ricotta fritters. and three years of blogging

fritteraerial

In six days, it’s going to be exactly three years since I sent my first post into the blogosphere. That’s thirty six months, or 1,095 days if you’re the analytic type.

It sounds more significant if I state that I’ve now spent one tenth of my life sporadically typing into a WordPress template. On average, I’ve generated one post every eight days (141 in total), which means that a sizeable chunk of each week has been dedicated to late night contemplation, recipe testing, dish washing and amateur photo editing. And eating, of course (arguably the best part).

juice

It’s been a long journey. Believe me, my enthusiasm has waxed, waned and wilted as each season has passed. Despite my unwavering passion for food, there have been moments of intense frustration when I’ve wondered what the hell I’m doing, donating my free time, finance and energy into something that’s essentially ‘just another food blog’ (there are hundreds in my home town of Perth alone).

After a lot of reflection, I can honestly state that my ‘staying power’ is attributable to two core elements:

  • a firm, quiet belief that this blog may someday lead to greater, more financially viable career options in the food industry, and
  • you guys. The readers. Incredible blogging friends, new passionate foodies and other genuine individuals who have somehow found an affinity with this overly reflective, food-obsessed, somewhat insecure and photo-phobic (yep, that’s why there are no head shots of me) girl from one of the most isolated capital cities on Earth. Despite my irregular posting, occasional absences and sleep-deprived drivel on work nights, you’re still here. Amazing. You continually humble, encourage and inspire me.

drained fritters

Anyway, back to the approaching third blogiversary of this little food journal. I’ve engaged in a lot of rumination over ‘dot point one’ over the past few weeks. Over many cups of tea, late night chats and scrawl-sessions in my list pad, I’ve realized that I’m desperate for my interest in food to be more than just a scattered hobby around full-time work and other responsibilities. I want to live and breathe food, for this blog to be more than it is and for this volume of words to overflow into reality.

I want my readers to feel excited about pending content, to be able to rely upon the Mess for new recipes with each coming week. I want people to taste my food with eager hands, licking sauce off their fingers and syrup from their teeth.

I want to cook. To cook with abandon, til my arms are sore and my brow is smeared with butter. To collapse into bed exhausted, but wholly content.

drain

Now, I realize that the above statements are somewhat idealized and that the reality of working in food isn’t all cinnamon-scented and delicious. Hospitality is a difficult industry to crack, and blogging is… well, blogging. I’m still a small fish in a river of glossy salmon.

Nevertheless, I have goals for my obsessive contemplation to translate into tangible activity over the next few months. My initial focus will be on cranking this blog into the next gear – as of this week, you can expect at least one post per week from the Mess, predominantly focusing on healthy, plant-based vegetarian wholefood cooking (we do eat some meat in our household, Aaron more than I, however as time has passed I’ve progressively transitioned to eating mostly plant-based sources of protein).

For those readers who live in my hometown of Perth, you will also be given some opportunities to eat my food over the next few months. I’m not going to give away too much detail whilst we remain in the planning stages, but keep an eye on my Instagram and Facebook for up-to-the-minute details as plans progress. What I can tell you is that I’m currently engaging in recipe writing, planning and testing, all of which is rather fun. There’s also been a hefty chunk of research regarding local councils, food venues and licensing (Aaron’s been managing the last part. He’s loving it, obviously).

lokinoseAnyway, aside from plans for the next few months – I wanted to share some deliciousness with you today.

Deliciousness in the form of a recipe for fat, chilli-flecked ricotta fritters with fresh zucchini, rocket leaves and a creamy yoghurt sauce. They’re perfect for breakfast, topped with a soft poached egg and crispy fried bacon or chorizo. Two or three fritters are also wonderful on their own as a light meal with some cherry tomatoes, piquant red wine vinegar and Spanish onion.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone x

port

Zucchini Ricotta Fritters with Minted Yoghurt

Makes 8

  • 1 cup (250g) fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1 small zucchini, finely grated, excess liquid squeezed out* (about 1 cup/175g drained weight)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated smoked cheddar (or Parmesan)
  • 2 tbsp buckwheat flour plus extra, for dusting
  • 1/2 – 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped (remove seeds for less heat) OR 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes (to taste)
  • 1 free-range egg + 1 egg white, extra
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • olive oil, for frying
  • rocket (arugula) leaves and extra virgin olive oil, to serve (optional)

