Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lamb balls in tomato sauce

These meatballs arose because I felt I wanted something Lebanese-tasting to go with my turnip pickles. I was out late at a meeting so I grabbed a bottle of ready made sauce at a shop on the way home but you could make your own tomato sauce for the simmering.

I ate the meatballs in sauce with rice noodles and some shaved parmesan, but you could also serve with rice or pasta or any type of noodles. If you are one of my "evil carbs" friends, you can leave out the pomegranate molasses and serve the dish without the rice or pasta accompaniment.


 750 gr minced lamb
1 tsp sumac
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp all spice
2 large handfuls coriander
2 tsp pomegranate molasses
2 cloves of garlic
Olive oil
Tomato sauce (already prepared)
Pasta/rice/noodles (accompaniment)
Shaved parmesan


Heat the tomato sauce in a pan on stovetop and simmer
Chop the coriander roughly
Crush the garlic
Place lamb, coriander, garlic, sumac, all spice, cumin, and pomegranate molasses in a mixing bowl
Mix thoroughly using hands to ensure that all ingredients are blended
Using a dessertspoon and hands form meatballs of whatever size desired
Heat olive oil in frying pan
Seal the meatballs in batches and transfer to the tomato sauce
Simmer the meatballs in the tomato sauce for about 30 minutes
Meanwhile prepare rice, noodles or pasta for accompaniment
Serve with rice, noodles or pasta with shaved parmesan.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pickled turnips

A couple of weeks ago I was ordering a meal in a Lebanese place in MontrĂ©al. In  order to answer my question about a French word I didn't understand on the menu, the young woman serving us whipped out her phone to get a translation.  It was "turnips" and, of course, they were the pinkish pickled turnips that I have often eaten in Lebanese restaurants though I had not really thought about how they were probuced.

Once home, I pulled out my Middle Eastern authorities, Claudia Roden and Abla Amad, and read up about Middle Eastern pickling of vegetables. This is mainly achieved with vinegar and water and sometimes salt.  Beetroot or red cabbage are the agents used to colour other vegetables.  Sometimes other elements such as celery or garlic are added for additional flavour.

I decided to go for the simple: turnips, beetroot, white wine vinegar, water and salt. I just peeled and chopped and put them in the jars making sure that there was beetroot in both.  You could slice the beetroot finely and build the vegetables up in layers and achieve a nicer visual outcome.

The photo at the top of the post was taken just after I bottled them, and the other taken the morning after already shows the colour of the beetroot taking affect. Now it's a waiting game as they won't be ready for 7-10 days.


4 medium white turnips
1 medium beetroot
3 dessertspoons salt
White wine vinegar


Cut the tops and bottoms of the turnips and peel
Slice into chunks in whatever shape you like
Cut the top and bottom off the beetroot
Cut into slices
Place the turnip pieces and the beetroot slices into a bowl
Add salt and mix
Place the turnip and beetroot into glass jars
Pour white wine vinegar into the jars until they are about one third full
Add water to the jars making sure the vegetables are covered
Seal the jars and put aside for 7-10 days when the turnips should be ready
These will last about six months kept in the vinegar and water solution.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ginger chicken balls

I always feel like meatballs - of whatever flavour. These ones combine some of my favourite flavours: ginger, garlic, Thai basil, chicken, and spring onion and are simmered in tomato sauce and served on a bed of basmati rice. I used a Dolmio spicy pepper sauce which went well with the other flavours, but you could make your own or use a different sort of ready made sauce. However, the meatballs could also be cooked and eaten without sauce, or with sauce served with noodles or pasta. Meatballs are very flexible! I cooked these on the top of the stove but they can be baked in the oven at 160c for 45 minutes.

600 gr minced chicken
2 spring onions
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp minced ginger
8 gr Thai basil
Dry fine bread crumbs
Olive oil
250 gr ready made tomato sauce
Steamed rice or noodles
Shaved Parmesan

Slice spring onions finely
Crush garlic and ginger
Chop Thai basil fairly finely
Add chicken, spring onions, garlic, ginger and Thai basil to a bowl
Combine ingredients thoroughly with hands
Using a heaped soup spoon of mixture form meatballs
Coat lightly in bread crumbs
Place tomato sauce in large pan to heat 
Heat olive oil in pan on stove top
Add the meatballs in batches and quickly seal on both sides
Add sealed meatballs to the tomato sauce
Simmer on the top of the stove for 20-30 minutes
Serve on a bed of rice or rice noodles
Top with shaved Parmesan

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pomegranate and citrus chicken


A couple of weekends ago, in between viewing the Gertrude Street Projections with my friend Karen, we ate at a yummy Spanish restaurant in Gertrude Street. To hit our thirst initially we had a refreshing drink which included lemon, lime and pomegranate.  Well, I pondered on the walk home, those flavours would be a nice combination with chicken.And they certainly are!

