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Roasting eggplant - vegan friendly!

Publié le par Charly C.

I have to post this, because for the first time I managed to roast eggplant in a way that worked, is healthy, and I actually enjoyed eating. Oh, and yea! It's vegan friendly

So i had these eggplants [aubergines] about to go bad. So wondered what to do with them. Roasting them sounded really good. Here is how I did it!

Roasting eggplant - vegan friendly!

Ingredients:

  • eggplants [as many as you like]
  • condiments [i used black pepper, basil, and thyme]
  • some salt
  • some cooking oil [unflavored is best]

I first washed and peeled the eggplants. Then I sliced them as evenly as i could - i'm really bad at this task. Their thickness was about 1cm - i didn't measure.

I realized that using a long-bladed knife helped a lot with this task. 

Roasting eggplant - vegan friendly!Roasting eggplant - vegan friendly!

I used the brush usually useful when baking, to lightly spread some oil on my baking pan. 

I realized that the baking pan is quite important - I had some non-stick types, but they burned by foods as they were too thin, and the non-stick coating peeled. 

The pan i used this time is thicker and rather shiny, but I can't tell what type it is, or what it's made of. All i know is that i can scrub it quite a lot and it won't peel. It's not really enamel either, or at least i don't think it is enamel. 

Roasting eggplant - vegan friendly!

After I sliced the eggplants, and after i had lightly oiled the pan, I placed as many slices of eggplant as i could in the pan. I then tried to smudge a bit of oil on each slice, and sprinkled with salt and the condiments, and then i put the pan in the preheated oven. 

I let the slices stay for some 25 to 30 minutes, and then i flipped them over. I proceeded to still let them cook for some 15-20 minutes. 

Unlike with the non-stick pans, the slices did NOT stick to this pan - they did stick to the non-stick ones when i tried the recipe before. I have no idea how it happened. All i know is that i got rid of the so called non-stick ones, but mostly because they started peeling.

Roasting eggplant - vegan friendly!

I cook with gas, hence fire, and this may be a reason for my previous attempts at roasting to turn into failures. Vegetables turned mushy, or burned. I guess this baking pan is specially made for cooking and roasting with gas. 

Bottom line is that if your roasts are not like the expectation, try to change your pan - it might just do the trick.

(c) Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Are Romanians psychic vampires ...?

Publié le par Charly C.

It baffles me how people fro different backgrounds or countries can have such different energies. Let me give you an example.

"the time to meet was too short."

I write this at the beginning of November*, a few days after we met with our friend from Japan. While we wish we were the ones to go visit Japan, it was him who came to see us. He took some 3 or 4 months off from work to have a tour through Europe. He wanted to come see us for a long time already, and we couldn't be happier to make this a reality. We hope he felt the same. For me, I'm sad the time to meet was too short. But we can't always have what we want, and the best things come in small portions anyways, right?

But despite the short time we spent together, I could notice a stark difference between him and the many people surrounding us on a daily basis. He's calm, peaceful, pleasant, and overall quiet. My partner and I can't stress how relaxing it was to talk to him. Despite what you heard about Japanese men, our friend doesn't really fit that image. He was very quick to ask for selfie pictures when we where in places that would offer a good backdrop to the image - not shy at all.

To give some more depth to the experience, a couple of weeks before he arrived, my partner and I attended a contest on Korean culture. We were just the audience ... along with the about 100 other women and a few guys. The event left us with barely any energy, a lot of anxiety and confusion. How was this possible? I wish I knew, because all we did was to sit on chairs, and clap now and then.

"Romanians sound angry or as if they're having a fight."

The event/contest was sorta boring in our opinion - no blog entry on it, other than this one. The sensation of being drained of energy is something we often get around Romanians - maybe it has something to do with them being too loud and us being too sensitive to loud noises? Often times when talking, Romanians sound angry or as if they're having a fight, much like Russians. Can you imagine we were afraid we'd feel similar around our friend? Yeah, neither can we. Clearly, because he's Japanese he's quiet, doesn't want to disturb or to upset anyone. This helped us realize it's not just our imagination that it is difficult to be around certain people, even though they've always been around.

