Spiced Pomegranate Meatballs with Mint and White Beans


There are countless things that are funny about being 21 weeks knocked up and playing host to something the size of a fat pomegranate.

It’s funny when you catch a glimpse at yourself in the mirror and no longer recognise yourself. I’m like one of the lost boys in Hook  pushing and pulling at Peter Pan’s face, to check if there’s a ghost of the earlier version that still hides inside. Except in my case it’s the belly which catches me unawares. It’s still downright shocking – so much so that I’ve developed a habit of occasionally pulling up my top just to ponder it- like toddlers who will think nothing of launching a t shirt to their necks to show off a big tummy born from scoffing too many chocolate bunnies.

It’s funny learning to dress a different way. Out of desperation I’ve reverted to a uniform of black maternity jeans, long top, flat boots and one staple big grey jumper. Anything to avoid the game of ‘pregnant or just fat?’ when trying to source something to wear out. This is particularly entertaining activity for couples, as there is no way for your spouse to win except to say ‘You look lovely in everything’. (Nb, a clearer answer seems now to be, if it’s not form fitting or naturally empire waisted, I look mostly like an eggplant. And no, tying a bow or belt under my ribs does not help do anything, except to make me look like a hastily gift wrapped Easter egg).

It’s amusing losing stretches of time on baby name sites, tinkering with infinite possibilities; Omar and Jebidiah, or perhaps something with a silent 7 in the centre (nb, Mum, don’t worry. The guiding brief is that it’s easy to spell and simple to pronounce).  Perhaps it’s also a good thing for the stowaway that we’re spending more hours watching more Downton Abby than The West Wing or The Wire at the moment. The upside being that plenty of conservative and sturdy male monikers are floating around in my subconscious.

It’s down right hilarious when one of your oldest friends loses an afternoon googling  ‘dapper boys fashion’ and you get sent a swathe of cropped images of little men dressed in jaunty outfits of jeans, shirts and suspenders and sailor suits. Who said dressing little boys couldn’t be fun?

And it’s funny as heck when you realise that you just lost a good hour during the stowaway’s 3 am internal rumpus sessions window shopping for rocking chairs online- without bothering to actually ask anyone who really has a child whether a rocking chair is something that’s even practical, or stopping to contemplate whether one will even fit in your modest two bedroom flat.

But the funniest things of all must be the private jokes.

In the last two weeks I’ve been finding myself laughing at inappropriate times, like a mad woman snorting at a leaf on the wind. And it’s usually because he’s poking the heck out of me. Loud noises will prompt it. An awkward stretch at the gym. Ten minutes after the sugar rush of inhaling an apple (or a fistful of honeycomb chocolate buttons). All of these trigger him to jiggle and shift, somewhere been a tickle and a guffaw. His dad is feeling a little left out. The stowaway may be strong, but for the moment, he’s keeping it all on the inside. For The Hungry One, it means there are now things going on beside him that he’s just not party to.

It’s a not-so-silent pas de deux, me and my new sidekick.

I’m guessing it’s the start of many.

Of course, lest this be all too rosy-  there are a still some things that are not so funny. The hippo stuck in quicksand noise I make when I try to stand up off the couch is one. The newly acquired heartburn and aching tailbone -these are some others. And if he could stop treating my cervix as an abacus late into the night, that would be great. But then maybe he too is just in search of some more concrete ways to tabulate his blessings.

Now, onto pomegranates. This is an excellent quick dinner for two (or three). It’s a team effort- to make it sing you need the balance of spice and sweet, with the cooling properties of both the mint and the yogurt. You could make it to have in a mezze style with cous cous or flat breads, but I’ve gone back to my slow carb roots here and thrown in some tinned white beans for bulk.

It’s a Tuesday night meal, easily eaten in bowls on the couch or properly with silverware. It’s romantically spiced and easy to portion out. And while some of the jokes at the table may still be private, you can be certain that this a dish that’s happily shared.

Spiced Pomegranate Meatballs with Mint and White Beans

Serves 2 hungry ones


1 strainer. 1 large frying pan.


500 grams of lean mince (I used venison, you could also use lamb, beef, pork or chicken)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch of chilli flakes
1 red onion, half cut into the smallest of dice, the other half cut into slivers
dash of red wine vinegar
1x 400 gram tin of white beans, drained (you could also substitute for borlotti beans or chickpeas)
80 g of pomegranate seeds seeds (the easiest way to get the seeds out is to cut the pomegranate in half, turn it over a bowl and whack the curved back of it with a rolling pin. The seeds should drop out into the bowl)
1 handful shelled pistachios (you could also substitute almonds, pine nuts or brazil nuts)
1 handful of mint leaves
2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
2 tbsp natural yoghurt/Greek yoghurt

Here’s how we roll

1) Make meatballs, around the size of a jawbreaker gum ball by mixing together the mince, the finely diced onion, coriander, cinnamon and chilli. Add a teaspoon or two of iced water to help meld them together.

 2) Place the pan on a medium heat and brown the meatballs all over. You may need to do this in batches- you want there to be enough room in the pan for the meatballs to get a golden tan all over, not be cramped and merely steam and sweat.

3) Once all the meatballs are browned add the white beans, a quarter of the pomegranate seeds and turn the heat down to medium. Cook until the beans are warm and the meatballs are cooked through (5-10 minutes).

 4) While the meatballs are finishing cooking steep the slivers of red onion in a tsp or two of red wine vinegar. This will help soften some of the acrid sharpness of the onion. You can also shell the pistachios.

5 ) To make the salad lay half the spinach on the base of each plate. Top with beans, meatballs and the softened pomegranate from the pan. Adorn with half the vinegar soused onions,  mint, pistachios, remaining pomegranates and dab with yoghurt.

Forty Weeks of Feasting

Each week mad websites and baby books will tell you how big your baby now is in comparison to a seed, fruit or vegetable. It starts as a poppy seed and goes from there. To make this process a little more palatable, join me as I bake my way through. Here’s the journey so far.

Week 20 Banana Berry Flax Muffins. Recipe here.
Week 19 Mango Pudding. Recipe here


Week 18 Sweet Potato, Red Onion and Feta Pie. Recipe here


Week 17 Red Pepper, Chicken, Onion and Date Tagine. Recipe here.


Week 16 Avocado Mint Salsa with Pea and Mozzarella Quesadillas. Recipe here.


Week 15 Orange, Polenta and Rosemary Cake. Recipe here.


Wk 14 Lemon Creme Fraiche and Parmesan Pasta. Recipe here


Wk 13 Clementine/Mandarin Curd. Recipe here.
Wk 12 Plum and tomato tartines. Recipe here


Wk 11 Sprout and mushroom gratin (in which we come out of the closet). Recipe here
Wk 10 Date tart. Recipe here
Wk 9 Roasted grapes with baby chickens. Recipe here.


Wk 8 Raspberries and elderflower spritz. Recipe here.


Wk 7 Blueberry pancakes. Recipe here
Wk 6 Lentil and ginger soup. Recipe here
Wk 5 Sesame Miso Crisps. Recipe here
Wk 4 Poppy seed scrolled loaf. Recipe here.
  1. Yum! this looks so good! (: i love pomegranate! xxx

  2. Meatballs in salad is not something I’d have thought of! (my website banner might look like meatballs on a salad, but that might be moreso me thinking I needed more color, hah)

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