Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Getting In Shape!

Sformato di Zucchini & Bulgur al Baharat, Limone & Erbe Miste
Zucchini & Bulgur Bake with Baharat, Lemon & Mixed Herbs


No, it's not a little meatloaf, it is more of a giant veggie-burger if you want... But a spicy and delicious one at that!
And who would believe that this thing is made mostly of zucchini, at first glance?!? That's right! No one... Not even me!

Spicy, but not in terms of heat, rather than that of aromatic, oriental baharat spice, hearty from nutty wholewheat bulgur and fragrant with herbs and lemon... All that as well as being healthy and baked in the oven, rather than fried... All in all a pretty wonderful idea!


Yes, yes I am clearing out my fridge again, so what? You are probably aware by now that, that is the time at which I come up with my best ideas.

Thankfully the weather was cooler today. That meant that I could finally use the oven again without suffering too much. And the best thing about it was that I could take a cool shower and then relax once it was baking in the oven... also not bad after a stressful day at the office!


The main ingredients of baharat spice are paprika, cumin, pepper, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves... So you can just imagine how wonderful it is! You really must make an effort to get out and find some if you are not familiar with it... I promise you are going to love it!

My ingredients to make a 2-person little bake, were 1 good sized round zucchini, although regular zucchini is obviously also fine, 1 shallot, 1 lemon, about 1 teacup of bulgur, 1 egg, some fresh parsley, marjoram and thyme, about 1 tablespoon of baharat spice, salt, pepper and olive oil.

I suppose it does look a little bit like a meatloaf kind of affair and yes it actually tastes like that too. And the preparation takes a little while as well, but not to worry- it takes care of itself... No cooking, just waiting... But let me show you how I went about preparing this and you will all see what I mean... Don't worry, it is all very, very simple! As always!


Coarsely grate the zucchini and pop it into a bowl along with roughly half the amount of bulgur. Then add the egg, the finely chopped shallot, finely chopped herbs, salt, pepper, spice and some finely chopped or grated lemon zest and knead them all together.

Add more bulgur as necessary, until you have a consistency similar to a thick porridge and then set to one side for at least an hour.

Normally, you would soak the bulgur before cooking it... And normally you would squeeze the moisture out of the zucchini before cooking it... So I decided to let the bulgur soak up the juices from the zucchini instead... Simple, but pretty clever all the same!


Spoon the zucchini-bulgur mixture into a baking dish that you have coated with olive oil and pat it down firmly, you may want to score a pattern into surface like I did to add some crunchy texture in top, simply by using a fork. Add a light drizzle of olive oil before you do this, so that it gets nicely distributed over the surface as that will guarantee a nice and crispy, golden brown crust.

Bake at 200 C in a preheated oven for 40-45 minutes.

Score around the outside edge of your baking dish with a knife, put a plate on top and then turn your "sformato" out... The name literally means "baked into shape", so if you have any wild and wonderfully shaped baking dishes... Go ahead! Have fun!


Scatter with a little more lemon yesterday and some fresh, tender herbs for a touch of color, allow to cool a little... But THEN, simply cut yourself a generous slice and enjoy!


With just a little fresh and simple salad on the side, you have a great Summer meal right there, with everything that you need and more!

Because, you don't always need to be eating meat, folks!

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