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Tag: zucchini

Creamy Zucchini Linguine

creamy zucchini linguine

It’s time for some more pasta I think. Melbourne, in its cheeky European-esque manner, has decided to have a good cry on all the plants and a few bits of stray washing outside today. It’s a good day for staying inside, drinking tea and making lists.

Pasta is rarely something I cook for guests, because I think they deserve more of an effort than that. But as a homey dinner for one, this is spot on. There’s something so inherently comforting about a bowl of pasta that for once isn’t laced with pesto or marinara, something cheesy and decadent but with still enough of a vegetable percentage for you to hi-five your conscience for getting at least one fifth of your five a day.

The combination of zucchini, garlic, thyme and dairy is one you’ve come across before here. If you by some chance are in possession of too many zucchinis, make both recipes.

 

Creamy Zucchini Linguine

Serves 4, with salad or something else to accompany it – can be halved or quartered to suit your needs

 

400g linguine, or whatever pasta you favour

3 Tbsp olive oil

4 small firm zucchini, diced into 1 cm cubes

1 tsp fresh thyme, leaves picked, chopped

2 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped

250ml cream

1 splash soy sauce, because umami, obviously

salt to taste

90g / 1 cup freshly grated parmesan

chilli flakes

 

Bring a big pot of water to boil and add enough salt to make it taste like the sea. Add your linguine and cook for as long as the packet instructions say, stirring occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking.

In the meantime, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large fry pan and add the zucchini and the thyme. Fry the cubes over high heat until golden and cooked but still holding their shape. Add the garlic and  stir for another minute, before adding the cream, soy sauce, salt and ¾ of the parmesan. Set aside.

Pour your pasta into a colander, give it a good shake, and then add it to the sauce in the fry pan. Give everything a  stir and divide amongst four plates. Top with the rest of the parmesan and a few chili flakes.

 

PS: Feel free to add a whole 500g packet of pasta here. I just like a higher sauce to pasta ratio.

Zucchini and Onion Fritters

zucchini and onion fritters

Yay it’s fritter time! One of my very favourite form of food is finger food. It’s so easy and casual while still being completely alluring – a little nibble here, a crumb there, maybe even with a drizzle of this, or a scoop of that. There are few things more satisfying than sharing a few plates of delightful nibblies with your favourite humans, I think we can agree on that.

This is such an easy little number to whip up. If you have onions, zucchini and chickpea flour, you’re most of the way there. The rest is just improvisation and decoration.

Serve them with both a sweet chutney and a tangy yoghurt sauce for a bit of fun and contrast.

While you’re at it, you might as well make some samosas to accompany them, or maybe even some herby spinach and cheese triangles.

 

Zucchini and Onion Fritters

Inspired by The Tiffin Box

 

2 large firm zucchini (700g)

1 tsp salt, plus more to taste

1 large red onion, quartered, then finely sliced

½ bunch coriander, leaves picked and reserved for the yoghurt, stems finely chopped

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp whole cumin seeds

½ tsp turmeric

freshly ground black pepper

½ tsp baking powder

1 ½ cups chickpea flour

½ cup water

oil for deep/shallow frying

 

Coriander Yoghurt

250ml plain Greek yoghurt

2 Tbsp lemon juice

2 Tbsp water

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

the leftover leaves from the coriander from above, finely chopped

1/3 tsp salt

 

Date chutney, to serve

 

Grate the zucchini on the big holes of a grater. Transfer to a colander, and sprinkle over the salt. Give everything a good squish, then let it sit for 15 minutes or so. You can either wait longer or not at all – the point is, we want to get as much liquid out of the zucchini as possible. Get back to your colander and smoosh the zucchini around, trying to squeeze all that liquid out. When you find there is simply no more liquid left, and you have zucchini shreds of about half the volume you did before, dump them into a large bowl. Add the onion, coriander stems, spices, baking powder, chickpea flour and water, and give it a good stir. Give it a little taste, because it might need more seasoning. If so, add extra salt. The mixture shouldn’t be too wet – it should just hold together nicely.

