A dash of olive oil
2 small onions, very finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp of sweet smoked paprika
2 pinches of saffron — optional
½ a red chilli, finely chopped
500g of minced pork
a handful of parsley, finely chopped
150g of breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
flour for dusting
Sauté one of the onions on a low heat with a lid on the pan. Sauté until it is completely soft and transparent. Add three cloves of the garlic to the pan and continue frying for another minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and paprika. Allow to bubble away over a low heat for 20 minutes.
Soak the saffron in a tablespoon of warm water and set aside.
Put the rice on to boil in lightly salted water and drain when cooked.
Place the remaining onion and garlic in a bowl and stir in the red chilli, mince, parsley and breadcrumbs. Season and add the egg. Combine everything completely.
Sprinkle the flour onto a large plate. Shape the meat balls between your hands and roll in the flour. I like to make them about half the size of a golf ball or smaller.
Heat some oil and fry the balls until they are golden on the outside and cooked through. You might have to do them in two or three batches, depending on the size of your pan.
Stir the saffron through the sauce if you are using it and taste and season. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and serve with the rice.
2. Paris Bistro Salad
4 smoked streaky rashers cut into cubes
2 tsp of Dijon mustard
2 tbs of cider vinegar
1 clove of garlic, crushed
3 tbs of olive oil
4 small heads on endive, pulled apart and washed
crunchy bread for four
Fry the rasher pieces until crispy and set aside.
Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. Crack an egg onto a saucer and tip it into the boiling water. Poach to your liking, three minutes gives a nice soft centre.
Whisk the mustard, vinegar, garlic and season. Toss the endive in the dressing and the bacon. Serve with an egg on top and crunchy bread on the side.
3. Honey Roasted Vegetables on Quinoa
3 medium carrots, sliced
1 small butternut squash, peeled, de seeded and chopped
4 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed
1 red onion, peeled and sliced
the juice and zest of an orange
a generous dash of olive oil
a bunch of thyme, removed from the stalk and chopped
a thumb size piece of ginger chopped
quinoa for four
a handful of golden raisins
2 tsp of turmeric
a bunch of parsley, very finely chopped
2 tbs of natural yogurt
Toss the carrots, squash, garlic and red onion in the orange juice and zest. Toss through the olive oil, thyme and ginger. Season well and place into an oven heated to 180 degrees for twenty five to thirty minutes until they are cooked through and golden.
While they are roasting cover the quinoa completely in warm water and bring to the boil. Stir in the raisins and turmeric. Once the little stems are coming away from the main grain of the quinoa it is cooked. Test it to make sure it is soft enough. Drain and stir in the parsley and seasoning.
Serve with the warm vegetables spooned over the quinoa and the yogurt drizzled over them both.
4. Homemade Fish Fingers and Aioli
400g of chunky white fish such as pollock, skin removed and cut into 12 long wedges
1 egg, lightly beaten and 3 egg yolks
90g of breadcrumbs
1 tsp of smoked paprika
150 mls of olive oil and a dash
3 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed
juice of half a lemon zest of all of it
Mix the breadcrumbs with the paprika and seasoning. Dip the pieces of fish into the lightly beaten egg and coat them in the breadcrumb mix.
Lightly coat a flat baking tray with oil and place the fish onto it. Bake in an oven heated to 200 degrees for twenty minutes until golden.
While they are baking use a food processor to blend the egg yolks, garlic, lemon juice and zest. Set it to its slowest setting a pour the 150 mls of olive oil in a thin steady stream. The mixture will start to look like mayonnaise. Taste and season.
Toss the leaves in the salad and serve the fish fingers with the salad and homemade aioli. This is also nice with a bowl of mushy peas.
5. Lamb Chops with Roasties, Carrot Mash and Maple Syrup Sauce
Potatoes for four, cut into chunks
4 large carrots, cut into chunks
1 tbs of soft butter
2 tbs of maple syrup
1 tbs of sherry vinegar
8 lamb chops
1 tbs of plain four
1/2 tbs of ground polenta
Put the potatoes on to boil in lightly salted water for seven minutes to par cook them.
Put the carrots on to boil until they are soft. Drain any excess water.
Drain the potatoes and toss them in the flour and polenta. Season them well and place onto an oiled baking tray. Bake for about twenty minutes until they are soft in the centre and completely golden.
Mix most of the butter, the maple syrup and the sherry vinegar and allow to simmer gently in a saucepan for five minutes.
Season the chops and grill them to your liking. I do mine for about three minutes a side so that they are pink.
Mash the carrots with the remaining butter and some seasoning. Serve the chops with the potatoes and a scoop of the mash. Pour the sauce over the top.
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