As many of you might remember from previous blog posts – I used to belong to a *Secret Santa* type of blog swap called Secret Recipe Club (SRC) but the concept was disbanded a while back due to a number of reasons.
The great news is that they decided to re-install an annual event… so this year, I got to review the blog called Troyers Loving Life. And as I read the “about me” page, I was convinced that Kirstin was talking about me when she described herself and her favourite things (clean house without having to clean it; cooking; reading and her connection to God). She is mom to 2 daughters and has been married for 26 years (#marriagegoals as we will celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary this year!). I also got sucked into her home renovation posts from 2008…. probably because (kindred spirits again), we bought an apartment in 2017 and had it fully renovated before moving in… kitchen; bathrooms, walls being knocked down and new walls being built. An exciting and nerve wracking time all rolled into one!
I loved scrolling through her recipe list and drooling over different recipes like her Watermelon-Strawberry juice with Basil (but as watermelon isn’t in season, I had to veto this one); Cauliflower cheese bread which is Gluten Free and is earmarked for another day; but eventually decided that I wanted to recreate her Blueberry and Zucchini Bread recipe.
When I told HIM about this recipe, he was completely baffled … even until he took his first mouthful, he was still hesitant. But in the end, it received his stamp of approval along with mine and our 2,5year old toddler.
Would I make it again? Yes… I love how moist the bread is and although you see flecks of green, it is easy to forget that this has a vegetable in it!
One point to note is that in the Kirstin’s original recipe, she makes it into 2 loaves while I made 1 large loaf meaning that cooking time increased from 50min to 1hr20min.
Blueberry Courgette Bread
3 eggs (lightly beaten)
1 cup vegetable oil
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups courgette (grated)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup frozen blueberries
- In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, vanilla & sugar
- Fold in the courgette
- Beat in flour, salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon
- Fold in the blueberries
- Pour into a greased loaf tin
- Bake for 1hour 20min at 180C (or 15-20minutes if you are making into muffins)
Probably one of the simplest recipes that I have ever encountered and completely inspired by Marie Gourmandise – whose Instagram photos are always so beautiful, light and simple but utterly delectable! I was even lucky enough to sit next to her at a Smartmat blogger event 2years ago.
One of the upsides to Monkey growing up is that she can now help me a bit in the kitchen… or at least it is *helping* in her vocabulary, while in mine it is sometimes a case of her stealing & eating my props while I attempt to take a photo …. but those hands… aren’t they too cute??? (yes – I am biased!) But this might just become a trend …
In general – I have made this pastry wreath about 3 or 4 times already and each time, tweaking it a bit – which means that you too can adapt accordingly.
Courgette & Feta pastry wreath
1 pre-made pastry
1 medium courgette/zucchini/baby marrow – sliced (whatever you call it in your own country)
1 tub boursin – I used the herby version (but any cream cheese version will work)
1/2 block of feta – cubed
- lay the pastry on a greased piece of baking paper on your baking tray
- as the pre-made pastry that I had purchased was already round – I only had score the edges and make a star shape cuts in the centre. Be careful that you leave a ring around the centre uncut as this is where your filling will go
- spoon the cream cheese (boursin) around your uncut ring, top with slices of courgette & feta
- Fold the pastry over the filling starting with the outside first (see images above for direction)
- Egg wash if you like… I don’t as I find it browns/burns too quickly
- Bake for 20-25minutes at 200C
I love risotto and so does HIM, the only negative part of making it is that you need to be in the kitchen the entire time, stirring the pot regularly and adding ladle fulls of stock as you go. Time consuming indeed, but so worth it when you set down to eat a bowl full of this creamy heaven.
I found this recipe in the BBC Good Food Magazine (June 2014 issue) and adapted it by adding crispy bacon pieces (because… who doesn’t love bacon… right???) and wine. While omitting the toasted pine nuts, lemon & mascarpone – but the idea of adding grated courgettes right at the beginning truly does make for a creamy risotto!
would I make it again – yes!
This recipe fed 4 adults … because the courgettes help to bulk it out!
