A slice of Zucchini Heaven

I was about to start this blog with “Not much happened this week”, when I realised the stupidity of the statement.  Short of births, deaths and marriages – what really does happen on a day to day basis?  In the context of a “normal” week, I suppose it was pretty full on.  For sure, a week where you only work 3.5 days but get paid for 5 can only result in good times.

After finishing up on Wednesday we headed out to the cancer council shop to get Steve some new sunnies.  He’d had this particular make of sunglasses before and non that had replaced them had come up to scratch.  We searched high and low for them for… well realistically, 1 day (or even a couple of hours).  When you are limited to places you can reach on foot, hunting for something for weeks is not practical.. DJ’s were sold out and Myer didn’t appear to carry the style. We went to three Sunglass Huts before I got completely frustrated and asked if they stocked them to which the sales girl looked at me blankly then responded in the most judgemental way possible “Do they make sunglasses?”.  I’m sorry. Because they don’t cost $400 are they not acceptable?  Is that the way it is now?  No, no, no – don’t buy those $40 sunglasses designed to look good and protect your eyes – because they don’t have A BRAND on the side. Seriously? What is wrong with people? (I feel like I’m 80 right now and should be shaking my fist at the computer screen!)

Anyhow, thanks to this woman’s bias and perhaps, not being able to find them elsewhere, we decided to head to the Cancer Council store.  It is down on St Kilda Rd, just outside the city.  I google mapped it to check how far (it’s quite a long road) and Google maps told me 22 minutes walk – sa-weeeet.  When we returned 2 hours and 20 minutes later, blister on my heel, a rather dilapidated, empty stomach and a happy sunglass laden husband in tow, I realised the time estimate was to the old store location in nearby Richmond.  I did mention St Kilda Rd is quite long right?

Not only do I thank the Cancer Council for their reasonably priced sunglasses, but for also relocating their store a part of inner city Melbourne we have not yet explored.  Usually when we venture that way we veer off to a different location (the dentist, the photographer, the park)… but on New Year’s Eve, we just kept going.  The road is beautiful.  Trees line the streets with streams of light pushing through their leaves – it is a most amazing site.  A mix of high-density-residential and office buildings, many were beautifully landscaped and the it was a different kind of modern to the city… like a little suburb made for the Truman Show where everything is perfectly planned and in its place.

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After returning home it was a definite chill out afternoon but not long until I had to start dinner. People (especially my husband) think that I’m a little obsessive about food – and they’re right.  Food is the centre of the world, not because it keeps you alive – although it is a good point – but because it brings people together.  Name a time when an event is on and food isn’t involved.  Dinner and drinking at weddings, drinking on new years, eating on Christmas day – birthdays have cake and are almost always inclusive of dinner or lunch.  How about our morning tea that occurred every Sunday at my Grandma’s house for what must have been over 20 years.  You don’t turn up, sit down and just talk at each other.  The term Eat, Drink and be Merry came about for a reason.

When I was growing up, your birthday was the one time where you chose, without argument, what you were getting for dinner. Take away was acceptable as was your favourite homemade food!  I had a set order:

  • Aunty Jenny was to provide Zucchini Slice or else
  • Aunty Fay would arrive with a pot of cauliflower soup or would be turned away at the door
  • Granny? Well being old didn’t give her any special treatment.  Bring rice pudding or no dinner for you!! Preferably also bringa separate custard in that brown two-tone jug, with a skin on top – get out Aunty Fay, that skin is mine!
  • Interestingly I don’t recall always asking for something from Mum except when I was younger I loved this Crepe with a creamy corn sauce.  It was to die for.
  • Aunty Wendy lived on the coast so wasn’t always there but I’d without fail request her chocolate muffins when I visited and although I do not recall, I’ve been told I requested a chocolate muffin cake for one birthday.  Genius. I don’t think I could have come up with something better today!

So being away from family for the festive period I had to dapple in at least one food memory.  And here it is.  The world famous in our family…

Aunty Jenny’s Zucchini Slice

serves: dependent on your style. I halved the recipe and we ate half of that each as a whole meal – no salad or additions. If you cut into slices as a side, then it will go a long way.

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  • 375g zucchini
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 rashers of bacon*
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese*
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • ½ cup oil
  • 5 eggs*
  • Salt, pepper
  1. Grate unpeeled zucchini coarsely, finely chop onion and bacon.
  2. Combine zucchini, onion, bacon, cheese, sifter flour oil and lightly beaten eggs, season with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour into well-greased lamington tin* (16cm x 26cm) bake in moderate oven 30 to 40 minutes until browned.

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* AJ’s Notes:  pimp it with more bacon, cheese, perhaps an extra egg if only large or extra large eggs (as opposed to Jumbos) – sprinkle of herbs perhaps, dabble of garlic, tiny bit of grated potato or carrot – whatever flicks your switch on the day.  My only advice is unless you make more don’t bake it in the lamington tray as it can be too thin – I always use the same dish as we know which is more of a square and makes decent size pieces.   Oh I forgot while the recipe says chuck it all in I tend to put zucchini, onion and bacon and cheese in first and stir and make sure it is combined before I put the other stuff in so it is evenly distributed through the mix.  This AJ version is just my take you can stick to the original recipe  as above and make it your own that is what cooking is all about, the slight differences you do that make it yours.

* My notes: The dish used is like a lasagne dish rather than the lamington tin.  Cutting/grating the food coarsely  particularly zucchini, does make a big difference.  Our end result was delicious as judged by my other half but I know how perfectly it can taste when made by AJ and noted the difference quickly – our grater wasn’t up to the challenge so we used the food processor so everything was finely diced.  Yummy, very yummy, but not perfection. We will be trying again with a chunky version soon. Also, adding extra bacon and cheese is optional but highly recommended!

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