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Monday, 4 August 2014

Spice up your life with my little balls of fire!

I'm always trying to think of something different to dish up for dinner. It requites my need for creativity and when I've got lots of things whizzing around in my head (which sometimes feels like Piccadilly Circus), menu planning and preparation is very therapeutic! I like to tuck myself away in the kitchen and if the sun is going down (well, it always is somewhere in the world!), I pour myself a glass of chilled white 'nectar' and set about my culinary preparations.

On Saturday, I thought I'd spice things up a little and serve up one of my old restaurant specials.

SPICY MEATBALLS in a tomato sauce, served with plain rice and sour cream.

Spicy meatballs in a tomato sauce ~platter to serve 4

Ingredients and preparation:
(serves 4)
The meatballs:
500g of pork mince and 500g beef mince
(there is no reason why you should not just use one or the other - I mix it because, here in Portugal, I sometimes find that the beef mince does not have quite enough fat content)
Van Geest's Sambal Oelek* liquid chili - hot!
(For a mild to medium result, I used 2 tablespoons to a kilo of meat - but add more if you wish to increase the 'fire'!)
Salt (again, the quantity is up to you - I tend to be over generous, so I am not going to give guidelines)

In an appropriate sized mixing bowl, add the meat and salt and then the liquid chili. Now for the messy part - use your hands to mix everything together. On a baking tray lined with baking paper, roll the meat in the palms of your hands, into balls just a little smaller than those used to play golf! Bake in a preheated oven (180 degrees) for 20 minutes.



Warning! Wash your hands well!
Jolly painful if you inadvertently rub your eyes!!

Whilst your little spicy chili balls are cooking away, prepare the sauce.

The Sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, chopped
2 spring onions, chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
1 tin of chopped tomatoes (approx 500g)
A good squeeze of tomato paste
3 cloves of chopped garlic
Salt (I recommend a good sprinkling)
Freshly chopped coriander to garnish

In a saucepan, add the olive oil, the leeks, spring onions, celery and garlic with the salt and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and the tomato paste. Allow the vegetables to soften and cook down a little before serving on top of the meatballs.

I like to serve this with plain rice and a good dollop of sour cream to balance the heat from the meatballs. My son invited a friend to join us for dinner, so I was a little more cautious than usual with the Sambal Oelek. You did well Alex, next time, I'll challenge your taste buds a little more!

* For my reader here in Portugal, I get Van Geest's Oelek Sambal from Baptista's Supermercado in Praia da Luz.