Preheat your oven to 150°C. While you’re frying your fritters, you can keep the already fried ones warm in the oven, so when you serve them, they’ll all be the same temperature.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and drop in little spoonfuls of mixture. Once they’re golden on one side, flip them over and finish the other side. Let the cooked fritters rest on a bed of kitchen paper while you continue with the rest of the mixture.

For the yoghurt, combine all ingredients in a bowl. Serve with the fritters and the date chutney.

Zucchini, Thyme and Whipped Feta Quesadillas

zucchini and feta quesadilla

It is slightly disturbing how much I love flour tortillas. I rarely have bread in the house because I’m a snob and see bread as the easy way out, but also because I’m lazy and think that tortillas are a perfectly acceptable substitute. If you have bread, you have a snack. If you don’t have bread, you use flour tortillas because they they require that tiny bit more effort, resulting in you feeling like a sneaky genius because you just made something delicious and impressive looking.

This is possibly my most favourite quesadilla version to date. Zucchini, thyme and garlic is a killer combo in my book, and if you contrast that with  some salty sour whipped feta, topped off with drizzle of sweet chilli, then you are well and truly in the game.

a bite left

 

Zucchini, Thyme and Whipped Feta Quesadillas

Makes 3-4, depending on how generously you fill them

 

100g feta

125g Philadelphia cream cheese, at room temperature

big glug of olive oil

600g / 4 small zucchini, thinly sliced

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

2 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped

salt

6-8 flour tortillas

sweet chilli sauce, to serve

 

Start with making the whipped feta. Combine the two cheeses in a jug and give them a whizz with a hand held blender until smooth. Alternatively, mash the feta very finely with a fork and then stir into the cream cheese. Either way, make sure it is at room temperature when you use it, or else it’ll be difficult to spread.

Next, heat some olive oil in a pan and chuck in the zucchini. Stir over high heat until they start caramelising in places. Add the thyme and keep cooking until they’ve reduced considerably in volume and are softened right through. Add the garlic and some seasoning and shake through a few times before taking off the heat.

To assemble, spread out a few spoonfuls of feta mixture over a flour tortilla and top with a thin layer of zucchini. Place another tortilla on top, then whack into a big frypan. Toast it on one side until golden (you don’t need any oil for this), flip, and finish toasting it on the other side. Transfer to a cutting board, slice into 8 pieces and drizzle with some sweet chilli. Eat while still warm and repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Quiche

zucchini and leek quiche

Quiche. Quiche can be many things. The most common species would be the bland quiche, with a handful of boring, unloved veggies chopped up and chucked in, usually raw, so you end up with this wonderfully average watery slice of wodge. Then there’s the just as famous eggy quiche, which just overtrumps with le flavor de egg, more of a frittata in a tart case than anything else. Then there’s the tasty quiche, with creamy and ultra delectable fillings, the one that trumps all. That is my favourite.

A good quiche only needs about three or so different flavourings. Three that work, three that shine. By roasting the zucchini with the thyme and softening the leek first, you concentrate the flavours, also guaranteeing yourself a non-watery filling. Not having a crazy amount of eggs is also key, and the sour cream, well that’s just delicious, and it makes things super silky.

Obviously you don’t have to make a tart crust, but I like to, because you know, if you’re going bake a quiche, you might as well do it properly.

 

Happy quiching.

quiche

Zucchini and Leek Quiche

 

 

1 2/3 cups (250g) plain flour

½ tsp salt

125g unsalted butter, chilled, finely chopped

2-3 Tbsp water

1 egg, chilled

 

1 leek (250g), white part only, sliced thinly

2 smallish zucchini (500g), sliced into ½cm rounds

2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves

Salt

Olive oil

 

400ml sour cream

3 eggs

1 tsp vegetable stock powder

salt to taste

freshly ground black pepper

 

Combine the salt and flour in a large ball. Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Whisk the water and the egg together and add to the flour mixture, combine and knead until it comes together and forms a ball. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Preheat oven to 220°C. Spread out the zucchini on lined baking tins, sprinkle over thyme, salt and some olive oil and bake until soft, reduced in size and caramelized in some bits. Remove from the oven and cool.

