I always find it amazing when restaurants all start following the same trend.  Take meatballs for example, everywhere you look at the moment bloggers are posting about meatballs served up in all different forms.  Nothing new I know, but oh so delicious, the Italians have been cooking them for centuries and you do find that most cuisines have a version of their own. 

Even growing up in Australia in the era of meat and three veg we had our own version, let’s face it, a rissole is just a jumbo meatball.

For years I have been experimenting off and on with meatballs to find a flavour and texture I really like.  My idea of a perfect meatball is one packed with flavour, tender and juicy.  This has led me to experimenting with the binding agent to give me the texture that I like.   As I try to keep them low in saturated fat I use lean mince which can often lead to a dry meatball.  Initially I started by adding breadcrumbs, progressed to ricotta cheese (not a bad option) and finished with bread soaked in milk.

When I first starting serving meatballs to Master C he used to say “I really don’t like these” and my reply was, just think of it as spaghetti and meat sauce with the sauce that is just stuck together.  In other words just eat it!

After years of me experimenting and Master C just eating them, I now always get a “yum” when I say we are having meatballs for dinner.  I am a firm believer if you keep putting a certain food in front of kids they eventually get used to seeing it and start enjoying.  Well most things, I have not even tried this theory with brussel sprouts because somehow I don’t think that it would work.


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Meatballs Anything But Toast Style

An original recipe by anything but toast adapted from many others

Mix together the following:

500g of lean mince

1 small onion, finely diced and sauté to soften

3 T of finely chopped fresh herbs. (marjoram, parsley & oregano)

1 T Dijon mustard

1/2 t ground cumin

1/2 t ground chilli

1/2 t sweet paprika

1 T tomato paste

4 piec es of day old bread that has had crusts removed and soaked in milk for 20 mins.  Lightly squeeze out the bread before adding to the other ingredients.

1 egg

Salt & Pepper

Combine all the above ingredients, mixing really well.

Shape your meatballs, sauté in a non stick pan with a little olive oil, be careful not to turn too often as they are delicate and prone to falling apart if you are not gentle with them.  You will know when they are cooked as they firm up a little.

While these are cooking make a tomato sauce of garlic, passata, dash of red wine vinegar, S&P and basil.  I keep this simple as the star of the show is the flavour of the meatball.   As the meatballs cook transfer to the simmering sauce to enable them to soak up all the flavour of the sauce.

Serving options:

With spaghetti & parmesan

With roasted potatoes & chilli

Baked in the tomato sauce with mozzarella & extra basil

Beautiful the next day for lunch with a salad or on a bread roll for a tradesman’s version!

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