» Courgette

Ali’s Recipe of the Week: One for the Store-cupboard

Rebecca’s having a break this week and hopes to be back with another recipe next week.

With the cauliflower crop getting going, the moment may have arrived to do the first preserving of the year (that is, if you haven’t already made marmalade, perhaps using some delicious La Jimena seville oranges).

Piccalilli is as versatile as any savoury preserve in that you can flex the recipe according to what is available. Most piccalilli recipes call for courgettes, green beans, tomatoes, and other summer veg. However, if all you have is roots and PSB (purple sprouting broccoli) that combination will also make a perfectly good version of this tangy preserve. Luckily my book of preserves from the Women’s Institute can oblige with a suitably flexible recipe for any time of year! I’ve been know to make a version with cauliflower, onions (admittedly these are perhaps the two essential vegetables), carrot and swede!

Many piccalilli recipes call for the vegetables to be brined overnight, but this one breaks that rule, which simplifies the recipe and results in a delicious accompaniment for a ploughman’s lunch. And unlike chutneys which rely on evaporation of the liquid to thicken the preserve (which can sometimes take hours), as this one is thickened with flour it has a much shorter cooking time.

Accommodating Piccalilli from the W.I.
Makes about 2.7kg (6lb) = 6 average sized jam jars
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
1 large cauliflower, broken into florets
450g (1lb) pickling onions – if you’ve still got any little Canalside onions left, they’d be perfect!
1.4L (2 1/2 pints) white malt vinegar (apple cider vinegar also works well)
900g (2lb) mixed vegetables, diced or cut into 2.5cm (1 inch) lengths
2 fat cloves of garlic
450g (1lb) caster sugar
50g (2oz) dry mustard (i.e. mustard powder)
115g (4oz) plain white flour, sieved
25g (1oz) ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp salt

Preparation
In a large preserving pan, summer the cauliflower and onions in 1.1litres (2 pints) of the vinegar for 10 minutes.

Add the other vegetables, garlic and sugar and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Mix the mustard, flour. spices and salt with the remaining vinegar and add to the cooked vegetables, stirring all the time to prevent lumps from forming.

Stir well and simmer for a further 10 minutes.

Spoon into cooled and sterilised jars and cover with vinegar proof tops. Label and store for at least 2 weeks before using. It will keep for months (I think I’ve even kept it for more than a year) with the flavour improving and mellowing as it ages.

From ‘Best Kept Secrets of the Women’s Institute: Jams, Pickles and Preserves’ by Midge Thomas

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Courgette and Basil Soup

A friend gave me a very long courgette. It was about ¾ of a meter long. Actually, she gave me two. Research suggests that they are ‘Sicilian courgettes’—genuine courgettes (not hard-skinned marrows) that simply grow to extraordinary lengths. Anyway, we’ve been eating courgettes. Fortunately they are delicious, and came accompanied by several recipe suggestions. This one is for an exceptional courgette soup.

The courgettes are roasted together with onion and garlic, which gives the flavour an unexpected complexity. Peas bring additional sweetness and this is a good way to use the fresh basil we’re enjoying in the shares. As with most soups you can vary the proportions and quantities a bit to match what you have to hand. Serve with crusty bread and some grated cheese.

Roasted Courgette Soup with Peas and Basil
Serves 3

Ingredients
2 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil
1kg courgettes (approx.)
4 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
7 tiny Canalside onions (or 2 medium onions)
Salt and pepper, to taste
200g frozen peas
20g fresh basil
750 ml stock
4 tablespoons full-fat milk
Parmesan or pecorino, to serve

Preparation
Preheat the oven to 200C. Drizzle the oil onto a large baking sheet.

Trim the ends off the courgettes and slice them into rounds about 1 cm thick. Place them on the baking sheet and scatter the unpeeled garlic cloves around them. Peel the onions, and if they are the tiny Canalside ones leave them whole and scatter them alongside the courgette and garlic. If they’re a bit larger slice them into thick slices before adding them to the baking tray.

Season with salt and pepper, toss them around a bit, and roast them for 40-45 minutes, until the vegetables are golden brown and roasted. Don’t let them char to a crisp but let them get toasted. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit.

