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“Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme” Meatballs

Here’s a really quick and tasty meatball dish. The meatballs are baked, with cherry tomatoes which makes a simple sauce. You can also customise the meatballs by adding chili, cheese or more sauce. They’re great served on crusty bread as mini burgers too!

The meatballs are very herby, cooked with rosemary and sage, and served with more rosemary, thyme and parsley. Hence the name – my homage to the Simon and Garfunkel version of “Scarborough Fair”, a favourite song of mine. I love the live version on the album Live 69 http://www.simonandgarfunkel.com/music/live-1969/.

Ingredients 

1 onion

500g good quality minced beef (I used wagyu beef mince – wonderful flavour)

1/2 tsp rosemary sprigs 

1/2 tsp sage leaves

1 egg, beaten

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce 

1 tsp balsamic vinegar 

1 tsp Dijon mustard 

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2-3 tbls breadcrumbs or a good couple of handfuls 

12 cherry tomatoes 

6-8 truss cherry tomatoes

1/2 tsp chopped thyme leaves 

1/2 tsp torn parsley leaves

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees C non fan forced, 210 degrees C fan forced.

Chop the onion finely, or blitz in a food processor.

Put the beef mince in a large mixing bowl, breaking up the mince with a spoon. You could do all the mixing using your hands if you wish. Add the chopped onion, rosemary sprigs and sage leaves, which have been finely chopped.

Add the beaten egg, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Add the breadcrumbs, mixing to combine so that the mixture holds together. You will need to use your judgement about how much of the breadcrumbs you add to give you a good consistency to make meatballs.

Roll the mixture into golf ball sized balls. Place them side by side, fairly snugly, into a baking dish. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and push them as many halves as you like into the spaces between the meatballs. Scatter some more rosemary springs over the top with more salt and pepper.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes until the meatballs are brown and cooked, but still nice and moist in the middle, if you cut one open.

You could serve as is, but it’s nice to add some more cherry tomatoes. Blister some truss cherry tomatoes in a hot frying pan by dry-frying for a couple of minutes. 

Serve the meatballs with the blistered tomatoes, scattered with thyme and parsley.

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Ottolenghi Roast Chicken with Mandarins or Clementines

This is a fantastic Yottam Ottolenghi recipe from his beautiful book Jerusalem. The recipe is based on his Roasted Chicken with Clementines and Arak.

As is my want, I have made some variations to the dish, through personal pereference or, in the case of the clementines, because I couldn’t get them!

I loved the idea of the sweet clementines cooked with the chicken, but, as we don’t have clementines readily available in Australia, I used mamdarins instead. They worked really well!  They cooked down to a sticky softness.  I’m not a big fan of anything aniseed , so I used cumquat brandy instead of an aniseed liqueur. An orange liqueur, or brandy, would be fine too. For the same reason, I substituted shallots for the fennel bulbs.   I also cut down on the sugar in the recipe.

Ingredients

100ml orange liqueur or any good brandy. I used a lovely home made cumquat brandy I had on hand.
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp grain mustard
1.5 tbsp light brown sugar
6 shallots
8 chicken thighs with the skin and on the bone
4 mandarins unpeeled, sliced horizontally into slices  (or clementines if yuo can get them)
1 tbsp thyme leaves
2 tsp fennel seeds, slightly crushed
Salt and black pepper

Method

Put the liqueur/brandy, olive oil, orange and lemon juices, musard and borwn sugar in a large  bowl with 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper. Whisk well and set aside.

Peel the shallots and add to the bowl, with the chicken pieces,manadarin/clementine slices, thyme and fennel seeds. Stir well to make sure the marinade covers the chicken pices.

Leave to marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Transfer the chicken and its marinade to a baking dish that’s large enough to fit everything  in a one layer.  The chicken should be skin-side  up.

Put the baking dish in the oven and roast for 35 to 45 minutes, until the chicken is brown and cooked through. Remove the dish from the oven.

I served the chicken straight from the baking dish at the table.  There was a lot of lovely juice, so I served the dish with lots of wild rice. Couscous would be great too.

The original recipe says to remove the chicken, madarin/clementine slices and shallots to a serving plate, while you reduce the cooking liquid in a small saucepan. The sauce is then poured over the chicken.

Up to you – it’s a really delicous dish either way!

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