TEDxSydney dishes up our history

Mrs Sarantides's sousa-ka-kia meatballs Photo © TedXSydney 2016 via pinterest (detail)

The food theme for this year’s TEDxSydney 2016 at Sydney Opera House was Food brings us together.

‘The program celebrates home cooking, the sharing of traditional family food and recipes, as well as all the stories behind them. We asked members of the TEDxSydney community to share recipes close to their heart, and these are the results. Every recipe has a story, and it’s these stories that bring us together and keep us connected both to each other and to our heritage. Recipes were chosen based on the stories behind the recipes as well as their contribution to the overall menu.’
Jess Miller, food curator, TedX Sydney, 2016

Our good friends at Feather and Bone Providores, who were one of the producers working with the event caterers, found inspiration in recipes from SLM’s cookbook and recipes collections, and our book, Eat your history, stories and recipes from Australian kitchens

Mrs Sarantides’s susou-ka-kia meatballs recipe pages © Eat your history, stories and recipes from Australian kitchens, Sydney Living Museums and NewSouth Publishing, 2015.

No bones about it!

Mrs Sarantides susou-ka-kia meatballs, from a Susannah Place family recipe, and an early C19th pork sausages recipe from one of the Rouse family cookbooks, made with ethically and sustainably raised meat fitted the bill perfectly.  ‘That the recipes have survived, passed down through generations, makes them really special. The connection with ordinary domestic life resonates strongly with the TedX theme’ said ‘Mr Bone’ – Grant Hilliard, director of Feather and Bone. And if you were at the event, you might have caught ‘The Curator’ of this blog, Scott Hill talking along this theme with Grant during the session breaks.

‘Mr Bone’ Grant Hilliard from Feather and Bone at TEDxSydney 2016. Photo © Scott Hill for Sydney Living Museums

Crowd pleasers

Feeding over two thousand people is no mean feat, but the TEDx crowd is always well catered for. Feather and Bone made 5,000 pork and sage sausages for lunch during the event (more on those next week) and ground 50kg beef for the meatballs (shown above) which were served at the concluding cocktail party. One wonders what Dorothea Sarantides, a Greek immigrant who lived in Susannah Place at The Rocks from 1936-1946, would think of her recipe being heralded some 80 years on, and being served at a cocktail party at The Sydney Opera House.

Dorothea Sarantides, c1930s. Photographer unknown, courtesy Kay Kallas and George Adaley © Sydney Living Museums

Childhood memories

The susou-ka-kia recipe (below) was jotted down by Dorothea’s granddaughter Kay Kallas when the terrace house  her grandmother had lived in at Susannah Place was preserved as a museum. The kitchen at 60 Gloucester Street is furnished according to the memories of Kay and her brother George Adaley, who regularly spent time with their grandmother when she lived there. As children they helped Dorothea in her compact kitchen, making the Greek style meatballs which are flavoured with red wine and garlic. Dorothea’s susou-ka-kia meatballs recipe is included in the TEDx Sydney downloadable Food Program Recipes booklet  (p24).

The Susannah Place kitchen used by the Sarantides family, 1936-1946, 60 Gloucester Street, The Rocks. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums.

A snag or five … thousand.

Join us next week when The Curator will fill us in on the sausages served at TEDxSydney 2016 …

Susou-ka-kia – Mrs Sarantides’s meatballs


  • 2 or 3 slices 2-day-old white bread
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) claret or other red wine
  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • olive oil


This meatballs, or 'rissoles', recipe was passed down from Dorothea Sarantides to her granddaughter Kay. The wine gives the meatballs a bold and distinctive flavour. You can serve the meatballs with a tomato-based, pasta-style sauce if you wish.

Serves 4


Lay the bread in a shallow dish. Pour the wine into the dish and allow it to soak into the bread for 15 minutes or so.

Put the minced beef into a large bowl. Crumble the soaked bread over the mince, and add any remaining wine, the garlic and egg, and season to taste. Mix until fully blended.
With clean hands, roll spoonfuls of the mixture into smallish balls or patties (makes about 15–20 meatballs or 4–6 patties depending on size). Fry the meatballs in batches in a lightly oiled frying pan until nicely browned all over. Once they have browned, return all the meatballs to the pan, cover with a tight-fitting lid and allow the meatballs to cook through, adding a little water to prevent them burning or sticking to the base of the pan.
Serve hot, pouring any cooking juices over the meatballs, or European style with a tomato-based sauce poured over, or Australian style with relish or chutney on the side.