*place the grated zucchini in a fine sieve, cover with a clean paper towel and push down with my palm or a broad spoon. Do not skip this step; squeezing the excess water out of the zucchini is important to ensure that your fritters don’t become waterlogged. Use the zucchini juice in your next green smoothie – it’s hydrating and full of goodness

Minted Yoghurt

  • 1/2 cup thick Greek or natural yoghurt
  • finely grated rind from one lemon (about 1 tsp)
  • handful of chopped fresh mint
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Place the ricotta, smoked cheddar or Parmesan, flour, zucchini, egg and seasonings together in a bowl. Mix well to combine. Whisk the other egg white until form peaks form, then fold through the ricotta and zucchini mixture.

mix

Shape 1/4 cupfuls of the mixture into fritter shapes and dust with the extra flour (the mixture will be quite wet, but don’t worry – they’ll firm up in the pan). Heat some oil in a large, heavy-based pan over medium heat.

Drop the fritters into the hot oil (ensure there is enough space between them for easy turning). Cook in batches for 2-3 minutes on each side or until browned and crisp. Drain on a paper towel.

yoghurt1Mix together the yoghurt, mint and lemon zest in a small bowl, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Serve a couple of fritters per person with a large dollop of minted yoghurt, a handful of rocket and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

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82 responses

  1. Massive congratulations to you Laura, you write such a beautiful blog with such amazing photos and recipes… please please please keep going and hopefully one day we will meet and eat loads of yummy food. I’m in Gloucestershire at the moment so we shall raise a glass of cider in your honour tonight :)

    • Paul, thanks man! I wish I could clink glasses with you right now -it’s almost 1am here in Perth so it’s a nice surprise to get your friendly reply :) I hope we meet too, when you’re both back home from your trip (I do hope you come home, it’d be tempting to stay I imagine!). You’re a very appreciated friend, have fun in Gloucestershire, I hope you find a nice pie with that pint! :)

  2. Happy happy anniversary! I know all about the ups & downs of blogging, but there is such an inherent delight in sharing food – even virtually – and that keeps me going.

    Very much looking forward to more posts from you. Wish I were closer by, geographically, for the actual tasting! xx

    • There really is a delight in it, isn’t there? I have heaps of fun reading everyone else’s posts! Thanks so much Ksenia, I wish we lived closer too – I can totally imagine us having a coffee date, warm hug and a looooong foodie chat! xxx

  3. Happy soon-to-come anniversary!
    This recipe looks amazing!
    And can I just say that I love the picture where your dog’s subtly admiring your plate on the table :p

  4. Happy blogging anniversary! I’m so sad that I don’t live near you, because I’d be all about tasting your food. Alas, I’m a half a world away and having to be content looking at the pictures and making it for myself. Not as much fun, but I’ll take it! Some day….Hope you have a blessed weekend, my dear. xx

    • Oh thanks so much Julie, I appreciate you hugely! One day we shall meet and I shall bring a ginormous cake, coffee and warm hugs (and it shall be like we’ve known each other forever, I can tell!). Thanks so much for being a constant encouragement to me, I appreciate you! xxx

  5. Congratulations and Happy Blogiversary! I loved this post; it’s very inspiring and rings so true to my own thoughts. And the recipe is spectacular–I love the photo of the fritter mix in the bowl with the egg yolk!! Cheers!

  6. Hi Laura, I’m a newbie to your blog but cannot thank you enough for the wonderful photos and inspiration you have given me. I have cooked for many years and find it wonderfully therapeutic but was in a dip when I discovered your recipes and it was like a shining light your passion and enthusiasm gave me back my mojo lol . Please keep going you are making a lot of people very happy. Ps I love Loki !!

