28 March 2013

Minty mustard lamb's liver pitta bread - a spur of the minute lunch

I'm currently going through a phase of loving pitta bread.

Now I've always liked pitta bread, but just recently I seem to have taken to them in a big way.  I suppose the fact that my tummy seems to accept them more readily than ordinary bread (~sob~ I love my bread!) has made all the difference.

There are a number of other benefits to pitta bread, as I've discovered.  For instance, there's very little on this earth that can't be put into one for a yummy and fairly portable lunch.  Everything from steak and chips, through stew, to trifle can be contained in a pitta bread.  Although why anyone would want to put trifle in a pitta, is another matter.  Anyway - I do think that soup is really the only thing that won't go into a pitta bread - but you can dip your pitta bread into soup, so it still wins!

Pitta bread is also self-limiting, quantity wise.  As an example, I was making scrambled egg to go in my pitta this morning.  As I was just scrambling the one egg, I used just the one pitta.  Now had I have been making scrambled egg on toast, I might have felt I should just use the one slice of bread - but you could guarantee that I'd have put two into the toaster because of habit.  With pitta, just one comes out of the packet at a time and just one does the job with no reason to feel hard done by.

Creamy, minty, mustardy - what's not to like?

The whole butter question is another thing that is improved by the use of pitta bread.  With a sandwich, you would butter both slices of bread.  Not so with a pitta.  Very often it isn't necessary to use butter at all - but if you do, then just butter the one side and the job is done with half the amount.  How good is that?

With regard to quantity, putting a whole bucket load of salad into a sandwich just results in your having to use two hands to hold the whole collapsing mess.  Not so with a pitta.  Jam the salady loveliness in there as hard and fast as you can!  You might need two hands as you go, but only because of the sheer weight of health giving salad inside your cheese or egg pitta.  *wink*

So, when we picked up a little pack of fresh lamb's liver from the Ferndene Farm Shop at Bashley, Hampshire the other day, it got me wondering what to do with it.  Naturally, "put it in a pitta" was right up there as a suggestion.

I was in two minds whether to go down the "devilled, mustardy" route with it, or the "redcurrant and rosemary" route.  They both seemed as enticing as one another, but I could tell from the way my mouth was watering at the idea of the mustardy version, that this was the one.

I love mint sauce with lamb and felt that just the mustard sauce wasn't going to be quite enough.  I didn't have any fresh mint (the awful weather has terminated our mint plant's delusions of grandeur) but suddenly remembered putting mint sauce onto cooked new potatoes and how good that is.  So, if I use Dijon mustard for its piquancy, then add a little mint sauce for the sweet/sour thing it brings with it, hmmmn.  What can I use to lengthen and de-intensify the sauce with?  Aha!  I've a teensy tiny bit of double cream in the fridge looking for a home.  Perfect!  And it was.  The cream - only a dessertspoonful at the most - was sufficient to just saucify (is that a word?  If not, it ought to be) all the lovely flavours.

My friend Suzy Bowler entitled her brilliant food blog "Sudden Lunch" and I had her in mind all the time I was making this lunch, as apart from a little thought, it came together in a twinkling.


Ingredients :

1 pitta bread
1 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
sufficient lamb's liver for one person, trimmed and sliced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp Dijon mustard
half tsp Mint sauce (the vinegary kind, not Mint jelly)
1 dessertsp of double cream
small handful of rocket leaves.

Method :

1.  First of all, put your pitta bread in the toaster - put it in diagonally (or as diagonally as you can muster) so that as much as possible of it sees the heat.  Once toasted, split down one side and turn your attention to the liver.

2.  Heat a little rapeseed oil in a frying pan and chuck in the liver pieces.  Fry hard and fast - I like mine to have completely stopped bleeding, but I know there are others who can cope with a little red stuff, so it's up to you how long to cook it for.  A few seconds before finishing and adding the sauce ingredients, throw on a little sea salt and a lot of black pepper.  Then turn off the heat and leaving the pan on the hot plate, add a teaspoonful of Dijon mustard, half a teaspoonful of mint sauce and a dessertspoonful of double cream.  Stir to combine.  Pack the rocket leaves into the pitta and pour in the liver mix.

I can recommend either something tangy to drink with it, or a nice big mug of tea or coffee.  Mmmmn, glorious!

Printable version 

26 March 2013

Oooh look! It's a menu plan!

