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Friday, January 20, 2012

50 Women Game Changers in Food - #31 Donna Hay - Pork and Fennel Meatballs



From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Some call Donna Hay the Australian Martha Stewart, and there are definitely similarities between the two women. They share a penchant for beautifully styled food, but Donna Hay is more relaxed in its preparation, and the scope of her empire is not yet as all-encompassing as that of Martha Stewart. She graduated from a local technical college with a degree in Home Economics, and the remainder of her story is a tale of happy confluence. Her career is a case study in what can happen when a bright and ambitious young woman, in the right place at the right time, has the courage to grab opportunity when it presents itself. Interest in Australian food exploded in the 1990's and that gave her the opportunity to become a food stylist and writer when she was just nineteen years old. Six years later she was named food editor of marie claire magazine. Since then, she has gone on to become Australia's leading food editor and a bestselling cookbook author with 18 books to her credit. She has also created a magazine with her name on the masthead and has her own television show, Fast, Fresh and Simple. Her success can be credited to a simple formula that includes the use of basic ingredients, easy preparation techniques and beautiful photography. Her stated goal is to help her readers brighten the lives they actually live. In the process, she revolutionised the Australian food industry and has gone on to become its most famous spokesperson.


Donna Hay has been named to the Gourmet Live list of Women Game Changers in Food. It is often difficult to find recipes developed by the women on the list, but that was not a problem this week. We, instead, had to deal with an embarrassment of riches. She has published so many recipes that it was difficult to hone in on one that would highlight her style. I finally decided to focus on a recipe that will be featured on her television program this season. It is for meatballs made with pork and fennel. There are a few tricks to making this recipe work as intended. Under the best of circumstance, these are dense meatballs and the use of dried bread crumbs will make them unappetizing heavy. Fresh bread crumbs are a must and you will need three slices of crustless bread to make them. I also suggest you serve them with the recommended accompaniments. I was disappointed with the meatballs when I first tasted them. They perked up considerably when I dipped them into an olive tapenade. I decided to slice the meatballs and stuff them into a hard roll along with all of the accompaniments. That made for a really nice sandwich that I can happily recommend to you. Here's the recipe.

Pork and Fennel Meatballs...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Donna Hay

Ingredients:
2-1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons sea salt flakes or kosher salt
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/3 cup milk
1-1/2 pounds ground pork
4-oz. pancetta, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
olive oil, for cooking
crusty bread, olive tapenade, tomato slices and arugula leaves, to serve

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Place fennel seeds and salt in a mortar and pestle and lightly crush. I used a spice grinder for this step.
3) Place breadcrumbs and milk in a bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Add pork, pancetta, parsley and fennel-salt mixture and mix well for 2-3 minutes or until mixture comes together.
4) Using a 1/4 cup measure form into 15 balls.
5) Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add a little oil to pan and cook meatballs, in batches, until well browned on all sides. Place on a baking tray and bake for 5-7 minutes or until cooked through. Serve meatballs with crusty bread, olive tapenade, sliced tomato and arugula. Yield: 4 to 5 servings.

The following bloggers are also featuring the recipes of Donna Hay today. I hope you'll pay them all a visit. They are great cooks who have wonderful blogs.

Val - More Than Burnt Toast, Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan - The Spice Garden, Heather - girlichef, Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney, Jeanette - Healthy Living
Mary - One Perfect Bite, Kathleen - Bake Away with Me, Sue - The View from Great Island Barbara - Movable Feasts , Linda A - There and Back Again, Nancy - Picadillo
Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits, Veronica - My Catholic Kitchen
Annie - Most Lovely Things, Claudia - Journey of an Italian Cook, Alyce - More Time at the Table

Next week we will highlight the career and recipes of Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian. It will be really interesting to see what everyone comes up with. If you'd like to join us please email me for additional information no later than Monday, January 23rd.

40 comments :

Angie's Recipes said...

Bet those pork patties taste amazing flavoured with fennel and pancetta must have added extra flavours to them.

Ginny said...

Gosh, these meatballs are perfectly shaped and beautiful!

Jeannie said...

I love meatballs and recently my son has been cooking quite a lot of them! Must show him this delicious recipe!

Jacquelyn said...

Hi Mary. Pork and fennel are a great combination. I love a good pork and fennel spaghetti sauce. Your meatballs looks very appetizing and browned to perfection.

Marcellina said...

These meatballs really entice me to make them - pork and fennel, such a classic! I have to say I'm not fussed on Donna Hay's style of food, though these do sound good! Well presented!

BeetleBuggy said...

Lovely meatballs, Mary! I like that they get browned on the stove first before baking. Best of both worlds, if you ask me! :) Thanks for sharing!

Coleen said...

I have never heard of Donna Hay, thank you for the introduction. Meatballs are one of my all time favorite foods, I'm looking forward to trying them. Thank you!!

Sofia.Lopez said...

Hello Mary,
This meatballs look amazing... very tasty and perfectly done!I will search for Donna Hay cooking books and recip, i liked her :)
Beijinhos
Have a nice weekend :)

Elies_Lie said...