    • Hello lovely! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a note, it’s always wonderful to ‘meet’ new readers (whom I already count as friends) on here. It’s incredibly humbling to know that you find this little blog inspiring – that is SUCH an encouragement to me. It’s always a bit of a hit-and-miss thing when posting recipes, I’m never sure whether what I’m writing or cooking is resonating with people or not (except when I post chocolate stuff, that always seems to be a hit!). Do you have a blog yourself? I’d love to see what you’ve been creating. Thanks again for the encouragement and kind words. Haha… and Loki would love to meet you. He is the friendliest little bug :) xx

  7. First of all, congratulations!! Happy anniversary my friend, and here’s to many more and better and bigger things…looks like they’re on their way. Secondly, I’m moving to Perth. Oh, I so wish I could.
    It’s funny, reading what you wrote today, it’s exactly how I’ve been feeling,
    What you write about your readers and your blog, that’s what I want, it feels depressing that mine too is just another food blog amongst the many, wonderfully amazing ones out there.
    Let me say though, my blog has led me to other opportunities, definitely ones that make more money than my blog, and for that I’m grateful. But I have to say, cooking all the time has its downsides…it has become a chore and so when dinner rolls around, I’m scrambling. I am lucky though that I get to work on some of the worlds best and most amazing kitchen appliances and I get paid for it! I also have full creative freedom and the once or twice a month, I do a bigger event and there too I can do anything like. But still, my blog is suffering because my creativity at home has vanished. My mojo, as it is, seems to be gone.

    Make your plans and get excited about it, but always keep your job handy too, it will be the escape you need when the cooking gets too much. For me, my job and interest is food, it can be quite overwhelming.

    On another note, love these fritters! Just what I need to jazz up dinner. I’m really bogged down with the lack of dinner ideas.

    • Oh thanks so much Nazneen. Sorry it’s taken me forever to reply, argh… with all good intentions I’ve hardly touched the blog for the past two weeks (after my confessed ideals!). Interesting to hear your experience from the opportunities that you’ve taken up. I have often thought that cooking for a living would change my associations with it (relaxation and creativity primarily, as it’s currently an ‘escape’). Good advice on keeping other doors open just in case things don’t turn out as I hope. I do hope that you find some balance in there too… but I guess for now, I am glad you have the flexibility you need. Thanks for being a support and an encouragement to me lovely, I appreciate you! Hope that the change of weather brings new enthusiasm for dinners again! xx

  8. Congratulations on your 3rd yr anniversary of blogging.
    This recipe will be perfect for brekkie this wet and wild weekend.
    I am feel very lucky to be living in Perth and excited about your next venture ☺

  9. Hi Laura, lovely post to which I am sure many of us relate. I espeically liked your sentence – there have been moments when I’ve wondered what the hell I’m doing, donating my free time, finance and energy into something that’s essentially ‘just another food blog’……..I have felt this this more so because I work 3 days which allow time for blogging (when I could be working full time!). Anyway keep up the lovely posts and I’ll be looking out for you once a week……Laura

    • Thanks so much Laura. Ah, dear… yes!!! I think we need to be patient with ourselves, as we need ‘down time’ too (blogging has it’s own tiring/exhausting and frustrating aspects). You’re doing a beautiful thing with your blog and hopefully enthusiasm will continue to increase as you get a firmer idea of your goals. As for once a week, argh… my idyllic statement has fallen to the wayside but let’s hope I’ll get it together again in a week or so! xx

      • Thanks so much Laura – I’m currently taking a well earned holiday and enjoying a week off all the usual tasks – which explains my belated response to your comment! Thanks for the lovely feedback. 😄

  10. Oh Laura, congratulations on your 3rd Blogging Anniversary – how wonderful! Like a number of others above, I can relate to so much of what you’ve said here… I wish you well with your intriguing new project and look forward to reading more of Laura’s Mess each week! Cheers, Margot

    • Thanks so much Margot! I appreciate you heaps! Argh, let’s hope I get it together for the weekly thing (after I put it out there, everything went pear shaped the last few weeks) xx

  11. Delicious fritters Laura! Congrats on you’re blogaversary and for making a committment to amp up the posting! You have me intrigued with your plans too, can’t wait for the reveal!

  12. Laura, you’re such a sweetheart, and are so immersed in contributing as much as you can with your blog, that I smiled as I read this post. There is so much pressure in the blogging world to be this and that it’s exhausting. Genuine foodies like you are a breath of fresh air, and I congratulate you from deep inside for all you want to achieve, whether you get there or not the way you plan it. Life has so many turns. I’m glad you’re following your heart my friend. Have a great weekend!

