The other day, I was missing one of my vibrant and cool aunts that, at some point as a kid I wanted her to adopt me; so that I could be cool like her. Obviously, that was not going to fly with my mother. However, what made me miss her, was because she is the first person that introduced me to fritters. I honestly do not remember what we called them back then, but they were definitely not called fritters. I recall my aunt calling me to come help her in the kitchen. She is a good cook that had a threshold, meaning, she could only cook something for so much but will never finish what she was doing. So, she would call me or her cousin to finish up the cooking while she eats and gossips with my mother. Cunningly, this only happened after she had served my parents.
Nevertheless, her selective laziness, introduced me to fritters as a child. She taught me how to make them, I actually think that is a lie, because I had to add to the mixture that was already there, after she had served my parents. But, I remember having to add more pumpkin, flour and spinach then having to fry after. I must mention this; my aunt was the only person my mother could never say ‘no’ to at the time. As a child, I was not allowed to cook, but when my aunt called me to the kitchen, there would be no defence force trying to stop me. I now think that is the reason I wanted her to adopt me, I suppose all children at some point feel like that.
While I was pensively on memory down lane, and feeling nostalgic, I thought I should make these fritters, although I did not have pumpkin and had no recipe, I used what was at my disposal and elevated it with ground cardamom. And what I loved about the fritters I made, was that I could serve them for breakfast and lazy dinner days.
320g Cooked Butternut, weighed after cooking
2 Leeks (60g in total, trimmed weight)
1 Cup Baby Spinach, steamed
1/4 Cup Olive Oil, for frying
1/4 Cup Cream Cheese
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cardamom
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
2 Teaspoons Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Large Egg
1/3 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Self-raising Flour
1 Tablespoon Butter, melted
- Steam butternut until tender, mash with a potato masher until smooth. Let it cool completely and set aside.
- In colander rinse, drain, and dry the leeks and spinach.
- Cut the leeks into 1-inch-thick slices. Steam the leeks and spinach until the spinach wilts. Let it cool completely.
- Transfer the cooled butternut, leeks and spinach to a bowl and add the spices, sugar and salt. Mix well with a fork, then add flour, egg, cream cheese and melted butter. Mix until everything is well incorporated.
- Heat a medium frying pan on medium heat for few minutes until it’s hot, then add 2 tablespoons of oil.
- Spoon (with an ice cream spoon) the mixture into the pan, about three to four spoons at a time. Then fry each fritter for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden and crisp.
- Transfer the fritters onto a large, wide and shallow dish with a paper towel (to absorb excess oil). Keep warm. Continue making the fritters, adding more oil as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Serve warm, with any desired sauce on the side.