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Food run for a hungry friend

My veggie quiche without bacon and cherry-vanilla cake

My friend just gave birth to a beautiful girl and since she had her baby at home another friend organised a food run among us to cater for her lunch so she can fully recover and focus on her baby.
I hope she liked what I cooked for her :-)
She is vegetarian and I am not so coming up with ideas that are purely vegetarian are sometimes not so easy. I love to cook with veggies and we don't often eat meat but every time I looked in the fridge for inspiration I would grab some bacon or chicken stock - so wrong!
Luckily I remembered a very nice dish from a photo shoot a while ago where I cooked the food for this cookbook:
My Kitchen - Vegetarian and decided to make the filled zucchini but didn't bother hunting down the grey zucchini as stated in the book (they are not so common). I also simplified it by halving the zucchini lengthways rather than coring them as I remember from preparing them at the photo shoot that it is a bit tricky and in this case I didn't need to stick to the Middle eastern way of cooking it.

Before shot of filled zucchini w rice and currants in tomato sauce and yoghurt dip.

Ding-dong! Here I come.

This is my version of the filled zucchini from the vegetarian cookbook:
Filled Zucchini with yoghurt dip and tomato sauce

2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic gloves, crushed
1/4 preserved lemon
1 tablespoon tomato paste
400 g chopped tomatoes
ground coriander
6 thick Zucchini
80 g Basmati rice, cooked for 4 minutes
2 tablespoons currants
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
30 g slivered almonds, roasted
200 g Greek-style yoghurt
mint, chopped

For the tomato sauce heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saucepan over medium heat and cook the onion until softened then stir in half the garlic. Use only half of the onion mixture for the sauce and the other half for the rice filling. Cut away flesh from the preserved lemons, rinse rind under running water then cut very finely.
Add the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes and preserved lemons. Let it simmer until it thickens and seasoned it with salt and ground coriander.

Half the zucchini lengthways and with a teaspoon scoop out the flesh leaving 0.5 cm on the edges. Make sure not to scoop right through to the bottom.  Discard the flesh. Mix the pre-cooked rice with currants, cinnamon, allspice, roasted almonds and the onion mixture.  Fill ½ of each Zucchini with rice pilling it up to a dome shape. Put other half zucchini on top to enclose filling. Oil a baking dish large enough to fit in all the zucchini and seal the baking dish with foil. Bake for 45 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 180degrees, turning the zucchini halfway through baking. ( I like it when the zucchini still have a bit of bite but if you like them softer just cook them longer)

Meanwhile make the yoghurt dip. Combine yoghurt, remaining crushed garlic and mint and season with salt.
Serve zucchini with warm tomato sauce and yoghurt dip. 

I don't really have a recipe for the quiche as I was running out of time and just quickly threw some veggies together such as carrots, sweet corn and leek. I cooked the leek and carrots until softened then added the sweet corn. I mixed 3 eggs, sour cream and some grated cheese and chopped parsley together and seasoned it well. As I was running late and I can't stand bought shortcrust pastry I opted for puffed pastry instead to line the cake tin. The good thing, no blind baking required when you use puff pastry. I sprinkled the filling with some sunflower seeds and off it went in the hot oven until set and browned. The smell was fantastic and it was hard for me to not cut it to at least check for taste but I figured it wouldn't look so good when I delivered it to my friend :-)

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