½ cup sugar
½ cup water
small bunch of rosemary, chopped coarsely
½ tablespoon whole black peppercorns
2 pāua shelled, cleaned and minced (about 250–300g flesh)
400g venison mince
1 small onion, finely diced
½ cup breadcrumbs
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 egg
oil for cooking

Okay, this is going to blow your mind; I can’t even begin to explain how amazing this flavour pairing is. The gaminess of the venison is well balanced with the saltiness of the pāua, and then the sweetness of the rosemary syrup just takes it to a new height. I once tried something similar at a local restaurant, but with a juniper berry syrup. I discovered that rosemary worked just as well for the flavour profile I was looking for – fresh, pine-like and slightly spicy. And you can grow it in your own backyard (or even in a pot on the kitchen bench). What’s more, you can use the rosemary syrup to make a refreshing rosemary lemonade – delicious!

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1.Make the rosemary syrup first, and leave it to steep while cooking the meatballs.
2.Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over a medium heat.
3.Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.
4.Remove from heat and let the syrup steep for about 30 minutes.
5.When ready, pour syrup through a strainer into a small jug or jar to remove rosemary leaves and peppercorns.
6.This can be stored in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to a month.
7.For the meatballs, mix pāua, venison, onion, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and egg in a medium bowl until well combined.
8.Using your hands, squeeze small balls of mixture together firmly, so they’re about the size of golf balls.
9.Heat enough oil to cover the surface of a skillet or frying pan over a medium to high heat.
10.When the oil is shimmering, work in batches to add the meatballs and cook on all sides until nicely browned all over, and cooked through. This should take 8–10 minutes per batch.
11.Add more oil if necessary between batches.
12.Remove from heat and serve drizzled with rosemary syrup.

This is an edited extract
from Kai by Christall
Lowe. Photography,
food styling, recipes
© Christall Lowe.
Bateman Books $59.99.