Can you have too many courgettes? I don’t think so….. Greek-inspired Courgette Patties

fried courgette patties

One of my favourite discoveries last year, when I visited Greece, was Kolokithokeftedes – Fried Zucchini/Courgette Fritters. A delectable mix of crispy outside and soft interior. Returning home, I dug out a few recipes and inevitably, made some changes to come up with my own version, that fits in well with a Mediterranean style diet and one that is full of vegetables, nuts and, very importantly, FLAVOUR.

These are great fried, but actually easier to make and probably healthier too, if you bake them. Instead of breadcrumbs, I use ground almonds, which help to make them more protein-rich and lower in carbs.
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You can vary the herbs and spices, but for me, mint and basil or oregano, along with freshly toasted and ground cumin and coriander, plus a little smoked paprika, have become the favourites. Add some finely chopped chilli for a bit of a hot kick.

This is good with larger courgettes too, though for the best flavour and texture I choose medium sized ones – up to about 15cm long. You can use any summer squash, as shown here, I have used a mixture of yellow patty pan squash and courgettes.

*It’s important to remove moisture, so after grating them, I lay them on a cloth and then gather it up into a ball and squeeze out as much liquid as I can.
grated courgette and squash

Greek Inspired Courgette Patties (Kolkithokeftedes)

Makes 12 – 15

  • 3 med – large courgettes (about 750g), grated and squeezed * (120 kcal)
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped (44 kcal)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (9 kcal)
  • ½ green or red chilli, finely chopped (optional) (2 kcal)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten (63 kcal)
  • 3 – 4 tbsp fresh herbs, finely chopped (parsley/mint/basil/oregano/coriander) (9 kcal)
  • 100g ground almonds (579 kcal)
  • 100g feta cheese, crumbled (264 kcal)
  • 25g parmesan cheese, grated (80 kcal)
  • freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (8 kcal)
  • ½ tsp ground coriander 
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika (2 kcal)
  • olive oil for frying or baking (40 kcal per tsp)

Mix all the ingredients, except the olive oil, in a bowl. 
mix all ingredients in a bowlall mixed up ready for making courgette patties
If you are going to bake them:

Heat the oven to 200c. Spray or brush a non-stick baking sheet with olive oil. With damp hands, take about a tablespoonful of the mixture, form into a rough ball and then flatten into patties. Lay them on the sheet and finally spray or brush very lightly with a little more oil. Bake on the top shelf for 25 to 30 minutes, turning half way through.

courgette patties ready to go in the ovenbaked courgette patties

If you are going to fry them:

Heat a non-stick frying pan over med-high heat and add enough olive oil to just cover the base. Using a damp spoon, put spoonfuls of the mix into the hot oil and fry on both sides/all over until nicely browned. In Greece I have seen them all shapes and sizes, so go with what suits you!

Kolokithokeftedes at taverna in Limonaria, Agistria couple of examples of Greek kolokithokeftedesKolokithokeftedes near Kalamaki Marina

Either way, lay onto some paper towel to absorb any extra oil. Serve hot, warm or cool.

Delicious served with Tsatsiki (Yogurt and Cucumber dip) and/or a Tomato and Chilli Salsa. 

If you make 12 from this quantity, each one will be just 98 kcal, plus a little for the oil they are cooked in. In the following calculations, I have allowed for 2 tsps, which is approximately what I needed when baking them

Per Patty: kcals 105
Carbs 5.6g Fat 7.7g Protein 5.0g

Week 3 Meal Plan

Fig and Almond Tart

This week I am planning on using cherries and figs from the freezer, as we have lots of them. I’m hoping that defrosted figs will work well in this delicious Fig and Almond tart! If we didn’t have our own produce to use up, then I would be choosing pears, oranges and pineapple for desserts, which are all good right now. You can find several recipes for those by looking through the Recipe Index in the menu bar.

Peppered Mackerel with Horseradish DressingLeek Risotto with Parmesan Crisps Green Bean and Tuna Salad with Feta

I picked up a bargain pack of free range chicken legs, plus I already had a plan to make a batch of meatballs to prepare in 3 different ways (Scandinavian, Italian and Greek style), so this week is more meat-orientated than last. But we will have some fish with salad for lunch on a couple of days, and I am planning to do one of my favourite things ever with leeks – Leek Risotto with Parmesan Crisps. I have a lot of Green Beans in the freezer, plus there is still some kale and cabbage to gather, so I don’t need to buy much in the way of green veg.

Spanakopitta and SaladSaganaki with Black Sesame Seeds and HoneyHazelnut and Agave Syrup Baklava

Looking ahead to next weekend, I am planning a Greek inspired day. With so much talk of how good the Mediterranean diet is, I don’t need much of an excuse for making Spanakopitta, which makes a great lunch with some salad and can also make a wonderful fast day meal. 

