Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

14.1.13

Meatballs with mint and yogurt.

Is it hot enough for you, they kept asking the mayor of Birdsville. 'They' being reporters, of course. It's slow news season, so they ring up the person in charge of the hottest town in Australia and expect him to give an answer they can conflate with climate change. I liked his answer (subscription required):
"It's not hot, it's Birdsville," (Shire mayor) Mr Morton said. "It's summer. It's no different to going to the South Pole and finding ice."
It's refreshing when a public official calls a spade a spade. Unfortunately, the mayor's control over Birdsville does not extend to the local pool, which is run by Queensland Education Department bureaucrats 1600 kilometres away:
In the hot and dry, what has infuriated the population of 60 has been the Queensland Education Department's refusal to open the only pool in town other than for two hours on a Saturday, fearing safety and liability risks if it is unsupervised. Mr Morton heard late on Friday the pool could open if volunteers with bronze medallion qualifications and a first-aid officer were present. "It seemed funny to have a pool in a town like Birdsville and not be able to use it," he said. The half a dozen kids in town had instead been using fire hoses and buckets to keep cool before heading to a billabong when the sun dipped after 5.30pm.

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Recipe for a hot night: mint meatballs.

With wet hands, mix 600g lean minced steak, a cup and a half of finely chopped parsley, half a cup of finely chopped mint, a teaspoonful of oregano, two crushed and chopped cloves of garlic and a good dash each of salt and pepper. Form the herby meat mixture into walnut-size balls.

Grill until done.

Meanwhile, grill or bake three or four whole red capsicums until soft. Cool them slightly in a brown paper bag and then peel and core them. Lay each baked capsicum on a plate, add six cubes of very good feta and six black mammoth olives onto each. Drizzle olive oil and scatter dried oregano and salt and pepper. Now add the hot meatballs.

Squeeze lemon juice liberally over the meatballs and serve with a dip made from yogurt mixed with diced cucumber and chopped mint.

Don't forget the bread - tear one of those large flat Turkish loaves into strips for dipping into the yogurt and holding the meatballs. Available at many places in and around Sydney Road. It's a long way from Birdsville.

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