Once the vegetables are cool enough to handle squeeze the roasted garlic flesh out of their paper skins into a pan. Add the remaining vegetables, the peas and the basil.

When you’re ready to serve, heat the stock and add it to the pan together with the milk. Blend the soup using an immersion blender and heat gently until warm. Add some additional water if you’d like the consistency to be a bit thinner. Serve with grated cheese on top.

Recipe adapted from The Veg Space, courtesy of Jean Noonan.

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Three Bruschettas

Welcome back to Rebecca – here’s her first recipe after her break in July:

A bruschetta is an Italian open-faced sandwich. To make it you grill some good sourdough bread, rub it with a bit of garlic, drizzle it with olive oil, and add a topping. Roast courgette, grilled aubergine, and chickpeas with Swiss chard all make tasty and quick toppings. Make just one, or serve all three for a fresh and summery dinner.

Basic Bruschetta
For each bruschetta you need:

Ingredients
1 generous slice of a decent sourdough bread
1 garlic clove, peeled
Olive oil, to drizzle

Grill the bread on both sides. Grilling gives a better result, but you can use a toaster if need be. Rub the grilled bread on one side with the garlic, and drizzle with olive oil. Your bruschetta base is now ready for a topping.

Roast Courgette
Enough to top 1-2 bruschetta

Ingredients
1 medium courgette
Olive oil to drizzle
¼ fresh red chile, chopped, or to taste
Several sprigs of fresh mint, chopped

Preheat oven to 200C. Cut the courgette lengthwise into 5mm slices. Place slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Turn the slices over part-way through so they get crisp on both sides. Mix the roast courgettes with the chopped chiles and mint, arrange on the bruschetta, add a final drizzle of olive oil, and eat.

Grilled Aubergine
Enough to top 2 bruschetta

Ingredients
1 Canalside aubergine (i.e. one very small aubergine. . .)
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Small handful of fresh basil, shredded
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ fresh red chile, chopped, or to taste

Preheat the grill. Cut the aubergine into very thin slices and arrange in the grill pan. Grill on both sides until tender, about 10 minutes in total. Don’t forget to turn them over halfway through. Toss the grilled aubergine with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, a good squeeze of lemon juice, the shredded basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Arrange on the bruschetta, top with the chopped chile, and serve.

Chickpea Chard
Enough to top 2 bruschetta

Ingredients
About 200g Swiss chard (or spinach)
Olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ fresh red chile, chopped, or to taste

Boil the chard in water until tender, about 3-6 minutes. Drain and chop roughly. Return the cooked chard to the pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil and the garlic, and braise for another 5 minutes or so. Season and set aside.
Heat the chickpeas in a pan with another tablespoon or two of olive oil and the lemon juice, just until warm. Purée or mash the chickpeas and season to taste. Spread some of the puréed chick peas over part of each bruschetta, and arrange some chard alongside it, so that the two toppings are next to each other, rather than one on top of the other. Sprinkle the chile over the top, drizzle with a little more olive oil and eat.

Recipes adapted from Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, River Cafe Cook Book Easy (2003).

Pip’s Recipe of the Week: For a Courgette Moment

We have a bonus recipe from Pip Smith, after thinking that last week was going to be her last contribution for now! Our resident Recipe Meister, Rebecca Earle, will be back next week.

Having a courgette moment? Don’t feel like making courgetti? Luckily warm soup is also a great idea in the hot weather – it’s all about keeping on top of your fluids when you are losing so much in the heat. This is a really simple ‘recipe’ and a hit in our household even during the summer months.

Potato and courgette soup

serves 4

Ingredients:
1 large or 2 medium courgettes in thick slices
4 medium potatoes
1 white onion
1 organic stock cube
2 tbsp margarine

Method:
Chop the onion and potato into small chunks.
Heat the margarine in a large pan.
Add the potato and onion and sauté for 5-10 mins
Add the courgette for 1 min
Add 800ml stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins.
Whizz with a hand blender

We like to serve ours with a drizzle of single cream.