I know, I've been remiss in not publishing the menu plan lately.  It's down to a number of different reasons (excuses) which would be really boring to go into here, so I'll save you from them all.  *wink*

However, even though this week's menu plan isn't all that exciting from a gastronomic point of view, it does contain a number of meals that are our favourites and might be your favourites, too.  I'm often not reminded of a dish until I see it mentioned on someone else's blog, so here we go with this week's menu plan :

Tues : Kedgeree
Weds : BBQ Pork wraps with guacamole & sweet potato wedges
Thurs : Cheese & bacon pasta/Cauliflower cheese and a side salad
Fri : Cottage pie, savoy cabbage, carrots & peas
Sat : Lamb meatballs with tomato & fennel, broccoli & orzo
Sun : Corned beef with savoy cabbage, carrot & swede mash and crushed new potatoes
Mon : Sausage curry.

On second thoughts, perhaps it is a little bit exciting from a gastronomic point of view!  LOL

Tonight's Kedgeree is always  a family favourite and hopefully tonight's will be no different.  I much prefer my Kedgeree to be on the dry side - like a pilaff - and interestingly, the other day I discovered a way of drying off the cooked rice.  I hate it when some moisture from the rice adds to the buttery fish and dilutes your lovely Kedgeree.  Quite by accident, I discovered that if you cook the rice and drain it, then return it back to the hot pan and put it on the cooker top (off the heat) with a lid on for some 5 minutes or so, then give the whole lot a shake to loosen the grains and put it back onto the hot (but switched off) burner to keep warm - and repeat a few minutes later, it dries the rice off a treat.  It doesn't become sticky, either.  So I'll give that a go this evening with the Kedgeree and see how we get on.

Tomorrow's BBQ pork wraps are easy peasy to make - and jolly good job too, as it's choir night which doesn't leave much time for cooking.  Using pork mince, it's an easy job to just fry off the mince and an onion, then add Mic's Chilli El Loco BBQ Sauce and fill the wraps.  Pair up with some home made guacamole and sweet potato wedges and we're happy for the night.

Thursday night involves my making two main courses - one Cheese & Bacon Pasta and one Cauliflower Cheese.  You see, I've been lusting after Cauliflower Cheese for so long that I can't bear it any longer and on a trip to Ferndene Farm Shop close to where my parents live, invested in a lovely fresh white cauliflower.  The only problem is that I'm the only one who likes Cauliflower Cheese.  Both of my menfolk dislike it intensely, so in order to feed them at the same time, I'll be making a pasta dish with bacon that will take the same cheese sauce as my Cauliflower Cheese.  At least that way we'll all be happy!  I can't wait!

Friday's weather is promising to be a repetition of that which we've been suffering all week - freezing blinking cold.  So, following along with the comfort food recipes, I've press ganged hubby into making a Cottage Pie.  That will keep the cold at bay!  It will also give us a chance to use the lovely Savoy cabbage that we bought from the farm shop, too.

Because of a bit of a "forgetting to take the lamb mince out of the freezer" moment last week, we've a pack of the same still roosting there waiting to be turned into meatballs.  Because of the success of the lamb & carrot meatballs that we had recently, I've decided to go again with them, except this time include some fennel in the sauce.  I'll serve them with orzo and broccoli and by rights, it should all wind up being lovely.

What, like this?
Aha!  That brings us to Easter Sunday's Corned Beef.  No, not out of a can - this is going to be "real" corned beef.  I'm starting the process off today, which will be to soak the beef brisket in a brine for 24 hours.  After which you remove it, dry it off and pack it covered in lovely flavours such as black peppercorns, chilli, paprika, cumin - you name it, it will be there along with some salt and sugar.  The brisket gets turned regularly (so it will be packed into an enormous freezer bag) to ensure that the cure is well distributed over the course of the next 3-4 days, after which it will be languishing in the slow cooker for a number of hours!  Fingers crossed, the end result will be awesome and well worth the effort and love that's gone into it!

No!  Like this!
Currently, the plan is to serve it with savoy cabbage, carrot & swede mash along with some crushed new potatoes.  Sounds yummy to me, but that plan may change as we go along, if we find something better!

Monday's sausage curry will be something of a "breathing space" after the extravaganza of the corned beef on the previous day.  Hubby's in charge of this one - and his last sausage curry was great, so we'll be able to enjoy it whilst thinking of new things to do with the remainder of the corned beef.  How do you like that for confidence, eh?

So what will we be making aside from all this?  Well, I'm planning on making either a devilled lamb's liver dish for my lunch one day (again, I'm the only one who enjoys liver), or maybe a redcurrant/mint lamb's liver combination.  Either way, it'll be going into a pitta bread and I think either would work.

