Lamb meatballs, daylight savings and a good weekend

Every now and again, a weekend passes that is just right for the mood you are in at the time, and this weekend was one of those.  We ate lots of delicious food, saw a film, read, and generally enjoyed ourselves with what one could say are the good and simple things of life.  The clocks went forward too this weekend, so the evenings are lighter.  The birds are still waking us up early with their singing and chattering – nicer than an alarm clock but sometimes you just want to sleep a little longer!

On Saturday, we drove over to Eastbourne, where we hadn’t been for a few months.  We had lunch in the Lifeboat Tavern, that has clearly changed hands since we were last there, having a new menu and decor.  We both opted for fish and chips, (second time in one week – shocking).  The fish was covered in a really light batter, and since I wasn’t driving I had a small one of these:

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Beer from Scotland, Brew Dog IPA

Despite a large lunch, I made a large dinner, or rather I had planned to make a lamb meatball dish from Dish magazine that sounded good and so just went ahead.  It was good too, even though I say so myself, full of flavour and warmth from some sweet paprika, and definitely one to do again.  The adapted recipe (which called for Cajun mix, which if commercially bought, is basically salt) is at the end.  I nearly forgot to take a photograph of it, but here is the dish, already partly demolished.

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Half of the lamb meatballs with white beans

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Karl enjoying meatballs

On Sunday, we walked to town which was a good way to walk off some of the excesses of the day before.  We went for a really good lunch at Scopa on Cuba Street, where Karl had the sweetly named Bambino Pizza and I opted for the Orecchiette with guanciale (Italian cured pork cheek and I believe the proper meat for classic pasta sauces like carbonara), peas, chilli and grana (Parmigianino-Reggiano).  I couldn’t resist a glass of pinot grigio with it, which made a perfect combination.  Lunch was followed by a trip to the Lighthouse Cinema to see “What Maisie Knew”, the adaptation of the Henry James novel, updated to present day New York.  It is a good film, or rather, a good Sunday afternoon film, with fine performances from Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan, Joanna Vanderham and Alexander Skarsgård as well as the child actress playing Maisie, Onata Aprile.  We finished the day with some more good food and the thought ‘the diet starts Monday’ on our brains.

Recipe for Lamb Meatballs with White Beans:

For the meatballs you will need 500g of lamb mince, 1 egg, 1 cup (that is a New Zealand cup, which in this case is 125g) of breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander, salt and then I used a good heaped teaspoon of paprika, some oregano and rosemary for seasoning, but you could vary this according to what you have and what you like.  Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, roll into walnut-sized balls, and brown the meatballs in oil.  Transfer to a plate and set aside.  The meatballs won’t be fully cooked as that happens later.

For the sauce, using the same pan, fry 1finely chopped onion, 1 finely chopped celery stalk, 2 crushed garlic cloves until soft and then add your spice mix (I based mine around paprika again, with a mix of Italian herbs).  Stir in a 400g of tomatoes (cherry ones if you can get them) and a 400g tin of cannellini beans.  Add in 1 cup of chicken stock, and then return the meatballs to the pan.  Bring to the boil then reduce the hear and simmer gently for 10 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through.  This serves 4, but you could add more beans to stretch it out to more people.

Information on Australian and New Zealand cup measurements can be found here.

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