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STUFFED ZUCCHINI FLOWERS

Kelly Lowdon

I was recently lucky enough to have a date night out in Melbourne with my husband and went to the relatively new Lume restaurant in South Melbourne.  I could probably write a whole blog on that experience, but then you would be wondering what it has to do with these amazing looking zucchini flowers.  Any how the next morning we got up bright and early (something to do with having two twin toddlers that has now made us incapable of sleeping past 6.30am) and went to the Vic Market.  I was in total heaven, like a kid in a toy shop!  This was just one item I brought home.  I am growing plenty of zucchini, however I can't bring myself to pick them so young, so Vic Market zucchini flowers seemed like a good option.  I adapted this recipe from another very similar Lebanese recipe where they hollow out whole zucchins, except this time I am just stuffing the flowers.  I also added in a bottle of sugo as I wanted this to be a delicious recipe, but not super time consuming.  You could leave out the meat and turn this into a totally vegetarian dish, which would also be just as lovely.  So if you have a mountain of zucchini's growing and are happy to part with a few young flowers or if your near a good market, then I highly recommend this dish.  It's a total seasonal winner!

STUFFED ZUCCHINI FLOWERS

INGREDIENTS

10 – 12 zucchini flowers

1 cup (200 g) long-grain rice, washed

250 g lean minced beef

1 medium tomato, finely diced

½ onion, finely diced

⅓ Cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

⅓ Cup chopped mint

⅓ Cup chopped coriander

¼ tsp chilli powder

1 tsp allspice

1 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp salt

20 g butter, softened

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 bottle of good quality sugo

METHOD

1.       Remove the stamen from each zucchini flower.  Mix together all the ingredients using your hands in a large bowl, except the sugo.  Gently fill each zucchini flower with the stuffing mixture.

2.      Lay each zucchini flower in a heavy based baking dish and pour over the sugo and a cup of water.  Bake in a moderate oven for around 30 minutes or until the zucchini’s are tender.  Serve with some fresh basil and Greek or natural yoghurt.

NOTE:  You can freeze any left over filling for another time.