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).
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.
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.
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).
Anyway, 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
Zucchini Ricotta Fritters with Minted Yoghurt
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Mix 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.