Oriental Pork Cakes

Serves 4

Slightly dull name for a recipe and not sure where I found it either; though name aside, they’re really good, they’re really simple and they’re really made from mince, the finest thing out there.

And reasonably healthy too, especially if you substituted chicken or even turkey mince .

I think having lots of these little recipes around is great for those weekend lunches and week nights where suddenly it’s meal time and you need to think on your feet. If you cook this, people will think you’re a genius.

Ingredients

500g pork mince
3 pork chipolata sausages (100g), skins discarded
2 eschalots, finely chopped
1 lemongrass stem (pale part only) finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Grated zest of one lime
Splash of fish sauce
1 small red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
¼ cup finely chopped coriander leaves
Sunflower oil, to shallow fry
Sweet chilli sauce, thinly sliced cucumber and lettuce leaves to serve

Method

  1. Place the mince, sausage meat, eschalot, lemongrass, garlic, zest, fish sauce, chilli and coriander in a large bowl. Mix well with your hands until combined.
  2. With damp hands, shape the mixture into 16 cakes and chill for 15 minutes to firm up.
  3. Heat a little sunflower oil in a large frypan over a medium-high heat. Cook the cakes (in batches if necessary) for 3 – 4 minutes until each side is golden and cooked.
  4. Serve the cakes with chilli sauce, sliced cucumber and lettuce leaves.

Moroccan meatball tagine with lemon and olives

Serves: 4

For a low carb dinner, this is a fabulous recipe; flavoursome, exotic and filling.

I chose to type it up because it is a mince recipe (my favourite), it is healthy (less than 400 calories per serve) and frankly, it tastes like something you’d get at a Moroccan restaurant, let alone being a dish you’d prepare to keep trim or get trim.

The original recipe asked for lamb mince and lamb stock, though I changed this to lean pork mince and chicken stock respectively. It would be fine with turkey mince as well.

I also steamed and sliced in two zucchini at the end of the cooking, to add some greenery and fill out the recipe.

And of course cous cous with chicken stock and currants.

Eat well, feel good!

Ingredients

3 onions, peeled, roughly chopped
500gm minced pork (or lamb, beef, chicken, turkey)
Zest and juice of one lemon, then quartered
1 tsp cumin
1tsp cinnamon
Pinch cayenne pepper
Small bunch flat0leaf parsley, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
Thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
Pinch saffron strands
205ml chicken stock (or lamb if doing lamb)
1 tbsp tomato paste
100gm pitted black Kalamata olives
Small bunch coriander, chopped
Cous cous (with chicken stock, currants and toasted, slivered almonds) or fresh, crusty bread
2 zucchinis, steamed and sliced and added at the end
Method

  1. Put the onions in a food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Put the mince, lemon zest, spices, parsley and half the onions in a large bowl and season; combine. Using your hands, shape into walnut-sized balls.
  2. Heat the oil in a tagine (or large pan/heavy pot) and add the remaining onions, ginger, chilli and saffron. Cook for 5 minutes until the onion starts to soften. Add the lemon juice, stock, tomato paste and olives and bring to the boil. Add the meatballs one at a time, reduce the heat and cover, cooking for 20 minutes; turn the meatballs a few times during this time.
  3. Remove the lid and add the coriander and lemon wedges, tucking them in between the meatballs. Cook uncovered for another 10 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. Add any pre-cooked/steamed vegetables, carefully combine and serve with cous cous or crusty bread.

Spicy meatballs with chilli black beans

Add more chilli and spices to dial the meatballs up even further.
Add more chilli and spices to dial the meatballs up even further.

Serves: 4

Ok, so this dish is unlikely to feature at Est. or Rockpool, though if you had it at a local café or bistro, properly seasoned, you probably wouldn’t have any qualms.

So why am I typing it up? Not because it’s easy and not because it contains mince, one of my favourite foods.

It’s here because it’s healthy, in so far that it has only 376 calories per serve, which in context of a normal, man’s daily diet of 2,500 calories, is a huge win! The dish is low in GI and it fills you up. Which for a weeknight dinner, is awesome, especially as it reheats up just fine the next night.