"real psychic vampires ...?"

As the last thoughts for this entry, I want to say that if you feel there is any person draining you of energy every time you meet them, and others do not - it's not just in your head! They may not be real psychic vampires, but you should still consider having as little contact with them as possible.

*written in November 2017, posted in July 2018.  

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Romanian style embroidery

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello everyone!

Today I want to share with you my newest interest - cross-stitching. WooHoo! /throws confetti/ oh, i'll clean that ... later...

 

freestyle vs patternfreestyle vs pattern

freestyle vs pattern

Cross stitching is something I didn't think i'd get into. But somehow it happened. The story is a bit longer than this. Back in 2015 I received this gigantic sheet for the inter blanket -duvet? I thought I can't possibly use it as it is, and i thought I could turn it into pillow cases. And therefore I started measuring, cutting and sewing -everything by hand. 

If you don't have a lot of resources, and you need to hem your cloth, you can use some hair pins to keep the fabric in place. I found this method easy to use and not to ruin the material. On top of this, you can simply slide the pin as you need to advance. 

As a curiosity, i used a running stitch on the fabric i folded twice, and the stitch didn't get ruined in the laundry machine. 

my pictures, from my instagram @secret.agent0101my pictures, from my instagram @secret.agent0101

my pictures, from my instagram @secret.agent0101

I wanted to use traditional motifs, so i asked people i knew if they had something to help out. I needed both patterns and thread. Of course they did and they gave me a book with traditional patterns and a lot of thread as well. 

Romanian style embroideryRomanian style embroideryRomanian style embroidery

I flipped through the book to find a design that wasn't too complicated to replicate since I'm a beginner. And i found some that did looked easy, in a single color.

The one i decided on was all black and seemed easy enough. I copied it on paper using colored pencils, because i wanted some more colors on my pillow. 

The next step was to make sure the colors looked ok together. They weren't bad and they look better in real life.

i changed the design a bit more [3rd picture above]i changed the design a bit more [3rd picture above]i changed the design a bit more [3rd picture above]

i changed the design a bit more [3rd picture above]

The design i chose is the one in the lower right corner, in the book. I also show you how you're supposed to embroider it, if you like it. It makes a really nice edge on stuff, if positioned right.

I thought that an all black design would look too rough, though it would have been easier to stitch.

Did you know that Romanians traditionally sew with red and black thread, on white cloth? White means purity, red means joy and black means life.

I wanted to have at least 1 traditional color in my traditional motif. And this is why i choose red.

Romanian style embroideryRomanian style embroideryRomanian style embroidery

Since the cloth i decided to sew on in not easy to count the threads, i needed more visual help. I used a fountain pen. If you want to use the same method, make sure it's blue ink: red and black are staining the fabric and are more difficult to remove.

Of course, i sometimes messed up the guide. But it's ok as some of the errors got covered by some of the later stitches. 

None of these patterns have instructions on how or where to start from, so I had to figure these aspects myself. I figured that stitching the wave first would be easier later when i decide to add the other elements in other colors. 

However, drawing the guide [here the dots], then crossing the location of each stitch made my work even more easy. This allowed me to embroider whatever element I wanted first. 

Refer to the 1st picture in the beginning and the 3rd picture above, if you want to see what happens when you don't count the thread of your fabric, when you're supposed to do so.

Romanian style embroideryRomanian style embroidery

And above you can see the end result. I decided to embroider a hen eating grass as well. For that design i decided to use a piece of etamin fabric to trace a counted guide. it made my life quite easy, but for the size, i needed thinner thread. 

I like what everything looks like. I will continue practicing my embroidering skills though.

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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strange dream and strange sky

Publié le par Charly C.

Last night [june 28th] I had another strange dream. Like a visit to a different reality. Again. 

Before I start describing my dream, I want to point out I couldn't breathe in real life - the cold air made my nose stuffed. My partner was also listening to some music in the same room I was sleeping. On with my dream. 

"The sky. The sky is different... [i think to myself in the dream]. It makes me suffocate."

