#BringNonnaBack with Food Revolution

Benfleet FRD picFood Revolution is a new chapter of my passion for wholesome and healthy food! It came along by chance, by following this campaign through twitter and all the other networking engines. As a huge fan of Jamie Oliver I just wanted to get involved as much as I could in making wholesome food real and possible for modern families like mine. I am now an Ambassador for Food Revolution in our area (Benfleet, Essex, East of London). Luckily for me with my traditional Italian heritage I grew up eating fresh food everyday, and when I say everyday, I mean every single day! Fresh herbs from the garden, home made pasta and bread, even home made ice-cream….that was my life as a child living in the south of Italy with a Nonna that would make her own bread and ravioli. She is now 93 years old and due to her age she can no longer use her hands to kneed her dough. It’s a shame and I know how upsetting it is for her to not be able to cook as she used to. Well, I must thank my Nonna for guiding me to wholesome food and I would like to bring back her fresh, wholesome, simple and tasty recipes to the modern families’ tables

#BringNonnaBack is my initiative, my goal, my passion. Bringing Nonna’s dishes and recipes to the table will blend flavours from the past with a modern twist.  I am sure it will work!! It worked with me and it will work with the new generations.

After the huge success that our first Food Revolution event had last week during a local football tournament, I am determined to repeat it again and again! A team of some amazing volunteers helped me to feed 53 people including 22 hungry children and their families. 4 trays of Pasta al Forno, 265 lamb and mint Polpette (meatballs) in tomato sauce, Squash-it-Salad in Pitta Bread and Courgette Spaghetti with Pesto sauce. Seeing and hearing all the positive feedback (from parents but MAINLY from the children) made all the preparation and hard work worth while. None of the helpers had any experience in preparing food on a grand scale, just shows what a great team can accomplish! Well done to everyone involved! May this be the start of the Revolution in Benfleet.

The recipe today is from our Food Revolution Day, inspired by a traditional family dish:

POLPETTE DI AGNELLO ALL’AGLIO E MENTA E SUGO DI POMODORO

Serves 4/6 people

Ingredients for the Polpette-Meatballs

500g Lamb Mince, good quality

1 egg

100g bread crumbs

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

handful of parsley, finely chopped

large handful of mint, finely chopped

pinch of salt

sunflower oil for frying

Preparation

In a large bowl place the mince and add the egg, parsley, garlic, mint , salt and bread crumbs. Mix all together with a fork or with your hand making sure you combine all the ingredients. If the mix feels too wet you can add some more bread crumbs, if it feels too dry add a splash of milk. Once the mix is smooth you can start rolling it into small balls, size of a 10p coin. You should be able to make 50 meatballs. I tent to make them a bit small as it’s easier for the children to eat them all in one go!

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Option 1: Heat some sunflower oil in a large pan and place 6/8 meatballs at the time. Cook them for 4/5 minutes, keep stirring them until golden. Prepare a large dish with some kitchen roll on the side and once the meatballs are ready to come out the pan, drain them and place them on the  kitchen roll to rest and to lose some of the oil. Add a pinch of salt. Keep doing the same until you have cooked all the meatballs.

Option 2: Preheat the oven at 200 degrees, place the meatballs on a flat oven tray and put the in the oven for 25 minutes until golden.

Option3: Once the tomato sauce is ready and has been cooking for a good 1o minutes (see below), poached the meatballs raw in the sauce. Turn the heat down and cook with the lid on for 40 minutes.

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For the Sugo-Sauce

Ingredients

Half of a medium white onion, finely chopped

800/900g of plain tomato Passata (You can find passata in any good supermarket, it’s in a carton or in a bottle)

A handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped

Olive oil, 2 tbs

Salt, a pinch

Sugar, a pinch (to lower the acidity of the tomatoes)

Preparation

Heat a large pan, add the olive oil and the onion. Simmer the onion only for a few minutes untill golden, don’t cook it for too long as it can easily burn.
Add the passata, the salt and sugar and cover with a lid.

PLAN B: if you haven’t got any passata 2 tins of chopped or plum tomatoes will do! Blend them first if possible and pour them into the oil, follow the instructions as before

Turn the heat down and let it cook for 10 minutes, stirring it every now and again.

Finally add your basil and let the sauce embrace the leaves… your sauce is ready!

Place the meatballs into the sauce, make sure they are all covered, put the lid on and  keep cooking the sauce and the meatballs for another 10 minutes on a low heat.

Enjoy your Polpette with some fresh bread, pasta or cous-cous. Buon Apettito!


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