Lemon Turkey Polpettini

I love my children but they do seem to create an awful lot of mess, require a lot of time and  attention, and sometimes they break things.  Precious things.  Like my computer.  I have struggled to get into the rhythm with a new computer, which partially explains my silence lately, but it has made me think about my reluctance to change.

I’m a home body.  I like to be in my own familiar space in the kitchen or in the garden, reading a book or getting into some art or knitting with my kids.  My attitude to moving away from my lovely home to a new country has not been great.  I’ve spent far too much time focusing on all the things that aren’t the same.  Too much energy has been wasted being annoyed that things are different here.  I will confess that I never had a desire to come to America.  I was curious about some of the cities but there were other countries much higher up on my list to visit or return to.

Sometimes a friend just says the words you need to hear right at the moment when you need to hear it.  I have some very wise women in my life and one of them, my friend Jenny, said the words I needed to hear to adjust my homesickness attitude.  So I have had a good look at my attitude and as Jenny promised, things have turned around for the better for me very quickly.

So now, dear America, I apologise for my small minded attitude. I am adjusting my ways and I have come to realise you are indeed a great country.  I feel incredibly blessed to have this time here in San Francisco and soak in the beauty of California.  After 6 months here I am beginning to feel this is my home away from home.  I have got into a rhythm with where I shop, where to get the best coffee, where to get freshly baked bagels. I have my run I do each weekday.  Good friends I have made through the kids school.  A welcoming church to go to on Sundays.  I have taken up a class at the Palo Alto Adult School and I’m even considering taking on a chair or co-chair at the school PTA.  And every day I’m just surrounded by beautiful trees, gardens, the hills and the gentle California sun.  It isn’t daunting for me anymore to head down to San Jose or north into San Francisco.  The roads and places are far more familiar now and it is a good feeling.

Grocery shopping was very hard for me at first but now I have just adjusted some things that I cook and our eating habits.  We tend to eat much less red meat here and much more seafood because it is more affordable.  I have stopped feeling frantic about the overly sweet bread here and embraced the bagel which is not sugary.  I have even started embracing drip coffee.

I can’t help but think that I’m being tested here.  Have I placed too much emphasis on building a new home and not enough on making my home where I am?  Then I start thinking that I am working on my attitude so maybe then I can return to my house back in Brisbane but that takes me back to square one!  Anyway, enough navel gazing.  I just felt I needed to shake off all my whinging and declare this new home of mine pretty darn fine and confess I have this song stuck in my head!

This land is your land
This land is my land
From California to the New York island
From the redwood forests to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me

                                                                      Woody Guthrie

 We have had Joel’s parents visiting us this last week and it was sad to say goodbye.  The kids are growing up so very fast and I want the grandparents investing in their lives.  We spent a year living with my parents which was an incredible experience for the kids and they have really missed being able to wander downstairs and find some peace and quiet with Grandma and Grandpa.  We are fortunate that both sets of grandparents are healthy, active and able to travel over to visit us.

So this last week was some day trips to Monterey, Big Sur, Muir Woods and into the city to see the sights with the in-laws.  I will never get tired of seeing these places – just so beautiful.  Joel and I got some time to get out and about child-free thanks to Grandparents babysitting.  An incredible dinner at Evvia in Palo Alto.  I was told that no matter how full I was from dinner, I had to order the Galaktoboureko for dessert.  Vanilla bean semolina custard wrapped in filo pastry served piping hot with a creamy scoop of house made pistachio ice-cream and a drizzle of rosewater syrup.  I think this is the best dessert I have ever had!

If you follow Tea For Six on Facebook then you would have seen our feasting at Tartine, Bi-Rite Creamery and the gorgeous Nopilito (as well as meeting NIGELLA!!!) San Francisco knows good food and it was lovely to go and enjoy it without 4 children in tow for a change.

One other food I have embraced here in the land of the free and the home of the brave is turkey.  I have been using minced turkey in place of other minced meats eg. turkey san choy bau, spicy turkey mince for tacos and this recipe for Lemon, Turkey Polpettini.  What a ‘polpettini’ is exactly is simply a meatball.  Sounds better then ‘meatball’, doesn’t it?  My kids absolutely demolish these for dinner.  Serve with a mound of oven baked chunky chips, lemon wedges and a salad.

lemon turkey polpettini

(adapted from Allan Campion and Michee Curtis’ book ‘In The Kitchen’)

100g day old bread
250 ml milk
500g turkey mince
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic, crushed
zest of 1 lemon
60g grated parmasen
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
plain flour for dusting

Break up the bread into small chunks and soak in the milk for 15 minutes.  Strain, discarding the milk, and squeeze out any excess milk.  Place the bread into a large bowl with the parsley, garlic, lemon zest and parmesan.  Season with salt and pepper and mix everything together well – best to just get your hands in and give everything a really good mix.

Wet your hands a little (thanks mum for teaching me this trick) and take small scoops of the mixture and roll into small meatballs.  Roll the meatballs in a little flour.

Heat a large frypan on medium heat and add a good splash of oil.  Fry the little polpettini until evenly brown and cooked through – about 5-6 minutes.  These can be kept warm by placing on a tray in a 160 degree oven.

Serve with lemon wedges.

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17 Responses to Lemon Turkey Polpettini

  1. Brooke says:

    Great post Nat. I have to say that the second time around for us has been MUCH easier. I was reading this out to the Mr and we were nodding our heads because it was how we felt in Ukraine. I think it helped that, for us, Darwin was expat like – no real great shopping, groceries missing if there was big rain, extremely different climate to the rest of Oz, and just a strange place all round. Anyway I am glad that you’re now embracing life in the US! I really hope we get to visit you. Still working on M. xx

    • natalie says:

      Golly the Ukraine would be a big change. I don’t think I will be ever as adventurous as you! Keep working on coming over and visiting!!!

  2. Linda Davison says:

    Thanks for sharing your struggle adjusting to life in California. I found it very moving. Well done for taking such a positive approach and I hope you continue to find your new life interesting and exciting. Change is never easy and you are doing wonderfully well, particularly with four children. I really enjoy your posts and look forward to many more.

    • natalie says:

      Thanks Linda! My attitude is not always positive – just ask the man at the IRS how happy I was after 4 hours waiting with all the kids and not being able to lodge our tax form! But I try. Watching the kids adapt to change so positively has been inspiring.

  3. Deb Vautin says:

    Love this post. If you have time…a great book to read..all about accepting change is Who moved my keys by Spencer Johnson, I’m reading it at the moment.
    We are trying the turkey polpettini tonight, looks easy and I love that! Sounds like you’re having a wonderful time and making most of it. X

  4. Deb Vautin says:

    Jono and Scout have given the turkey polpettini the BIG tick of approval so did Drew! We had it with a yoghurt lemon dipping sauce and thin and crispy sweet potato chips.. delish. Thanks.

    • natalie says:

      I’m glad Jono And Scout approved! Tilly is missing hockey with Scout. Thanks for the book recommendation. I just finished a book last night and deciding what my next read will be so that was a timely suggestion Deb! Thanks!

  5. So good to read this, Nat. I can only imagine how hard it is to leave your home (and home country!). I had similar feelings when we moved up to New Jersey, but it’s not quite the same thing. Attitudes are a very powerful thing, and I think that is why God wants us to pray – to change our attitude to that of Christ. Anyways, we love you guys and hope to see you in the near future.

  6. Sandy Addison says:

    I will have to give these a go they may be something that Oscar eats – he is a reluctant eater at the moment! So glad to hear you are settling and taking those baby steps. xx

    • natalie says:

      I think the novelty of the meatball appeals to all kids but I know that Elliott is still fussy and every meal can be hit or miss – no matter if he loved it or loathed it the last time I made it. I just keep offering! I have enjoyed keeping up to date with your blog updates too Sandy! I hope this year isn’t too busy for you. Nat x

  7. Karen Carr says:

    Hi Natalie
    So lovely to hear your honesty. I was sad to hear how hard it has been settling in but glad you are changing your attitude. It takes a wise person to recognise and admit that how they are thinking needs a change….I am coming to realise that not everyone has this ability to navel gaze as you say and that those that do should truly cherrish it. Sometimes I feel it is a curse as I think too much….but I have learned now that it goes hand in hand with being a homebody…I am also one to the core! I think my introverted side needs a lot of space to do my navel gazing! I truly hope you are now feeling more settled.

    I love looking at your blog…you have inspired me to look into travel to that part of the world soon. Like you I have never had a burning desire for US travel…but that is changing as I realise there are some really creative parts that would be great to experience.
    Take care…
    Karen Carr (Zac’s mum)

    • natalie says:

      Lovely to hear from you Karen! It is reassurring to hear how people can relate. Joel is a homebody too so we have been thrown into the deep end with this move but I think it will be nothing but good for us. I really hope you do make some plans to travel over here. I haven’t ventured outside of California yet but there is just so much to see and do right here. I can’t recommend it enough! Nat x

  8. Beth says:

    Hot cross buns are in the oven so I’m scrolling through catching up. I can SO relate to this post Nat. That feeling of not being familiar with anything, of not being sure of your surroundings can really rock your boat for a while can’t it? I’m glad that you’re seeing the possibilities now, but don’t be too hard on yourself….I think 6 months to start feeling settled like this is pretty good going! The kids will be bigger, better individuals for the experiences that you’re giving them – and that’s a good thought. x

    • natalie says:

      Yes Beth I’m feeling much more settled. And I trust this is an experience that will enrich the kids lives. I feel like we made the right choice even though it was so hard.

  9. Mrs T says:

    I can’t remember how I originally stumbled across your blog, but it is one I always come back to for inspiration! I hadnt visited for a while, not since you first moved, glad to see you back blogging!! I have tried several of your recipes and saved a whole lot more. I am making the polpettini for dinner tonight. (But using pork/veal mince and only one lemon on the tree – it was green but flavour-wise it still worked!) Love the lemony tang, a second lemon would be even better next time. Your recipes are up my alley for taste and simplicity without compromising on the occassional show pony dish! I will definitely keep reading. Glad to hear the crinkles of moving o/s are being ironed out. xx

    • natalie says:

      Lovely to hear your kind words! I’m sure the pork and veal mince would have worked a treat too for the polpettini. I use pork and veal when making spaghetti and meatballs and it is always fantastic.

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