The sky was blue, fake, and had some sort of bubbles. "Am i actually underwater?" The fakery makes me think of a snow globe. "This is scary. I feel TRAPPED and watched ... from every angle - there's no escape". This saddened me, and even though I felt and wanted to cry, I couldn't. 

"What's this vibration? everything feels different than what I know, despite it looking just as i know it" This different vibration makes us be slower. And then HE told me, as we were about to go in the building <even if everything looks familiar, this is not your ****. Things are slower here. MUCH slower.> "What...? what do you mean?" <look behind you.>

And when i looked behind me, as i was trying to close a door, i see a trail of me's that were catching up to me, doing just what i just did. I also couldn't really move faster: i had to wait for my trail to catch up to me. 

I was hoping we would get home, where i could breathe and move freely. The elevator was slow too. HE was there too, and told me it's slower than i know it - and sure enough it was. 

[We got down -i don't know the floor, and HE headed to a different direction than i usually go to get home.]

there are many apartments on a single floor, not just 5 like i know. Some of the apartments had bars on the front door - and it was forbidden to go in them. plus we couldn't because they were locked. And the "ADMIN" had the keys.

We got in THEIR apartment and the TV was on, playing some music. some of THEM seemed to be watching whatever was on TV, but at closer look, they were acting more as if they were in a trance and looking through the TV. 

The energy was very heavy and dense ... that's when i recognized Jewel [im pretty sure it was him], but im not sure who the others were. As soon as I recognized Jewel, I wanted to cry, but my tears were dry. 

 <don't you feel lucky she chose you? She chose to live with you.. i know i do [feel lucky she chose me] ....... very.... very happy.....> [sad voice]

i realised just how badly i wanted to be back home .....and i woke up.. 

Now, about the weird sky. I have a small obsession with looking up at the sky no matter where i am.

This year, in May we had a full moon at the end of the month. According to this site, it happened on May 29th. And I remember going out in the evening to get some fresh air and i noticed the full moon being quite high in the sky [or farther than usual] because it looked smaller than usual. This was either the 29th or the 30th of the month, when the moon still looks full enough to the untrained eye. 

However, as June rolled in, something weird happened: there was no moon on the sky! At all! I didn't go out in the evening every night, but when I did, i looked up to see the moon - and if you live long enough in an area YOU KNOW when and where to search for the moon based of in phases. 

I couldn't find the moon! for several nights! I only recorded the sky in one night, and YES, i know the quality is shitty, and i am really sorry i dont have a better camera to record such stuff. u.u I couldn't see the moon in the sky for at least 4 evenings in a row! 

Then I stopped looking. then the moon phase changed, as did the weather as it started to get cloudy and rainy. 

 But the weird sky didnt stop with a missing moon! NO, sir! The next evening, after i recorded the sky with the missing moon, i noticed a strange light in the sky AFTER the sun set. it was almost 10 pm and there was still light out that evening, and a strange light RIGHT above my building! The source was hidden by a cloud. 

The light was pretty indeed, but WEIRD! the "event" didn't repeat itself the next evening.  

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Prayer note book

Publié le par Charly C.

You probably know i have an interest in religion and praying -see this article and this one

disclaimerI hope this entry inspires you to pray, be a more grateful and kind person. I want to mention that while I do mention God from the Bible, I will NEVER force anyone to share my views. Atheists might be the only people who see no need for praying and I am nobody to tell them otherwise.

I recently started to be more serious about it. This means I started to increase my visits to the church. This means I go more often, not just for Easter

Prayer note bookPrayer note book

This new interest so to say, led me to realize I have no idea of how to pray. I have no idea of what words to say, if there is something i should or shouldn't say during prayer, and so on. 

This meant that I had no choice but to find a way to improve - if i can even say this. I needed a prayer book. but i'm cheap. and i like my comfort. 

I could save several prayers on the computer, bookmark them or even print them. However, I thought that if i write them by hand, i'll remember them better, and i'll feel them closer to my heart. 

Not to mention I have higher chances of actually remembering them. 