Creamy Courgette Risotto
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 courgettes, (grate 2 of them & dice the third)
210g risotto rice
150ml white wine
1l stock (I use chicken stock)
2 Tablespoons of butter
150g bacon pieces
- Melt the butter large pot and fry the onion until softened
- Add the grated courgettes & rice, stirring to coat all the pieces
- Add the white wine and sizzle for 1-2minutes
- Add a ladle (or two) of stock and stir
- Reduce heat to medium and stir regularly, adding a ladle of stock at a time as it gets absorbed during the cooking process (takes approx. 20-25minutes)
- Remove risotto from heat, add the remaining butter and a handful of parmesan cheese. Cover with a lid and leave for 5minutes.
- In the meantime, fry the bacon & diced courgette in a frying pan until both are cooked (and bacon is crispy)
I recently decided to eat less carbs at night… Now, don’t you worry… I am not going paleo on anyone… but rather eating my carbs in the morning for breakfast & at mid-day for lunch. This has meant some mindset changes – especially as I have had a tendency to have salads for lunch (because I am at work) and big hearty dinners (when I am at home).
Last week – I knew that I was going to make a pot of bolognese sauce… but instead of teaming it with conventional noodles or spaghetti – I decided to read up a bit about zoodles (zucchini noodles) or courgetti (courgette spaghetti).. which is when you make a “faux” noodle out of courgettes. I especially enjoyed reading Elana’s Pantry recipe and pretty much followed her cues for a bowl of warm courgette zoodles.
Essentially – using a spiralizer made the job super quick and easy.
Make again? Yes… in fact, I did it again the following evening too!
Courgetti Bolognese (feeds 4)
3-4 large courgettes (1 per person)
400g mince (pork/beef mix)
180g tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 grated carrots
- To make the bolognese sauce, I heat up some olive oil in a large saucepan and then add meat
- Once browned, I mix in the passatta, tomato paste, sugar, carrots, garlic and seasonings
- Reduce heat and leave to simmer for 20-30minutes
- For the courgetti, spiralize the courgette.
- Salt it and leave to sit for 20minutes
- Rinse & drain the courgetti, and pat dry with paper towels
- In a frying pan, heat a dash of olive oil and then ‘fry’ the courgetti for approx. 5minutes
As simple as that
We have been so blessed in Brussels with some beautiful sunny spring/summer days. And because of this – I haven’t felt the need to settle down on the couch after putting Little Miss to bed and finishing up the chores… because the sun is still up and shining at 8/9pm at night!
Therefore, I have made a few more recipes and been able to blog a bit more – yippee!
We had a glut of courgette and I am trying to find some different recipes to try out … so when I saw this Courgette Fritter recipe on the BBC Good Food Website – I knew it was going to be on the list!
As simple as 1-2-3 and delicious served with a side of sweet chilli sauce (I used the bottled variety as I don’t have THAT much energy 🙂 ) – and I added 50g of grated parmesan to the mix as well.
Would I make it again – yes, it took about 5-10minutes to make the batter and the same amount of time to cook the fritters – so if you are looking for a quick and easy snack/side/starter – this is it!
1 courgette (grated)
oil (for frying)
- Place flour in a mixing bowl
- Whisk in the eggs
- Gradually whisk in the milk to make a smooth batter
- Stir in the courgette & parmesan and season well
- Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan
- Cook spoonful’s of the batter turning after 2-3minutes until golden
And it’s that time again… Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day! (which means Secret Santa style recipe swaps – for those who don’t know)
And this month – I got Amy’s Cooking Adventures… a fellow food blogger who loves reading as much as I do… who is also a mommy (two on earth & one in heaven… this story about her little Sarah Catherine who was stillborn really made be blub BIG time…) And not only does this incredible woman do domestic goddess status with style – but she also authors TWO blogs (the other is Amy’s Confectionery Adventures – which showcases some seriously beautiful baking), wife to Hubs & stay at home mum to her 2 boys (affectionately named *dude* & *spud*), she teaches Zumba classes and still finds time to read, scrapbook & sew!
