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Zucchini Series #1

 Today I want to talk a bit about Mr.O. He, who I mention on my blog, is the one who takes all the privileges of eating what I cook. Now he gets excited about what is cooking in the kitchen and sends photos of what we eat to his friends, who are tormented by the teasers and also puzzled by the changes he’s made in his eating habits.

I’ve probably mentioned this in one of previous posts but I think it’s ok to remind people of this amazing phenomenon. Mr.O is my food tester for my blog, who had shed 25 kg in 6 months, just by eating and enjoying food with me. I still have a delightful memory of Mr.O’s parents bursting into a big laughter at one dinner, seeing Mr.O eating zucchini. They said something to each other but Mr.O refused to translate to me what they were saying at first but I pressed him and he finally said, “They were saying that I didn’t used to eat zucchini, in fact, I hated it and now I’m eating it deliciously!” Now it was my turn to burst into laughter.

Yes, now he loves zucchini, but last night Mr.O said, when I was trying to put some into our pasta with Turkey meat (Hindi in Turkish), NO MORE! Perhaps, it’s time to have a break from zucchini.

breakfast

We went to his parents again last Sunday and got a huge surprise by the amount of food Mr.O’s dad had prepared for three of us including our Argentinian guest. He kept bringing food to the table, as if he had been on a foodie frenzy, and we kept eating like a fight between an eater and a feeder. Everything you see is from their garden and organic, even the potatoes, which my guest loved so much. We couldn’t stop eating because everything was so fresh and delicious. The Turkish zucchini fritters, Mücver, were the best I’d eaten, and I seriously started to fantasise about setting up a cafe with him. He’s a great cook as well as a fantastic host.

After all that food, we still walk around the garden picking the blackberries and popping them into the mouth. There’s nothing like fresh berries picked right off the tree and popped right into the mouth. The neighbour, who manages the garden together, hauled a bucket of zucchini and cucumbers and offered me to take, so even though I knew I couldn’t eat them all, I couldn’t resist the fresh and healthy vegetables. I have a fetish for fresh food, not for shoes or handbags like other women. Pity me but also lucky me!

That’s how I ended up cooking zucchini for the whole week and now I’ve run out of ideas. Pancakes, pasta, curry, stew, grilling, bits thrown in here and there….

Out of all, the most favourite way to enjoy zucchini is this simple zucchini curry made with coconut flakes. I tend to use more coconut flakes here than coconut milk or cream. First, I don’t like buying anything in tins, and second, I believe that coconut flakes are healthier and versatile, so that I don’t have to cram my pantry with all sorts of similar items.

The most important thing here is the homemade stock cube I use. As you know, I have homemade stock of all kinds kept in the freezer; demi-glace, chicken stock, fish stock, duck fat, and what not. No matter what you cook, the stock is the essential part that makes all the differences. Then, simply throw all the ingredients and spices such as turmeric, garam masala or curry power, chili flakes and cook for 20 mins or so and you’re all set for a healthy easy meal.

zucchini curry (4)

I threw in some black-eyed peas for a good measure. Oh, the exotic aromas and the sweet coconut scent are so irresistible!

zucchini curry (5)

Turkey is truly a haven for lazy cooks. I mean, there is always something to substitute. The ready-made whole-wheat lavas bread could be used as Indian naan. Ask Mr.O how much he liked it. He would say, “ON NUMARA!” meaning 10 out of 10 in Turkish.

zucchini curry (6)

However, what he liked even more is the next version. I grated zucchini this time and added some of the nettle I’d kept after making ravioli.

This time it was closer to Turkish flavours, simply with paprika, turmeric and cumin. The chili was added when eating along with a dollop of the Turkish sour cream, Susurluk tereyağ, of which I’m still thinking of the right use. It’s reminiscent of crème fraîche. You can add butter, but WE found that this unique Turkish soured butter gave a better and complex taste than simple butter or yogurt.

zucchini curry-1

Anyway, this was definitely the best zucchini dish. By grating or finely julienning, it takes less time and also the sweet flavour is concentrate. Simply and fresh are again the best ingredients. I hope I’ve inspired at least one person, whether it be one of the dishes I’ve described or Mr.O losing 25 kg.  Ciao till the next post as I’ve got loads of work ahead of me.

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