Aside from the liver, I also picked up a small piece of pork belly from the Farm Shop, which I haven't decided what to do with yet.  Suggestions on a postcard, please!

All this talk of the Farm Shop means that I'd better explain what's going on.  It's all to do with a new page that I'll be opening up soon here on Rhubarb & Ginger (it's in creation at the moment), which will be entitled "The Travelling Hamper".

On this page, I'll be visiting local (and not-so-local, online enterprises) food outlets - from farm shops through ethnic grocers, bakers, patisseries to cafes and restaurants.  The ones we love and want to re-visit, will be the ones who make it to The Travelling Hamper.

For instance, yesterday - and quite by accident - we tripped over a fabulous (and it really is fabulous) Italian style delicatessen cum cafe/restaurant in Southbourne, Bournemouth.  Called Deli Rocks, we dived in there to save ourselves from the icy blasts of wind along Southbourne's main shopping street - and found us a little gem.

We both had a slice of their Cranberry & Beetroot cake with a latte - and, well, I won't tell you all about it now, or it will spoil their entry onto The Travelling Hamper.  However, you get the idea!  Hubby was so enamoured of the cake, he immediately researched the recipe and is planning on making the cake very soon.  Well, it must be soon as we bought all the ingredients for it this morning!

So, exciting times for Rhubarb & Ginger - watch out for the big unveiling, very soon!

20 March 2013

Risotto Primavera with herby glazed chicken

The emphasis of this recipe is on the Risotto Primavera, as I will admit to having used a shop bought chicken glaze.  Now don't you go telling me that you never use such a thing, I refuse to believe it.

The glaze we used was one of the Maggi range of "So Juicy" cook-in-a-bag products.  In fact, it was really not bad at all.  We tried the mixed herbs one, which seemed to have a significant amount of tomato in its mixed herbs, but with no artificial colours, flavourings or Aspartame in its ingredients, we were prepared to give it a go.

Owing to the cooking method, which involves your cooking the chicken sealed into a cook-in bag, the chicken comes out the other end enticingly moist and tender.  I'd definitely give others of the same range a go.

As a fairly foolproof and easy way of obtaining a very acceptable chicken dish, I recommend it to you!

Now the big question was what to put with it.  I'm always on the lookout for interesting and easy vegetable dishes that can be use as a side to a meat dish, for just these moments.

We had a number of meals planned that included potatoes already - and owing to hubby's antipathy towards the 'umble spud, I needed to find something else to use as the carbohydrate in this dish.

Hubby suggested vegetable rice, but son & heir isn't always terribly keen on that.  As hubby was the one who was going to be cooking this meal, I suddenly hit on the idea of a risotto.  Well, he is the Risotto Cooking King!  I remembered that I had picked up a baked Risotto Primavera recipe from a magazine, but knew he wouldn't be struck on the idea of doing a baked risotto (being a newly crowned risotto purist, and all that).  So we just used the recipe as a guide for the amounts and types of vegetables to use - and he made a straight, cooker top, in a saucepan, ordinary risotto - but using frozen peas, asparagus, fine green beans, tenderstem broccoli, mint, chives and parsley instead.

The combination of the highly flavoursome chicken and the clean, fresh flavours of the risotto with its herbs, were just perfect together.

Hubby even reserved a few asparagus spears for decoration, which was good because although it is great in a risotto, I do love the flavour of asparagus and it was a treat to have some to enjoy on its own.

I'll have to remember to use vegetable risotto in this context again in future.  I have used Risotto Milanese (saffron risotto) in this way in the past and it worked exceptionally well there, too.  The light and springlike flavours were a lovely break from the somewhat heavier mid-winter flavours that we've been enjoying before and since, thanks to the awful weather.  Hopefully, we'll get a chance to put them to the test in another combination very soon!


Ingredients :
150g asparagus spears
2 handfuls of frozen peas
150g tenderstem broccoli
50g fine green beans
3 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
2 banana shallots, very finely diced
25g butter
300g Arborio or Carnaroli rice
100ml of white wine
1.5 litres of vegetable stock (we used Essential cuisine vegetable stock powder)
10g fresh chopped parsley
10g fresh chopped chives
10g fresh chopped mint
50g grated parmesan
sea salt and finely ground black pepper.

Method :

1.  Bring a saucepan of salted water to a rolling boil and prepare the asparagus by snapping at the weak point (around one third of the way up the stem from the cut end).  Retain the woody ends for use in the stock and blanch the tipped ends for 60 seconds.  Drain (retaining the water) and then plunge into bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process.

