Shawn's Meatloaf

She hung back, hoping he wasn’t going to be so predictable as to offer to show her the bedroom. 
He turned left, past the great room. “You should see the kitchen!" 
Surprised, she followed him. The kitchen opened up, acres of granite counters and slick silver appliances. “It’s beautiful!” She ran a hand over the shining surfaces. 
He threw the doors of the refrigerator open. “Deep freezer, extra wide shelves. Check out this oven!” 
She stared in amazement as he grabbed a roll of ground beef from the refrigerator. 
What?” He stopped, staring at her. 
You,” she said. “Excuse me for saying so, but you don’t seem like the type to get excited over a kitchen.” 
Because you never imagined I was the type who liked to cook." 
She raised her eyebrows. “Seriously? This isn’t going to lead to one of your obnoxious puns?” 
He shook his head, already tearing into the beef. “Open the cupboard. I picked up my secret spices. You can chop onions. The right kind of onion makes all the difference. And an egg, crushed cornflakes, barbecue sauce.” 
She stared in disbelief. 
He grinned. “Don’t believe everything you hear. Give me a chance. At least you’ll get a really good meatloaf out of it.” 
She had laughed, then, and opened the cupboard, bare but for a dozen brand new bottles of spices.  He had delivered on his promise of the best meatloaf she’d ever tasted, followed by a game of Monopoly and a ride home, keeping his hands to himself. 
And now, cracking an egg into her own meatloaf in her own small house in Scotland, the pain hit her fresh: Shawn was dead.

From The Minstrel Boy
Book Two of The Blue Bells Chronicles

recipes meatloaf cooking scotland medieval history So what is Shawn's fantastic meatloaf?   I did some hunting and came up with one.  Truth be told, however, I used to cook most nights of the week for a family of 11, but with 'only' 7 of us still living here, and kids all over the place, at friends' houses, at jobs, at school events, and with my work schedule--well, I don't cook as much as I used to.

Nevertheless, it seemed I should try this 'best meatloaf ever' recipe, and see if it really lives up to its title.  And so, I sent my daughter into the store with my credit card and a list, while I sat in the car editing manuscripts.  It's how we roll here.  My kids love the people at Aldi, and it seems the people at Aldi enjoy them, too, so we're all happy!

Like magic, when we got home, there were all the ingredients I needed for Shawn's Meatloaf!  I told my daughter to make it (hey, she likes cooking!) while I went out to lunch with a high school classmate I haven't seen in 35 years (um, I mean three years!  Yeah, only three!  And he's writing, too, and I'm excited about his book!) and his parents.   Anyway, my daughter went to the history museum and out to lunch at an Irish pub instead.  

meatloaf Bluebells authors cooking medieval historySo I bit the bullet--which was neither medieval nor tasty and hence will not be an ingredient in any of the recipes in this book.  A man I once met in Croatia tells me, though, that gunpowder tastes like very dark chocolate.  I'm still thinking no on gun powder as an ingredient.  But I digress.

I broke out the apron and oven mitts, the butcher knife (which I confess scared my children as they haven't seen my cook in awhile and weren't sure what I was doing), the cutting board, the three-pound loaf of ground beef, onion, spices, carrots, grater, and more...and I cooked!  I chopped, I diced, I grated, I beat the eggs and mixed the milk.  Because I'm a graduate of the Cooking with Shawn School of Culinary Arts, I only sort of measured.  Kind of.  Until I lost patience and just threw things in, thinking that was about right.  

(Actually, I'm fictionalizing the story.  There were only two kids around and they were in the other room and didn't actually notice I had a butcher knife--but that's a rather boring story.)

Results?  Yes, I think this is pretty good meatloaf!  I ate most of the pan.  (Guess I'm either taking the dog for a really long walk tomorrow or buying new clothes.)  So here's the recipe:


PREHEAT OVEN: 350 degrees F

2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
½ cup well-crushed cornflakes
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup grated carrot
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar
or part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil, thyme or sage
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon prepared mustard

  1. Beat eggs, add milk and cornflakes; let stand until liquid is absorbed.
  2. Stir in onion, carrot, cheese and seasonings.
  3. Mix in ground beef
  4. Shape into a 7-1/2 x 3-1/2 x 2-1/2 inch loaf in a shallow baking pan
  5. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes
  6. Combine topping ingredients and spoon over meatloaf
  7. Bake 30 minutes longer, occasionally spooning more topping over loaf
  8. Let stand 10 minutes before serving

Look for further announcements regarding Food and Feast: subtitle still to come, which will feature recipes from The Blue Bells Chronicles, along with excerpts from the books, some of the history of Niall's time, and snippets about food and philosophies regarding food, in Niall's time.

For other recipes, see:

Click on the sidebar and the RECIPES and MEDIEVAL RECIPES and FOOD AND FEAST labels for more.

Watch for posts this week about my fellow authors Howard Jay Smith (Beethoven in Love Opus 139) and Janet Kramer (The Sion Grail and the upcoming The Astronomer's Daughter).  Janet is from my writer's group, and I love her thoroughly researched novel.  I 'met' Howard online and, as a musician myself who never sees enough good books incorporating music, I'm really excited to read his fictionalized take on Beethoven!

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