Matt Preston’s World’s Best Rissoles

Serves: 4

I get the feeling that rissoles are back in vogue.

And thank you for that!

They still have the stigma of being a daggy, lazy dinner – left behind in the wave of MasterChef and salmon-three-ways – though it is the nostalgia and honesty of the rissole that now makes it on trend.

These Matt Preston rissoles are really good and served with a puréed mash and buttered peas, they closed off a weekend of cooking perfectly.

For lunch, Nat made Thomas Keller’s Cauliflower Panna Cotta with an Oyster Jelly and Bulgar Caviar; the night before, we made handmade noodles for a fusion Chinese/Middle Eastern dish.

Which is exactly why we needed these rissoles and why rissoles are what you need to hold back the endless waves of culinary complexity and sous videing. Enough is enough!



2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely grated
1 zucchini, coarsely grated
800gm lamb mince
2 tbsp tomato sauce
1 heaped tbsp of whatever European herbs you have: basil, oregano, parsley, coriander, tarragon or majoram, though not sage or mint
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 egg
Sea salty and freshly cracked pepper
1/4 cup mint jelly
2 tbsp malt vinegar (we used black vinegar)
Mash (into which we mixed two finely chopped raw French onions)
Buttered peas


  1. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat; add the onions, carrot and zucchini, and cook, stirring for 5 minutes until everything softens. Set aside to cool.
  2. Add the mince, tomato sauce, herbs, oats and egg to the vegetable mixture and season. Mix well using your (clean) hands until well combined. Shape into 12 rissoles.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in the pan. Add the rissoles in batches a cook for 5 minutes each side or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
  4. Add the mint jelly and vinegar to the pan and stir over a medium heat until the jelly melts. Return the rissoles and toss in the liquid for 2 minutes until coasted, sticky and glossy.
  5. Serve with mash and peas.

Thai Basil Beef

Serves: 4

Looking back on it, every blog here that is mince based, starts with something like: mince is the best, mince is our favourite, mince is our last meal, etc.

Because its true.

Any which way, we love it and Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai minces are up there as our favourite weeknight meals.

You’ve been at work, it’s raining, it’s on Monday and yet… you’re having spicy mince for dinner!

This Thai Basil Mince is super easy and you can’t overdo it on the basil front.

It is also healthy, even if you do have it with a cup of boiled Jasmine rice which… because it is Monday… you should.



1 tbsp sunflower oil
500gm ground beef mince
2 shallots, diced
1 red capsicum, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 birds eye chillies, thinly sliced
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
1 lime, juice and zest
1 cup basil (Thai basil if you can)
2 spring onions, thinly sliced, to garnish
Chopped peanuts and crispy fried shallots to garnish
Jasmine rice to serve


  1. Heat the oil over a medium-high heat in a heavy saucepan or wok and cook the beef mince and shallots until the meat is cooked and browning; about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the capsicum, garlic and chillies and cook until fragrant; another 2 – 3 minutes
  3. Add the fish sauce, sugar, lime and basil and cook until the basil starts to wilt; about a minute. Taste test to make sure the balance of salty, sweet and sour is right.
  4. Garnish with the sliced spring onions, chopped peanuts and fried shallots. Serve with rice.

Matt Preston’s Cheat’s Lamb Pide

Serves: 4 (2 of you in reality)

One of our favourite pastimes comes in three parts:

  1. Long, lunch with a few bottles of wine
  2. A few more drinks at home, music, laughter, talking shit
  3. Making the sort of dinner you want after 1. and 2.

Point 3. of course requires planning because you can’t just decide on a whim to cook something wonderful and outrageous on the couch at home. You not only need the ingredients to be in the fridge, you likely need to have made a start on it… because nobody feels like cooking a fresh meal at 7pm on a Saturday night after a few wines.

We spent a few nights up in Newcastle last year leading up to NYE.

We love a place up there – Parry Street Garage – which serves great pizza and pasta, great wines and beers and more great wine. And it was within walking distance of our AirBNB.

Fast-forward a few hours, the music is on and we commence Matt Preston’s Cheat’s Lamb Pide.

Fast forward another hour or so and we have the best, Saturday-night – still drinking wine – dinner, in Merewether.

Do this the next time you have your own long lunch and finish (or start) the night right!


2 tbsp olive oil
600gm lamb mince
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Seeds of 1 pomegranate
1/4 cup un-roasted pistachio kernels, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup mint leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 oval-shaped rolls or small baguettes
1/3 cup Greek-style yoghurt (full fat!)


  1. Preheat the oven to 160c.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the lamb mince; cook, breaking up the mince for 10 minutes until well browned and crisping.
  3. Add the garlic, cumin, paprika and cinnamon and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato and cook for 4 minutes until the tomato starts to break down. Season.
  4. Time for a red wine: pour one glass and enjoy. Turn the music up.
  5. Combine the pomegranate seeds, chopped pistachios, parsley, mint, lemon juice and remaining oil in a bowl.
  6. Cut a long slit along the top of each bread roll, ensuring that you do not cut all the way through. Open the roll slightly and scoop out a little of the bread. Spoon in the lamb mixture into the rolls to fill. Place on a baking tray and bake for 5 – 10 minutes until warmed through and the rolls are crisp and crunchy on the outside.
  7. Top the rolls with yoghurt and sprinkle with the pomegranate mixture.
  8. Tequila time!

Italian Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Serves: 4

I’m not sure how you couldn’t love meatballs and I’m especially unsure how you couldn’t love these ones: with the herbs, the cheeses, the pine nuts (and some extra pistachios we added) and more grated Parmesan to serve, they’re awesome.

Prepare the meat mixture in the morning, head out to lunch and come Saturday night, open a bottle of red, put some music on and enjoy some truly excellent meatballs and sauce.

