Meatballs are good things to make from a boring old packet of mince. You can then flavour them with all kinds of herbs and spices, and serve them with all manner of sauces so they become positively exotic. Simmered in tomato sauce, they go into a fine dish of spaghetti and meatballs that you would never find in Italy. This recipe has a Middle Eastern flavour and makes great picnic food. You can serve the meatballs in pita bread pockets with shredded salad drizzled with tahina sauce. If you're off to the Sevens next weekend, this will make a lunch your neighbours will envy. MEATBALLS WITH MIDDLE EASTERN FLAVOUR TAHINA AND YOGHURT DIP 500g minced beef or lamb 1 large onion, finely chopped 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs Not quite one whole egg, beaten Plenty of parsley, finely chopped Dried mixed herbs Ground nutmeg, cumin, cayenne Salt and black pepper Olive oil for frying Flour for dredging Dip 3/4 cup yoghurt 2 big tbs tahina Salt and black pepper Saute the onions in a little olive oil until soft and pale brown. Mix all the meatball ingredients together. There are no set quantities for the herbs and spices, so flavour as you like. It's a good idea to fry and taste a piece to check the seasoning. Remember that if they are served cold, the flavours will be more subdued. Roll the meatballs into walnut-sized balls. dredge in flour and chill for a while to firm up. Fry in olive oil until golden brown. To make the dip, just mix the ingredients together. Add some chopped garlic if you like. Tahina, a paste made from sesame seeds, is available from Oliver's or Coo.