    • Oh thanks so much beautiful, I appreciate you hugely and I’ve learned from your honest experience and passion also. I’ve appreciated our ability to keep this dialogue across the interwebs! I do find it difficult to balance my personal goals with what is achievable and ‘tangible’ (in the blogging world and out of it) but I’m trying to be patient with myself, to just plod along gently and to keep reaching for the bigger picture. Sending you hugs xxx

  13. Laura – you ask so many of the same questions I ask. And we have similar goals even though I am close to twice your age! I dream of food writing as a career in retirement from my day job. Will it ever happen? Who’s to say? Someone recently asked me why I do this, if not for money (because I flatly refuse to have adds on something that I feel should be beautiful). I do it for you, and my other blogger friends, I do it for my friends, I do it for strangers (and am always amazed when I look at the emails on my list that I have NO idea who most of them are!), but, mostly, I do it for me. I need the creativity. I enjoy the writing, I have such fun with my amateur photography, and I am passionate about good food. It fills a creative void my day job doesn’t even touch. I need that outlet, with (quiet) desperation.

    Congratulations on three years. Amazing how the time passes, eh? And thanks for the ricotta fritters – they sound delish!

    • I love your ethos on blogging David. You are so right, the creativity and passion are central aspects for me, too. Definitely a bit of healthy escapism from the daily grind! The idea of food writing in retirement is a wonderful one, I do hope that you manage to make the transition. I love reading your blog and the photographs are beautiful… you bring a lot of joy to many, many people (and I’m glad that it seems the joy is recoprocal!). Thanks so much :)

  14. Please do not stop blogging my friend. You are my inspiration for always telling myself I got to publish another post soon even though it’s been almost a year since I last hit that button. But I’ll always pop by whenever I can to read your new posts and to know that you are well. Happy anniversary!
    Best, Danny

    • Hello there Danny, nice to know that you are still going ok! I definitely miss reading your amazing posts but I understand how life crowds out blogging time on many occasions. I appreciate the kind words!

  15. Laura– Add me to the list above of people who love it that you send out your blog– always so beautiful, really beautiful and with recipes that are what we really want to eat. I have a little “grandma” blog that I’ve been doing for 7 years now– not nearly as lovely as yours– but it’s my own little food and memory journal. Like you, I do it for the friends who keep in touch with me through it and for a place to store recipes and to sort out my days and months. It’s fun to look back and read through vacation photos, kind of an online scrapbook. I know your blog will be brighter and even better as time goes on. And I’ll be reading along with so many other people…

    • Oh Rhonda, thanks so much for your lovely words of encouragement! I love your blog, it’s got such a gorgeous honesty (and delicious food!) to it. You’re a real, genuine foodie and friend and it means a lot to be connected over the blogosphere. I am excited to see what this little blog can be. It’s a journey and I’m trying to be patient with myself whilst balancing my time. Thanks again lovely xx

  16. Well this is all tremendously exciting! I demand that this next adventure in your life necessitates research trips to Melbourne involving many LBSS dates with me. Sending love and cheers of support xx

  17. Congratulations on your blogiversary! I want to assure you that Laura’s Mess is not “just another food blog”. I may be biased, being lucky enough to count you as a friend and having been blessed with the opportunity to experience your extraordinary cooking (with all five senses), I read thousands of blog posts every week (err…must cut down) and Laura’s Mess stands out for many reasons – the delicious recipes, the mouth-watering photography, your authentic voice and your wonderful way with words. Even without the recipes and photos, I would still read Laura’s Mess for your lovely narrative. Good luck with the future.

  18. Congratulations, Laura! You are doing a great job! Hope your blog will lead you indeed to a great career in the future. Good luck with everything and thank you for supplying us with some delicious recipes!
    Y :)

  19. Oh hun this is exciting news! And small fish in a big sea? Pfft you are talented, have bountiful photos, original recipes AND you write deliciously addictive prose. You basically have the trifecta! xxxxxxxxxxxx

  20. Your doing amazing job. Really I do not have to add more by this all great comments for you. Your blog is really creative and full of inspiration. Congratulations.

