Saturday, 1 October 2011

Guest post by Christy of "Ellice Street Galley Kitchen" - Chickpea, zucchini and herb fritters recipe review

I’m Christy Harcourt. I live in Wellington, New Zealand and write Ellice Street Galley Kitchen, a food blog enjoyed by readers far and wide, including such personalities as my mother, sister, and aunties. I like many different foods, and am currently reviewing Rowan’s latest book, with quality testing services provided by my ever-patient and exceedingly lovely boyfriend, Josh.

I'm so lucky. I don't know if you've seen Julie & Julia (if not, you should - Meryl Streep is bloody fantastic) or read the book, but if you have - you'll know that Julie faced the following - ah, impediments - in her endeavour to work through an entire recipe book in order to learn about cooking:

* the recipe book was inordinately, unfeasibly long (524 recipes)
* she only gave herself one year to finish it (that's at least 1.5 recipes every single day)
* the book, while brilliant, was somewhat dated, involving a fair amount of obscure and archaic French recipes, including such delightful instructions as "boil this pigs hoof for 36 hours" (or something)
* the author of the book, when informed of her efforts, thought it was the stupidest thing she'd ever heard.

In contrast, Rowan Bishop's Vegetarian Kitchen is a mere 180 recipes (pfff - a snap, I hear you say!), I've given myself loosely a year to finish (read: if I don't finish by next June, I will probably just give myself an extension), the book is imaginative, modern, and simple to follow, and last but certainly not least, its author not only didn't think it was stupid, but actually invited me to write about it on her own blog. Win? I think so.

So here I am. I'm so glad I chose this recipe for Ellice Street Galley Kitchen's little field trip to Rowan's blog. It's a perfect demonstration of what attracted me to Rowan's book - simple, cheap ingredients, quick and easy to make, healthy, and yum. It's also, of course, vegetarian. I'm not a vegetarian myself, but I like to eat meat in moderation, and there are too many good reasons for that for it to be worth going into here.

It was also another case of just letting go and trusting Rowan's recipe, which to her credit seems to be always worth the effort. I struggle with fritters as a concept, because although they are often quick, it's so hard to avoid ending up with something that isn't somewhat reminiscent of an oil sponge. I also would never have thought of grating zucchini. Shows what I know. These are astonishingly fast to make (in summary: blitz chickpeas, grate other stuff, mix, and fry). The chickpeas and other ingredients hold together beautifully in the pan, and somehow produce fritters that are not oily, but crisp and dry.

The chickpeas give a delightful, wholesome texture, and the zucchini and coriander complement their mild flavour. We ate them with supermarket thai sweet chilli sauce, which was good - though I mourn for the loss of my home made chilli jam which we finished last month. That would be even better, if you have any.

On the whole, a great success. I cooked up the leftover mixture for dinner the next night, and it was just as good, if not better. I have a feeling it would also freeze quite successfully. I’m only a quarter of a way through this book, and I can already unreservedly recommend it. Everything in it tastes awesome. Nothing in it is expensive, particularly hard to make, or boring. What more can I say?

Thanks Rowan for another inspired mid-week meal. And thanks for not thinking I am completely bananas.

Ka kite,

Click here to visit Christy's blog - Ellice Street Galley Kitchen

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