2.  Repeat with the frozen peas, tenderstem broccoli and green beans - blanching for 3 minutes and adding them to the same iced water.
3.  Prepare the stock by adding the stock cube or powder to the cooking water and add the woody ends of the asparagus, cut lengthwise.  Bring up to a simmer and keep the stock over a very low heat until required, not allowing it to boil.  Remove the asparagus pieces just before use.

4.  Heat the olive oil and butter gently together in a large pan.  Add the shallots and cook until they are soft and transparent, not allowing them to brown.

5.  Add rice to the shallot mix and stir well to coat with the oils, then turn the heat up as hot as you dare - without burning - before quenching the pan with the white wine.
6.  Cook until the wine has reduced by two thirds and add a ladleful of the vegetable stock (minus the asparagus pieces).  Reduce heat to a simmer.

7.  Continue adding ladlefuls whenever the mixture runs dry, stirring well and keeping it moving to avoid catching on the bottom of the pan.

8.  Continue in this way until the rice is cooked al dente.  You may find you have stock left over, which is normal as different rices require different amounts of liquid.

9.  Drain the vegetables from the iced water and add them to the risotto to warm them through, stirring gently so as not to break them up.

10.  Add the parsley, chives, mint and grated parmesan, reserving a small amount of parsley for garnish.  Stir gently through and taste for seasoning.

11.  Serve and garnish with shaved parmesan and chopped parsley.

13 March 2013

Lime Pork Chops with Fattoush - pushing the comfort zones

I knew this recipe would push our respective comfort zones in many different ways.  However, because we respect Yotam Ottolenghi so much and love his food, it just had to be done.

I hear you asking "why?".  Good question.  Well, you see, Yotam Ottolenghi seems to have the capacity to put combinations of flavours together that go from the unusual to the outrageous - yet of his recipes that we've tried, they always work.  Bearing that in mind, his latest t.v. offering - where he travels the mediterranean cooking locally sourced food - had our jaws hanging in disbelief at the, frankly, gorgeous dishes he seemed to be creating out of what amounted to very little.

So if you put together the magic of Ottolenghi, with the mediterranean (one of our favourite styles of food) and economy - you can probably see how he's talking our language.

Now before I say anything else, let me say that I would have infinitely preferred to have had some fat pilchards (or any other type of fish) instead of the pork.  However, because fish seems to have become more expensive than saffron just lately, we had to go for something cheaper - and wound up with the pork steaks.

As for why it would push our comfort zones, well, hubby isn't good with meat that is likely to be either fatty, or tough.  So pork steaks cooked on the griddle pan aren't his first choice.  I trimmed the majority of the fat from his, but the firmness of the texture turned out not to be to his liking.  He loved the flavour, but not the texture.  As for son and heir, well, I know that he generally dislikes having dressing on his salads.  As the whole point of Fattoush is to present it with dressing, I reckoned this would be a challenge for him - and indeed I was right.  However, he soldiered on and as the whole lot disappeared, I was hopeful.  He commented that it was "okay, but I could have done without the dressing", so we have to be grateful for small mercies.

For me, my big challenge was going to be wet bread.  If there's one thing that makes me want to heave - it's wet bread.  I have some vague memory of a calamitous accident between a loaf of bread left too close to defrosting meat and an ensuing sandwich - but it's probably best we don't look too closely at that one.  With this salad, you grill the pitta bread and break it into pieces, then scatter it through the salad (together with the juicy salad vegetables - alarm!) and cover the lot in a yoghurt/buttermilk dressing (double alarm!).  So I was seriously crossing my fingers that I could get over the wet bread thing.  Much to my surprise - and because the Fattoush has to be made and served immediately with no waiting - the pitta pieces remained largely crispy and robust, with no sogginess and there was absolutely nothing offputting about this salad whatsoever.

In fact, the Fattoush was what is commonly known as a screaming success with both myself and with hubby.  As with a lot of Ottolenghi recipes - although this one is from Sami Tamimi's mother - it's the juxtaposition of the fresh herbs with the remainder of the ingredients that absolutely makes the dish.  The sweetness of the cherry tomatoes, the acidity of the vine ripened larger tomatoes, the pepperiness and crunch of the radish along with the intensity of the spring onion, all soothed and made cosy by the creaminess of the yoghurt/buttermilk dressing and the robustness of the pitta.  Flipping gorgeous.

