ISmall strips of coarsely chopped pork are fried in a skillet, seasoned with lemon, mint, and garlic, turning the edges into caramelized meat juices. The plan, once it’s all browned, is to bake it in a casserole pot on a bed of onions, thyme, and figs. I introduced a little shredded halloumi into the mince, which would feel a lot more like home with the figs and thyme, while keeping the meatballs sweet and juicy.
I like the opportunities that a bag of ground beef provides, whether it’s pork or lamb. You can dine in many directions, from the most homemade potato-topped pancake to something you let your imagination and good taste guide you. The most common use of the chop in my kitchen is for slow-cooking pasta sauces—the kind of recipe where time counts like thyme—and quick dinners like meatballs spiced with thyme and lemon, or maybe cumin, sage and onion. Garam masala.
This was also the first week that I had a big apple to cook fat at home. The temptation to slip them into their aga, as my mother did with a spoonful of sweet minced meat tucked into their hollows, is almost irresistible. But I’ve been side-tracking, turning their bland texture into a lightly sweetened puree, glistening with purple juices from a handful of blackberries, and using it as a hastily prepared trifle filling.
I feel like we’re in between two seasons now, and I love that. A golden autumnal light still floods the kitchen in the morning, while the goodies of winter peek out in the distance—the first Brussels sprouts, citrus greens, and the warmth of winter cooking. Again, the kitchen is the best place for you.
Ham and halloumi balls
It is worth letting the balls rest for a while in the refrigerator after shaping them, as they are less likely to fall apart during cooking. Carefully flip them in the pan and let them form a golden crust on the base before turning them over. Use a coarse grater for the halloumi so that the cheese melts and the ham is seasoned as it cooks. Serves 3-4
green onion 3
peanut oil 1 tablespoon and a little more
garlic 2 cloves
Lemon grated flavor of 1
Red pepper 2 small
Dried mint 4 grams
Coarsely chopped pork 450 gr
Halloumi 200 gr
Onions 2, average
Peanuts or olive oil 2 tablespoons for frying
thyme leaves 1 tbsp
Figs 6, small
Cut the scallions into thin rings, then cook them in oil in a shallow skillet for 5 minutes, until soft and translucent. Peel the garlic and crush it to a paste, then toss with the spring onions. Add the grated zest and grind salt and pepper in large quantities. Finely chop the pepper, grate it if you like, add it to the onion and mint, and remove from heat.
Add minced pork to the seasoning. Grate the halloumi coarsely, then add it to the mixture and mix well. Shape the mixture into golf ball sized balls and place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Heat the oil in a shallow non-stick frying pan, add some pork balls, browning one side, then gently roll and brown the other side. Stir the balls from time to time to coat them evenly, then transfer them to an oven dish. Repeat with the rest of the balls.
Preheat the oven to 180°C / gas mark 4. Peel and finely chop the onions, add them to the vacuum pan, with a little oil if needed, and sauté for 10-12 minutes, until wilted. Cut the thyme into small pieces, add it to the onion, and then roughly chop the figs and add them too. Return the balls to the pan, place them between the onions and figs, cover with a lid and bake for 30 minutes. spoon into bowls.
Apple blackberry and apple
Cook the apples using a little water, and let them simmer until they become a smooth, fluffy puree. Add the blackberries last, so as not to overcook them, mashing them lightly so their juices bleed a little into the apples. Give the sherry and orange juice some time to soak into the sponge sticks to make sure they are completely saturated. Like most trifles, the longer the layers of fruit, sponge, and cream sit together, the better the result. Serves 4
Sponge sticks or raffia biscuits 150 gr
dry sherry 80 ml
orange 2 medium juices
To prepare the apples:
Cooking apples 1.5 kg
Water 100 ml
caster sugar 2 tbsp
blackberries 200 gr
For the cream:
Double cream 150 gr
Mascarpone 125 grams
icing sugar 1 Tablespoon
vanilla extract a few drops
Peel the apple and chop it into large pieces. Put it in a non-reactive saucepan with water and sugar, put it on a moderate heat and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft enough to mash into a puree. Add the blackberries and crush them slightly with a fork. Gently whisk the cream until it begins to thicken. It should be thick enough to slide off the spoon. Add mascarpone, powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
Cut off sponge sticks and place them in the bottom of four large glasses or bowls. Mix the cherries and orange juice together, then pour over the sponge sticks and leave to soak.
Pour the apple and blackberry mixture over the sponge. (There may be a few leftovers – use with yogurt for breakfast.) Spread a spoonful of mascarpone cream on top of the apple, and let it sit for an hour in the fridge to settle before eating.
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