But not only is her life impressive, but so is her blog… with a whole range of yumminess, I didn’t know where to start… Well, I did… the same way you eat an elephant… one bite at a time 🙂
Recipes that had me drooling include her Rosemary Pan Bread, carrot cake cookies, and Pumpkin Banana Muffins but finally decided on her Light Zucchini & Potato Au Gratin (I substituted the bechamel sauce for cream and added bread crumb Parmesan topping. but everything else was the same)… and it was SO GOOD!
Zucchini & Potato Au Gratin
450g potatoes, peeled & thinly sliced
1 large zucchini, thinly sliced
1 and half cups of grated cheese mixed with a cup of breadcrumbs
salt & pepper to taste
- Alternate rows of zucchini & potato (salting gently between) in an ovenproof dish, with 1/2 cup of cheese and a 1/3 of the cream
- Repeat until all ingredients are used up
- Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45-60minutes at 190C until potatoes are tender
- Remove the foil and leave the top to crisp for a further 10minutes
One morning I woke up and thought “are we really eating enough fruit & vegetables?” – because these are the kinds of thoughts that keep my brain occupied at 2am when I should be catching up much needed rest (especially when I know that Little Miss will be up shortly demanding cuddles, nappy changes, milk and more love <3).
So I did the maths… a minimum of 5 fruit & vegetable portions per day… easily done on most days (especially week days, where I take a packed lunch to work and have at least 2 fruits (mid-morning & mid-afternoon snacks) plus leftovers which have veggies in… and then cook dinner with more veggies later in the day… normally…. sometimes I live on toast as well!) but sometimes we don’t and the vegetables in the fridge start to build up and as per my previous post (chicken, chorizo & chickpea stew) – I am loathe to throw away food.
So I had a glut of courgettes… I had already tried out the oven baked Courgette fries… but what about a courgette cake? So I searched… and found this easy recipe on BBC Good Food Website.
At first glance, HIM raised his eyebrows at the thought of so much grated courgette in a chocolate cake… but after a bite of the finished product, he had to admit that it was “quite” good … which in his books means great things! I didn’t add nuts as per their recipe, but in future I would… as the cooked grated courgette in the cake already gives a nutty flavour and the texture of chopped nuts would take this cake to the next level.
Would I make it again? yes… it was easy & tasty and a sneaky way to add extra vegetables into your “treat” time!
Chocolate Courgette Cake
350g Self-raising flour
50g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon (they used mixed spice)
175ml olive oil
375g caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 medium courgettes, grated
(150g roughly chopped nuts – optional)
200g dark chocolate
- In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, cinnamon & a pinch of salt
- In another bowl, combine oil, sugar, eggs, sugar, vanilla essence & grated courgette
- Mix the dry & wet mixtures until just combined
- Pour into a greased cake tin (I used a springform tin)
- Bake for 40-45min at 180C
- Cool for 10minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool fully
- To make the icing – bring the cream to the boil and pour over the broken chocolate, stirring to make a smooth ganache, which you can pour/spread over the top of the cooled cake
On one of my last days of maternity – I looked into the abyss that is our fridge and decided that I needed to add a few more veggies to our diet 🙂
PLUS I had been inspired by one of my favourite tv shows called My Kitchen Rules (an Australian based reality tv show showcasing home cook pairs vying for fame, fortune and of course tv notoriety!)
Anyway – I digress… I saw one pair cook up some of these on one the episodes, so I did a bit of a google search and find the following recipe on All Recipes. They can be served as a nibble, starter or as an accompaniment to a meal.
A definite make again…. not quite the same as deep-fried potato chips… but juicy, tasty and super easy (plus a great way to get in some veggies!)
Oven Baked Zucchini Fries
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
1/4 cup of grated parmesan
2 zucchini, washed & sliced into strips
2 eggs, beaten and in a shallow dish
- Line a baking tray with foil & spray with cooking spray
- Mix the breadcrumbs with the parmesan in a shallow dish
- Dip the zucchini strips into the beaten egg and then into the crumb mix
- Place onto the baking tray
- Bake at 220C for 20-25minutes