It is hard to find the right sort of cheese to make Saganaki with in France, so we bought some Kefalotiri when we were last in England, which I keep in the freezer. You may have seen Rick Stein cooking this on his recent series “Venice to Istanbul“. He suggests using Halloumi, but that is equally hard to source here.  Sliced in half, dipped in semolina or flour and fried in olive oil, then drizzled with honey and sprinkled with black sesame seeds…. I remember having it with a fresh  tomato sauce in Piraeus, which adds a lovely splash of colour.

Scandinavian Meatballs Scandinavian MeatballsCabbage patch

We will follow it with Keftedes and Lemon-infused Greek style Roast Potatoes (I think my idea for this comes from Tessa Kiros’ book “Food from Many Greek Kitchens“). Alongside that I plan to serve some green vegetables, cooked in the style of Horta (Mountain Greens) – steamed or boiled shredded kale, cabbage and sprout tops, most likely, as that is what I can gather from the garden at the moment – the key thing is the addition of olive oil and lemon juice!

For dessert I will probably make Hazelnut and Agave Syrup Baklava, but I have a recipe for Knafeh (from Olives, Lemons, Za’atar by Rawia Bishara) – the “shredded wheat” type of pastry that I would love to try. But where do you find katafeh dough (shredded filo) in France? Can I just chop up some filo? Hmm, more research needed here. The only thing missing will be the Retsina, as it will still be Dry January…

I’m planning to add the recipes for the Fig and Almond Tart and the Meatballs over the next few days, but the latter can be found in my book 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life, along with a number of the other ideas in this weeks meal plan.

Have a tasty and healthy week – and try and move more! Wrap up well and get out in the crisp winter air, it may not last long!

DayBreakfastLunchDinner
SundayBacon, Egg, Tomato, Sausage (brunch)Fresh Fruit*Chicken and Lemon Tagine, Carrot and Cumin Salad, Gingered Yogurt, Za'atar Flat Bread
Fig Tart Almandine
MondayFAST DAY-*Carrot and Coriander Soup (100)
*Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Trout (160 / 270)
Poached Figs with Greek Yogurt (170)
TuesdayYogurt with CherriesSmoked Mackerel Salad
Fresh Fruit
leftover Chicken Tagine with Cous Cous and Steamed Vegetables
leftover Fig Tart
WednesdayYogurt with Figs*Leek Risotto with Parmesan Crisps
Fresh Fruit
*Scandinavian Meatballs, Lingonberry Jam, Creamy Pepper Sauce, Mashed Swede, Green Beans
Cherry Cobbler
ThursdayFAST DAY-Courgetti with Meatballs in Tomato Sauce (250 / 320)
*Poached Spiced Cherries with Fromage Blanc (100)
FridayWholewheat Toast with Almond ButterSeared Tuna and Green Beans à la Greque
Fresh Fruit
*Chicken with Saffron and Garlic, *Patatas Bravas, *Cabbage Green Pepper and Caraway Salad
leftover Cherry Cobbler
SaturdayBoiled Egg and Wholewheat Toast*Spanakopitta with Salad
Fresh Fruit
Saganaki with Black Sesame Seeds and Honey
*Keftedes, with Greek style Roast Potatoes and Mountain Greens
*Hazelnut and Agave Syrup Baklava
* indicates recipes that are in 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life
# recipes are in Focus on Flavour

Lemony Yogurt Cheesecake – with Strawberries

Lemon Yogurt Cheesecake with Strawberries

It’s been a bit of a strawberry fest over the last couple of weeks, it has been a really prolific harvest this year and we haven’t been able to keep up with eating them fresh.

So far I have made Strawberry and Lavender sorbet (very good), Strawberry Fromage Blanc Ice Cream (lovely), Strawberry and Rhubarb with Meringue Topping (delish), gently cooked alongside Spiced Pineapple and we’ve eaten them plain with and without cream, as Eton Mess – mixed with meringues and vanilla ice cream – and as a savoury dish, combined with avocado in a salad (very complementary).

Still there are more!

So I decided to try drying some in the oven. I made a coulis. I cooked some gently as a compote. Then I made my low calorie, greek yogurt based, New York style cheesecake with lemon and topped it with fresh strawberries.

This makes a great treat for the weekend, but doesn’t leave you feeling over-stuffed. Of course with just the two of us we didn’t want to waste it, so we had a tiny sliver each for dessert on our fast day too….

Lemon Yogurt Cheesecake with Strawberries

Lemony Yogurt Cheesecake with an Oatcake Base

Using oats instead of digestive biscuits (Graham crackers) for the crust and delicious Greek yogurt instead of cream cheese for the filling, makes this a much lighter but still delicious alternative to a classic New York Cheesecake. 

