Calabrian Meatballs

Calabrian Meatballs

Calabrian Meatballs

In the coldest part of the year, when it has rained or hailed for days, and my fingers are stiff and uncooperative, I long for distant, sunny shores. Sadly, my budget won’t allow for jaunts to Tuscany or the Riviera, so I let my imagination fly to sunny Calabria, the “toe” of booted Italy. It saves on jet lag too 🙂

The original for this recipe can be found in La Cucina, that astonishing collection of traditional regional recipes. Imagine my surprise when the first ingredient listed was “1lb horse meat”, something that would have landed me in legal hot water here. I have opted instead for pork and veal mince and browning the meatballs before casseroling to give a deeper flavour. 

Nutty Spiced Banana Muffins

Nutty Spiced Banana Muffins

Nutty Spiced Banana Muffins

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There are always a few lonely bananas that hide at the bottom of the fruit bowl for a day or two longer than it takes to ripen, or a few with skins blotchy enough that even the Fruit Monsters shun them.  These poor forlorn ‘nanas have a delicious destiny as these particular muffins are best made with soft, very ripe fruit. They make a good lunch-box treat, midnight snack or after-school filler-upper. They can just as easily take pride of place on a fancy platter for tea parties. 

Sweet Potato Bake

Sweet Potato Bake

Sweet Potato Bake

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This dish is simplicity itself to make, requires no special equipment or ingredients and lends itself to endless variations. It’s a favourite bring-a-plate to meat-heavy Barbeques. Add plenty of thyme  to accompany a richly flavoured roast such as venison, beef or mutton.  I add thyme and orange zest to accompany Tarragon Chicken. Sage, extra onion and crushed garlic to make a side dish for roast chicken, veal or turkey. You can even add bacon, ham and/or leftover roast chicken to turn this into a Main Meal 🙂  The crushed nuts or almond meal are optional too (although they do make a nice sweet crunchy crust.

Cidered Pork with Pistachio

Cidered Pistachio Pork

Cidered Pistachio Pork

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This is a simple and tasty way to prepare pork chops. Marinating the meat in a little cider not only imparts a delicious tangy flavour, it also helps tenderise the meat.  A still, dry cider (such as Old Rosie’s) is best for this. Pistachios give it a little nutritional boost, as well as adding texture and colour. Serve it accompanied by potatoes or rice, some nice crispy steamed vegetables and dollop on some apple sauce, caramelized apple slices or Pear and Red Onion Chutney.

Rich Beef Stroganoff Wyld Style

Beef Stroganoff Wyld Style

Beef Stroganoff Wyld Style

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Sometime ago I wrote of Beloved’s famous Stroganoff, and gave you my meatballs version. This is the original in all of its glory. On face value it’s chunky and bucolic, but each delectable morsel has its own subtly layered flavours that blend together into an exquisite whole. Enjoy with buttered noodles and the rest of the bottle of wine you cook it with. Choose a full bodied wine for this, one with a slightly acid finish, such as a Merlot or Cabernet.