Carl and I went away for the weekend. The teenagers were left to fend for themselves and that wasn’t so bad, they’ve been on at me for years about how I need to let go and let them have their space. So they had plenty of space because I walked out shutting the door behind me and didn’t look back. I even took the car. ‘Good luck getting around’, I yelled as I buckled up my seat belt and took off looking only in front of me.
Alfie was just fine. He had been invited for a sleep-over by one of his mates from school and his mother had said she would take them to laser tag the next morning so there was high excitement all round. With everything perfectly organised, off we went.
Before we had to return to the big smoke we drove around Blackheath, a suburb in the Blue Mountains. We were sightseeing but also looking for a cafe where we could enjoy some lunch. While wandering the main street and looking for a cafe we discovered the Farmers’ Market was on and so went in to take a look around. My intention was to photograph the market for you because it is set in a beautiful park next to the community hall and on a summer’s day the gardens are just stunning.
But I didn’t take any photos because we arrived just as the market was closing its doors and there was nothing to capture aside from foldaway tables being packed into vans. But we were able to buy a few things. I bought some purple carrots that I roasted tonight with a leg of lamb and we also found some amazing vine-ripened tomatoes that I finely sliced and covered in chopped basil then dressed with a good quality balsamic vinegar.
But my find of the day was some really beautiful zucchini flowers. I couldn’t resist them. They were so fresh and stunning looking and I just had to have them. We had a family dinner tonight and I served these as an entree and there was not even a crumb leftover.
These look tricky but they truly are easier than they appear and I’d encourage anyone to attempt them as they would have to be one of the best ever appetisers or entrees – especially if you are a vegetarian!
And the teenagers survived just fine. Arabella rose to the occasion and did some washing and some cleaning and even bathed the dogs. Who knew she had it in her. Archie had written a new song. If he puts it on u-tube I’ll let you know.
Stuffed Zucchini Flowers in Beer Batter
Serves: That’s very variable. Four to 16?
Degree of Difficulty: 3/5
Cost: I would only ever buy zucchini flowers in season. In season they are very reasonably priced.
- 18 male or female zucchini flowers
- 8 kalamata olives, halved, pitted
- 2 anchovies
- 8 small basil leaves
- 200g fresh ricotta
- Vegetable or for deep-frying
- Lemon wedges, to serve
- 2/3 cup (100g) plain flour
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 150ml chilled light beer
- 1 egg white
Finely chop olives, anchovies and basil. Place in a bowl with ricotta and season to taste with pepper. Spoon a teaspoonful of ricotta mixture into centre of each flower, then twist petal ends to enclose. For batter, place flour and 1/2 tsp salt in a bowl. Add oil and beer then whisk until a smooth batter forms. In another bowl, whisk egg white until soft peaks form then gently fold into batter.
Line a tray with paper towels. One-third fill a deep saucepan or deep-fryer with oil, then heat over medium heat until 180C, or a cube of bread browns in 15 seconds. Working in batches of 4, dip flowers, 1 at a time, into batter, allowing excess to drain off, then deep-fry for 2 minutes or until golden. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to tray. Repeat with remaining flowers and batter. Scatter with salt and serve with lemon wedges.
This recipe is from Taste and makes a great vegetarian entree.