On Saturday evening we had an amazing dinner at my sister-in-law Emma's house to celebrate her husband's birthday. Emma is an extraordinary home cook and she never ceases to amaze me with the wonderful flavoursome meals she comes up with. I've never met anyone who can present meals so exquisitely too...in fact sometimes they literally look too good to eat. I love being in her kitchen you open her spice draw and this intoxicating aroma hits you like you've travelled to a far off destination full of eastern promise. There are spices in there I can't even pronounce and she is the master of coming up with exotic dishes that stay on your mind for days. I've even been known to actually have dreams about her cooking and one Christmas - from Boxing Day to New Year I had a succession of dreams about her Christmas Ham! I believe it was the star anise that was doing it to me or perhaps it was the cloves.
Emma had been to Everleigh Markets the morning of the party and picked up 3 bags of beautiful eye-catching Zucchini Flowers to serve as part of the entree. Zucchini flowers are versatile and can be cooked a variety of ways, sauteed, roasted or steamed. You can also chop them and add them to frittatas and stir-frys. We decided to STUFF EM with pesto. And the good thing about an entree like Zucchini Flowers is you can prepare them earlier in the day and then once guests arrive, they just need to be sauteed at the last minute (The Zucchini Flowers, not the guests!)
Here's how to make this wonderfully delicious starter for all to enjoy. Serves 4.
Dairy Free Pesto
1 1/2 cups freshly picked basil leaves
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 lemon Juiced
1/2 tsp minced lemon zest
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 TBS pine nuts
1 TBS nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
ocean sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste
Combine pesto ingredients in blender until pureed
Chill and serve
2/3 cup (100g) rice flour
3 TBS Soda water
The How To
- Make the pesto as per the directions above, it's easy peasy and then just chill it in refrigerator until you're ready for it.
- Meanwhile, hold a zucchini flower, and gently open the petals. Reach inside and gently remove stamen from the centre of flower. Do this to all the remaining flowers and chop of the end of the stem.
- Open the Zucchini Flower and place 1 tsp of pesto inside and then twist the top closed. Set aside.
- To make the batter, place flour and soda water in a bowl and mix until its like pancake mix not too thick and not too runny.
- Place paper towels on a platter dish and then place olive oil in frying pan and heat over a medium heat.
- Dip the flowers in the batter and then place in frying pan until golden then remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to soak up excess oil.