Tempura Fried Zucchini Flowers filled with Zesty Chive Goats Cheese
I love Christmas, I love entertaining, catching up with friends and family and enjoying the warmer weather. It is a crazy busy time of year for us, work wise this is the busiest time of the year for our business, which is great in the business sense, but it really cramps my style on the personal front. Trying to get everything done at work plus Christmas shopping and getting ready for Christmas Day is pretty full on (and throw my birthday in a week before Christmas, just for good measure!)
After months organising our work Christmas Party, which was last weekend, I now can start thinking about Christmas get-togethers and Christmas Day celebrations. I’ve got quite a crowd for Christmas Day this year, I love cooking Christmas lunch, so much so, I have pretty much just taken it over in my family, I am more than happy to be the cook for the day. The cooking part doesn’t stress me, but I need to have a colour co-ordinated table setting theme, and until I have got that right, I lay awake at night obsessing. I really struggled with my theme this year, I decided to break tradition and have a silver, pink and aqua colour combo, I’m sure it will look great, but not having gold, red or green, really bent my head for a while. I think I am ok with it now….. maybe : ) (weird things stress me out I know)
I was looking for a quick starter, which looks impressive and tastes amazing, that I could pre-prepare and whip up quickly when everyone arrived. I love stuffed zucchini flowers (courgette flowers) and thought I’d have a go at making some up and if it worked I’d serve them when everyone arrived in the afternoon on Christmas day. Well, this recipe worked out absolutely amazing, they are so light and crispy on the outside with beautiful soft zesty goats cheese oozing on the inside. I did the filling and stuffed the flowers and then refrigerated them for a couple of hours and then the quickly battering and frying worked a treat, but I am not going to lie, the prep work is quite fiddly. The flower blossoms don’t like to play nice, and can be a little difficult to open up and get the filling in. I devoured my test batch of these in no time at all, they are so good. I will definitely be making these when I have a small group of guests over for drinks during the Chrissy break, but there is no way I am going to make up enough of these for 18 people, no-one on this planet could just eat one, they are way too yummy, and that would mean working with 50 something delicate flowers. So while I sit here crunching away on tempura fried deliciousness, I am back to the drawing board for my Christmas Day starter.
Are you the Christmas cook? and are you a colour co-ordinating obsessed person? Or am I just a bit crazy?
Suitable for: gluten, egg, soy & nut free diets and vegetarian . Contains goats cheese which is lower in lactose than cows milk and is ok for some people that can’t have cow’s milk as it’s easier to digest.
Ingredients (serves 4)
12 zucchini flower blossoms (or known as courgettes flowers)
150g soft goats cheese, I used Udder Delights brand goats chèvre
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/2 to 1 lemon finely zested (I like a strong flavour so I used the zest of a whole lemon)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
freshly ground salt and pepper
1 cup fine rice flour
1 cup chilled sparkling water
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground salt
Vegetable oil to fry
- In a small bowl, add the goats cheese, lemon zest, chives, garlic powder and season well with salt and pepper and mix well.
- Very gently pry open the flower blossom being careful not to rip, and put about a teaspoon of mixture inside, then gently push it down into the hollow centre. I found if I put the mixture just inside, and then wrapped the petals over the cheese securely, I could gently squeeze the filling down inside. Continue with all flowers and then place in the fridge until ready to batter and fry.
- In a small bowl add the rice flour, baking soda, salt & onion powder until well combined. Slowly add the chilled sparkling water and mix well until a smooth batter comes together. I found the texture quite strange at first, but when I let it sit for a minute after stirring it became really smooth.
Heat oil in wok until you can drop some batter in and it bubbles instantly and starts turning a golden brown. When the oil is ready, dunk a filled zucchini flower into the batter and coat all over, making sure there is no gaps, the carefully lower and drop into the hot oil. Cook each flower for about 1-2 mins or until a nice light golden colour. Remove using a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper. Repeat with remaining flowers. I found the cooked so quick, I only had time to cook 2 at a time.
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