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
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
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.