Tuesday, December 30, 2008

December 21, 2008: Cheese & herb fritters with tomato jam

My greatest achievement at work this year has not been a brilliant presentation or prestigious publication. It's been the compilation of all my colleagues' recipes from this year's culinary competition into a single document, full of colour photos, anecdotes and experts' tips. I've since received many appreciative comments and emails for my efforts but no-one could be happier than I am to have access to this glut of tried-and-true recipes. My favourite savoury dish of the day was the cheese and herb fritters, topped with tomato jam and prepared by Fiona. She credited the recipe to Delia Smith but added some extra advice of her own; it was an easy meal to put together when my mum arrived in Melbourne and we hosted lunch for her and her sister Carol.

The fritters are composed of a lot of grated cheese, whatever sprinkling of fresh herbs you like, and just enough pancake batter to bind it all together. The tomato jam is no more difficult to concoct - a chopped onion, can of tomatoes and a few condiments go into a saucepan to simmer, sweeten and meld. Toss together some salad leaves on the side and you've got my favourite kind of summertime lunch - something a little bit naughty offset with a heapin' helpin' of fresh produce. Eager to make use of my new jug and glasses, I also swizzled together ice, a punnet of strawberries, a bottle of lemonade and the juice of a lemon.

Public service announcement: You'll be tempted to eat more of these fritters than you should; this leads to several hours of regret and cheese-belly. Two is enough; three if you make 'em really small.

Cheese and herb fritters

100g feta cheese, grated or crumbled
250g other grated cheese
(I used tasty cheddar but you can also try gruyere, Swiss, parmesan, etc)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs
(I used parsley and chives but try thyme, oregano or sage)
50g plain flour
2 pinches cayenne pepper
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons olive oil

Sift the flour and cayenne pepper into a large bowl, then make a well in the centre. Break the eggs into the well and gently whisk them together, gradually incorporating flour from the edge. Whisk in the milk until it's all well combined, then fold in the grated cheeses and herbs. Delia suggests leaving the mixture to rest in a cool place for an hour; I actually prepared it the night before and stored it in the fridge for 12+ hours. There's probably no harm in using the batter immediately if you're impatient.

Heat the oil in a frypan and dollop large spoonfuls of the batter into it, flattening them slightly if the mixture is stiff. Cook for about a minute on each side, until golden. Drain the fritters on absorbent paper and serve hot or at room temperature with tomato jam or another condiment of your choice.

Tomato jam

400g can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a small saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and sugar; season the mixture to taste. Simmer the jam uncovered for about 40 minutes, then cool it to room temperature.


  1. These look delicious - I am sure I would have more than a reasonable helping of them and suffer cheese belly!

  2. This is definite cheese belly for me. I love, love, love cheese and will definitely be eating these till i cry. Good thing I have a new gym membership.

  3. Ooooh yes, Johanna and Bunches, I should have stopped at two but I am a glutton for punishment. :-P