Prayer note book

I chose the above notebook. I received it in 2016 as a Christmas gift. [sidenote: i just realised i never mentioned the amazing gifts A and me exchanged that year! O.O i'm beyond shocked! I don't even know how this happened! and i'm super disappointed in myself.... ]

I had no idea what to do with this agenda. I really like the Art Deco style. This notebook is designed by Flame Tree Publishing, and it's the book 47 - FTNB47 (978-1-78361-191-1) and the image is based on The Balcony by Erte. I'm not sure how many pages it has, but it's thinner than an agenda with every day on a single page. It's about the size of a A5 notebook, and quite slim. It has enough pages for my needs.

Prayer note book

I started with the Lord's Prayer. Every Christian should know this prayer. It might even help even those who believe in other gods ... but I'm not very sure. Mostly because there are some instances in the bible where those who don't believe in G-d should not pray to Him... or His word shouldn't be spread to them. Though if this is true, i'm quite confused.

Then i continued with writing prayers I would need in specific situations - when waking up, going to bed, when i feel lost, and so on. 

 

Prayer note book

As of now, when I type this, the prayer notebook is not complete. I still need many other prayers in there. I do feel like im on the right path though. 

At the end I created a sort of an index, as i numbered the pages by hand - some 60 pages so far. The index is just for me to find what i need faster.

I plan on taking this notebook with prayers with me everywhere, once i'm done. But who knows if i will. 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Confession time....

Publié le par Charly Cross

Today, I want to confess something. I'm not like you. Not in my head. [i hope] I'm not crazy, but...

If I were to talk to a doctor, they might eventually give me a diagnose of Asperger's Syndrome. Children suffering from Asperger's Syndrome might me easier to spot than adults.

We like to pay a lot of attention to details, we like anything technical, and we generally lack social skills. In a group of people we might feel uncomfortable, and we might unwillingly offend others when talking.

They say we lack empathy too. I say we repress empathy because it can overstimulate us, and we know it is impossible to help everyone - something empathy tells us to do.

 

Drew this years back. can you see the symmetry? its "perfection"?

Drew this years back. can you see the symmetry? its "perfection"?

In my case, I want things to be symmetrical, "perfect" from a mathematical point of view. I used to get very bothered when trying to part my hair in the middle: the 2 sides never looked the same or did they seem to have the same amount of hair. 

I also used to get very bothered if some relatively new object gets a small, barely noticeable scratch. This is because the scratch destroyed the "perfectness" of the item. 

In 2017 I watched a short video about Japanese aesthetics when it comes to ceramics. The person commenting said that traditionally the Japanese people liked it when their ceramics got a scratch or a crack or if the items weren't identical copies. They see those small imperfections as something that adds beauty instead of taking it away.

That day was like a revelation for me. I never thought of anything from that perspective before that moment. 

Since that day, I have started to tell myself that it's OK if things aren't symmetrical, if they're not equal or look perfect. Even if they're in my possession. 

Thinking this way is still something I struggle with. I don't know for how long I'll struggle. Sometimes it's easier, at other times is more difficult. 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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What is tea like in Romania

Publié le par Charly C.

an apple tea at McCafe

an apple tea at McCafe

In Romania we call tea "ceai" and this word is very similar to the Chinese 茶 "cha2" where it originated from. Romanians have many different types of tea, and most of them are used as natural remedies.

This means that most teas here are made of various parts of various plants or trees. For instance we have cherry stem tea as a mild solution for UTI and not only, or linden flowers tea for a fragrant tea meant to calm you down. 

Caffeinated teas are not traditionally popular or used over here, though in recent years their popularity increased thanks to the international influence and trends. Fruity teas are also raised in popularity quite recently.

linden flower tea on top, a "modern" mix in the middle, and a "common" mix at the bottom

linden flower tea on top, a "modern" mix in the middle, and a "common" mix at the bottom

The linden tea is one of the more expensive types of tea over here. This must have something to do with the relatively short period in which these flowers can be harvested - end of May through the first week of June.

If you're lucky enough to have linden trees where you live, and you have an enough tall ladder, maybe you can pick some flowers next year. You need to let them get dry for at least a few days before consuming. 

