Lentil and Spinach Polpette and Divided Opinions

Soundtrack: The Nod Podcast – Nobody Looks Like Me

I don’t want to read your ramblings, I just want the recipe: Spinach and Lentil Polpette

Star Rating:

Polpette: Four Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sauce: One Star ⭐️

Honestly, I don’t know how to rate this meal. And it’s really making me interrogate how I use the star rating system. One part of this meal (the polpette) was excellent and I will definitely make them again. However, the other part (the sauce) was just strange. I would not make it again, nor would I recommend anyone else does.

So let’s unpack these separately.

I’m always skeptical about meat-free replicas of meat recipes. They seem to offer a promise they can’t deliver, and I’d prefer to either have the real thing or nothing at all.

However, these ‘meatballs’ have all the characteristics of a good meatball. They have a resistance when you bite into them, they are really flavourful, and have a salty sharpness from the pecorino. They’re pretty easy to make, wilting spinach in a dry frying pan and smushing up the rest of the ingredients in a blender. Roll them into balls and cook in the oven for 20 minutes and their done.

The sauce, while just as easy, was kind of a strange, sloppy mess. Full disclosure, I do not have a proper blender or food processor so the almonds didn’t break down as finely as the recipe probably intended, so part of the textural problem could be equipment based (although you do know what they say about workmen blaming their tools…) The flavour was… fine? It was just kind of sharp, and sour, and watery all at once and made the meatballs soggy which detracted from them entirely.

So the meatballs get four stars, and I will make them again as an appetizer, hors d’oeuvres, or to add to salads. The sauce was a solid one star and I will not make it again. If I gave an average that would make this a 2.5 start attempt, but that would be burying the lede. Sigh.




Lentil and Beet(root)s and Salsa Verde

Cooking Soundtrack: My Favorite Murder, Episode 101

I don’t want to read your ramblings, just take me to the recipe: Lentils, Beets and Salsa Verde

Star Rating: Three-and-a-half OK stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️

It’s the start of the year, so of course I’m doing a ridiculous ‘detox’ (although my friend, Dr Arnie, pointed out that there’s no such thing as a detox, and that toxins aren’t real in this context, so let’s call it an Unnecessarily Restrictive Diet Which Makes Me Feel Good About Myself, or URDWMMFGAM for short). What this means is that I’m only eating a plant-based diet and taking a load of tablets which make me poop like a freight train. It’s Day 3 and I feel like death.

What does make me feel good is cooking anything from Anna Jones‘ cookbooks. My friend, Emma, introduced me to them when she was visiting and I’ve become an avid fan. Her recipes are all vegetarian, and so delicious they can make you wonder why you need meat at all (almost).

Given the restraints of the URDWMMFGAM, it’s important to me that the food I make is delicious and satisfying. It’s also winter, so a certain degree of stodginess is also key.

Puy lentils (or French lentils as they’re known in the US) maintain their shape, unlike those lazy red ones which are wont to fall apart. Make sure you rinse them thoroughly as they can contain tiny stones which are not good for taste or dental work.

Beets are known as beetroot in Australia. We like to put the pickled slices of beetroot you get from a can on our burgers, because it’s fucking delicious. The roasting method in this recipe is closer to steaming as you put the raw beetroot chunks on a foil-lined pan, drizzle with oil and a load of vinegar, then cover and cook for an hour. This gives them a slight pickled flavour, and while I enjoyed it to a degree, if I were to make this recipe again I’d omit the vinegar and open roast until the beetroot was slightly caramelised.

HOT TIP for peeling beetroot. If you don’t want to dye your palms a fetching shade of pink, rub your hands with a little bit of oil before handling them. Works every time.

Anyway, if you would like to make the recipe you can find it here (on a blog with far more impressive writing and photography skills than my own). I halved the recipe, because while it was pretty tasty, there are very few meals I want to eat four times in succession (besides laksa).

This isn’t my favourite Anna Jones recipe – normally I’m raving about whatever I’ve most recently made to anyone who’ll listen, but this one felt like it was missing something. But it was healthy and that beetroot will certainly make my bathroom trips more colourful tomorrow. 3.5/5 stars.