Zucchini, Feta and Spinach Muffins

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There are a few recipes that can remind me of a time and a place and these Zucchini Muffins do exactly that!

Many of my childhood memories are also tied to the smell of fresh herbs, stories from grand parents and memories of traveling, music and family both near and far. When I look at the cuisine that I have grown up with I cant help but think how fortunate I have been.

Versions of this recipe mostly appear in Middle Eastern recipe books as fritters and although my grandmother made them that way as well, I think she would have been happy with my muffin version too. Its less time consuming without losing any of the taste.

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INGREDIENTS
Zucchini, Feta, and Spinach Muffins:

2 medium zucchini, grated

200g Frozen Spinach, thawed

½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

2 Tablespoon fresh dill (chopped)

2 Tablespoon fresh Mint (chopped)

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 Spring onions sliced fine

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

½ cup Self Raising Flour

Salt and black pepper, to taste

3 Tablespoons Olive oil (plus a little extra for the cupcake Pan)

Method:

Preheat the oven 180 Degrees

Place the grated zucchini and spinach in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Sprinkle with a little salt and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Then, wring all of the liquid and discard. Place the grated zucchini and spinach in a large bowl.

Combine the zucchini, spinach, feta, herbs, eggs, spring onions, garlic and oil. Stir to mix well.

Sprinkle in the flour and fold through until it all is incorporated and holding together.

Using a nonstick cupcake pan, add ½ teaspoon of olive oil to the base of each cupcake section and divide the batter between the 12 spots on the cupcake pan.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes.

Note: For a Gluten Free option use Gluten Free SR Flour 🙂

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It’s all Greek to me!

This is a traditional Greek bake that my mother made and of course a family favourite.

“Papoutsakia” – (translation) Little Shoes

Papoutsakia

If you have eaten the most well-known Greek dish called “Moussaka” a very rich and finger licking delicious fried eggplant bake then you will adore the flavours of “Papoutsakia”. This recipe is a little more delicate and lighter yet robust with the usual combination of a eggplant, tomato based bolognese sauce, bechamel and cheese.

Unlike the original Middle Eastern version which consists of fried eggplant slices topped with a spicy rich tomato sauce the whole eggplant is first simmered till soft in a large pot of water for about 15 minutes. The eggplants that I have used are called Striped Eggplant the size is just right per serve and they are longer in length rather than round and wide like the purple eggplants we see often in supermarkets and green grocers. As they are simmering away you will notice the beautiful purple and white stripes begin to change and the whole eggplant takes on a glorious bronze gold colour.

Drain the water and place the eggplant on a flat surface to cool down. Slice the eggplants in half and gently scoop out enough of the pulp to leave enough room for the mince sauce. (Careful not the break through to the outer skin). Dice the eggplant pulp and add it to the tomato sauce and mix well together. Divide the sauce between the hulled eggplants shells. Cover with the bechemel sauce and grate some parmesan cheese over the top.

Now we are ready to bake!

As all the ingredients are basically all ready cooked and with the assembly now complete its all a matter of allowing the oven to do its job at a moderate heat for approximately 25 minutes. Watch them turn from pale ensembles into golden delights!

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The meatless version of “Papoutsakia” is just as wonderful and can be eaten hot or cold. Both recipes are ideal for parties or as an entree, and can be prepared a day in advance before serving (in fact the flavours develop better a day later) just reheat just before serving.

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Enjoy.

Pictures by me! Lesvos Greece.

I thought I would share with you a few of my favourite photos. I was fortunate to travel to Greece a few years back and reconnect with family, I am of greek heritage and like most there are a few cousins around the world.

I spent the majority of my time on the Island of Lesvos and my cousins took great pride in showing me around. Its a beautiful Island, the landscape is partly volcanic but very typical of the Mediterranean. Olive trees are abound everywhere and the locals take great pride in growing and selling their own fresh fruit and vegetables. The island is clean and the beaches are wonderful. One main attraction though is its proximity to Turkey and a 45 minute ferry ride will take you across for 15 euros. A day trip to the amazing bazaar was an opportunity I thankfully didn’t miss out on and one which I highly recommend!

I could have added all 1600 photos that I took on that trip but it would be pictures of blue sky, crystal clear beaches, olive trees and churches not to mention the food! But nothing beats the sights and sounds of what is Greece no matter which island you choose to visit.

I hope you enjoy this little taste of Lesvos.

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