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Pic Nic Potential

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The winter has finally kicked in. The leaves have long been gone, the trees stand bare and the temperature keeps dropping steadily. The birds have started to immigrate to warmer climates and the snails appeared alongside with the very first raindrops.

Walking the dog everyday I have started to observe these little things that betray the coming and the passing of the seasons and for the first time in my life, a feeling of excitement envelopes my heart.

Its been a week though that I feel incredibly tired. The days come and go and all i want is to crawl in my bed, cuddle with the blankets and sleep. A pile of books on my nightstand is getting dusty.

Am I just tired? Or is it the winter blues?

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Oh the winter blues.. You know them, dont you?
They have this greyish blue hue, feel like a soft woolen scarf and have the taste of marshmellows roasting on the fireplace. The sound of a scratched billy holiday record thats been turned one too many times and the smell like vanilla and christmas cinamon cupcakes. Now and then you can hear a little bell or maybe just the rain ticking on your window. You must listen carefully cause soon, the snow will fall and will dumb with it the world in a silent white coat.
Knitting socks, reading books, making cranberry marmelade..waking up early, going to be early..trying to catch the few rays of sun.. waiting patiently for another spring..
I really like the winter blues..
If only I had more energy..

So today, i decided to indulge in a delicious lunch.
I chopped vegetables, rolled out dough, cut little circles and boil some tomato basil sauce.
Sprinkled the cheese on the little dough circles and added veggies. Sprinkled with herbs and garlic and baked for 15 min at 200oC..
Healthy mini pizzas with vegetables and goatcheese for an energy boost.
And the winter blues get slightly tinted with red..

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“De re coquinaria”, or “On the subject of cooking” was the overall title of a Roman collection of recipes, APICIUS.
It is thought to have been written somewhere around the 4th or 5th century A.D. by a roman gourmet lover and was ment to be used in the kitchen! It was organised in 10 books, under 10 themes (fisherman, gourmet, many ingredients, gardener etc) It is a very useful text as it enables us to take a glimpse into the culinary habits of the ancient times for the people residing around the Mediterranean basin.

There are no tomatoe recipes, no pasta but there are a couple of what can be thought as a meatball recipe.
Apicus, mentions round meat patties, and lists their recipes in order of his preference. The best, says Apicius were made of peacock after which he enjoyed meatballs made of pheasant, then rabbit, then chicken and, last, suckling pig.

Of course at the older days, meat was a rare commodity reserved for the rich.
As such, every part of the animal and all kinds of meat were preserved and used.
But lets not forget that meatballs started loooong before the meat grinder was invented in 1829.
The meat would often have to have been cooked. The leftover were then easily shredded by hand, minced in any number of primitive ways, or pounded with a heavy object. They would be mixed with other ingredients and cooked.

During the Venetian golden years, meatballs were heavily spiced, as the trade with the Arabs brought spices and flavors of the East to Europe.

Easy as they are, they can be vary tasty and a nice appetizer or main dish for a warm summer dinner accompanied by a nice salad with a light vinegraitte.

So, I decided to bake some meatballs.

Since I had pre-prepared the mix (minced meat,finely chopped onion, bread crumbles and fresh mint leaves) the day before and let it in the fridge so that the aromas from the herbs would infuse the meat, the only thing left to do would be shaping the little balls, rolling them in flour and frying them!

Adding a bit of lemon and they were ready to serve!


tip!
In China, meatballs are morphed into fishballs, which can be a nice alternative for a lighter dinner or for our vegeterian friends!

Enjoy!
x Elleen