This recipe is a variant on Abla's Chicken Wings in Garlic. I used chicken drumettes instead of wings, and citron salt (thanks for the present, Bast!), and where she uses lemon juice, I used lemon juice, lime juice, and pomegranate molasses.  However, the cooking method is the tried and true Abla one.



730 gr chicken drumettes
1 dessertspoon citron salt
A total of 200 ml made up from:
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 2 limes
Pomegranate molasses
1.5 tbs of minced garlic


Preheat oven to 210c.
Arrange the chicken drumettes in a baking dish
Sprinkle with citron salt
Roast for 30 minutes
Meanwhile squeeze the lime and lemons
Add pomegranate molasses to citrus juice
Add minced garlic to the citrus and pomegranate and stir thoroughly
Remove the chicken from the oven and pour the garlic, citrus and pomegranate mixture over
Return to oven and roast for another 20 minutes.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pork and coriander stirfry with black rice

Black rice is packed with nutrients and adds a great favour to salads or stirfries. This is a simple stirfry with the added pleasure of black rice. I like cooking up black rice and freezing individual portions (50 gr) so that I have them ready for a quick meal when I have been at a meeting late. This recipe serves one and can be prepared very quickly so it provides a quick and nutritious meal if you come home late (1862 kJ).


1/2 cup broccoli flowerets
30 gr pak choi
1/2 red capsicum
1 baby carrot
1 pork butterfly steak (175 gr)
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1/2 tsp sambal oelek
1/2 bunch fresh coriander
50g (raw measurement) cooked black rice
Olive oil


Quickly seal the pork on the grill basting with a little olive oil
Meanwhile chop the broccoli, pak choi, capsicum, carrot and coriander
Crush the garlic
Heat oil in a wok
Cut the pork into thin slices
Add vegetables, pork, coriander, garlic, ginger, and chilli to the wok
Stir fry quickly to desired crunchiness
Stir though the black rice until heated

Lentil and egg salad

The hot Melbourne summer this year called for lots of fresh, crisp salads.  This is one that I made for lunch one day.  I love the combination of the lentils, hard-boiled eggs and crisp vegetables.  There are so many lovely textures and colours. I often soak dry lentils overnight before I cook them but it is not strictly necessary.  They will just need cooking for longer. If you don't want to cook lentils, you can easily add canned lentils to the mix.  When I buy fresh basil leaves, I always seem to have some over.  I hang them to dry and enjoy the intense taste of them in salads or when grilling meat.


100gr French style lentils (puy)
12 red and yellow cherry tomatoes
1 Lebanese cucumber
1/2 red capsicum
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 clove Garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Dried basil leaves


Soak the lentils in a saucepan of water overnight
Remove water and rinse lentils
Add fresh water to the lentils and boil until tender
Boil the eggs
Cool the eggs
Strain lentils and add to a salad bowl
Peel and roughly chop eggs
Half cherry tomatoes
Roughly chop cucumber and red capsicum
Add egg and vegetables to the lentils
Add dried basil leaves to taste
Add crushed garlic, ginger, and olive oil
Toss all ingredients
Eat for lunch with a crusty loaf of bread

Almond chia pudding with raspberries

It is probably a misnomer to call this a pudding as that implies a bit more effort going into the making.  But it is a pudding. I am a chia seed novice and bought some for the first time this week.  So this is really playing.  I have seen people with fabulous chia breakfasts and that's what I wanted too.  It was yummy.  I'll be continuing to experiment.


1 cup almond milk
3 tbs chia seeds
1/4 cup raw almonds
45 gr frozen raspberries


Add chia seeds to almond milk in a bowl
Put in the refrigerator overnight to allow the seeds to absorb the almond milk
In the morning remove from the refrigerator
Add almonds and frozen raspberries
Sprinkle with cinnamon

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