By Jonathan Hatchman, Food Editor, @TLE_Food
Set up in response to the coming Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday is an appeal set up by international development charity Farm Africa to help schoolchildren in Nairobi, Kenya. Taking place on Tuesday December 1st this year, the appeal is set to focus on a global day of giving, with an aim to harness the power of social media to bring about positive change at the start of the holiday season – hence the hash tag.
Last year’s #GivingTuesday was hugely successful, and this year’s is shaping up to be even better. This year, Farm Africa are highlighting their work in Nairobi primary schools, where many children receive their only proper meal of the day – albeit lacking sufficient nutrients to avoid the risk of malnourishment, thus leading to very serious health problems. And in order to address such a problem, Farm Africa is setting up a number of vegetable gardens in order to grow healthy food for children to eat, introducing vital nutrients into their diet. Alongside this, a number of successful chefs have joined the campaign by sharing recipes specially created to help Farm Africa, using ingredients grown within the schools, allowing the charity to promote their urban veg garden fundraising appeal.
So with #GivingTuesday just around the corner, here’s an African meatball dish recipe specially created by successful chef, restaurateur and caterer Kevin McFadden, exclusively for Farm Africa.
Goat Meatballs with Dumplings
For the meatballs
Minced goat, 300g, any minced meat will work; lamb is a good substitute for goat
Minced beef, 200g
Egg, 1, beaten
Cumin seeds, 1tbsp, toasted and ground
Fennel seeds, 1tbsp, toasted and ground
Cinnamon stick, 1tbsp, toasted and ground
Smoked paprika (sweet), 1 tbsp, toasted and ground
Mint, 2tbsp, chopped
Parsley, 2tbsp, chopped
Dill, 2tbsp, chopped
Coriander, 2tbsp, chopped
Salt and pepper
Olive oil, to shallow fry
Onion, 1, finely diced
Garlic, 4 cloves, crushed
Ginger, 1 thumb-sized piece, grated
For the sauce
Olive oil, 4½ tbsp
Spring onions, 6, sliced
Ginger, 2 thumb-sized pieces of grated
Tomatoes, 4, peeled and chopped
Thyme, 2 sprigs
Rosemary, 3 sprigs, picked and chopped
Garlic, 5 cloves, crushed and chopped
Chicken stock, 600ml, any good stock will work
Red pepper, 1, roasted peeled and chopped
Lemon, 1, zest and juice
Coriander, 1tbsp, chopped
Parsley, 1tbsp, chopped
Mint, 1tbsp, chopped
For the dumplings
Fine white cornmeal, 300g
Self-raising flour, 100g
Tusker lager, 300ml
Feta cheese, 200g
Coriander seeds, ½tbsp
Cumin, 1tbsp, toasted and ground
Garlic, 3 cloves, crushed to a paste
Spring onions, 6, sliced
Ginger, 2 thumb-sized pieces, grated
Coriander, a handful, chopped
Sunflower oil, 1 litre, for deep-frying
Cook the onions, garlic, ginger and spices for the meatballs until soft and sweet, and tip out onto a plate and leave to cool.
Once cool, place with the rest of the ingredients for the meatballs into a mixing bowl with a teaspoon of salt and some ground black pepper. To test the seasoning, make a small ball, cook through and taste, adding more salt and pepper where desired. Mix thoroughly with your hands and shape into golf ball sized meatballs. Use a bowl of warm water to wet your hands before moulding – this will make it easier. Place the meatballs in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Use a heavy based pan wide enough to fit in all of your meatballs. Sear the meatballs in two batches, with a tablespoon of olive oil for each batch.
Remove from the pan and add the remaining olive oil, spring onions, garlic and ginger. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Keep it moving and add the tomatoes, red pepper, rosemary and thyme, and 110ml of the stock.
Have a good scrape around the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to incorporate any caramelised remnants into the sauce. Now return the meatballs to the pan with the rest of the stock and the lemon zest. Cook over a gentle heat for around 20 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.
Whilst this is cooking you can get started on the dumplings. Put the cornmeal flour and self-raising flour into a bowl. Add the lager and leave to sit for 10 minutes. Then add the spring onion, spices, garlic and ginger, and mix well. Gently fold in the feta cheese and herbs. The consistency of the batter should be thick enough to hold on a spoon but will slide off gently.
Pour your vegetable oil into a large sturdy pan on the back of the stove and heat to 170 degrees Celsius. If you don’t have a thermometer drop a small amount of batter in to test – if it turns crisp and golden and rises to the top then it is ready to fry. Make sure the oil isn’t too hot or the dumplings will burn on the outside and be raw in the middle.
Drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the oil six at a time, being careful not to overcrowd. Take out carefully onto a plate lined with kitchen towel and keep warm while frying the other batches. Serve with wedges of lemon and sea salt.
Check back on your meatballs. If the stock is too thin, remove the lid and reduce until you have a thick glossy sauce. Now add the kale or spinach and fold through gently. Replace the lid to heat thoroughly.
Finish with the herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice – don’t add too much as you don’t want it to be too sharp!
Further information on Farm Africa and #GivingTuesday can be found at farmafrica.org/givingtuesday.