Courgette bhaji with a spiced pea, ricotta and dill puree in a wrap
I took the 7.12 train into Euston today wearing tights and a business suit. I thought I would feel like the old me, but I didn’t.
I felt hot, but seasoned with plenty of protective products. My face didn’t sting in the heat in the way it used to because maybe I am less sensitive, but I did feel the pangs because I had left whilst my tot was asleep. This was a first for us. I fully anticipated that when I settled into that train, I would make no eye contact with my fellow passengers and as I looked around I wondered how proud, fulfilled, happy or self-assured these folk were. The pretty lady with gorgeous nail colour; did she look happy? That loud, on-an-important-call banker, every line he spoke sounded like a routine verse etched into my memory from my own experience. ‘Let’s touch base, see where we are at, I mean it is what it is, look I’m going to be honest… great to engage with you Kate’. Was Kate rolling her eyes as I was? My mind whizzed with upbeat and self-coaching quotes about success and failure both being fleeting sensations. My emailed pinged with disappointment and polite bluntness. My physiology didn’t react, today.
Do you know what though? I spoke (not on any social media, I looked up long enough to really talk) to a friend (and ex-colleague) who told reminded me that even though it has been a few years, I would surprise myself today. I listened, but didn’t really accept it. She kept telling me that what I have learned is ingrained, inbuilt, unspoken, invaluable, and great. It hasn’t left me; it is just that I left myself. I now had to summon the confidence to do myself justice.
So, in my business suit, hairspray and make-up I made mildly inappropriate jokes, learned about people; their interests, direction, loves and losses. I read, I ate plentifully and I talked and gesticulated whilst doing so, in a natural accent and walking up and down, bouncing on a heel at times. I saw two men in the audience smile and raise eyes at each other approvingly and I knew. Do you know what? My friend was right. It was all there, it is all there. After three years there has been a turnaround in my own thinking. Three years. Three years of doubt, three whole years of submerged confidence. My friend was right, I am better than.
Here is what I ate afterwards. Crisp courgette bhaji (Indian spiced, gram flour coated courgette fritters) give way to juiciness and they are enveloped in a dill and ricotta soaked pea puree. fresh pea shoots add crisp freshness. I have used red oxtail as I was lucky enough to be given some from the London produce show. I felt comforted, cajoled, soothed and utterly satieted. Perfect for National vegetarian week, for picnics, for eating in the garden or eating out and about, on-the-go.
Makes approximately 6-8 wraps
Oil for deep frying
100g watercress or pea shoots
6-8 plain flour tortilla
For the batter
140g gram flour
One large courgette, thinly sliced into 1-2cm rounds
1 tsp. minced ginger
1 tsp. amchur powder (dried mango powder) or the juice of half a lemon
Salt to taste
½ tsp. chilli powder
For the pea, ricotta and dill puree
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
3 spring onions, finely chopped
1 tsp. cumin seeds
3 tbsp. freshly chopped dill
125g ricotta cheese
350g frozen peas, defrosted
Salt to taste
1 tsp. coriander powder
- Heat the oil for deep frying.
- Prepare the batter by combining all of the ingredients and beat it to a smooth (not lumpy) consistency.
- Dip the courgette slices into the batter and quickly lay them into the oil to fry. Allow them to catch a golden colour before removing them onto kitchen paper.
- Heat the cooking oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds, allowing them to sizzle before stirring in the spring onions. Sauté with the salt and then add the peas, ricotta cheese, chilli and coriander powder and then once it has simmered for 4-5 minutes on a low flame, blitz It to a chunky puree.
- Simply assemble the wraps with a couple of tablespoons of pea puree, watercress and courgette bhaji.