Peel and grate or crush the garlic. Pick the leaves off the parsley stalks. Finely chop most of the leaves, keep the rest for later. Put a third of the garlic in a bowl with the chopped parsley. Skin four of the sausages and add them to the bowl.
Stir the sausagemeat and herbs together. Pull chunks off the mixture and roll them into balls about the size of a walnut. Pop them on a plate. Cover with cling film. Chill in the freezer for 10 mins.
Tip the rice into a bowl. Cover with cold water. Leave to soak for 15 mins. Peel and finely chop the onion. Peel and dice the carrots.
Warm 1 tbsp olive oil in a deep frying pan or wok. Add the meatballs. Fry over a medium heat for around 5 mins till they are browned. Turn every so often so they get an even colouring. Pop on a plate.
Add the onion and carrots to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir for 5 mins till the veg are starting to soften and have picked up a little colour. Stir in the rest of the garlic.
Pull the leaves off half the thyme sprigs. Add them to the pan. Stir in the tomatoes. Quarter fill the tin with water. Add to the pan. Return the meatballs to the pan. Pop on a lid.
Keep the heat low and simmer the meatballs for 15-20 mins till the sauce is thick and the meatballs are cooked through. Fill the kettle and boil it. Drain the rice and tip it into a pan.
Add 250ml hot water from the kettle to the rice. Cover. Bring to the boil. Turn the heat down. Simmer for 6 mins till all the water has been absorbed. Take it off the heat. Steam for 4 mins. Serve with the meatballs, garnished with parsley.