Zucchini, Halloumi and Pea Fritters, and the importance of getting in touch with food.

Zucc Halloumi Fritters copy

It’s quite rare to find someone who doesn’t love a fritter, don’t you think? They are equally at home as a part of an elaborate meal, in a school lunchbox, or served with a lovely tomato relish and maybe some sort of delicious fermented vegetable. I like to make sure there is some sort of protein involved, and that way they are perfectly acceptable as a grab and go snack too!

This recipe is quite mild and simple (very family friendly), so feel free to spice it up a little by adding your favourite spice or curry mix, or some extra chilli or cayenne pepper. It is also an extremely easy recipe to make, so if you have kids, get them involved in the making! Research shows that by including children in food preparation, we are increasing the likelihood that they will actually eat it exponentially. Aside from that, it teaches them where their food comes from, knowledge about different herbs and produce and what they smell/taste/feel like, and provides the perfect landscape for you to have fantastic conversations about food with them. That someone has worked really hard (be it a farmer, yourself in your own garden, a cow, etc) to make this produce, and appreciating that we are lucky enough to have access to such high quality food. It also gives them confidence and pride in having made something the family can all enjoy. This is something that I feel very strongly about, and I truly believe that educating our children about whole, real food is so important not only for their health, but for the future of our food industry.

Food culture is another huge topic that’s extremely close to my heart, and just yesterday, the lovely Jude Blereau of Wholefood Cooking wrote a Facebook post addressing this, with some heart-felt and wise ideas on how we should move forward. I have posted this below after the recipe for those of you who are interested in reading 🙂

But back to fritters! I wrote this recipe recently for Eat Well Magazine, but I wanted to share it with you here as well. Zucchini is a classic choice, and makes a great base to add more confident flavours from the halloumi and spices. I hope you love them.

Zucc and halloumi fritters copy

Zucchini, Halloumi and Pea Fritters

Makes approx. 14 fritters

2 large zucchinis (approx. 500-550g total), grated

4 spring onions, sliced

zest of one lemon

½ cup parsey, roughly chopped or torn

¼ cup mint, roughly chopped or torn

150g halloumi, grated

1 ½ tsp ground cumin

1 ½ tsp ground coriander

1 red chilli, finely chopped

½ cup peas

½ cup chickpea flour (besan)

2 free range eggs

Squeeze the zucchini in a sieve to release as much liquid as possible, and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix well to combine – use your hands for this, it’s easier, quicker, and makes a great noise.

Heat a frypan over medium heat with a little coconut oil, and place ¼ cup amounts of mixture into the pan.

Cook for a few minutes or until nice and golden, then flip and cook for a few minutes on the other side.

Serve with a lovely tomato relish, or a nice sweet potato mash, with your favourite grain, or even just as is!

 

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE GOVERNMENT AND THE GENERAL MEDICAL ESTABLISHMENT

by Jude Blereau

There is a lot of talk at the moment about a sugar tax and how this is the answer to the massive issues that are facing our children, and our society in general. With great respect, I’d like to weigh in on this conversation. Whilst I appreciate that you are all trying to do your best to address this issue, I would humbly like to suggest that a tax on sugar is not going to solve this problem and in some respects continues to support and exacerbate the constructs that created it. It is a fractionalised (quick fix) response to a problem that is deeply complex.

Food culture is how we as a society think about food – what wholesome and healthy food is, what makes it an ethical and sustainable choice and how to eat. For millennia, this information or ‘nourishing wisdom’ has been handed down within the home (don’t eat oleander leaves or flowers, they are poisonous / no a piece of toast isn’t a proper breakfast before an exam, an egg is brain food/ no you can’t have a fizzy drink have water instead/ no you can’t have that it isn’t real food, etcetera), in the garden, through older members of society and through religious institutions. THIS NO LONGER EXISTS in Australia and is in tatters. People honestly have little or no understanding any longer about what food actually is (an energy drink is not food, refined and processed fake replications of many basic foods are not indeed food, low- fat is not wholesome), or how to eat (eating refined white sugar and refined white flour all day is not giving the body what it requires). This is the issue we are facing in society today.

To put it in a nutshell, people no longer have any understanding that what we put in (and on) our body has an action – how it will affect body and mind in some way. Food – and the way we eat – is what is giving in our society as we focus on other things.

Disconnected from food culture, we are very vulnerable to the latest diet paradigms promising good health – the current ‘in’ paradigms’ are raw and paleo and both are highly fractionalised and without a shred of common sense (and can only exist within huge affluence). This brings me to the issue of sugar. In my 60’s, I have grown up in a generation where white flour, and white sugar were in everyday use – homemade cakes were in lunch boxes and on the afternoon tea table. In general, the people that I have seen eat these were happy and healthy. But, they had a strong food culture and they were eaten in balance within the context of real and nourishing food. The wealth of highly refined, additive laden and manipulated foods did not exist. It is worth noting, that generally it’s not what a food IS that makes it bad, but how we grow it, process it, and how we eat it that is. Sugar as eaten when I grew up is a very different thing to how we use it now – added to just about all processed foods (along with many other questionable additives and low fat). This highly refined, additive – laden and processed foods are what people are now eating – they no longer know what real food actually is and how either can affect how the body functions, neither do they know how to prepare it. I would humbly like to say that THIS IS THE ISSUE AT HAND, (and note that I also absolutely understand the issue of being active and movement in the role of health).

If we as a society wanted to change what is happening, I truly believe we could and whilst a sugar tax might solve some of the surface issues, I promise you it won’t solve the deeper issues that face us as a society right now. One of the most powerful programs I have seen is the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program – this should be federally funded and implemented in each and every school (please note, I have no affiliation with this program, other than being a huge supporter of it). Children learn the skill of growing food (surely a basic requirement for a human), being outside and being active, the skill of preparing that food and how to eat (surely another basic requirement for a human). They learn by experience how food affects the body, how to sit at the table and eat, how to eat in balance, how seasonal foods taste so good, how to set the table, how to talk and share at the table, to name just a few. I’ve heard children say to me they go home and teach this to their parents. What this program is actually doing, is restoring food culture and this is where we need to focusing our energy. If you truly wanted to focus on the issue of obesity in children, this is where I would suggest you start.

But on an even deeper level, we as a society may need to look at what we consider to be important, and surely nourishing a human body and soul is important ? Most of what we as a society now eat is not food. Whilst industry (and in some instances, health corporations and canteens) and advertising will tell you that those fake colours, fake flavours, sugar laden, additive laden bread/cake/pie/flatbread/cracker/meal/drink/lolly etcetera is real, it will never be and no amount of spin can change the way your body is able to relate to and use that product – it simply won’t, because it simply cannot. It may be that we need to reassess our lives, finding time to once again prepare food to nourish body and soul.

With great respect, Jude.