You can mix them with any other tea, of course, but it's best by itself, or maybe with a fruity mix. All by itself, it doesn't even need honey - the tea is both fragrant and sweet enough.

how the "modern" and fancy tea mix looks VS the "traditional" linden one. Sadly this Dorel brand doesn't have good teas, I got tricked. :(how the "modern" and fancy tea mix looks VS the "traditional" linden one. Sadly this Dorel brand doesn't have good teas, I got tricked. :(

how the "modern" and fancy tea mix looks VS the "traditional" linden one. Sadly this Dorel brand doesn't have good teas, I got tricked. :(

Where to buy

There are several place where you can buy tea when in Romania. The supermarket is the easiest option, and most of them have a decent selection of teas. They are mostly green, fruity, or plant based teas. Some have brought fancy mixes as well that can be even offered as gifts.

Another place is the drug store. Their selection however is not that great, and you're highly likely not to find fancy teas there. They might also be a bit more expensive than in the supermarket. 

Another place is represented by holistic shops. These places sell all sorts of natural remedies, so naturally [sorry about the pun ;) ] they'd sell a variety of teas as well. Their selection of fruity teas might be disappointing, but they have plenty of herbal teas for many health issues.

Some gift shops or book stores are the last place where you could find tea. Of course, in these places the teas are pricier and the fancy and "modern" type. 

i picked my own linden flowers and mixed with a "fancy" tea. YUM!

i picked my own linden flowers and mixed with a "fancy" tea. YUM!

How to make

Unlike green tea that you can only brew for less than 30 seconds for it not to get bitter, most of the Romanian teas should be brewed for some 7 minutes at the very least, and generally about 10 minutes. 

For 1 cup, usually 1 teaspoon or maybe 2 of product is [are] needed, if it's a loose tea. If it comes in envelopes, so already portioned, only one envelope per cup. 

They say that if you want to benefit from the "remedy" teas, you should drink them unsweetened. However this is not always possible because sometimes the teas are bitter. If you must add something to make it more sweet, just try to add honey. 

this is how I make tea...

By the way, if the tea is portioned, there are usually 20 servings per box. You can find bigger boxes than that, of course, but it's more rare.

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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i'll drink all the coffee

Publié le par Charly C.

yes, i am cat.

yes, i am cat.

I'm addicted to coffee and most everyone who knows me, knows this about me. I'll drink coffee in almost any form, at any given hour, even right before going to bed. Yes coffee can be bad for me when I overdo it. I started to tame my addiction by drinking only in the days I work, not not so much before bedtime.

Let me share my coffee "recipe" with you guys. I now drink Turkish/Greek coffee because I don't have a coffee machine anymore. I don't even want one.

i'll drink all the coffee

INGREDIENTS - for 1 serving:

  • 1 small cup of water [140 ml]
  • 2 teaspoons ground coffee

ADDITIONAL

  • sugar, or sweetener, or whatever you  put in your coffee to make it sweet
  • unflavored milk - any type, even soy, as long as it has no flavor.
my coffee pot in a non-glamorous kitchen

my coffee pot in a non-glamorous kitchen

METHOD

  • Pour the water in a large enough pot.
  • Pour the coffee ground in the water.
  • Turn the heat on to medium and place the pot over.
  • If you use the pot method, for the Turkish (or Greek) method, wait by the pot until the water/coffee starts boiling. The water level will rapidly increase at boiling point and that's when you know your Turkish (or Greek) coffee is done.

Now it's time to pour the coffee in your favorite cup, adjust it for taste with sugar, milk or whatever else you like, and enjoy it!

i'll drink all the coffeei'll drink all the coffee

Turkish and Greek coffee use the same method of coffee-making, on the stove. It can be tricky at first, but it definitely has a different aroma. If you have any other 'recipe' for coffee, please share.

this is Japanese coffee. YUM!

this is Japanese coffee. YUM!

I sometimes drink instant coffee, as seen below. In that case, I boil some water, put 1 or 2 teaspoons for instant coffee in a small cup and then pour hot water. Mixing with a teaspoon is mandatory. 

Adding sugar [or sweetner] and/or milk is optional. I often drink my coffee black or with milk. I really dislike the sweet coffee. 

i'll drink all the coffee

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

Pictures are mine, taken from my instagram accounts - obscure_journey and secret.agent0101

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suffering and compassion

Publié le par Charly C.

