Lately I’ve been a bit stripped of inspiration. It’s probably something to do with the hundred thoughts swimming round my brain. There are so many ideas, so many things I want to be doing… but 8 hours of work a day seem to be getting in the way. When I was younger I used to say that I would always want to work, even if I won the lottery. Well, I have seriously reconsidered THAT! Oh to win the lottery… (chances are minimum as I don’t actually play it) my life would be so full I wouldn’t have time to miss work. First of all I would buy a horse. Although with the number of people giving away theirs at the moment, I wouldn’t even need to pay for it. You see the problem with keeping a horse here in Greece is, well, “keeping” it. You pay through the nose for livery, farrier, dentist, God forbid vet, lessons and someone to exercise your horse if you can’t. It’s funny, because if I didn’t work I’d be able to do some of that myself (even the mucking out!) and the fees would be fewer. So if I did win the lottery my expenses would be less – how ironic is that?
The other thing taking up my time would be this blog and a couple of other internet projects. I’d really like to pour more time and energy into these. Wow, riding every day, cooking, baking and blogging about all the recipes I’ve tried. Yes, that’s how I’d like to spend my days please!
Hmm, now how can I tie all that to fried meatballs? I won’t even try, as I explained, I’m currently inspirationally challenged. So here’s a recipe for some really good fried meatballs, which we usually have with boiled greens when The Mister’s mum sends some up from the village. You could also serve them with a chopped tomato salad or salsa, Greek yogurt and warm pitta bread. Ooh I know, you could open up a Cypriot pitta (yes, they’re different) and stuff it with these babies, salsa and yogurt. Mm, good idea – hey was that inspiration knocking?
The recipe is by the Greek chef Christoforos Peskias, and is included in the book “Greek Cuisine” a Gastronomos magazine publication.
2 ½ Tbs olive oil, plus more for frying (or you can use any vegetable oil for frying)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
500g minced meat (I use a mix of beef and pork)
175g bread without crusts, crumbled (make sure it’s stale so it will crumble easily)
juice of ½ a lemon
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried spearmint
salt & freshly ground pepper
flour to coat meatballs
What you do:
- Heat the 2 ½ Tbs oil in a frying pan over medium low heat, and gently cook the onion until it is soft and translucent (confession: up until a few months ago I thought that word was trans-cu-lent! Don’t tell anyone). Remove from the heat.
- In a large bowl, combine the minced meat, the contents of the pan (onion and oil), breadcrumbs, egg, lemon juice, oregano, spearmint, salt and pepper. Mix with your hands and knead until well combined. Set aside for about half an hour allowing for the ingredients to mingle.
- Get two plates and put some flour on one of them. Take a small amount of meat mixture and roll it in the palms of your hands to form a ball, about the size of a golf ball. Then roll it around the flour a bit, so it’s all coated, but shake or tap off any excess flour. You want to be careful not to have too much flour on it because it burns while frying and affects the taste. Place the floured ball on the clean plate. Repeat until the meat mixture is all gone. (Um, I assume I don’t need to tell you to throw away the remaining flour, right?)
- Heat some oil in a large frying pan (here in Greece olive oil is used big time, although it is said it’s not good for frying, so I use sunflower oil – which is also cheaper). The amount of oil used will depend on the size of your pan, but basically you want it to come to at least half way up the side of the meatballs. My pan is quite large and I used about half a litre of oil. Heat it on high and make sure it’s hot before you start putting in the meatballs.
- Add the meatballs to the pan one by one. For me the best way to do this is with barbeque tongs. Don’t crowd them, fry in batches if they don’t all fit in at once. Leave them alone for 2 minutes and then turn them so they brown on the other side. They shouldn’t need more than about 4 minutes in total, but check to be sure. Take one out, cut it in half, and ensure the centre is no longer pink. Don’t overcook them, they just need to be golden, barely brown.
- Remove the meatballs from the pan and place them on a clean plate (yes I know, it’s a washing up nightmare this recipe) lined with a paper towel to absorb any oil.
- Enjoy while warm, or cold, doesn’t matter they’re just as good.
Note: You’ll notice that none of my recipes include garlic. This is because The Mister detests it (note the bold italics). So I don’t even try to fool him by sneaking it into anything! You can add a clove to this recipe if you want, just mince it and cook it with the onion before adding it to the meat mixture.