she ads it to her mince, makes a huge difference, it lends a sweet, warm feel to the meatballs and then of course the “meat butter” took her meatball to the Ultimate meatball, wow, amazing stuff!

Ultimate Meatball

Judgement day!!!

Here then is:

Ultimate Meatball

Caro’s Ultimate Meatball Recipe


 400 g good beef mince

100 g good pork sausage or pork minc

1 small onion

3 cloves of garlic

1 lemon

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp garam masala

1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce

2 chunks of beef bone marrow

2 Tbs chopped basil

2 Tbs chopped parsley

1 egg yolk

100 g butter

Olive oil



Chop the onion and crush the garlic.

Grate the rind of 1/2 the lemon.
Sauté the onion and garlic in a pan of half butter and half oil.
When the onion and garlic have softened (about 5 minutes on a low heat), add the lemon juice, sugar, lemon rind and garam masala.
Cook until fragrant (another 2 minutes or so) and remove from the pan.
Place the onion mixture into a bowl and into the fridge to cool.

In a bowl, combine the 2 meats. Add the bone marrow (chopped finely), the Worcestershire sauce, the chopped herbs, the egg yolk and season with salt and black pepper.
When the onion mixture is cold, add it and combine it well with your hands.
Then place it back into the fridge to cool again and rest. (You could roll them into balls before they go in).
Place half butter and half oil in a clean pan and pan fry the meatballs, turning carefully until browned.
They will be slightly raw in the centre and are best cooked through on a low heat in a lovely tomato based sauce.

You can jazz up the basic sauce with things like olives, chillis and capers.

Tip: Bone marrow: Ask your butcher or at any butchery counter in your supermarket. Make sure to ask for the biggest bones and that you will be using the marrow. It’s very cheap too.

Serve with: These beautiful balls are great with pasta, creamy mash or lovely soft polenta.

Ultimate Meatball

Are they forming an alliance?

Dinner Divas have moved into the semi-final stage and the heat is on between the Top 7  to find SA’s Ultimate Dinner Diva. This weekend it is Anel from Lifeisazoobiscuit and Sue Green from Sous Chef. I will be cooking again on the 8 December!

Dinner Divas

Competition time with Nina’s Kitchen and I love Cooking

Tell me what the secret ingredient in Caro’s Ultimate Meatball! Leave a comment below and also tell me what your secret is. Send a photo of your meatballs ( cell phone pics are fine) to and you stand a change to win big.


First Prize  – Philips Food Processor

Second Prize – R500 cash from I love Cooking

Third Prize – R250 Kalahari Voucher from I love Cooking

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16 Responses to “The Ultimate Meatball Challenge – Competition time!”

  1. Marion 29 November 2012 at 8:54 am #

    bone marrow

    • Helene Smith 7 December 2012 at 6:51 am #

      What is the second meat? Beef?

      • Helene Smith 7 December 2012 at 6:52 am #

        Ooops, I see it now!

  2. TERESA 29 November 2012 at 9:19 am #

    The meat butter was the ultimate

  3. M Storm 29 November 2012 at 9:49 am #

    beef bone marrow the secret ingredient in Caro’s Ultimate Meatball’s

  4. Hettie Prinsloo 29 November 2012 at 10:32 am #

    chunks of beef bone marrow

  5. Magriet du Plooy 29 November 2012 at 11:15 am #

    Beef bone marrow the secret ingredient

  6. lesley hannaway 29 November 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    chunks of beef bone marrow

  7. Pam 29 November 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    I would say the secret ingredient for Caro’s ultimate meatball would be the beef bone marrow

  8. anel 29 November 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    dankie vir n WONDERLIKE dag Nins – and let me just say – your meatballs are still the best!

  9. Sam 30 November 2012 at 7:47 am #

    I would say the lemon.

  10. Colin 30 November 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    Pork and bone marrow! I add a little Mrs Ball’s…

  11. Rodney Fagan 1 December 2012 at 10:29 am #

    The addition of bone marrow sounds fantastic. I ave my recipe for Frikadellen, on that site.
    Great blog, enoyed the layout and of corse the recipes on it.
    I am a home cooking type foodie, so my recipes are the type and style, so drop by Hubpages is not a blg perse but capsule of writing

  12. Zirkie 1 December 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    This was a GREAT idea to get them back, Nins!! Bone Marrow was the beautiful Caro’s secret ingredient!!

  13. Annamarie 16 December 2012 at 8:00 am #

    I would say the bone marrow is the answer that you are looking for – but I beg to differ – i think the Garam masala is what gives it the twist??


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