Thursday, October 21, 2010

Very Vegetarian

It was my intention this week to post pics of the housewarming lunch that we held last Saturday, however once the food was on the table I completely forgot to take photos of it before it was demolished. Sorry guys - you will have to close your eyes and imagine what it looked like! We enjoyed a starter of antipasto, along with italian style pork meatballs with a spicy tomato dipping sauce, a selection of cheeses and wonderful olive bread from Bourke Street Bakery. For mains, there was a selection of garlicky leg of lamb cooked over coals, stir fried garlic and chilli prawns, greek sausages, chicken, fetta and spinach sausages, grilled asparagus, tomato, basil and bocconcini salad, 2 vegetarian tarts - mint, pea and fetta and wild mushroom and a roasted pumpkin, rocket and pomegranate salad served with a pomegranate balsamic dressing. Our guests seemed to really enjoy it (special mention must be made of my lovely finacee's spectacular lamb - cooked over coals and so succulent and tender) but as always I over catered - we lived off the leftovers for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 2 days!

Today I thought I would share what we had for dinner last night. A nice vegetarian dish that is cheap and easy to make - zucchini and chickpea fritters. You can serve them as a main or a starter - or grab some nice rolls and turn the fritters into vege burgers. The accompaniment is a creamy horseradish and mint sauce which is a lovely tangy, creamy contrast to the nutty flavour of the fritters. The addition of mint gives a lovely fresh note to this dish. You could easily add other vegetables or herbs to the fritters - I think that grated carrot or some finely chopped spinach would work well. Make sure that you don't scrimp on the seasoning of the fritter mixture - plenty of salt and pepper please. Chick peas and other legumes can be a bit bland if you don't give them a boost with some seasoning. Salt and pepper will help bring out their natural flavour. These fritters are best eaten soon after making and are not suitable to freeze. My recipe will make about 12 large fritters.

Zucchini and Chickpea Fritters with horseradish and mint sauce

You will need:
For the fritters: 1 x 400g tin chick peas rinsed well and drained, 2 medium sized zucchini grated, 1 tablespoon grated parmesan, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped mint, 2 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1 1/4 cups self raising flour, a couple of pinches of cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.

For the sauce: 1 cup sour cream, 1 dessert spoon horseradish cream (buy this in the mustard/condiment section of the supermarket), 1 dessert spoon finely chopped mint, salt and pepper.

Method: Whisk together the eggs, milk, cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Gradually add the flour, to form a smooth batter. You may use more or less flour depending on the size of the eggs - the mixture should be the consistency of pancake batter.

Mash the chickpeas. You can also use a food processor for this, but don't make the mixture too smooth - you want some texture there.

Fold in the zucchini, parmesan, parsley and mint into the batter. Season generously and allow the mixture to stand for 10-15 minutes.

To make the sauce, combine the sauce ingredients and mix well.

Heat a frypan and add some vegetable oil. Spoon the fritter mixture onto the pan and cook until golden. I make these fritters a bit larger than say, corn fritters. I used a couple of spoonfuls of mixture each and they come out the size of a hamburger patty. You can of course make them smaller if you like. Drain them on paper towels and serve right away with the sauce.


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