I'm not being obnoxious, but Feed Me Now ! is actually the title of Bill Granger's new cook book. I don't know what it is, but my two favourite Australian cooks, Bill Granger and Donna Hay have a talent for creating recipes that are easy to understand and cook as well as being tasty to eat. So, I didn't have breakfast and dinner with Bill Granger – sorry to disappoint – but upon receiving the new cookbook in the post through amazon, I was so inspired to try two of his recipes straight away.
Strawberry Breakfast Crunch
Baked Meatballs with Tomato & Tamarind Sauce, served with Pilau Rice and My Tomato Sambal
Now for dinner. I've always wanted to make meatballs but wasn't convinced my wife would eat them, but after my kids tasted them at a friends house, I thought I've got to try this out and when I saw this in Bill's book, I thought this is it, go for it. The only addition I made to this was that I made the sauce in the oven only as opposed to the stove (as in the book). Turn the oven on to about 200C and place a stoneware dish into the oven with about 4 tablespoons of olive oil. TIP – when you place the meatballs in the oil, it will be so hot that it will fry the meatballs instantly locking up the flavour. Making meatballs is a bit like making burgers, only smaller of course. So, mix together 500g ground minced beef, half a grated onion, 50g of fresh or store-bough bread crumbs, 3 tablespoons of chopped coriander and parsley, 1 teaspoon each of ground cumin, salt, chilli pepper and sweet paprika (you need to hunt this spice down as I have only found it in really expensive foodie shops, but omit if you can't find) and one egg. Roll into small balls with floured hands (I find this easier than with wet hands as recommended by Bill) – I managed to get about 20 – you've got get as many as possible with kids like mine, because they'll be trying to finish everything in one sitting.
Anyway, place the meatballs into the hot oiled stoneware dish. Now ! make the sauce: Place 4 tablespoons of olive oil into a heavy based frying pan on medium heat and as soon as it is hot, place 1 white onion (Spanish if you can find it) sliced into rings, 1 garlic clove finely sliced, 1 portion of ginger (fresh thumb size or if using ground, 1 teaspoon) 1 teaspoon each of ground turmeric and cumin. During this time, place 1 400g tinned tomatoes, 1 garlic clove and the tamarind pulp – again if you can find into a blender and blitz. If you find tamarind pulp, you will need to soak a 1 inch piece in hot water for about 20 minutes before using. If you cannot find, Bill recommends using 2 tablespoons of lime juice.
Fry the tomato and tamarind sauce with a dessert spoon of brown sugar (sugar brings out the flavour in tomatoes apparently), 1 teaspoon of salt for about 10 minutes until the sauce begins to separate from the oil and place into the oven with the meatballs and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes on 180C uncovered. Take out, sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves and serve.
For my tomato sambal, cut one tasty tomato into bits (i.e dice) together with about 4 inch length of cucumber into quarters and one minced garlic clove, place into a deep dish and place good quality natural yoghurt into the bowl until it covers the tomatoes and cucumber, mix with one mint leaf, thinly sliced, a spinkle of salt and freshly grated black pepper. Put into the fridge until ready to eat.
But, I haven't finished yet, because the next thing I discovered from this recipe will change the way I cook rice forever. I was a bit suspicious – how can you cook rice in 10 minutes ? So first up, slice an onion thinly and place into a heavy based frying pan with a knob of butter (about a dessert spoon) together with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and fry for about 5 minutes, then place 500g of basmati rice in the pan with a handful of raisins, fry for about 2 minutes, stirring until the rice is completely coated with the oil. Then pour 1 liter of boiling water into the pan with half a tablespoon of salt and few sprigs of saffron threads, cover, bring to the boil and lower the temperature to a low setting for about 8 minutes, checking to see if it's done, Et VOILA, rice in 10 minutes.
It's so great that I've made it twice in 5 days, the rice that is. The dish was a hit, because everyone in the family were like "Wow ! Daddy, when can you make this again ?" I kind of replied "why don't you eat this first and then we'll see."
There are a lot more tasty menus in the book and I tried another one just last night, so, if you do see Bill Granger's "Feed Me Now ! grab it and I'm not getting paid for saying that – perhaps I should, but that"s another story.