Serves 8

  • 7 oatcakes, crumbled 408 kcals
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted 359 kcals
  • 70g raw cane sugar 280 kcals
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 6 kcals
  • 600g low fat Greek yogurt 450 kcals
  • 2 large eggs 143 kcals
  • 2 large egg yolks 108 kcals
  • 1 tbsp cornflour 26 kcals
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon 17 kcals

Preheat oven to 140°C (fan).

Mix oatcake crumbs and melted butter, then turn out into a 20cm (8-inch) loose-bottomed cake tin pan and press mixture into an even crust across the bottom, with the back of a spoon.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until firm and dry, then remove from oven and put on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, beat eggs and egg yolks on low speed, then add sugar, cornflour, salt, vanilla, and yogurt and continue to beat on low speed until light and slightly bubbly.

Add lemon juice and lemon zest and beat briefly to incorporate.

Pour mixture into prepared crust and place in the centre of the oven.

Start checking cheesecake after 50 minutes and then every 5-10 minutes after that, by shaking the pan gently – the filling should look creamy but firm at the edges, and still appear slightly jiggly in the centre (it will firm up as it cools).

Remove from oven and set on a wire rack to cool to room temperature.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight) before serving.

Per serving: kcals 225
Carbs 20g Fat 11g Protein 11g

I didn’t calculate the calories for the strawberry topping, I would  guess no more than 20 calories per serving, including the ‘nappage’ (can’t think what that’s called in English!).

Strawberry Coulis

Perfect to top a simple dessert of fromage blanc or Greek yogurt, to drizzle over ice cream or to top a cheesecake.

Serves 2

  • 100g strawberry pieces 34 kcals
  • 2 tsp golden granulated sugar 33 kcals
  • a few drops of aged balsamic vinegar 1 kcal

Wash the strawberries and put in a small plan with the sugar and vinegar.

Cook gently for about 5 minutes until soft enough to pass through a sieve.

Per serving: kcals 34
Carbs 8g Fat 0g Protein 0g

 These recipes are taken from my book “5:2 Healthy Eating for Life” which is available on Amazon in print and kindle formats.

Hazelnut and Agave Syrup Baklava ~ 110 calories each

I do like a challenge!

I was asked if I could come up with a less syrupy version of baklava and as I had some filo pastry left, I decided to give it a go.  

I’m pretty pleased with the result: crispy, nutty and slightly sticky Baklava at only 110 calories a slice!

Hazelnut and Agave Syrup BaklavaNotes on the ingredients:

I had some agave syrup that I bought for us to try – it is low GI, so better for you as a sweetener than sugar, and while it is processed, it is not synthetic. It is also sweeter than sugar so you need less of it. You could use honey or maple syrup or sugar syrup if you prefer, but as you wouldneed to use more for the same sweetness, the end result would be higher in calories. I didn’t add any sweetness to the pastry itself.

For nuts, I chose to use ground hazelnuts, though I think that walnuts or (unsalted) pistachios, or any other nuts would work just as well.  

I wanted to use rosewater in the syrup, but didn’t have any, so I used orange flower water instead. I think the flowery note makes it more middle-eastern, but if you can’t get either then probably not the end of the world! Maybe use a little lemon juice instead.

I used a slivers of lemon zest in the syrup, but orange zest would also be nice.  

I had a few sheets of filo pastry left, 4 I think, plus a part sheet. So I cut them all to a smaller size, about 20 x 30cm, which I folded over to make my baklava 20 x 15 approx and used the trimmings to make up the layers as well. When baked, I cut this into 8 portion sized pieces – I got a little distracted just before putting it in the oven and didn’t cut it into shapes before baking it. Didn’t seem to matter really, I just had to be a little careful with cutting it after I had poured the syrup over.

I wouldn’t make a whole trayful unless we had a lot of guests.  As it is, if you are prone to being indulgent with sweet things, it might be better to make just half the quantity!

So this recipe makes enough for 8 servings, coming in at around 110 calories each. It was an absolute winner with vanilla ice cream, as it was not as sticky as a traditional baklava. Now we have another 6 pieces to eat 🙂

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Apologies for any discrepancies between my calorie estimates and those of my recipe cards. I don’t have control over how it calculates the ingredients and it may be using different products than the ones I have entered and used in MyFitnessPal. If it is critical to you, work with the higher figure!

Spanakopitta – Spinach and Feta Filo Pastries

These spinach and feta pastries are a delicious treat for any day of the week!

Spanakopitta is a Greek name for spinach and cheese pastries.

Spanakopitta and Salad

Because filo pastry is fat free, you can get the lovely crispness of pastry without loads of calories.

Spanakopitta

They are not difficult to make as individual triangles, but if you prefer you could make one large pie using the four sheets of pastry overlapping each other.

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Mixed Salad with Olives

Made with Love Mondays, hosted by Javelin Warrior