It is February and already people all over Joburg are longing for a holiday! You may be pondering the lazy spirits of us city dwellers as you read that, but it is actually the opposite. This year has been so busy, so full – full of emotional upheaval, full of life events and chockablock with work, work, work. When times are crazy like this and the weather has not quite turned into autumnal one pot warmth and comfort, I want meals that can happen quickly, meals that can handle being eaten at room temperature if work has made me wait a few minutes longer than expected and, more than anything, food that nourishes deeply despite its simplicity. When our souls and bodies are under stress we don’t need empty calories, eventhough we may crave them, our bodies desire the comfort of true nourishment. So eat consciously now and year round, it will change much of your attitude to life. We grow zucchini at home and as much as we love it we have to make plans to use a lot of it while it is around. I think slicing it in rounds and frying in a little great olive oil with some garlic is the best way to enhance its flavour, use as a side with dinner or breakfast or as a filling for an omelette with some good cheddar and some chilli maybe. Or use it in a delicious ratatouille which is great with everything! My dad used to steam the little ones whole then slice them lengthways and serve with a knob of butter and some onion salt – super quick! I enjoy using them in combination with potato for wonderful rosti, served with some smoked salmon and a poached egg… and a glass of bubbles too! Here is a little recipe posted by Jackie Erwin Ladner, there are many variations of this and although I always say this, you should play with different combinations here and use what you have around.
1 zucchini, grated
4Tbl grated carrot
¼ grated red onion
salt & pepper
olive oil for frying
Combine all ingredients. Heat a frying pan and add a little oil – when hot add the mixture in 2Tbsp fulls, allowing room for the fritters to spread out. Fry for about 3 mins on each side. Enjoy as as a little snack, or with a zesty salad, maybe with a herbed crème fraiche or a spicy dipping sauce.
I know that many of you feel uncertain cooking ingredients you are unfamiliar with. This week there is radicchio going to many of you; as you know you can use this bitter leaf in a salad with a balsamic dressing and some parmesan shavings. But you can also cook this leaf. Heat a pan with some olive oil, quarter the radicchio and place in the hot pan. Sear on one side for about 3mins, season in the pan, let it start to brown then turn it onto the other cut side, allow that to brown too then remove from the pan. Pour some best quality balsamic vinegar into the pan, it will fume and evaporate, turn the heat down so it does not burn. Allow to reduce and become syrupy, then put the radicchio wedges back into the pan and coat with the reduction. Season to taste and serve with toasted pine nuts, some white anchovies, maybe some pastured prosciutto and some crusty bread and best quality parmesan if you like. This is non-fussy, nutritious food. Eat it alone or with company. If you can, have it outside with a cold glass of bone dry rosé and wonder at the beauty of the changing evening sky. Enjoy!