Both son & heir and I really enjoyed the lime pork chops and I have to say that cooking them on the griddle pan made such a difference to the flavour.  I can imagine they'd be nice cooked just plain "under the grill" (or broiler, if you're in the States), but the charring provided by the griddle pan was just the proverbial business.

Mind you, I still think that a lovely piece of fish would have been better.


Ingredients :

3 pork chops, trimmed of the majority of their fat
3 limes, zested and juiced
olive or rapeseed oil
200g Greek yoghurt
100ml full fat milk
1 tsp lemon juice, plus 3 tbsp lemon juice
3 pitta bread
250g cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 large vine ripened tomato, cut into small cubes
100g radishes, sliced finely
200g cucumber (small ones, ideally), seeds removed, cut into small cubes
2 spring onions,thinly sliced
15g fresh mint, roughly chopped
20g parsley, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped and crushed
1 little gem lettuce, cut into strips (or a section of iceberg lettuce)
60ml olive or rapeseed oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Method :

1.  Some hours before you'll be wanting them (in the morning is good) place the pork chops into the zest and juice of the limes, a dash of oil and season well.  Leave them to marinade, covered, in the fridge.

2.  When you are ready to make the meal, cook the pork chops on a griddle pan or barbecue for some 5-10 minutes on each side (depending on how thick they are) until cooked through.  Place on a warmed plate, covered, to rest.

3.  Into a small bowl, pour the milk and add the teaspoonful of lemon juice.  Stir well and leave for 5-10 minutes.  Then add the Greek yoghurt and mix well.

4.  Grill the pitta bread on the griddle pan, so that you get the lovely charred markings.  Leave to cool and break into rough pieces.

5.  Into a huge bowl, add the tomatoes, radishes, cucumber, onions, mint, parsley, garlic and lettuce.  Toss to combine.

6.  Sprinkle in the pieces of toasted pitta bread and toss again.

7.  Add the oil and vinegar to the yoghurt mix, season well and stir to combine.  Then pour half onto the salad and toss, then add the remainder and toss again.  The salad should be very well covered.

8.  Serve the pork chops with the salad alongside.

Printable version 

6 March 2013

Lamb & carrot meatballs with butterbeans - quite a surprise!

For really quite a long time - ever since seeing them on the t.v. - I have wanted to reproduce those gorgeous Spanish style tapas meatballs that you see being served in small terracotta dishes.  They look so yummy with their thick tomato sauce that just the sight of them is enough to set my saliva glands tingling.

Well - and purely by accident - I think I've just achieved it.

I didn't set out to make a tapas-style meatball at all.  I'd found a recipe on goodfoodchannel.co.uk probably around a year or more ago, which I'd filed away in my folder of "good ideas" with a view to making some time in the future.  It was a Peter Gordon recipe, so immediately I had confidence in it as Peter Gordon always appears to me to be something of a "serious" chef, as opposed to those who are more keen on the t.v. appearances than making good food.

What made me decide to make the recipe now, though, was entirely down to the fact that I had a tin of Sainsbury's butter beans burning a hole in my tin cupboard.  I'd had a discussion with a friend on Facebook about how much we liked butter beans and she'd recommended Sainsbury's as being good ones of their type.  (Thanks Marj!)  I really dislike soggy butter beans that just fall apart when they're cooked - and these ones definitely don't do that.  They're tender, but still firm enough to cope with being stirred regularly.  Now I really - no, really - like butter beans, so the knowledge that I had a tin of good ones in the cupboard was more than enough enticement.

There was something else about the recipe that tickled my curiosity.  In the meatball method, it said to include four tablespoonfuls of cold water into the meatball mixture.  I so nearly didn't do this, as it seemed as though - with the grated carrot there too - it stood the chance of making the meatball terribly soggy.  However, I decided to place my trust in Peter Gordon's capable hands and complied with the recipe.  What a revelation!

Now anyone who has ever made meatballs from scratch, will know that the blasted meatball mix will stick to your fingers and steadfastly refuse to be moulded into a ball.  I'd read a little tip which said to run your fingers under cold water whilst rolling the ball, which very definitely helped - in fact, it made the task do-able.  However, if you add the water to the meatball mix, you don't need to keep running them under the tap (with accompanying water wasteage and cross-contamination hygiene issues).  The meatball mix just rolls up without a squeak of complaint and - what's even better - is the meatball stays moist and delicious throughout the browning process, right the way to being served!  As I say - a revelation!

The grated carrot was another departure from the norm - and one which worked brilliantly.  The flavours of lamb and mint are traditional and the addition of the grated carrot really brought out the sweetness of the lamb, along with helping to ensure the meatballs stayed moist.