In the meantime, fry the leek in a saucepan over a low heat with a good glug of olive oil and a knob of butter until soft.

When you’re ready to pre-bake the crust, make sure the oven is still at 220°C and roll out the dough and fit it into a tart tin. Make sure you have a walnut-sized ball of dough left, so you can patch up any possible cracks after. Got the dough ready? Get some baking paper, lay it on top of the dough and fill with beans, or alternatively, if you’re like me and you don’t have any beans to bake, get a few sheets of aluminum foil and fit it snugly against the dough. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then remove the beans/foil and bake for 10 more minutes, until very lightly golden. Remove from the oven. If there are any tears or cracks, get your leftover dough and patch them up.

Combine the sour cream, eggs, and vegetable stock powder in a jug and give it a few bursts with a hand held blender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Now darling, time to assemble. Turn the oven down to 180°C. Get your leeks and spread them over the base of your tart. Pour over the filling, then arrange the zucchini over the top. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. If you have a gas oven, I suggest you bake it on the bottom part of the oven for the first 20 minutes, then transfer to the top for the next 20. If you have a fan-forced oven, then I am truly jealous of you. The quiche is done when it’s not wobbly in the middle anymore and is nicely golden on top.

Smoky Lentil Salad

smoky lentil salad

So remember when I said I’d found the recipe for the most amazing lentil salad, daring, even, to name it “the best”? I lied. I found its incredibly attractive and rather enticing cousin. I’ve never been competitive – because I think it’s a waste of time – and I also believe in equality, especially when it comes to lentil salad. I love these two recipes of mine equally, but because this one is newer, I feel like I have the right to play with it a little more often than the old one, so we get the chance to familiarise ourselves with one another, solidifying and deepening our friendship. Because ladies and sirs, this is one seductive salad. Packed with a delicious medley of roasted zucchini, feta and smoky paprika, this little number is sure to satisfy. Best packed lunch ever. Amen.

 

 Smoky Lentil Salad with Feta and Roasted Zucchini

Serves 2 incredibly hungry people, 3 medium hungry ones, or 4 as part of a meal.

 

1 cup Puy lentils

1 bay leaf

2 firm skinny zucchinis, on the medium side, sliced into 1cm rounds

2 carrots, finely diced

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tsp smoked paprika

 

Dressing

5 Tbsp olive oil

3 Tbsp dark balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 ½ Dijon mustard

2 tsp vegetable stock granules

1 garlic clove, crushed

chilli flakes

 

150g Danish feta, crumbled

 

Throw your lentils in a saucepan and cover with 2 cups of water. Stick in the bay leaf while you’re at it. Let the lentils soak for an hour or so, then bring to the boil and simmer gently until cooked. You may or may not have to top up with water in the meantime, just make sure they never go dry.

Preheat the oven to 200°C and line two baking trays with paper. Spread the zucchini over them, drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle over some sea salt. Bake in the oven until soft and about 2/3 of their original size. Remove from the oven and cool.

In a large fry pan, heat a few splashes of olive oil and add the carrots and onion. Stir over a low flame until soft, then add the paprika. How good does it smell?! Alright, remove that from the heat and have a look at how you’re lentils are going.

Once they’re soft, pour them into a fine-meshed sieve to get rid of any excess water, shake them a bit, and then transfer them to the large fry pan of delicious smoky goodness. Add the dressing ingredients and give it all a good stir. Let the lentils sit for about 15 minutes for all the flavours to unfold. After that, all you have to do is add the zucchini and feta. Have a taste now. Taste incredible? I know.

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