We had a fabulous four-day weekend in Bruges, and Nicholas had a great time toddling around practising his walking and his balance on the cobbled streets. There’s nothing like a mini family break to recharge the batteries. We ate lots of scrumptious things (and tried lots of Belgian beer!). Nicholas had his first taste of mussels and frog legs, and loved them both (oh and his first lollypop, given to him by a waiter). How proud am I that he seems to be turning into a mini-foodie?!?
So back home and back into the kitchen, but with some more enthusiasm for cooking. And today, one of our very tried and tested, and very much loved recipes made from a fabulous vegetable – zucchini or courgette (depending on where you’re from). You can do so much with this vegetable. You can grate them raw into a salad, slice and grill them, chopped into sticks and steamed they’re great with dips, stuff and bake them, or roast them in chunks. One of my favourite ways to have them is grated and very quickly fried with a little bit of lemon juice and caraway seeds; it’s the perfect accompaniment to fish (I’ll write up the recipe soon!).
I often add zucchini to recipes I make for Nicholas. It has a very mild flavour and so goes with a lot of things – diced finely into a minestrone, grated and ‘hidden’ in burgers, chopped and added to casseroles, or simply steamed and dipped into yogurt. I came across this recipe for zucchini tots and immediately thought they would be perfect finger food. And I absolutely love a recipe I can easily make a few servings of and put in the freezer for another day. I made some slight changes, rolling the mixture into smaller bites and baking them on a tray rather than using a mini muffin tin (which I don’t have!) and using cheddar cheese instead of parmesan to cut down the salt content.
You can easily make bigger ones for adults for a low calorie lunch (because of the high water content zucchini is super low in calories), and they’d be perfect to take on picnics.
It’s important to squeeze the zucchini after you grate it to get rid of the excess liquid (and it has a lot of liquid). The simplest way is to squeeze a handful of it over the sink. You can also put it into a clean tea towel and squeeze it. You really don’t need to measure the grated zucchini (the quantities don’t have to be exact); one good-sized zucchini should be fine.
1 cup finely grated and squeezed zucchini (about 1 large zucchini)
1/4 medium onion, finely diced
1/4 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
Pinch of salt (optional)
Heat oven to 200C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Put all the ingredients into a medium-sized bowl and mix until combined. Shape into small balls and place on the lined baking tray.
Cook for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.
- add chopped herbs (chives, mint or parsley would all work well)
- add crumbled feta
- Don’t use aluminium foil on the baking tray as the bites will stick to it and will be difficult to take off.
- To make your own dry breadcrumbs, keep leftover bread uncovered for a couple of days until it’s hard. Break into chunks and chop in a food processer or blender until it’s fine crumbs. The breadcrumbs can be stored in an airtight container or ziplock bag for several months.