As ever, well you wouldn't expect anything else now, would you?  I made a few changes to the original recipe - which I have reflected in the recipe below - both to suit what ingredients I had in the house and to suit our palates.  Amongst a few other things, for instance, the original recipe called for 8 cloves of garlic.  Now we do like garlic - but 8?  Between three of us?  I don't think so - especially as all eight go into the sauce!  Hence, I trimmed it down to a much more acceptable 2.

The quantity of mince is 800g on the recipe, whereas a supermarket pack of mince is generally 600g.  From the 600g, I made 21 meatballs which were a good size - with a bowl of sauce and butterbeans for lunch the following day.  (Which coupled with a fresh baked baguette was just such a stellar lunch!).  So feel free to increase the size to 800g if you've extra mouths to feed.  I found the 600g fed the three of us perfectly.

The recipe also called for 200g of bacon lardons.  Well, I have to admit that I've no time for lardons - not when my local butcher is still selling their wonderful smoked back bacon for a fraction of the price of 100g of lardons!  It's all bacon, after all.  So I swapped those lardons for three large (and I'm talking large) rashers of smoked back bacon, cut into small pieces.  It worked.  It worked very nicely thank you.

Owing to hubby's sensitivity to tomatoes - the acidity tends to give him rampant indigestion if not cooked out very well indeed - I habitually add a little tomato ketchup.  Now you could add a little sugar to do the same job - but tomato ketchup has all those intriguing spices along with the sugar, that add that little je ne sais quoi to a tomato sauce and helps to kill the acidity.

Quite apart from anything else, this recipe is a complete doddle to make.  Apart from forming the meatballs (which really doesn't take very long at all), it's a simple matter of chucking everything in order into a deep pan, stirring occasionally and cooking something to help mop up the sauce.

Speaking of which, I decided to cook some Orzo.  Now I'd only ever used Orzo once before, in my Greek Lamb & Orzo Bake - which we all really liked.  So I knew that I was onto a fairly safe bet there.  Son and heir was momentarily befuddled by it, asking what sort of rice it was, but was satisfied when we revealed that it was a tiny pasta instead.  He commented that it was "odd" and didn't finish his portion - but for the first go in a very long time, plus the first time of having it as a side dish, I think he did pretty well.  He's a conservative ole thing, don'cha know.  I added a few frozen peas to the Orzo more with a view to their colour than flavour, but they added a nice sweetness that the Orzo alone couldn't have delivered.

All in all, I was very pleased indeed with this meal.  Everyone loved the meatballs and to have found a tapas style meatball in tomato sauce is a very definite bonus, as I have a yen to make a tapas style dinner one night.  So, my first dish is tucked firmly behind my ear for later!


Ingredients :

600g lean minced lamb
1 tbsp fresh mint, shredded
1 carrot, peeled and grated
100g plain flour
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tsp dried rosemary
200g bacon lardons
750ml tomato passata
1 tbsp tomato ketchup 
1 tsp lamb stock powder (or half a lamb stock cube)
400g tin butter beans
fresh parsley, finely chopped.

Method :

1.  Make sure that all the vegetables are prepped and ready to go, before you make up the meatball mix, or the meatballs will stick to their plate as they wait to be browned.

2.   In a large bowl, mix the lamb, mint and carrot together with some seasoning and 4 tbsp cold water.  Form the mixture into balls the size of a walnut.

3.  Take a large freezer bag and mix the flour together with some seasoning.  Roll each meatball in the flour until coated.

4.  Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or wok.  Once hot enough to sizzle the meatballs, add them gently and without crowding.  You may need to brown them in two batches.  Brown them all over and remove with a slotted spoon onto a warm plate.

5.  Once all the meatballs are browned, drain the majority of the fat from the pan and add the onion.  Cook over a moderate heat until softened and turning golden.

6.  Add the garlic and rosemary, cooking until the onion is beginning to caramelise and the garlic is softened.

7.  Add the bacon and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until all the water has cooked out of the bacon and it is beginning to turn golden.

8.  Add the passata, tomato ketchup and the lamb stock powder - (I used Essential Cuisine's superb lamb stock powder) - along with 200ml of water.  Stir well, then add the butter beans and bring to a boil, stirring as it heats through.

9.  Once up to temperature, return the meatballs to the pan and coat with the tomato sauce.  Place a lid on the pan and simmer for 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

10.  Serve sprinkled with the chopped parsley.

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