  21. Congratulations my super talented friend! Wish you many many more years of delicious posts. You spoke my mind about blogging…I have similar thoughts every now and then. There came a time in my life that I didn’t know if I should waste another minute on the blog. Then i decided to give it my very very best for a year before arriving at a conclusion…improve my photography and writing skills, engage more and so on. It did work! My blog stats improved drastically and I had people contacting me for opportunities. Imagine a life..baking..photographing…just dealing with food and getting paid for it! That would be perfect! I’m still not there yet but I will be soon. The point in saying all this is that..don’t give up! Sincerity counts! Your posts are beautiful..your words and recipes are your biggest strength. Do more of them..you’ll definitely get there!
    Coming to the ricotta fritters…these are perfect! The ones I make, stick to the pan. Next time I am going to try your recipe:-) Sending you hugs!

    • You are AMAZING Sonali, I appreciate the encouragement! I often think what this blog could be if I could invest more time into it, I am always scrabbling for moments to actually do a ‘proper post’ (I hardly style or think through anything, it’s spontaneous as I try and find the last scraps of daylight!). I am so glad that your incredible talent and investment into your blog are paying off. Your photographs are incredible, a treat for all of the senses. Cannot wait to see what the future holds for you! I hope that I can start making progress like you have too xx

  22. I wait with eager anticipation for the next step in your food journey, Laura, and wish you all success! If only I lived closer and could take advantage of the tasting part. I do have some good friends in Perth who would be interested, if you are issuing invitations! Meanwhile, those fritters look delicious! I’ve pinned them to try when (vegetarian) daughter #2 is here to visit.

    • Thanks so much Stacy!! I appreciate you so much. Yes, I would love you to be here for the tasting, but in your absence I will be sending out some invites so feel free to forward me the names of your friends if you’d like to mention it to them :) I’m still getting myself organised so it’ll possibly all happen in around one month’s time.
      Thanks again lovely, I always appreciate being blogging friends with you!! xxx

  23. Laura, Congrats on 3 years! I’m glad you stuck to it and keep hope alive! As long as you are still enjoying it, creating, cooking and baking, and writing, just do what you’ve been doing. and hang in there. . and sounds like something awesome is in the works!!! I wish I was there in Perth!!! food truck? farmer’s market? can’t wait to hear more!!!

    • Thanks so much Alice! I appreciate you heaps and I wish that you could be here to chat with about the new venture (over a cup of tea and some cake!). I will keep everyone posted on here though so at least we can share in a virtual space. Thanks for being a lovely encourager and friend as always xxx

  24. Happy blogiversary! I love and am constantly inspired by your beautiful posts, and it’s nice to live vicariously through your adventures around the mother-town, heh. I’m excited to see what comes next, especially the plant based stuff ;) – everything I’ve made from your blog has been amazing. The choc buckwheat granola is basically a staple in our house now – Billy is almost more obsessed with it than me. Also loving the puppy photobombs, hehe. Keep it up xo

    • Oh yay! Haha, thanks so much Caeli, I appreciate you heaps! I loooove that granola, it’s a staple for me too. So good. Hehe, ‘mother town’ ;) xxx

  25. Happy Blog Anniversary! I know what you mean with lows and highs in the blogging thing but I love it. I’ll be keeping a close eye on this new project of yours through instagram, I’m tremendously curious now and wish I could go and taste your food! xxx

  26. Laura! Happy 3rd blogging birthday! I am so happy that I stumbled upon your blog over a year ago. I love your dreamy photographs, your flavoursome wholefoods recipes and your wonderful writing. I too long to live and breathe and being exhausted in my contentment with food. I cannot wait to see where the next step of your journey takes you. I’ll be cheering you along for sure!

    • Oh I am so glad that we’re friends too Amy! I appreciate being able to support, encourage and inspire each other in this ‘virtual space’ despite the fact that we’re across the country. I’m excited to see where the journey takes both of us as we continue with it! Sending you hugs xxx

  27. Hey Laura,
    Congrats on your 3rd blog birthday!.yippiieeee! 3 years of fun, lovely recipes & cool things & travels!
    Cheers, here is to more cool things! Xxx a lovely recipe to celebrate it with!

  28. Pingback: Boozy Cucumber, Lime and Chilli Paletas « Laura's Mess

  29. Pingback: Ricotta Fritters and Three Years of Blogging | homethoughtsfromabroad626

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