Donna hay is my fav food stylish! And the meatball just look lovely with the shape and taste, tq for sharing and hope to see ur next post and featured :-)

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Now, that's a beautiful meatball hoagie!! My husband would be ecstatic! LOL! Have a wonderful weekend, Mary. blessings ~ Tanna

Kim said...

Donna Hay's food is so simple. That's what I like the most about her. These meatballs looks pretty good to me... I really like fennel in all it's forms!

bellini said...

Of all the women game changers so far Donna Hay is the one I most relate to. Her style is my style and these meatballs are no exception.

My Little Space said...

I can almost smell it here! I bet the addition of fennel will flavoured up the whole dish instantly. Yummm....
Hope you're having a great time, Mary. Chinese New Year is just 2 days away. Am extremely busy! Hope to check you out after coming back from my long distance trip.
Cheers
Kristy

The Blonde Duck said...

I've never had pork meatballs!

Jenn said...

I've always found that when making meatballs with pork that they can tend to get very, very dry. These look and sound really good, Mary. I love the use of fennel.. would have never thought of that in meatballs!

Heather @ girlichef.com said...

I'm a total sucker for the combination of pork and fennel seeds. This sounds like my kind of sandwich!

Shug said...

Looks easy enough to try... I don't know what pancetta is, but will definitely look it up. These perfectly round meatballs look beautiful and sound very tasty!
Have a blessed day.
shug

Susan Lindquist said...

Those meatballs are picture perfect! I love fennel in sausage, meatballs, Italian sauces, and breads so this recipe calls to me ... I've never had olive tapenade, though. I'm very curious about it in combo with the meatballs!

As for dryness in certain meatball meats, I usually don't squeeze all the milk out of the bread crumbs and I sometimes add an egg to bring more moisture ointo the mix.

ImSoVintage said...

These look and sound delicious. Thanks so much for finding my blog because it has given me the opportunity to now follow you.
Laura

Alyce said...

Loving fennel these days--it works in so many ways and with so many things. These meatballs sound worth a try and my husband loves meatball sandwiches.

Claudia said...

Interesting that they are all pork - but I do love the fennel in them. Fun to have it with tapenade instead of a tomato sauce. Saving this - Donna Hay has piqued my interest!

Priya said...

Meatballs looks absolutely stunning and incredible..

Adele @ The Dutch Door Kitchen said...

Thank you for featuring Donna Hay... very interesting post, and the recipe sounds wonderful.

From the Kitchen said...

I'm happy to meet Donna! I'd be happy to meet one of these meatballs too.

I hope you have a delicious weekend.

Best,
Bonnie

mireya @MyHealthyEatingHabits said...

I love the the idea of spice up the meatballs with fennel. That's a new twist. Nice idea of yours to make a sandwich out of the meatballs.

Eileen said...

I was just reading about her on another food blog. She sounds like an interesting woman. And the meatballs look delicious!

France@beyondthepeel said...

I absolutely love Donna Hay. Her and Bill are my two favorite chefs. She has a relaxed style with beautifully flavored foods. The meatballs with fennel was a good choice in highlighting her style. Simple with amazing flavors.

Trix said...

I love a good meatball. These look like good meatballs. And thanks for stopping by my site again - I guess it's a testament to the variety and freshness of my content that every single time you stop by to comment it feels like the first time for you. Thanks, and come visit again real soon!

Kathy said...

Oh, those meat balls are perfect looking! And I bet they were delicious, too! I'm sure the flavor of the fennel was wonderful. I enjoyed your post on Donna...very informative!

Cynthia said...

Mary, It has been ages since I've visited and this post is perfect in so many ways. While I have heard of Donna Hay and kept meaning to Google her, I never got around to it so thank you for this wonderful write up and those meat balls, well I can just imagine how great they taste.

Have a great weekend!

Chele said...

So pleased you picked Donna Hay. She is awesome!!

Francy said...

I looove meatballs! here in Italy are quite popular, made in thousands of ways... I like your recipe! and they looks delicious! thank you for your visit! I follow you! Ciao from Italy!
ps the name of your blog reminds me of a movie with Barbra Straisand "Mirror has two faces" where when eating she used to make the perfect bite with her fork!

Norma Chang said...

Great meatballs recipe, your idea of slicing the meatballs and making sandwich with all the accompaniments is such a clever idea. Beautiful photos.

Catherine said...

Dear Mary, These sound fabulous!!! I would love them. Blessings, Catherine xo

Joanne said...

I love how you doctored up this recipe so that it went from okay to outstanding! Meatball sandwiches are always a good way to go.

Ann said...

Wow - these look absolutely amazing! Thank you for sharing ....and the introduction to Donna Hay!

Veronica Gantley said...

I may have to make these for the Superbowl. You picked a great recipe!

Barbara said...

Super combo, Mary. And you're so right...it was difficult to narrow the recipes down to one!

Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits said...

I think it's so interesting the use of fennel seeds, but then I got to thinking that fennel is sometimes used in Italian sausage. Great idea of making a sandwich out of the meatballs.

Jeanette said...

Love how you made these into a sandwich with all the accompaniments! Donna Hay was a challenge this week wasn't she - so many recipes to choose from.

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