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Antique butter knife on kind loan by The Collector

Last week my cousin came over from the UK to visit with her two gorgeous boys, aged 4 and 6. The day they arrived was also my name day, which is a big celebration in Greece, even bigger than a birthday since everyone knows when it is! To celebrate, I decided to whisk them off to the beach for a picnic straight from the airport. My mum and one of my auntie’s came along and one of my best friends brought her own little ones and some of their friends. We made quite a group, and as you can imagine (if you know me) the food preparation began well in advance. I planned a menu and embarked on a baking extravaganza followed by a sandwich making marathon! Sweet muffins, savory egg muffins, cookies, sweet bread, granola bars, and triangle sandwiches with the crusts cut off as a special treat! Mum supplied the fruit and together with my friend’s additions we had a huge spread. I’m sharing my favourites in a series of posts.

First off, and since I promised this one in my last post, one of the most gorgeous cakes I’ve ever made. Actually it’s not cake but it’s gorgeous nonetheless. Sweet Zucchini Bread. Amazing. I made this for the first time in an effort to use up some leftover zucchini flesh after I stuffed 2 beautiful round ones and cooked them in the slow cooker (see previous post). After a quick search I came up with this recipe which was easy and used ingredients I had on hand. I couldn’t believe how tasty and moist and perfect it turned out – healthy too! So I decided to make it again for the picnic. And by the way, it keeps beautifully for at least a week! (Confession: I actually ate the last piece ten days later and it was still yummy)

Sweet Zucchini Bread (based on a recipe by Paula Dean on Food Network)
Yields one loaf

You’ll need:
1 ½ cups + 2 Tbs all purpose flour (plus some extra for sprinkling the pan)
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ cups sugar (mixture of white and dark brown – or you can use all white if preferable)
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
3 Tbs (scant) water (40 ml)
1 cup grated zucchini (leave skin on to create lovely green specks in the bread)
½ tsp lemon juice
½ cup mix of dried cranberries and flax & sunflower seeds (original recipe calls for walnuts or pecans)

What you do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Grease a loaf tin or pan. Next time I make this I will sprinkle some flour in the pan, move it about so the flour coats the base and sides, and then tap out the excess. The reason is that the second time I made it I had a hard time getting it out of the tin, so I think this might help. If you prefer to follow Paula’s instructions, just grease it.
  3. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon, sugar).
  4. Whisk all the wet ingredients together in another bowl (oil, eggs, water, zucke, lemon juice).
  5. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry.
  6. Fold in the cranberries and seeds and mix to incorporate (don’t over mix).
  7. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour (until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean).

It doesn’t get much easier than that!
Stay tuned for Part 2!