Thursday, July 28, 2011

I come bearing jewels ...and flowers ...

I'm here. I'm here! I know. I know. It's been a while. I wish I had a list of witty, well thought out excuses. Alas, I hadn't even realized that three weeks had gone by dear readers. Three weeks. Yikes. And when I did realize it (two days ago), straight to the keyboard I went. It felt good. I had been missing it, and you, dear readers.  I typed and I typed, diligently for hours, knowing I had at least three posts to deliver this week and after an afternoon of walking through my brain, I had completed what I needed to complete. Phew, said I. A Quick reread, some editing, ready to post ...and then, the unthinkable... I didn't like it.

I didn't like it! I really tried to like it. I had after all just spent hours writing and editing text and photos and it was all ready to go and it had been a while... I thought to myself, is this even possible? Do people not like their own stuff? But I couldn't do it. It didn't work. It didn't come together. I didn't feel it in my gut. You know? So what did I do dear readers? Well, after feeling down in the dumps for a bit and bombarding myself with what if I'm all dried up's?! what if it's gone's?! what if I can never write anything again's?! and after resisting the temptation to take it out on innocent laptop, I made myself a cup of tea (cure for all), went outside, and thought.

I thought about what the heck it is that I have been doing for the last three weeks that had kept me so busy. The time had literally flown by. When I started writing, a little over nine months ago now (wow), we were at the beginning of winter (ughh). I remember thinking to myself (shivering  and cursing under my blanket), wait... just wait until summer is here ...the markets! the produce! the adventures! I would go to the market every day! I would prepare feasts that blow minds! Every day! I would kill pigs and hunt deer and kill fish (or fish fish, or whatever!) and so on! 

Well, dear readers, what I have actually doing is quite far from what I had imagined I would be doing. It's pretty regular stuff (minus the crazy pig killing (not) roast (happened, so cool)). I've been spending a lot of time outside dear readers. Bike riding all over the place. Swimming like a fish. I started jumping and diving (off the boards!) into pools again (oceans soon, with the fish). I haven't done that since I was little. I'm working up the courage for flips. I've been taking walks and forgetting my camera, cooking (and forgetting my camera), going to the market and ...well... forgetting my camera (except once, and then I snapped way too many pictures of flowers, I can't help it). of many...I love them so ...

I've been  eating ridiculous amounts of ice cream and sorbet (like almost every night...sometimes twice ...shhhh!). I've been reading thousand page British trash (lurve them), existential tombes and everything in between. I've been soul searching and pondering life. And nothing. I have been doing a little bit of nothing at all ( say...nothing at all say...and why exactly wasn't I writing if I so clearly had time on my hands, you ask?). Well, I don't really have an answer...but I do have a recipe...a jewel of one from my cherished Australian Gourmet Traveler. So really, I come bearing jewels...and flowers... Zucchini flowers ...I love you dear readers. Thanks for reading.

Time to dish.

Zucchini flowers with ricotta, Parmesan and mint anchovy sauce

Here is what you need...for the Zucchini...
  • Zucchini flowers, fifteen lovely blossoms
  • Tempura flour, sieved, two cups
  • Soda water, one and a half cups
  • Peanut oil, for deep frying, or canola, if you like
  • Flour, for dusting the little gems
  • Egg whites, four, whisked to soft peaks
Here is what you need...for the filling...
  • Firm Ricotta, 200 grams
  • Your finest, aged, Parmesan, gingerly grated, 60 grams
  • Soft goat's cheese, 60 grams
  • Mint, finely chopped, a bunch, as much as you like, or a cup
Here is what you need...for the mint and anchovy sauce...
  • Mint, yes dears, finely chopped, a whole bunch, go crazy, or three cups
  • Your best olive oil, I mean it, half a cup
  • Parsley, finely chopped, one cup
  • Capers in vinegar, rinsed, chopped, finely, of course, two tablespoons
  • Anchovy fillets, chopped! finely! or you could muddle them in a mortar and pestle, five of their delicious oily little bodies
  • Lemon juice, of one, or as much as you like
  • Or, you could forget all the chopping and just mash everything up in a mortar and pestle, yup, that's what I do

Here is what to do ...

1. Place tempura batter flour in a bowl, season to taste (salt! pepper! a dash of heat?), then gradually add soda water, whisking until combined and smooth. Set aside to rest (20 minutes).
2. For ricotta stuffing, combine ingredients in a bowl, season to taste (salt! pepper!a pinch of nutmeg?) and refrigerate until ready to stuff, gingerly.
3. Carefully remove stamens from zucchini flowers. Shape scant tablespoons of ricotta and gingerly place into fit each flower (be careful not to break the flowers as you stuff them). Gently now, twist tops of petals together to close in the yummy filling, then place on a tray and refrigerate until  ready to fry.
4. For mint and anchovy sauce, combine ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate until you need it to drizzle all over awesome zucchini's.

eggwhite, then dip in batter. Deep-fry in batches, turning occasionally, until golden (3-5 minutes; be careful as hot oil may spit). Drain on newspaper, or other paper, or towel, whatever you have, you get the point, season to taste (salt! pepper!) and serve hot with mint and anchovy sauce.

Enjoy dear readers, I have two more for you this week. Stay tuned.


  1. I love how fresh this post is, the anchovy mint zucchini flower awesomeness. Makes me think that I would love to serve this at a wedding.

  2. @ Christina - Thanks, it is pretty awesome and despite appearances, pretty easy to make. Zucchini flowers can be intimidating for many people but it's really worth it. You know, that's a great idea. I don't think I have ever seen them at a wedding but I would love to. Yum.

  3. The flowers look so pretty and delicate, but I think I would feel guilty eating them.

    Speaking of ice cream, would love to see an ice cream post one of these days.

    As an ice cream lover, here is a funny little video of my favorite (from Turkey)

  4. @ Anonymous - They do, don't they. The guilt goes out the door the minute you start smelling their aromas when cooking. Okay, thanks for that, I have been thinking about it. Great video.

  5. Many of your topics we just chatted about over a lovely dinner (thanks again). Enjoy the summer...but don,t fogert your camera so much. And some times the pressure we put on ourselves is not necesary (look whos talking!)

    I love the recipe, so want to cook some zucchini flowers some day.

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  7. Aww shucks, thanks Eve, it was fun. Mhmmm...carry on...Thanks, it's really really great. Maybe we can do it together if you like.
    July 31, 2011 1:07 PM