And it tastes good.

I adapted the recipe to make the meatballs a little more flavoursome by adding the red onion and chilli and you could cut out the avocado to save on a few more calories. Though the avocado/lime accoutrement adds a really nice visual flair, especially if you have friends around.

Just quick note regarding the canned cherry tomatoes. I hadn’t heard of cherry tomatoes in a can, though upon closer inspection, I was able to find a can of baby Roma tomatoes at Coles. If you can, find whole baby tomatoes as they present really well. Otherwise, any canned tomatoes will do.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 red onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 large yellow pepper (capsicum) diced
1 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp chilli paste (I used fresh chilli paste)
300ml chicken stock
400g can cherry tomatoes
400g can black beans or red kidney beans, drained
1 avocado, chopped
Juice ½ lime

Meatballs

500gm minced turkey breast
2 chillies, seeded and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
50g porridge oats
2 spring onions chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coriander
Good handful of coriander (stalks and leaves) chopped
1 tsp olive oil (or avocado oil, rapeseed oil)

Method

  1. First, make the meatballs. Combine all of the meatball ingredients (except the olive oil) in a bowl and knead together until well mixed. Shape into 12 ping-pong sized balls.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and cook the meatballs until golden brown, turning frequently. Remove from the pan.
  3. Tip the onion, garlic and yellow pepper into the pan and cook, stirring, until softened. Stir in the cumin and chilli paste and then the stock. Return the meatballs to the pan, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pan for about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and beans and cook, uncovered for a few more minutes.
  5. In a bowl, toss the avocado chunks with the lime juice and serve the meatballs topped with the avocado and coriander leaves.

Kofta b’siniyah

With a glass of Pinot and a salad at the side, this is seriously heaven.
With a glass of Pinot and a salad at the side, this is seriously heaven.

Serves 6

This recipe is from a book called ‘Jerusalem’ (Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi), bringing together recipes from the city; east and west. The book was a birthday present from our great friends, Woodles and Billy and they swear by it. After cooking this recipe, I do too.

This dish stood out immediately for two reasons.

Firstly, I love mince and anything to do with mince.

Secondly, it was a different sort of mince recipe than I had cooked before; mainly the use of the warmed tahini as a base and the burnt butter whilst serving.

What is really grabbing about it, is the presentation; it is beautiful and dramatic and perfect for a simple Sunday lunch with friends. I served it with a warm potato salad, though it would be well served with a salad of cucumber and tomato and some pita bread at the side.

Ingredients

150gm light tahini paste
3 tbsp lemon juice
120ml water
1 medium garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp sunflower oil
30gm of unsalted butter (or ghee)
Sweet paprika to garnish
Salt
Chopped flat-leaf parsley

Kofta

400gm minced lamb
400gm minced veal or beef
1 small onion
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
50gm toasted pine nuts, roughly chopped, plus extra whole ones to garnish
30gm finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to garnish
1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
1½ tsp ground allspice
¾ tsp grated nutmeg
1½ ground black pepper
1½ tsp salt

Method

  1. Put all the kofta ingredients in a bowl and using your hand, mix well together.
  2. Shape the koftas into long, torpedo-like fingers, roughly 8cm long. Press the mix to compress it and ensure the kofta is tight and keeps it shape. Set aside and refrigerate for up to a day.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  4. In a bowl, whisk together the tahini paste, lemon juice, water, garlic and ¼ teaspoon of salt; the sauce should be a bit runnier than honey and add one or two tablespoons of water if it is not.
  5. Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan (I used a griddle) and sear the kofta over a high heat; do this in batches so they are not cramped. Sear them on all sides until they are golden brown; around six minutes per batch. At this point they should be medium rare.
  6. Transfer the kofta to an oven tray and spoon the tahini sauce around the koftas. Place in the oven for a few minutes, both to cook the koftas a bit further (2 – 4 minutes depending on your preference) and to warm the sauce.
  7. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and allow it to brown a little ensuring it doesn’t burn.
  8. Spoon the butter over the koftas as soon as they come out of the oven; scatter with pine nuts and parsley and finely sprinkle paprika on top.