Seriously, they’re excellent.


3/4 cup olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2/3 cup pine nuts, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
40gm parsley, roughly chopped
5g basil or rosemary, roughly chopped
2 tsp fennel seeds
2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (plus extra to serve)
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
1 egg
500gm minced pork or beef


2 x 400gm tinned tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine


  1. Heat half the olive oil in a saucepan and cook the onion and pine nuts over a low heat until the onion is soft and the pine nuts are golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more and then set aside to cool.
  2. Put the herbs, fennel seeds, breadcrumbs, ricotta, Parmesan, lemon zest and egg in a bowl and add the mince. Add the cooled onion mixture, season well with salt and freshly cracked pepper and mix until all the ingredients are combined. Set aside the mixture to rest in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight.
  3. Roll the meatballs about the size of a walnut and flatten slightly to make it easier to cook on both sides.
  4. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the meatballs until golden on both sides; do two batches if necessary in order to avoid overcrowding. Remove and set aside.
  5. For the sauce: Add the tinned tomatoes and wine to the saucepan over a medium heat, breaking up the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes. Gently add the meatballs to the sauce and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes.
  6. Serve with a good sprinkling of Parmesan and some fresh basil leaves.

Mumbai roadside hot lamb sandwich

Serves: 2

Well, this is pretty epic.

Saturday night after a long lunch epic.

Epic, as in spicy Indian mince lamb, sandwiched in baita roti and pan fried.

The recipe is from a wonderful book, I Love India by Anjum Anand, an incredibly fresh and indulgent cookbook where there is literally not one recipe we wouldn’t cook. If you love Indian and you love a Saturday-night, this book will blow your mind.

Anyway, this is an epic recipe as I said and one you should definitely line up for your next big Saturday night.


For the meat filling

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
200gm minced lamb
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
1/2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 green chilli, finely chopped including seeds
1 small tomato, chopped
2/3 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 small egg
Handful of chopped coriander leaves

For the wrap and to serve
2/3 cup plain flour
1 tsp vegetable oil
5 tbsp chutney


  1. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat. Add the mince, garlic, ginger, chilli, tomato, spices and salt. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook until the meat is soft and the excess liquid has evaporated; give the pan an occasional stir, breaking up the meat during the 20 minutes or so of cooking. Drain off any excess fat and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, make the dough: add the salt to the flour, with the oil and around 1/4 cup water. Knead until smooth ensuring that it isn’t too soft. Cover with a damp kitchen cloth until the lamb is done.
  3. Whisk the egg with a little salt and the coriander. Divide the dough in half and roll out 20 – 23cm squares, trying to roll the outer 3cm thinner than the rest.
  4. Heat a large fry-pan gently and add the remaining oil.
  5. Quickly make the stuffed rotis: place half the filling in the center of each flatbread, leaving a 7.5cm border along the edges. Spoon 3 tbsp of the egg over each. Bring down the upper edge, fold in the sides and the lower edge to enclose the filling, forming into a flat-ish square.
  6. Place straight into the hot pan, seams side down and cook until golden on both sides. Serve hot with the chutney.

Thai-style Chicken Meatballs in Broth

Serves: 4
Another simple, successful, David Herbert weekday number… healthy too.

Keep the calories for the weekend.


  • 500gm chicken mince
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 small chilli chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer leaves discarded, soft inner core finely chopped
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • Vegetable oil

For the broth

  • 1.5 ltr chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 100gm thin egg or rice noodles
  • 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp chopped Thai basil
  • Soy sauce to taste

To garnish

  • 1 small red chilli, sliced
  • Coriander and mint leaves
  • Lime wedges


  1. For the broth: bring the stock to the boil and add the fish sauce, star anise and ginger and gently simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the meatball ingredients; season and shape into walnut-sized balls.
  3. Heat a little vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry the meatballs for 5 minutes until golden brown. When they are almost cooked, add the noodles to the broth and cook for one minute and then add the spring onions, Thai basil, soy sauce and meatballs. Simmer for 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. Garnish with chilli, herbs and lime wedges.

Italian Sloppy Joes

Serves: 4

As a child of an American mother, Sloppy Joes were something I grew up with.

Essentially mince on toast, spiced with a packet of mix usually from McCormicks, an American food company.

I’ve never had it any other way and every trip back to the States has included a hunt for a dozen packs to bring back home to Australia.

Sloppy Joes are a real American comfort food and served on a toasted bread roll, you really can’t ask for anything more comfortable.

I’d considered doing my own Sloppy Joes though like messing with a Big Mac, I feared messing with what I knew and loved best.

Until tonight….

This recipe is Sloppy Joes right down the line.

The ‘Italian’ twist ironically steers it closer to the packet mix version I have always had. Add a toasted bread roll and you’re home.

I guess it is just slightly spiced mince on toast and I know that in itself isn’t amazing.

I hope however that my boys come to love Sloppy Joes as much as I do and that it becomes part of their childhood like it was mine.


2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped, plus 1 extra halved
500gm beef mince
350ml passata
1 cup beef stock
2 tbsp coarsely chopped oregano
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 large bread rolls, halved
2 buffalo mozzarella balls, thinly sliced


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a low heat and saute the onion and garlic until golden. Add the beef, breaking up and cook until browned and any liquid evaporated.
  2. Add the passata, stock, oregano, sugar, chilli flakes and fennel seeds, season to taste and simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened: an hour or so. Stir in the vinegar and season again to taste.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat a grill to high and toast the rolls cut side up. Rub the toasted side with the garlic halves, top with the mozzarella cheese and grill until melted.
  4. Spoon the meat mixture over the toasted rolls and enjoy.