A month or so of travelling for work and with family has meant that food-wise, things have been fairly up and down.  Certainly, I’ve enjoyed some great food while travelling, but I do always find myself somehow missing my kitchen, and especially missing the simpler foods that I feel so used to in our everyday fare.  This recipe was something I made a few weeks ago, inspired by a friend’s question about new ways with zucchini. Though this isn’t exactly new – it is just a bit of a take on the classic zucchini bake – in bite-sized bits it was somehow both delicate and substantial at once, tasty and healthy, and totally picnic-ready.

This recipe doesn’t come from just any zucchini bake recipe:  it’s from a very special book of recipes that was given to me by my women friends and family before I was married.  Instead of a bridal shower gift, everyone contributed a recipe that they wanted to share.  Each page is decorated, and some recipes have little stories with them.  It’s the kind of book that lives in a special box on a special shelf, and that I have to put way over on the kitchen table when I’m using  it to keep it far away from the risk of spatters and other cooking mess.  This zucchini bake recipe came from my mum’s cousin and her family.  I have made the version as it is written – with bacon – which is very tasty, but here I substitute corn kernels and I think it works really well too.

I think that as far as vegetable-to-non-vegetable ratios go in recipes, this one comes out pretty well.  The bulk of the volume of ingredients is zucchini and corn.   (To make it even lower in fat – if this is your aim – I’m sure you could reduce the cheese or use reduced fat cheese.)  Also, I experimented with shapes and used half the batter in mini-muffin trays and the other half in a shallow loose-bottomed tart tin.  While the tart tin is pretty, I think the texture of the mini-muffin shapes worked best (and, I should add, are easier for little fingers such as my son’s to get a grip on).  It’s a pretty forgiving mix so see what works for you.

So while I’m a homebody again I look forward to the chance to reconnect in some small way through these special recipes, and at the same time get a bit more of that good old veg.

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Zucchini and Corn Bites
Adapted from a family recipe

500g zucchini, grated
6 shallots (green part only), chopped
130g can creamed corn
1/2 cup corn kernels (frozen is fine)
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup grated tasty cheese, plus an extra handful for the top
3 eggs
2 tbsp vegetable oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180C and prepare your trays: I used a 12-hole mini-muffin tray plus a shallow 20cm tart tin (see text above for more info).  The cooked mixture is lighter and less cohesive than a muffin mixture or a quiche mixture, so I used a tiny bit of cooking spray on my silicone trays to help coax the little bites into staying all in one piece.

In a large bowl, combine zucchini, shallots, creamed corn and corn kernels.  Stir in flour and cheese.  Make a rough well in the centre of the mix, and add the eggs and the oil there.  Stir from the inside out, bringing everything together loosely.  Season well with salt and pepper.

Spoon into your trays, smooth the tops and scatter over a bit of the extra cheese if using.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top is just golden.

Yield: about 12 mini-muffin sized bites plus one tart.img_3501_1

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