Sunday 21 January 2018

Recipes: My Mane man

The perfect rebound target turned into something more permanent when Sophie White set out on a manhunt

Chopping fennel. Photo: Getty Images.
Chopping fennel. Photo: Getty Images.

Sophie White

Disaster of disasters. Himself just got a haircut. From the beginning, I have always been very open about the things that attracted me in the first place, and I thought I had made it perfectly clear that these things were all completely superficial and looks-based. When I first put designs on him, I had just been dumped by a guy I'd been with for a few years.

I was looking for something fun and frivolous when I remembered Himself, whom I had briefly worked with some months previously.

I recalled thinking that he was one of the best-looking guys I'd ever seen -- in a kind of beautiful-but-dim way -- and figured that he would be the perfect rebound. I set to work to stage an accidental encounter. As it turned out, we genuinely did run into each other accidentally, at a gig, before my plans were ever realised.

So what were those things that drew me to him? One: Himself is very tall. Two: his intriguing kissing style, which I dubbed the All-Encompasser which basically provides chin-to-nose coverage. And, finally, three: that hair. Swoon. It is (or was) a thick, unruly, aristocratic mane of auburn curls.

Anyway, now it's gone and won't be back in time for Valentine's Day. In his golf attire, he looks like some kind of incongruous D4 Nidge and, indeed, the new hair has inspired a bit of a Love/Hate reaction, with many complimenting his perfectly proportioned head, while others (me, basically) pointing out that, with the shaved head, his ears have become much more of a feature (not in a good way). Anyway, Posh Nidge still likes his nosh posh so, when I said it was meatballs for dinner, he looked a bit mutinous, but he needn't have worried -- these lamb meatballs seriously elevate the genre.

Lamb Meatballs with Chorizo and Chickpea Sauce

Serves 4.

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 100g (3½oz) chorizo, skinned and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground paprika
  • 2 x 400g (14oz) tins of chopped tomatoes
  • Rind of half a lemon (use a knife or a potato peeler to get 3-4 big pieces)
  • 1 x 400g (14oz) tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

For the meatballs:

  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) lamb mince
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 50g (2oz) breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Couscous, to serve
  • 50g (2oz) slivered almonds, toasted, to serve

Handful fresh mint and parsley, roughly chopped, to serve

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the diced onions and sweat them to soften them. Increase the heat and add the sliced garlic and the skinned and chopped chorizo. Stir to allow the sausage to release its rich oils.

Add the finely chopped rosemary and the ground paprika and cook for a few minutes more, before adding the tins of tomatoes and the lemon rind. Stir together well and allow the tomatoes to bubble, before reducing the heat. Simmer for about 20 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.

Remove the lemon rind, add the drained, rinsed chickpeas, and blend the sauce.

To make the meatballs, toast the fennel, cumin and coriander seeds in a dry frying pan, then grind them using a pestle and mortar.

Combine the ground seeds with the lamb mince, the finely chopped onion, the lemon juice, the breadcrumbs and the beaten egg, then shape the mixture into 20 small meatball patties. Grill or fry these until they are evenly browned and firm. Add them to the sauce.

Serve with the couscous and garnish with the toasted slivered almonds and the chopped fresh mint and parsley.

Irish Independent

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