Being a religious person means that you believe that there is a Superior Force, beyond our understanding, which created everything we know today. As well as everything else that we have yet to discover, learn about. This Higher Force can be called God, Yahweh or by many other names. A religious person also frequents a church or some other place of worship, as a sign of their belief in that Higher Force. Those who don’t believe in such force(s) are called Atheists.

Atheists say that there is no need for a Higher Force to create everything that there is, especially not the Universe. The universe has always existed, it didn’t need Anyone to create it- it’s as simple as that, because if the Universe was created by Someone, then where did the Creator come from, or who created Him?

 

Another proof that there is no God, in the eyes of many Atheists, no matter His name - is the suffering we see around us everyday. People, animals and plants alike suffer, especially because of pests and because of what some individuals do to others - for sure God in His mercy when he created us, didn’t create something like pain and illnesses, did he?

 

A religious person, especially a Christian, would reply that it is easier to harm someone than to do good. They’ll even say that G-d “tests” us and our love for Him. but...

 

However, it was our original transgression and then the following ones that pained G-d. He wanted us to see it's not OK to make others sad, break their trust, or make them suffer in any way. So I think we suffer because we got too estranged from God and His ways. Everything started with Adam and Eve not listening to Him, and giving into the snake. Yes, G-d is vengeful, jealous, but He also loves us tremendously because He incarnated Himself and let Himself be sacrificed by crucifixion for our sins.

 

Many people would hide behind their religion to justify their behaviour. That can’t be right: one needs to think for themselves and then decide if this or that is right or wrong to do, especially when they know what their religion teaches. However, he really shouldn’t need religion to tell us “this is (not) ok to do” because Adam and Eve bit into the fruit that revealed them “good and evil.” That alone should be enough.

 

A good person is usually defined by the way they treat those around them. Compassionate is another way to say “good person.” You may or may not believe in an All-Powerful Creator, but you CAN be more compassionate towards others, animals, and the nature in general.  

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yummy zucchini patties

Publié le par Charly C.

So yesterday we received some zucchini and their season seems to have started. I'm not entirely sure about that. In any case, "A" really likes patties made of zucchini, and for good reason: they're pretty light, despite being fried, as there's no meat in them. They're also pretty good, if you have a good recipe. 

While there's no meat in the recipe, you need some eggs or some other agent that can successfully replace the eggs. The egg is meant to help the patty stay in one piece, to enhance the taste, and there was another reason i forgot. So this is not a vegan recipe, but a vegetarian one. 

Read below the pics for ingredients and instructions!

You'll also need a grater/shredder, 2 bigger bowls and a smaller one, perhaps a sieve as well. 

1 big zucchini and an extra random piece, a big carrot, some salt. make sure you have more zucchini than you have carrots, if their size are different.oh, and you guessed it: no weighing in this recipe.

1 big zucchini and an extra random piece, a big carrot, some salt. make sure you have more zucchini than you have carrots, if their size are different.oh, and you guessed it: no weighing in this recipe.

shred the zucchini and the carrot togethershred the zucchini and the carrot together

shred the zucchini and the carrot together

squeeze out the juice. I did this twice.

squeeze out the juice. I did this twice.

mix with the eggs, season with some salt, black pepper, other herbs you like and other flavorings. NO SUGAR! also add some flour. it should look similar to this.mix with the eggs, season with some salt, black pepper, other herbs you like and other flavorings. NO SUGAR! also add some flour. it should look similar to this.

mix with the eggs, season with some salt, black pepper, other herbs you like and other flavorings. NO SUGAR! also add some flour. it should look similar to this.

time to fry in a bit of oil [about a spoon?]. Make sure they're evenly done on both sides. you can put as much as you want in a patty, but make sure to flatten it.

time to fry in a bit of oil [about a spoon?]. Make sure they're evenly done on both sides. you can put as much as you want in a patty, but make sure to flatten it.

yummy zucchini patties

You can now enjoy! Best served cold. I had 15 patties in total, but I ate one before taking a picture of all of them. "A" said they were really good :)

Bon Appétit~~~~

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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