Monday, January 24, 2011

Ricotta and joyful flowers

We have zucchini and pumpkin plants growing and producing like crazy in the garden which is bringing in the bees, it is divine to hear the sound they make!

However, because of the flood water all around us the mozzies are ferocious and are making gardening almost impossible - you have to rug up so much that you nearly die of heat, there has been some picking going on, but not much else I have to admit!

But, back to the flowers!
I adore stuffed zucchini flowers, but they are so fiddly so I don't do them very often, but I got the urge and a little time up my sleeve on Saturday so thought I would whip up a batch!
Make sure you only pick the MALE flowers, or you will not end up with any fruit!

First I made the ricotta -
Ricotta is SO easy and is a million times better than the store bought stuff (unless you can get to a good which case this stuff is heaps less expensive and just as good) - I will NEVER buy it again!
1 litre UHT milk brought about 90 degrees (just before boiling) and add 50ml lemon juice (or vinegar) and remove from heat. Let it rest for about 10-20 minutes so the milk curdles and strain through a lined sieve. Leave for 30-40 minutes before refrigerating in a container. You can add a tbs of salt and mix through, but I prefer to add this later when I use it for cooking/eating!
I just use clean CHUX to line the sieve!

Ensure that all the bugs etc are gone from the flower and give a good dusting (I don't wash them as it destroys the flower usually).
Mix together ricotta (amount will depend on how many flowers you have, but allow approx 1-2tbs per flower), pinch of salt and pepper, zest of a lemon, squeeze of lemon juice and fresh chopped herbs (I used basil but you could use anything that was fresh and handy and is your favorite!).
Stuff the zucchini flowers with the mixture (be very careful and very patient!)
The little stuffed gems, ready for their next preparation!
I like to coat the stuffed flowers with a light tempura...I am afraid I am not very good on measurements with this, I just go by feel and eye...
Approx 100g flour with one egg and enough ice cold water to make a thickish batter (thick enough that it really coats a spoon). IT is important for the water to be cold...not sure why?
Don't get all the lumps out, it adds to the crunch later on.

Coat the flowers and fry (shallow is fine).

Sprinkle with a little sea salt and SERVE HOT!!!
Sorry for sideways shot...but you get the picture! Encased
in light crispy batter, soft and zingy inside..Zucchini flowers are delicious!