dinner/ gluten free/ lunch/ savoury/ some for now + some for later

Lamb, mint and fennel meatballs, with a roasted red onion relish

lamb-meatballs-baked-red-onion-relish-recipe-sweetpea-darlingheartThis week has had a few hiccups, the kids have been a bit poorly, plans have not really been going to plan and some of the little things have been getting to me. It seems like a few of us out there have had a bit of a doozy. Nothing really big or dramatic, just little chips that take the shine off of things.

At the same time, and probably caused by running on adrenaline, I have gotten more things done in a shorter amount of time than I normally do. Thank heavens, really.

When life is out of it’s usual rhythm, it can be hard to find what exactly it is that will help you return to some kind of equilibrium. Being busy, or having things happen that are beyond our control, often means that we miss out on the things we usually do to look after ourselves, those little rituals or moments that help us keep some kind of balance or give us perspective.

It’s at times like these, when life is a little crazy, that I realise just how much I have a tendency to try and control things; and also, how little of life is actually in my control. I will probably never be okay with leaving everything to the whim of the gods, or the universe, or however you like to think of it (although I do love the idea that the universe has my back, if only I can figure out what on earth it is trying to tell me) but I definitely ‘do better’ when I feel like that no matter what happens, I’ll be okay.

This usually requires work, and I seem to do this by thinking about whatever doesn’t feel right intensely until I find a way to change things or see things differently to make everything feel okay. When life throws you a curve ball, or if you’re a sensitive person (like I am), then it can take some time to process things or re-align, in order for life to feel right again. Sometimes it’s just making a decision to see the best in things. Or having that realisation that things happen for a reason, whether you can see that in this moment or not. And then there are those golden times when life is in flow, and everything just works. They’re my favourite, obviously.

This week I made meatballs. Nobody else in my house will eat them. That’s okay, because there was just something in me that needed a little comfort food, meatballs specifically for some reason. The bonus of me being the only meat eater in the house, is that I now have a few good backup meals in the freezer. You might think it’s pretty random to have an urge to make and eat meatballs but somehow, in the midst of this particular week, it just felt right. The universe was telling me something simple that I understood straight away (for once!). A hot meal for lunch, with a little fresh salad from the garden, was just what I needed. And the knowledge that, when all else fails, I have a meal in the freezer that will get me, just me, through.

radishes-sweetpea-darlingheartLamb Meatballs with mint and fennel seeds, and a roasted red onion relish

I never grew up eating meatballs, I really can’t remember eating them even once as a child. I have no personal connection to them, no Italian Nonna who passed down her recipe to me, or taught me how to roll them, just so. The only time I have ever learnt about meatballs is from a lovely lady who walks by our nature strip occasionally, a couple of generations older than I am and originally from Greece. Whenever I am tending the garden out the front she points out the mint and asks me how I use it. She then tells me all about her favourite meatball recipe. Gosh, I bet her meatballs taste really good, she’s so excited to tell me about them I can only imagine the joy and love she feels when making and eating them.

Thank you for sharing your excitement and knowledge with me lovely neighbourhood Yia Yia, this is in part for you, whoever you are; and also for me, the lone meatball eater in our house.

My recipe varies quite a bit from the recipe told to me by my neighbourly friend, but I have definitely heard her suggestion (or gentle insistence) that adding mint and a little tomato paste makes all the difference when making a delicious batch of meatballs. I also added some fennel seeds to the mix, and some fennel fronds to the salad, as the fennel is going off at the moment and really needs some good eating just to keep it under control. While in the front yard the other day I saw another neighbourhood friend, one unknown to me, walk with purpose to our nature strip (let’s call it our food forest, it is in my dreams at least) and fill a large bag with fists full of fennel fronds. She didn’t see me at first, and beat a hasty retreat when she did notice me, but it seemed as though she had been there before and had come with a definitely purpose, and recipe, in mind. Seeing someone utilise the garden in that way actually made me really happy, I hope I didn’t scare her off. Of course, I may feel differently if the neighbourhood helps themselves to all the cherries when they finally start to fruit… but we’ll get to that when the times comes.

meatballs-oven-baked-red-onion-tomato-relish-recipe-sweetpea-darlingheart

Lamb, mint and fennel meatballs with a roasted red onion relish and a little mid-winter salad

serves 4, or one, with some meals for the freezer for when you need.

