8 August 2013
My sister Marian, who has lived in Italy for over 30 years, has adopted many Italian ways, not least the dedication to preparing and cooking exquisite food. She thinks nothing of spending an afternoon shredding basil leaves and pounding them, with a pestle and mortar, together with pine nuts, Parmesan and Pecorino cheese and good olive oil to make a little pot of pesto that will disappear in a single meal, or peeling a dozen spiny artichokes (the Albenga ones so typical of Liguria) to make the delicious ‘torta di carciofi’. I’m not complaining. Having sampled both on many occasions, I’m mighty glad she does, but I’m not that organised so, having been persuaded to harvest the beautiful courgette flowers from my garden, and been told how to deal with them, I decided to do it my own way… Starting with those beautiful flowers.
I didn’t have any ricotta for a start, and my local Lidl was unlikely to help out there. So I looked in my fridge and made it up. First I toasted a handful of sunflower seeds, added some diced pepper, onion and tomato, a few leaves of fresh basil, sage, oregano and thyme from the garden and finally a couple of chunks of dolcelatte cheese. Once cooled, I added a tablespoon of Greek yoghourt. The only reason for any of them being in the pan at once was the fact that they were what I had around. I stuffed the flowers, twisted the leaves to (sort of) seal them then placed them, bottom-side up, in a dish and cooked for ten minutes.
Served with a handful of garden rocket and a couple of tomatoes. Unspeakably good. The nuttiness worked really well with the creaminess and the delicate courgette flavour peeking through. I’ll definitely cook those again. Though next time it will obviously depend on what I’ve got in the fridge.