Saturday, August 7, 2010

Spicy meatballs on toast

Hello everyone, I was lucky this week to visit a fairly new restaurant, Neutral Bay Bar And Dining, at which I had an absolutely luscious meal. I was a little tenative, as the owners of this place have another restaurant in Glebe where I was left very unimpressed some years ago with the difficulty in booking, the sittings policy and a lost order. That one was not a great night.

NBBAD was (happily) a completely different experience. It was easy to book and you could arrive any time you liked. The fit out is lovely, with comfy, roomy booths; you don't feel as if the next table is sitting in your lap. The service was charming and efficient, but best of all (again, happily) was the food. It was outstanding! I had the most beautiful roast pork, which had I not known better I would have sworn was cooked by my Mum or my Nana. To follow I departed from my habit of ordering the chocolate dessert (enticing as it sounded) and plumped for the pear and raspberry souffle. Again, absolutely outstanding. I did muse later that it's a funny thing when I am excited about going out and spending a decent amount of money on a meal that I loved because it tasted so home cooked. Maybe because it's more common that you would want to get ordinary food. Anyway, NBBAD has gone straight on to my list of favourite restaurants and I can't wait to go back.

This week's recipe comes from the July edition of delicious and I loved it. You can make the full quantity and freeze portions if you aren't cooking for an entire family. It really works with the toast.

Have a happy week. Love from Jane xxx

Spicy meatballs on toast

Serves four

What you need:
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped, plus 1 halved
  • 4 slices pancetta
  • 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley, plus extra to serve
  • 600g beef mince
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 egg
  • 250g punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 750ml tomato passata
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 8 slices ciabatta bread
  • 1 cup grated parmesan

What you do:

  1. Place chopped garlic in a food processor with the pancetta, rosemary and parsley and pulse until finely chopped. (If you are not that fussed about having everything really finely choppped, you can just do the chopping and mixing by hand).
  2. Place the garlic mix into a bowl with the mince, chilli, tomato paste and egg and mix well with your hands.
  3. Roll into 3cm balls and chill for 30 minutes if you have the time (don't worry if not).
  4. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  5. Heat some oil in a pan over a medium-high heat.
  6. In batches, coook the meatballs for 4-5 minutes until well browned.
  7. Place on a baking tray with the cherry tomatoes; drizzle with oil and season.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and the tomatoes are tender.
  9. Meanwhile, heat the passata, sugar and vinegar in a pan over a medium heat.
  10. Season, then place the meatballs and tomatoes in the sauce and warm through.
  11. Toast the slices of bread, then rub with the halved garlic clove.
  12. Serve the meatballs and sauce on the toast, scattered with parmesan and extra parsley.