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


Wild weather; comfort food.

I was five feet up a ladder propped against a tree that was growing at a fifty degree angle to the ground, which was a hill. I was on the south side of the tree, because of the hill, and a northerly off Port Phillip Bay was blasting into my face, as was the sawdust from the branch I was sawing off.


It was Saturday afternoon. The weather was appalling, but I had a backyard full of overgrown ti-tree, a sharp saw and no excuses. I switched the radio on, tuned it to the football, turned up the volume loud enough to hear over the wind and positioned it on the ledge of the open window of the bungalow, facing out.

Then I climbed the ladder, lopped branches and listened to the game.


I have criticised football commentators in the past, but I must say that Gerard Whateley has all the accuracy, enthusiasm and tonal qualities of Bruce MacAvaney but none of his verbal tics. Whateley is probably the best currently calling. (The commentator always does a better job when your team wins, of course. Not sure why.)


We've had this place ten years. The ti tree and moonah seem to have doubled in size in that time. Their canopies once sat on the fence line but are now way above. I'm not sure of their lifespan but I've taken out several dead trunks in the last couple of years. Meanwhile, an old pine in an adjacent block has spread well into our south-west corner.


No chainsaw. I use a Sandvik, the Volvo of handsaws. It does the job fine if you don't hack, and just let the teeth do the work.


The rain came and I threw the Sandvik into the tiny Colorbond cubicle they call a shed. The ladder doesn't fit inside, even folded, so I stashed that behind, went into the bungalow and switched off the radio before the post-game analysis started. Then I started thinking about dinner. It was that time of the afternoon.


Polpette with cheese.

It's just cheesy meatballs. But delicious. To 300g of chicken mince, I added a cup of grated cheddar, good tablespoons of polenta and finely chopped parsley, a finely chopped garlic clove and salt and pepper. I mixed these and formed them into golfballs and dropped them into a simmering pot of tomato puree cooked with garlic, salt, pepper and a dash of white wine. They took about fifteen minutes to cook through.

They were served over steaming tagliatelle with grated parmesan as the wind roared and the rain lashed.


Ellen said...

I've never made chicken meatballs. These sounds good!

kitchen hand said...

They are very good, Ellen. And the children love them.