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Hmm ... When Should Tom Have Put the Rice on ...

Age 11 to 16
Challenge Level


Tom is a keen cook, but doesn't find it easy to coordinate things when he's following a recipe.  Recently he made a delicious supper of meatballs with tomato and bell pepper sauce, served on rice.  Well, each element of the dish was delicious, but he really wanted them all ready at the same time.  Of course, it didn't help that the recipe didn't mention that the dish should be served with rice until the end ...
Use a flowchart or similar to prepare a schedule for Tom. To cook the rice, allow 5 minutes for it to come to the boil, then 20 minutes simmering time. You will also need to allow sensible lengths of time for preparation of ingredients.

Meatballs Tomato and bell pepper sauce
Ingredients Ingredients
  • olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped finely
  • 2 1/4 cups minced lamb
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 large garlic cloves 2 oz shallots, chopped
  • 2 large bell peppers, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 1 lb fresh, ripe tomatoes
  • 2 thin strips freshly pared orange rind
  • salt and pepper
Method Method
  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft but not brown.
  2. Remove the skillet from the heat, and allow the onion to cool.
  3. Add the onion to the lamb with the egg, lemon juice, cumin, cayenne, mint, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Use your hands to squeeze all the ingredients together.
  4. With wet hands, shape the mixture into small balls. Place on a baking sheet and chill for at least 20 minutes.
  5. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet, and arrange as many of the meatballs as possible in a single layer but without over-crowding them.
  6. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until brown on the outside but still pink inside.
  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, shallots and bell peppers and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are soft but not brown. 
  2. Add the tomatoes, orange rind and salt and pepper and bring to a boil. 
  3. Reduce the heat as far as possible and let simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, or until the liquid evaporates and the sauce thickens.
  4. Puree the sauce through a sieve or in a food processor.  
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  6. Use at once, or cover and chill for up to 3 days.