I had dinner with a friend recently. She’s my Very Amusing Mum Pal. A VAMP if you will. We got to talking about our sons’ behaviour when eating out. Now the reason I love my VAMP is that she always says the things I want to. Not in an annoying ‘Oh I’m just one of those people who speaks my mind’ way, (which is just a euphemism for ‘I am really rude and have no filter’). Oh no, she says it like it is in a funny, observational fashion. In another life she’s have been a stand up comedian. As it is, her sons are just growing up with unrealistic expectations of how funny Mums are. Their future wives have their work cut out.
Anyway, I digress. Her observation was this, ‘Every time another parent comments in a slightly patronising manner that we’re just soooo lucky we can take the boys out for lunch and have a conversation with them and not rely on ipads/phones with apps/Nintendos/other Apple products, I want to shake them by the shoulders and shout WE SPENT YEARS SOCIALISING THESE CHILDREN. THEY DIDN’T COME LIKE THIS YOU KNOW – ABLE TO SIT AND COLOUR IN A HIPPO WHILST WE SHARE GARLIC BREAD. WE HAVE PUT IN HOURS AND HOURS OF HARD LABOUR. SNIPING AT THEM, TELLING THEM OFF IN HUSHED TONES, EATING AT GREAT SPEED IN ORDER TO LEAVE BEFORE A TANTRUM EVOLVES. THEY DON’T JUST COME LIKE THIS. WE JUST DIDN’T TAKE THE EASY WAY OUT.’
Can you see why I love her now? She’s always right about everything. But in an amusing way.
Onto the recipe! These fritters are great gobbled up as they are or with an array of dips. Or with some baked ham and eggs. Babies rather like them, though be careful how many they eat as halloumi is rather salty. Basically, they’re the most versatile fritter in the world. (Alert: over claim). And do feel free to substitute ingredients – like the jam or the cumin or even the veg. Halloumi is well worth getting hold of though as it’s a cheese that loves a frying pan.
Lots of recipes like this in my book, Recipes from a Normal Mum, out now… on Amazon, at Waterstones, WHSmith, The Book Depository and many smaller outlets.
Last January: Lemon & blueberry loaf, my Bake Off Cherry Bakewell inspired cupcakes, plus Sesame bread sticks
Two years ago: Love cupcakes, White chocolate, lemon and macadamia cake and a perfect wintery Roasted celeriac, carrot and parsnip soup.
Three years ago: Bake me not chocolate cake, Jelly and ice-cream meringue roulade, Good flapjack and Banana, butterscotch and fig traybake.
Four years ago: Treasure hunt ice-cream, Rhubarb and ginger chutney and Carrot cake.
Halloumi, courgette and carrot fritters
Makes about 16 though depends on how large you make them
- 2 courgettes, grated (about 18cm long)
- 1 carrot grated (about 18cm long too!)
- 150g halloumi cheese, grated
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 180g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp chilli jam (I used Stokes)
- 110mls milk
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tbsp groundnut oil for frying
Grate the courgettes and leave them in a bowl for 10 minutes. In the meantime grate the carrot and the cheese and mix together in a bowl. Squeeze the grated courgettes over the sink to release as much excess water as you can, then stir into the other grated ingredients. Add the cumin, flour and baking powder and stir until the grated ingredients are thoroughly covered.
In a jug, mix together the jam (this is optional, please leave out if you prefer but it does lift the cheese a little), milk and eggs using a fork. Beat for a minute then pour over the grated ingredients and mix to combine thoroughly.
Heat the oil in a non stick frying pan over a medium heat and drop heaped tablespoons of the mixture into the hot oil about 3cm apart. I managed 3 fritters in my pan – any more and it would have been overcrowded and the fritters may have steamed each other rather than fried to create crispy edges. After a minute or so use a slice to lift the fritter and check it has crisped and browned on one side. If it has flip it and fry the other side. If it hasn’t then carry on frying it. Once crisp on both sides remove to a plate and carry on frying batches until all the mixture is used up. You may need a little more oil.
You can keep these fritters warm in the oven as you wait for the rest to fry. Just put it on a low heat. You can also reheat these fritters from cold (keep them in the fridge if you can’t eat them all) in the oven or the microwave, though they do have a little less of the ‘crisp’ to them. They also freeze well, in between sheets of non stick baking parchment. You can bake them from frozen or indeed let them defrost overnight in the fridge and bake from chilled.