Category Archives: Make it with Mince

Day 7 – Tuscan Turkey Polpetti

Meatballs are a trend right now, much to the delight of hipsters everywhere.

If you can think up the flavours of a particular cuisine, you can adapt meatballs to anything, from breakfast burritos, to Moroccan tagines.

I don’t object to a makeover though, and these pint-sized morsels are  delightful. Think of meatballs no bigger than your thumbnail, bursting with flavour, in a peppery tomato sauce.

I chose turkey mince because of their fantastic budget value, but you can always use a mixture of chicken and pork mince, or beef and lamb. Either way this makes a large pan of meatballs, leaving plenty of leftovers, which as we all know, taste better the next day.

Tuscan Turkey Polpetti

Makes 60 small meatballs


  • 500g turkey mince (or use a combination of chicken and pork mince OR beef and lamb mince if you prefer)
  • 1 large onion, peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 thick slices day-old bread
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, extra, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, extra, finely chopped
  • 400g tin diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup (250ml) beef stock
  • 1tbsp finely chopped parsley


Place roughly chopped onion, garlic and torn slices of bread in the bowl of a food processor. Blend for a minute until the mixture is the same texture as coarse breadcrumbs. Add the mince, a good pinch each of sea salt and black pepper and blend until the mixture is fine and well combined.

Roll teaspoon-sized amounts of mince between your clean wet hands to make small meatballs, about the size of your thumbnail. Set aside on a tray and cover with a damp cloth and chill until you are ready to cook them. You can also freeze them at this point.

Heat olive oil in a large heavy based frypan. Add the meatballs in batches and cook for a few minutes on each side until they start to colour. Remove from the pan and set aside until you have browned them all.

Add the finely diced onion and extra crushed garlic to the pan and sauté for 5-7 minutes until the onion starts to soften and colour. Add the meatballs back to the pan, with the tomatoes, stock and a splash of red wine if you have it.

Bring the the sauce to a simmer, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Season to taste and add the parsley before serving over the top of pasta, or with some steamed vegetables on the side.


$9.40 for four greedy people with plenty for leftovers



Day 7 – Sausage and Lentil Soup

In Italy, sausages are traditionally eaten with lentils on New Year’s Day and so it seems to me that if it can be elevated to a celebratory meal by one of the great food cultures of the world, surely you can eat them in a  soup during the week and consider yourself well satisfied.

This is quick to make and it tastes even better the next day. It’s fantastically portable for a work lunch, either in a thermos or to be warmed up in a microwave. It’s also hearty and sustains you throughout the mid afternoon slump.

Continue reading Day 7 – Sausage and Lentil Soup

Day 6 – Pork and Lime San Choy Bow

San Choy Bow is a fantastic meal for families – you can eat it with your fingers, you can hide extra vegetables for unsuspecting fussy eaters and it makes good use of the much-maligned iceberg lettuce. Fact is, iceberg lettuce is at a reasonable price at the moment, and pork mince – or chicken mince  if you prefer – is never very expensive. The rest are ingredients you can add to your next stir-fry or fried rice and will never go to waste. Continue reading Day 6 – Pork and Lime San Choy Bow

Day 7 – Thai-style Turkey Burgers

Let’s hear it for turkey mince: high in protein and lean in fat, is a healthy and flavourful addition to any menu. And it’s cheap. But of course, you already knew that.

Don’t leave it until Christmas to eat turkey, it’s a fantastic resource throughout the year. Still, if you find it too strong a flavour, use chicken mince instead. Continue reading Day 7 – Thai-style Turkey Burgers

Day 2 – Lamb Koftas with Tzatziki

In the middle of a heatwave that bore down on the country and threatened to press us all down with suffocating radiant pressure, when firies were on high alert and Tasmania burned and when the heat crept up through the floorboards and into the wall cavities of the house, I called for a Family Meal.

It was forty three degrees outside but I was desperate. In truth, none of us, mother or child, could remember the last time the three of us had sat down at the same time to Eat Mum’s Food.

Aiming for unashamed sentimentality and going for the populist vote, I decided on lamb for mains and mango for dessert. Then I went shopping for something that could both fit into a tight budget and not add to the heat of the day.

Lamb rarely makes it onto this website mainly because of price, but I found 500g of lamb mince for $5.00 that then made 12 koftas, enough for 4 people. A double amount of koftas will easily feed six greedy people or a few hungry teenagers.

Continue reading Day 2 – Lamb Koftas with Tzatziki

Day 5 – Best-Ever Rigatoni and Meatballs

How on earth is it that after almost 900 recipes here, and another 100 for my book, that I have not written a recipe for good old pasta and meatballs?

Is it because we’ve forgotten the classics? Is it because we’re spoilt for choice and meal options? Is it because, with the prevailing trends for Peruvian food, dude food, meal trucks, pop-up restaurants and our continuing love affair with asian ingredients that we have simply over-looked it?

Of course we have over-looked it. Continue reading Day 5 – Best-Ever Rigatoni and Meatballs

Day 1 – Lamb Burgers with Beetroot Relish

Australians are, per capita, the world’s biggest consumer of beetroot. As if we needed further proof that we love burgers with beetroot more than anything else in the world.

It’s hard convincing our overseas friends just why we love it so – the only real way is to make them try a burger – with the lot, of course – to taste for themselves. As an american friend once observed, it is nowhere near as nasty as it sounds.

Still, there are those who have yet to be convinced. Beetroot is, after all, a very bossy and uncompromising vegetable. Tinned beetroot can be messy as well as overpowering. Perhaps then, you should approach the making of your next burger with a little more respect. Serve it up some beetroot relish instead. To heck with the naysayers. Continue reading Day 1 – Lamb Burgers with Beetroot Relish

Day 12 – Iain’s Chilli Con Carne

First published in April 2010, this recipe has consistently garnered rave reviews from everyone who’s tried it. Iain has since added his fantastic onion jam to the archives as well and as I write this update, is helping me de-construct a good curry paste for an upcoming post.

Iain is a fellow foodie and a great cook and recipe writer. He has been enthusiastically supporting me in this project  ever since its inception and one evening while I was planning some food ideas offered this recipe for his kick-ass Chilli Con Carne.

This really is Bloke Food of the first order and makes a large amount. Continue reading Day 12 – Iain’s Chilli Con Carne

Day 9 – Beef Chow Mein

My friend suggested chow mein as one of her favourite ways to use mince. I haven’t eaten chow mein for years, let alone made it. That alone was enough to get me thinking about it.

You can make chow mein with a packet sauce mix but it’s very easy to make a great sauce that’s better tasting and uses pantry staples. You pay more initially for a bottle of this and a bottle of that, but the dividends will pay off over the next year in countless ways as you share the resources in other meals for a completely different  taste.

Continue reading Day 9 – Beef Chow Mein

Day 3 – Potsticker Dumplings

One of hundreds of different types of dim sum and dumplings, pot stickers or gyoza are particularly easy to make. You can buy pre-made gow gee wrappers from asian food markets or you can make your own dough to give very satisfactory results.

The dough used here is a hot water dough – the addition of boiling hot water to flour helps the dough become more elastic and stretchy, softening the gluten.  Knead the dough for about 5 minutes and it will get quite soft, but after 10 minutes it will be silky smooth. The effort is worth it.

Continue reading Day 3 – Potsticker Dumplings