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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Baked Greek Lamb Meatballs & Surprise Soup!

Yesterday was full of (culinary) surprises for me.

The first one was the meal I cooked for dinner last night.  As usual, I got suckered in by the nice photos - there was this lovely shot of a tray of baked meatballs resplendent with cherry tomatoes and zucchini and crumbled feta cheese - well of course I knew mine would never look that way (especially when I forgot to add the feta!!!).  What hooked me in though, was that it was a one dish meal - the components all looked good (albiet I knew "The Darlings" wouldn't eat the vegetable part).  What didn't gel however, was how I was going to actually serve this - and did it need anything to go with it?  This all came together as the day progressed, and meal time became closer.

The first thing I thought it needed was some bread - after deliberation I decided some lebanese bread would be good.  Then I thought that perhaps the addition of a dip of some kind - perhaps herb and garlic!

OK the basis was taking shape.

This is how the afternoon in my kitchen progressed

First thing I made was the dip.

Herb and Garlic Dip
Adapted From EDC Thermomix Cookbook

small bunch of flat leaf parsley
1 small glove of garlic
1 shallot (green onion)
1/2 bunch chives
250g light cream cheese
small amount of reduced fat cream

Place the parsley, chives, shallot and garlic into the TM bowl.  Chop for 5 seconds on speed 7.  Scrape down bowl and repeat if necessary.

Add the cream cheese.  Mix for 20 seconds on speed 4 - add small amount of cream until desired consistency is achieved.

There you have it - dip in around 25 seconds!!!

Now onto the surprise soup!

I am not going to give you the recipe because I am not sure I could replicate it again - but I ust wanted to let you know what a wonderful flavour I achieved - accidentally!!

I had a pretty busy day yesterday so I took the incredibly easy way out of making some soup for "The boy who will never be filled" for his school lunches.  Rather than peel a pumpkin (you know how hard that can be at times) I decided to place the whole piece of pumpkin in the oven and bake it.  So onto a baking sheet went 1/2 a pumpkin (minus the seeds).  I sprayed it with garlic infused olive oil spray and baked it at 200 degrees for around an hour.  It came out all lovely and golden.  I let it rest on the kitchen bench all afternoon until I was ready for it.

Then came the next part - what was I going to add???  I was sure I had some red lentils in the cupboard - but no, I seemed to have used them all - have some black - that will have to do.

Fry up a little onion and garlic in the TM - then added around 2 cups of chicken stock, brought it to the boil and added the black lentils.  Cooked them (but not probably enough - but was running out of time - that will have to do!).   Added the cooked pumpkin to the pot, then added a can of coconut evaporated milk

Then a little curry powder, ground coriander and some cumin.  Blended it all together.  I had a little mashed potato left over from the previous night's dinner - so decided why not add that to the pot too!!  A little too thick - so added a bit of milk.  Soup finished now!!!

The result - well the lentils were not entirely cooked through so they added a nice textural component to the creamy soup - but the biggest surprise was the flavour!!!!  I swear if you were blindfolded you would have thought you were eating peanut butter soup!!!!

I must say I was pretty impressed with the flavour - wonder if I can do it again though???  The combination of the coconut evaporated milk and the roasted pumpkin lifted boring old pumpkin soup to a new level!!!!

OK so the soup is now done - on to dinner....

Baked Greek Lamb Meatballs
Adapted From Good Food Magazine June edition

Serves 6

1kg lamb mince *
3 slices of bread, made into breadcrumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 onion
1/3 cup chopped mint (around 1/2 a bunch)
4 large potatoes, cut into wedges
4 zucchini, cut into batons
300-400g cherry tomatoes
60g feta cheese, crumbled **

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Lightly grease a large baking tray.

Place the mince, breadcrumbs, onion and egg, and mint in a large bowl.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Mix well (or you can place it in the TM and using the knead function knead the mixture for 2 minutes until combined!!) Using your hands shape into meatballs.  Place in the prepared pan.

Place the potato, zucchini and cherry tomatoes around the meatballs.  Spray with garlic infused olive oil.

Bake for 40-60 minutes.  Turning the potatoes, so that they brown evenly.

Season the potatoes with sea salt.  Scatter with feta cheese.

* the recipe says 250g lamb mince for 4 people (making 8 meatballs - there was no way that was going to cut it with my crowd - so I increased it to 1kg)

** oops I forgot - the feta is still resting nicely in the fridge!!!

The reason that there is no "plating up" photo is that even as I got this dish out of the oven I had no idea how I was going to serve it.  I simply ended up throwing it all onto a large platter so that everyone could help themselves!!!  And help themselves they did!!!

The nice surprise about this dish was the wonderful flavours - Mr. CCC remarked how lovely and fresh it all seemed.  "The Darlings" made theirs into "kebab" type rolls!!  All were happy (and fed!)

And so ends another night in our kitchen!

So Dear Readers what surprises (good and bad) have you had in the kitchen lately?  Is your kitchen a hive of activity like mine come late afternoon???  Do tell!!


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