A fantastic vegetarian dinner option, zucchini and haloumi fritters with mint and dill.
Remember the time-consuming but delicious zucchini gratin? Jasper has been requesting it with increasing desperation over the last few weeks but I just didn’t have the emotional fortitude or stamina to go there. I’m blaming the relentless heat and humidity over these past months.
So when I saw a Neil Perry recipe for zucchini fritters on the SMH website I hoped I’d struck a middle ground. I’ve added some mint to my recipe and would encourage you to do the same.
These were an absolute sensation, heading straight to the pool room of family dinner winners. You could even make smaller ones as a finger food option. Don’t think the yoghurt sauce is optional – as is always the case when there’s a sauce on the side it lifts the meal from yum to YUM!
Sometimes you make something that forces you to slow down. For me that normally involves baking and I love it. You can’t rush yeast, a cake needs time, dough wants methodical kneading, pastry asks for, well, everything.
So I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and while I am not the greatest fan of zucchini I needed to make it instantly. What I didn’t realise was it was going to force me to go slow and follow a number of steps. I am, in reality, a much more ‘bung it all in and hope for the best’ cook.
It’s based on a Julia Child recipe and while I own her voluminous Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volumes 1 and 2 I have never cooked from them. So I was, in effect, uninitiated.
You have no choice but to slow down but I was making it for dinner so didn’t want to slow down and got a bit cranky with the whole thing. Salting zucchinis, par-boiling rice, slowly sweating off onions, it doesn’t sound like much but for a weeknight #everyfuckingnight it was frustrating.
But dagnammit it tasted out of this world which annoyed me even more (and everyone except Felix inhaled it). So my advice is definitely make it but go into it with patience, a willingness to wash up a lot and the knowledge you will be handsomely rewarded.
I have a thing for pickles. Maybe this is why we had four children, so I had a fairly predictable excuse for the outrageous number of pickled items I would consume. Yeah, that’s it. Offensive levels of fertility and general laziness come carelessness had nothing to do with it whatsoever. That and we really just wanted a girl. Let’s just perpetuate as many myths as possible.
So, I had this recipe from an Australian Gourmet Traveller hanging around on the kitchen bench for pretty much most of last year, maybe longer and in fact thought I’d tossed it in a recent purge of ripped out recipes but no! Score! It was still there, testament to my love of the pickle.
Make these. They’re easy and taste DIVINE. I am making burgers this week just to have these on them. And also buying some lovely crumbly vintage cheddar – these are perfect for that. I doubled the recipe below so these photos are of a kilo of zucchinis. I also only had a smidge of cider vinegar so used bog standard white vinegar. Worked a treat. (1kg of zucchinis gave me 7x325ml jars which I loosely packed – and I didn’t need any more liquid to cover.)
From Australian Gourmet Traveller from Neil Perry, Rockpool Bar & Grill who lifted it from San Fransico’s Zuni Cafe
500g zucchinis, thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2tbsp fine sea salt
500ml ice-cold water
500ml cider vinegar
220g (1cup) caster sugar
2tsp mustard powder
2tsp yellow mustard seeds, lightly crushed
Combine the zucchini, onion, salt and water and stand for 1 hour.
Combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard powder, seeds and tumeric in a saucepan and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 2 minutes and then cool to room temperature. (Make sure it is completely cooled before pouring over the zucchinis as if it’s still warm it will make your pickles soggy.)
Drain the zucchini and onion and pat dry on absorbent paper then put back into the bowl with the cider mixture and stir to combine.
Transfer to sterile jars and add a bit of water to cover if necessary. Seal and refrigerate for two days to pickle. They’ll keep, refrigerated, for at least three weeks.