For the meatballs and roasted red onion relish:

500g lamb mince
1 egg
200ml jar of tomato paste – you will use 2 tbs in the meatball mix and the rest in the sauce
1 handful of parsley, roughly chopped
1 handful of mint, roughly chopped
1 tbs sweet paprika
2 tsp fennel seeds
salt + pepper
1 large red onion, sliced
1 tbs olive oil
200ml water
1 tbs balsamic vinegar

For a little mid-winter salad

4 – 5 radishes, sliced
a handful of pea shoots
a few fennel fronds
a squeeze of lemon

Preheat your oven to 180°C fan forced.

In a large bowl combine the mince, egg, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, herbs, paprika and fennel seeds – I like to use my hands to squish the mixture until it comes together. Divide the mixture into large meatballs, around 2 tablespoons of mixture per meatball. The mixture will make around 8 – 10 large meatballs in all, but feel free to make smaller meatballs if you like, especially if you are serving children, or would like to stir them through some pasta. Set the meatballs aside.

In a large, oven proof frying pan, gently heat the olive oil. Add in the sliced onion and fry over medium heat for 3 – 4 minutes, or until just starting to colour. Push the onion slices to one side of the pan, then add the meatballs and cook for 4 – 5 minutes, until the under sides have browned, before turning over carefully. Once you have turned the meatballs, arrange the onion slices in between them, nestling the meatballs in a bed of onions. Dot the pan with the remaining tomato paste from the jar, and add 200ml of water and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Give a gentle stir to just combine.

Place the frying pan in the oven, and bake for 20 minutes, or until the onions are jammy and the meatballs are cooked through.

Sprinkle the meatballs with some fresh herbs, maybe a few chilli flakes or a grating of parmesan, and enjoy alongside a simple winter salad, some roast sweet potato and steamed greens, or some pasta cooked al dente (my favourite is adzuki bean spaghetti for a gluten-free alternative).

meatballs-recipe-baked-onion-relish-sweetpea-darlingheart_portrait

 

Lamb, Mint and Fennel Meatballs with roasted red onion relish, and a little winter salad

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 - 6 Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • For the meatballs and roasted red onion relish:
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 egg
  • 200ml jar of tomato paste - you will use 2 tbs in the meatball mix and the rest in the sauce
  • 1 handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 handful of mint, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbs sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • salt + pepper
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 200ml water
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • For the little mid winter salad:
  • 4 - 5 radishes, sliced
  • a handful of pea shoots
  • a few fennel fronds
  • a squeeze of lemon

Instructions

1

Preheat your oven to 180°C fan forced.

2

In a large bowl combine the mince, egg, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, herbs, paprika and fennel seeds - I like to use my hands to squish the mixture until it comes together. Divide the mixture into large meatballs, around 2 tablespoons of mixture per meatball. The mixture will make around 8 - 10 large meatballs in all, but feel free to make smaller meatballs if you like, especially if you are serving children, or would like to stir them through some pasta. Set the meatballs aside.

3

In a large, oven proof frying pan, gently heat the olive oil. Add in the sliced onion and fry over medium heat for 3 - 4 minutes, or until just starting to colour. Push the onion slices to one side of the pan, then add the meatballs and cook for 4 - 5 minutes, until the under sides have browned, before turning over carefully. Once you have turned the meatballs, arrange the onion slices in between them, nestling the meatballs in a bed of onions. Dot the pan with the remaining tomato paste from the jar, and add 200ml of water and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Give a gentle stir to just combine.

4

Place the frying pan in the oven, and bake for 20 minutes, or until the onions are jammy and the meatballs are cooked through.

5

Sprinkle the meatballs with some fresh herbs, maybe a few chilli flakes or a grating of parmesan, and enjoy alongside a simple winter salad, some roast sweet potato and steamed greens, or some pasta cooked al dente (my favourite is adzuki bean spaghetti for a gluten-free alternative).

Notes

• gluten free • grain free • dairy free • freezer friendly •

 

Subscribe

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply