Friends Of Australia Friday: Greek Meatballs & Pinot Grigio

It’s once again an Australia Time Friday! It’s FRIDAY!!!!

The Tucker

I’m going to try something new for me. Greek Meatballs. Here’s the recipe I’m thinking about as my base.

I’m going to change it a little bit. First off, I don’t like mint with lamb. So that’s out. Second, I only have 1 pound of lamb, so amounts get adjusted down to 2/3 the size. As a Tbs is roughly 3 tsp I can just change the Tbs to 2 x teaspoons and get 2/3. Teaspoons are 5 ml, so about 3.5 ml instead (or more likely I’ll take a 1/2 tsp and a light 1/4 tsp and call it close enough ;-)

I have some goat mozzarella but no feta crumbles. We’ll see what I do there…

1 1/2 pounds lamb (ground grass-fed, and/or beef)
1 clove garlic (finely minced)
1 small onion (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons fresh oregano (roughly chopped, or 2 tsp. dried)
1 tablespoon fresh mint (roughly chopped, or 1 tsp. dried)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup sheep’s milk feta cheese, optional (crumbled, )
1/2 lemon

The directions are pretty simple, though for me it will be 12-14 meatballs:

Preheat oven to 400° F.

In a large bowl, add the meat and all of the other ingredients, except the lemon. Mix to combine, but don’t overwork the meat. Shape the meat into about 18-20 meatballs.

Add the meatballs to a cast iron skillet or other oven-safe dish. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cooked, browned on the outside but a tad pink in the middle, if that’s how you like them. Cook for 30 minutes if you want them more well done.

Squeeze the juice from the half lemon over top, and sprinkle on some extra mint and oregano.

OK, I think I’ll put the mozzarella in the mix. But maybe a smaller amount. Like 1 ounce of shreds instead of 2 ounces of crumbles.

The Wine

I have a Barramundi Pinot Grigio to try. Vintage 2019. I’ll likely start this before the meatballs are cooking just so it isn’t challenged by the spices at first taste.

It will be an hour or two before the cook, so evaluation will be added later.

Well, my impression of the wine is very much like last time:

This is a very clear wine with hints of yellow amber, but not a lot of color. The flavor is also rather mild compared to other Pinot Grigio I’ve had. A bit of acid on the tongue gives it some lift. It doesn’t really stand up to lamb and brie, and would be better with a white fish and provalone.

Nose impresses me as typical Pinot Grigio, but again lighter than expected. This would be a good “starter wine” for folks just familiarizing themselves with wines and looking to “move up” from sweet wines. Those of us with jaded palate who find Merlot a bit light compared to Shiraz may find this wine also a bit thin.

Overall, It’s a “nice little wine” for crackers & mild cheese, along with some white fish and tartar sauce, or by itself next to the pool early in the evening. Once you are looking at spiced foods, strong cheeses, or after the first few drinks are out of the way, a jaded sense of taste will ask to move on to something more heavily flavored.

Yeah, I know, why in heck did I pair a white wine with lamb? Well, frankly, I’m running out of locally available Australian Red Wines to review. Can’t really change the “Australian Lamb” theme, so I’m just going to have some odd mixes.

This time I’m letting it “breath” naturally. It’s gone from a bit sour / sharp in the cup to “a bit fizzy CO2 bite” feeling in about 1/2 an hour of mixing meatballs. Still has some sulfite smell to it. still a bit sour on the tongue.

I think this wine just needs a whole lot less sulfite put into it at the winery, and / or a really good time de-sulfiting. I’ve used the blender to drive sufites out of wines before. About 20 seconds does it. There’s also the “pour back and forth” between two containers, and then those sort of swirling air entraining funnel like things.

I think I’ll just go put the lid back on, and do the old shake & vent.

Once you get the gas out of it, it’s an OK wine.

In Other News

Looks like EU “Green Goals” might nuke the Australian Aluminum industries (and ship them to China who gets a pass, it seems, on all the negative economic impacts…)

G7 to discuss carbon border adjustment taxes that threaten Australian aluminium, think tank warns
By business reporter Michael Janda
Posted 2 hours ago, updated 1 hour ago

Australia’s multi-billion-dollar alumina and aluminium export industries could risk closure if the European Union leads other major economies into adopting so-called carbon border adjustment mechanisms, a think tank has warned.

In a report released ahead of the G7-plus summit, which is expected to discuss carbon tariffs after the host nation Britain said they are a live issue, the left-leaning Australia Institute has evaluated the potential cost to Australian industry from such a policy.

The report is focused on “emissions-intensive, trade-exposed” sectors, as defined by the government’s Clean Energy Regulator, which generated exports of just under $24 billion for Australia in 2019-20, or just under 5 per cent of Australia’s outbound trade.

Chief among those was alumina refining and aluminium smelting, the two processes involved in transforming bauxite into aluminium.

Australia is home to the world’s largest bauxite reserves, but is only the second largest alumina producer (the nation’s exports make up 13.9 per cent of total global output), trailing well behind China, which accounts for more than half of world production.

Australia is an even smaller player in the final stage of turning alumina into aluminium, with the nation’s exports accounting for 2.3 per cent of global output. Again, China dominates this industry.

However, Australia’s exports of the two products still generated $12.6 billion worth of income in 2019-20.

The Australia Institute report warned this sector could be all but wiped out if a cross-border carbon adjustment mechanism, also dubbed a “carbon tariff”, is widely adopted, given that the nation’s three largest smelters are some of the most emissions-intensive in the world, outside of China.

“Some sectors of the economy are going to be highly vulnerable if Australia doesn’t act,” observed Hugh Saddler, honorary associate professor at the Crawford School of Public Policy at the ANU involved with the report.

It is well past time that China loses any “special” exemptions from the damaging trade rules driven by Carbon Derangement Greens.

It makes less than zero sense to punish advanced nations like Australia to move their industries to China where emissions are far worse, all in the name of emissions.

Stop the China Green Graft.

Australia needs to have a space at that G7 “discussion” and point out the stupidity.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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10 Responses to Friends Of Australia Friday: Greek Meatballs & Pinot Grigio

  1. TattyMane says:

    Your wine choice reminds me of the very early days of Australian wine exports to the UK, where the two products we offered were ‘Kanga-rouge’ and ‘Wallaby-white’. Orsino del gato the pair of them, sadly.

  2. John Hultquist says:

    ““Some sectors of the economy are going to be highly vulnerable if Australia doesn’t act,” observed Hugh Saddler, ”

    I’m struggling with the “act” issue.
    What is the Country to do?

  3. Kneel says:

    “…if the European Union leads other major economies into adopting so-called carbon border adjustment mechanisms…”

    Right – so the country that is obtaining and using the metal is fine, and the emissions count against the country that turned the ore into a metal, not the actual country that wants to use the metal. Just the same as they punish us Aussies for emissions from coal and iron ore mining, even though we export most of it (that is, we are doing this because YOU want it!).

    OK then – I guess all we can do is let them know that all their own products that come here will also have to face such adjustments, including French wine, German cars, Italian hams etc etc.

    You do realise, Mr EU-o-crat, that Australia is by far and away the biggest per capita investor in wind and solar, right? IIRC, several times more per captia than even Germany, let alone the EU overall. And that we actually met our Kyoto targets, unlike you lot.

  4. Graeme No.3 says:

    Dump the carbon rules and really p*ss the EU-o-crats off. After all it is the EU (and the UK) which are so determined to commit economic suicide, so let them. And tell them to keep their emissions in their own hemisphere.
    And when it comes to ‘bending the rules’ for China, the EU is no slouch. Norway relies on hydro as you would expect, but it gets to sell ‘green’ Certificates to the coal fired generation in The Netherlands so they can “reduce” their emissions. In Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Finland (and the UK) burning wood is said NOT to emit CO2. Neither does household rubbish if it is burnt to supply hot water for heating (apartments, sporting field, indoor swimming pools even de-icing roads).
    No reduction in CO2 emissions (quite the reverse) but “holier than thou” attitude.

  5. philjourdan says:

    I have had lamb cooked many ways, but never with mint (mint jelly is the one that seems to pop up the most). You apparently have had it that way. Can you describe it? I do like mint and I do like Lamb, but perhaps not the 2 together.

  6. E.M.Smith says:


    I doubt I can do the experience justice. I suggest ordering lamb with a bit of mint jelly on the side. Put a dab on a cut of lamb. Then you will know.

    I like mint. I love lamb. Mint on lamb, to me, removes the flavor of lamb. You end up with a “sort of some meat” taste (umami) after having brushed your teeth with mint toothpaste… I get NONE of that wonderful lamb “gamey” flavor.

    For people who Do NOT like “game” or lamb, that’s an improvement.
    For people who love the unique flavor of lamb, it kills the experience.

    A close analog can be had via brushing your teeth with mint toothpaste, then taking a bite of a hamburger patty (cooked, of course). You won’t know just what kind of meat it is, but is sort of meat, all swamped by mint…

    Do Note:

    The sense of taste is genetically variable. Different people taste things differently. Your experience may be uniquely yours. Those who love mint with lamb can share their POV too, just in case my taste buds are “different”. (There’s some evidence I’m a marginal “super taster” in that I get nuance where some folks get none, and I get “OMG! WT?” blown out tasters on some strong flavors. Hot Peppers, for example. I can eat them, but then most of the other flavors in the meal end up muted or gone…

  7. kneel63 says:

    “mint jelly is the one that seems to pop up the most”

    There is also “mint sauce”, which is a vinegar/mint mixture.
    It’s less overpowerfully “minty”, and the acid cuts the fat a bit, so doesn’t block out the lamb flavour as much. Use sparingly IMO.

  8. philjourdan says:

    If I ever see it on a menu, I will order it to see. I understand about taste and genetics (half the people think cilantro tastes like soap).

    My wife will never make it. She is the daughter of a cattle ranch foreman. And you know how much they love sheep!

  9. beththeserf says:

    Personally I have never liked mint sauce with lamb, or pineapple with meat, both swamp the flavour of the meat for me.

  10. E.M.Smith says:


    Yeah, that’s another one I’m not keen on. Pineapple on a ham. It isn’t that it’s bad. Just that the bit touching the pineapple has no flavor…

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