So my family and I have moved into our new rental house and we’re all settling at varying paces. The kids took to the new house very well and they don’t seem to miss the big back yard or Olympic-sized pool of our previous rental house. I am mostly OK with this new house: I do like that it’s smaller as cleaning only takes half the time but there are a few things that make me question what the builder was thinking upon planning this house. I’m entitled to say this since we’ve taken about three years planning our own :|
The downstairs toilet is semi-ensuited to the Master bedroom which in itself is a bit awkward but the main bone of contention is its size. It’s not much bigger than an aeroplane bathroom! As soon as you open the door inwards, the toilet is right there in front of you, pretty much necessitating you to sit on it in order to close the door. The laundry is also the size of a postage stamp so I’ve had to move the ironing board upstairs into the spare bedroom. Other than that though, I’ll cope for the year and a bit we need to be here.
My husband on the other hand largely dislikes this new house but he’s still seething about having to leave the other rental house as well as missing the opportunity to live along the river in a mansion-like home which was waaaay more than we needed to pay weekly in rent. I think he’ll eventually settle in but for the next month I expect to hear a few grumbles and expletives to remind me of his discontent. Most definitely first world problems so let’s move on!
I’ve started cooking a little more again now that I’ve sussed out my new kitchen. The oven is pretty good and I don’t miss using the 5-burner stove in the other house. I’ve got just enough space on the bench for my Thermomix so we’ll definitely get back into some TMX action soon. Now that my dining suite is on tiles again, I can see myself inviting friends over for dinner parties again! Yes, it may seem trite but I stopped having dinner parties because the dining room in the other house was carpeted. Who puts cream carpets in dining rooms??
The family was hankering for some meatballs the other night so I thought of putting a spin on my usual recipe with a dash of aged balsamic vinegar. Please note that I said ‘aged’. Call us balsamic snobs but if it hasn’t been in a barrel for at least 8 years in some delightful part of Italy (well, it kinda has to be Modena…) then my husband and I won’t touch it. A bottle of aged balsamic may be about three times the price of a 2-year old one but it’s well worth the extra expense. Especially if you want to do the EVOO + Balsamic thing to dip some crusty bread into.
I’m sure everyone has their own favourite meatball recipe but it’s good to tweak it here and there. I learnt recently to pre-cook the onion before adding the mince. as it’s just not possible to cook the diced onion within the meatballs sufficiently without rendering the entire thing dry and just plain nasty. And kids? They really, really don’t like uncooked onion. So this time I sauteed my onion in the Thermomix with a bit of crushed garlic and a tablespoon of aged Balsamic (if you only have the stuff Coles sells then add a teaspoon of honey). During the pan-frying stage, I added another splash of Balsamic for extra tang. Just a simply addition to make an old favourite a bit more interesting :)
What’s your meatball tip to mix things up?
Balsamic Pork Meatballs
1/3 cup of bread crumbs or piece of crusty bread blitzed up in TMX (set aside)
1 small carrot, finely diced or (or blitzed on Speed 3 for a few seconds in the TMX and set aside)
1/2 brown onion, diced (or blitzed on Speed 3 for a few seconds in the TMX)
small clove of garlic, diced or crushed well
1 Tbsp aged Balsamic vinegar (or un-aged stuff with a tsp of honey)
500g lean pork mince
1/3 ricotta cheese (optional, but does help to keep meatballs moist)
salt and pepper to taste
extra Tbsp of Balsamic to drizzle over meatballs while in pan
To make: Saute onion (100C, Speed 1 for 3 minutes) with diced garlic in a Tbsp of olive oil until translucent. Add Balsamic vinegar and carrots and saute for another 2 minutes. Allow to cool down to room temperature. Add pork mince, ricotta and bread crumbs, plus seasoning. Combine well (a few shots of Turbo then a careful mix with the TMX spatula. Roll into 3cm wide balls and set aside. Heat up frying pan with a Tbsp of olive oil. Fry meatballs on once side until brown then turn over. When other side is brown again, jiggle the pan to get the balls rolling until all meatballs are evenly browned. Drizzle extra Balsamic over meatballs and serve.