Regularly stocking up on cookbooks can get a bit pricey, so I’ve started borrowing them from my local library, which harbours a superb selection. I get a vicarious thrill out of lugging them home and leafing through, before post it noting the recipes I want to try before the dreaded due date (never let it be said that I don’t like to live life on its absolute edge).
I notice that the Ottolenghi cook book sports significantly more coloured tassles than any of the others, saturated with inspiration and creativity as it is. The roasted butternut squash with burnt aubergine and pomegranate molasses makes a lovely supper not to mention a mighty fine packed lunch. I also love these lightly spiced cumin and parsley flecked meatballs – using turkey definitely makes them taste a bit lighter. The recipe calls for stale white bread, but I only had wholemeal which worked to great effect. The accompanying red pepper sauce was so good I could have just eaten it on its own – it made an excellent dipping sauce for branches of garlic roasted broccoli the next day.
I can’t wait for the new Ottolenghi cookbook to come out; in fact – I might even break my borrowing habit and actually go out and buy the thing.
Turkey and sweetcorn meatballs
100g sweetcorn kernels (fresh or frozen)
3 slices of stale white bread, crusts removed
500g minced free-range or organic turkey breast
1 free-range egg
4 spring onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed
Sunflower oil, for frying
Roasted pepper sauce
4 red peppers
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
25g coriander, leaves and stalks
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 small mild chilli, deseeded
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 tbsp cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
1) Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6. To prepare the peppers for the sauce, quarter them with a sharp knife and shave off the white parts and the seeds. Put them in a roasting tray and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and ½ teaspoon of the salt, then roast in the oven for 35 minutes or until soft. Transfer the hot peppers to a bowl and cover it with cling film. Once they have cooled down a little, you can peel them, although it isn’t essential for this sauce. In any case, place them in a blender or food processor with their roasting juices and add the rest of the sauce ingredients. Process until smooth, then taste and adjust the salt if necessary. Set aside.
2) For the meatballs, place a heavy non-stick frying pan over a high heat and throw in the corn kernels. Toss them in the hot pan for 2-3 minutes, until lightly blackened. Remove and leave to cool.
3) Soak the bread in cold water for a minute, then squeeze well and crumble it into a large bowl. Add all the rest of the ingredients except the sunflower oil and mix well with your hands.
4) Pour a 5mm depth of sunflower oil into your heavy frying pan. Allow it to heat up well and then fry about a teaspoon of the mince mix in it. Remove, let cool a little and then taste. Adjust the amount of salt and pepper in the uncooked mixture to your liking.
5) With wet hands, shape the mince mix into balls, about the size of golf balls. Cook them in small batches in the hot oil, turning them around in the pan until they are golden brown all over. Transfer to an oven tray, place in the oven at 200C/Gas mark 6 and cook for about 5 minutes. When you press one with your finger, the meat should bounce back. If unsure, break one open to check that it is cooked inside. Serve hot or warm, with the pepper sauce on the side.