October’s cooking club theme is a lovely and nostalgic one: a recipe handed down through voice, handwritten notes or inspired by your memories.
The instructions stated: “The point of this month’s challenge is to step away from the internet and remember the meals cooked by our elders, family and friends. If you can speak to the person who inspires this recipe then that is wonderful. If you can’t, then honour them with your cooking.”
Close to this time last year, my Nonna passed away. Not long after, my uncle presented each of the grandchildren with a folder containing all of my Nonna’s tried-and-tested recipes. He’d typed them up and bound them for each us. It was a beautiful gift.
It was an incredibly apt gift too, because each of us, at some time or another, had connected with my Nonna over food. Of course we had – my Nonna was a true Italian woman and food was at the centre of every gathering. There was nothing more important than family gathered around a table, passing dishes from hand to hand, eating, sharing stories and laughing.
I have fond memories from childhood, of days spent in my Nonna’s kitchen, helping her grate cheese for the pasta or mix pistachios into the thick, sticky, almost-impossible-to-stir Italian nougat. I remember sharing thick slices of homemade banana bread, sitting opposite each other at the kitchen table, steam from the hot tea clouding our faces, while I interviewed her for a school project. That day I learnt about the deep love that can spring from unlikely places, including “arranged” marriages.
I remember arriving at her house on Easter Day or Christmas Day every year, to be met with a giant table laden with food. Practically overflowing with food. Enough food for an army. Deep dishes of pasta, salads, Italian sausages, breads, roast chicken, all sorts of things. And always, there on the table, was the zucchini slice that I decided to make for this month’s challenge.
This cooking challenge was a perfect way to honour my Nonna’s memory.
Here are the rest of my cooking club friends, to share some other magnificent recipes with you:
- 375 grams zucchini (grated)
- 5 eggs
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup self raising flour
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 200 grams bacon (chopped) – (I left this out because I’m vegetarian; included more zucchini instead)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 shallots (chopped)
- parsley (chopped) (I left this out because I’m lazy)
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Beat eggs and milk together in a large bowl, then add all other ingredients and mix. Pour mixture into a greased pan. Bake for around 40 minutes, or until brown on top.
So easy and so delicious!