Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

05 May 2010

Meredith - Masterchef for the Month of May

Woolworths, one of our supermarket chains, puts out a food magazine once a month called "Good Taste", mainly featuring recipes.  Each month they have four members of the public who serve as their Reader Taste Team.

Towards the end of January,when I was feeling rested and relaxed and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound...around about the same time of the year I started this blog a year before...there's something about the end of January that makes me do reckless things...I sent "Good Taste" an email offering them my services.

A few weeks later when school had started and life was in full swing they replied to my email, asked me if I still wanted to play, attached four recipes and several feedback forms and gave me two weeks to complete my assignment.  They would then select a few pithy statements from my vast feedback and publish them with my photo next to the recipes. 

And I am in this month's edition!!!

So I did a Sweet Potato,Zzucchini and Chickpea Tagine (p.47) and the very delicious Rice Noodles with Chicken and Peanuts (p. 38), both of which were great.  But the favourites were Greek Meatballs and Pasta (p. 50) and Pears in Parchment (p.93) which were delicious AND amazingly easy.

The Greek meatballs were made by getting a 120gm jar of antipasto mix (which is hardly any at all - my jar ended up with about three olives, some small pieces of fetta, some capsicum, a little piece of artichoke and a small amount of sundried tomato), dicing it all up very finely (almost mincing it really), running it through 500gm of lamb mince and then forming it into meatballs.  I did this stage the night before so the antipasto flavours permeated through the mince wonderfully.  Then it was just a matter of cooking the meatballs in a frying pan (and yes, they held together despite no eggs and breadcrumbs) in a little olive oil and then throwing in a jar of tomato passata to be heated through.  And then mixing in cooked pasta. 

Meredith was quoted as saying, "The meatballs in this dish are easy peasy and the antipasto enriches the flavours.  It's great with a Greek salad."  As you can see, I am a very high tech food critic!!

The other lovely dish was Pears in Parchment.   This is so easy and so beautiful that it may just become my new signature dish.  You put a slice of lemon in the centre of a 30cm x 30cm piece of baking paper.  Place a pear on top of the lemon, having poked a few holes in it with a skewer (that little suggestion didn't make it in the recipe but my experiment with a second lot found that this stage met with good results) and then sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar around it.  Place half a vanilla bean, split lengthways, with the pear and tie it all up with string to be baked in a preheated 180 degree C oven for about 45 minutes.  Serve with thickened cream.

Said Meredith, "We all loved unwrapping our own dessert at the table.  Don't skip the cream - it ties all the flavours together."

Now, in addition to this being a fun thing to do (ie. one of those mad things you sign up for at the end of the long summer holiday when invincibility is as close to a reality as it will ever be in the space of a year) and the opportunity to have lots of people over for meals, you also receive a prize for your efforts.  Sometimes the prizes are not all that exciting but for May the prize was this...

It is a FANTASTIC Kenwood handmixer that comes with other attachments including a bread hook and a whisk.  It's a considerable step up from my old faithful Black and Decker hand mixer.  So, fifteen minutes of fame, four new recipes, name in print and a new appliance.  Not bad for a mad moment in January.


Wendy said...

How cool is that! I may well try the pears. What fun.

Stephanie said...

Very are a women of many and varied talents. I have already got my copy and Greek meatballs are on our menu for this weekend!

Helen said...

"The meatballs in this dish are easy peasy and the antipasto enriches the flavours. It's great with a Greek salad." Oh Meredith! This is EXACTLY the kind of thing you would say! LOL Well done! Next time I am down, I'd like the pears please. :)

mattnbec said...


I'm thinking of doing the pears too. Do you need to cut the bottom off them to keep them from toppling over or does the lemon slice hold them up? Also, do you think it's worth peeling the pears (as with poached pears)? Meatballs are a great idea too. In fact, I think I've got a little leftover feta and sundried tomatoes in the fridge...hmm *licks lips*!

Meredith said...

Bec - you don't need to cut the bottom off the pears. They seem to nestle into the lemon nicely. I wouldn't actually peel the pears. Even with such a small amount of lemon, the flavours are quite strong (the vanilla is also strong but the tartness of the lemon really stands out) hence the need to not skip the cream, which seems to calm it all down. I think without the skin it could well be quite overpowering. If you tried it, they would need less cooking, maybe half an hour.

As far as the meatballs go, I tried it with beef mince, which gave a nice Italian vibe, but the lamb really is the best for this one.

Have fun!