Aldous Huxley wrote: “Several excuses are always less convincing than one.”
I could give you several excuses for the lack of posts around here over the past two weeks. I could say that I caught a stinking cold on 18 September, just before we went on holiday, and I’m still shaking it off. I could tell you that I left my laptop charger at home and ran out of juice on day 3 of our trip. I could tell you that my memory card mysteriously erased itself and I had no photos of any dish that I could post. I could tell you that I dropped my laptop into the hotel swimming pool and fried its circuits. But that would be several excuses. In truth I have only one convincing excuse: I was having so much fun on my holiday that I could not bear to spend a few hours in front of the laptop writing blog posts. Mea culpa.
But more on the holiday later – back home we left a house brimming with produce from the allotment – the last of the zucchini and pattypans, a ridiculous harvest of potatoes (like eighty. EIGHTY!), and the beginnings of the tomatoes. In fact, most of the summer has been spent thinking of creative ways in which to use up our glut of zucchini and pattypans – and judging by what I read online, we are not alone! I made pattypan pasta, courgette and fetea terrine, pattypan squash with a cheesy bacon stuffing and stuffed zucchini flowers; and I revisited old favourites like stuffed courgettes; zucchini, red pesto Parmesan tart; zucchini, peppadew and feta bread; and ratatouille bake with feta cheese. And still the squash came.
So when we had a big summer braai a few weeks back, I figured it was a good opportunity to get creative and dream up a new way of using our squash. The thing with feeding a lot of people is that there is never enough grill space to cook everything at once, so we tend to send things out in waves, for people to eat casually standing around the garden – cutlery not required! So our go-to dishes are usually foods on sticks (witness our spicy BBQ chicken “sundowner” wings, or Cecil’s lamb sosaties) – and this year was no different. Going for as much colour as possible, we strung together kebabs of yellow pattypan squash, red onion, green zucchini and red pepper, interspersed with blocks of halloumi cheese for a salty kick. It was ridiculously easy, gloriously colourful – and vegetarian-friendly (unusual at a braai!). If you are reading this from the southern hemisphere, you are lucky and all these things are about to come into season (as is braaing); and if you are in the northern hemisphere, these will also work under a grill or in a ridged griddle pan.
Other bloggers making food on sticks include:
- Michelle’s chicken yakitori kebabs
- Margot’s Caribbean pineapple & chicken kebabs
- Jane-Anne’s caramel dipped naartjie (clementine) segments on a stick
- 6 metal skewers (or bamboo skewers, soaked in water)
- 2-3 large zucchini
- 2 large patty-pan squash
- 1 large red pepped, deseeded
- 1 large red onion
- 2 x 200g blocks of halloumi cheese
- chilli oil for basting
- Chop the zucchini and pattypans into roughly 2.5cm (1 inch) square cubes. If the seeds have begun to harden, remove them before chopping.
- Cut the pepper into roughly 2.5cm (1 inch) squares.
- Peel and cut the onion into roughly 2.5cm (1 inch squares), leaving a couple of layers stuck together in each block.
- Slice the halloumi into 12 roughly equal cubes.
- Thread the vegetables and cheese onto the skewers, ensuring that there are at least 2 pieces of each type of vegetable and 2 blocks of cheese on each skewer. If you still have vegetables over after making 6 skewers, you can always add more to each skewer.
- If you have time, you can pour some chilli oil (or your favourite marinade) over the kebabs and allow them to marinade for a couple of hours. If you are in a rush, simply brush each kebab with the chilli oil and barbecue over medium heat, turning frequently until the vegetables begin to char and soften slightly. Serve hot, straight from the skewers (but warn your guests to grab a napkin if using metal skewers as they will be very hot!)