 

Pip’s Recipe of the Week: Courgette boats

Our resident Recipe Meister, Rebecca Earle, is having a break during July, and so newly joined member Pip Smith has stepped forward to tantalise our tastebuds in Rebecca’s absence. Here’s this week’s recipe:

Mediterranean Stuffed Courgettes

Despite having a high water content Courgettes are a great source of vitamin C. The larger they get the more water they hold and it is then best to cook them with as little water as possible. My daughter always picks the largest and I just roll with it as she loves a stuffed courgette. This is the recipe we like to do together at home:

Ingredients:

One courgette
2 spring onions trimmed
Two medium tomatoes, seeds removed
Optional – a handful of chopped black olives
1 clove of garlic
1 slice of day old whole meal bread
1 tsp dried mixed herbs (unless you have some fresh)
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
Rapeseed oil to spray

Method:
Heat the oven to 180 degrees
Slice the courgette lengthways and dig out the soft flesh and chop (you can choose to discard half the flesh).
Finely chop the tomatoes and spring onion.
Mix the tomato and onion with the olives if using and the courgette flesh.
Spray your baking tray with rapeseed oil and rub the courgette skins over the spray, leave flesh side up on the tray.
Cut the garlic in half and rub the garlic over the fleshy surface of the courgette.
Fill the courgette with the tomato mix.
Grate the bread into breadcrumbs and stir in the herbs and black pepper.
Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the courgette.
Finally spray the stuffed courgettes with rapeseed oil and bake for approximately 20 mins.

If you have fresh herbs leave out the dry ones and sprinkle with fresh herbs once removed from the oven. Enjoy!

Pip’s Recipe of the Week: Potato and Summer Veg Salad

Our resident Recipe Meister, Rebecca Earle, is having a break during July, and so newly joined member Pip Smith has stepped forward to tantalise our tastebuds in Rebecca’s absence. Here’s this week’s recipe:

Lemony potato and courgette salad with garlic greens

I’ve always been a fan of garlic greens and when I realised you could use the leaves of the Kohlrabi and that they are a good source of b vitamins and carotene it all seemed to come together. In this recipe the courgette is boiled whole then sliced, which is a nice quick way to add it to a warm salad.

Ingredients:

800g potatoes
2 courgettes
The leaves from one Kohlrabi
200g french beans trimmed if you prefer
Salad leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 – 2 unwaxed lemons
3 tablespoons Olive oil (not extra virgin for cooking)
1/2 tsp Black pepper
Salt to taste

Method:

Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the washed potatoes and simmer for 8 – 12 mins. Add the washed whole courgettes one minute before the end. Once cooked drain the potatoes and courgettes, and place in a large bowl.

Toss with 2 table spoons of olive oil and the zest of 1 – 2 lemons.

While the potatoes cook, steam the French beans adding the kohlrabi leaves a little later until tender.

Gently heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add two cloves of crushed garlic, heat for about a minute gently fizzing and being careful not to burn the garlic.

Toss the garlic mixture with the steamed veg.

Finally top the potato and courgette with the garlic greens and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of cracked black pepper.
Sprinkle with salt to taste.

This recipe was inspired by several recipes in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s ‘River Cottage Veg Everyday’.

 

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: A Very Quick Lunch

This is a satisfying and very quick lunch salad. At least it’s quick if you have a hard-cooked egg to hand. It doesn’t require much in the way of equipment either. This week, you can follow it with the strawberries for an indulgent lunch for one.

Grated Courgette and Egg Salad
Serves 1.

Ingredients

2 small courgettes (a mixture of yellow and green is pretty)
1 hard-cooked egg
a small handful of dill
2 teaspoons rapeseed oil
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Cut the end off the courgettes, and using the coarse side of a grater, grate the courgettes into a bowl. Gently grate hard-cooked egg into the same bowl. The egg might crumble a bit but that’s ok.

Remove the tough stems from the dill and chop the delicate fronds, coarse or fine, as you prefer. Add the dill to the bowl. Toss about to mix.

Drizzle the oil on top, and then squeeze the lemon over the salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste, toss again, and eat from the same bowl.

14th June 2018

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Curried Courgette

This is a two-hander. First you make some customised curry powder. Then you make a very quick courgette dish using the special spice blend. The coconut milk, and the technique of adding spices in two stages, gives a layered depth: no single flavour predominates. It’s very good with rice.

You can get curry leaves from the Oriental Store on the High Street, or at Sandhu’s on Russell Terrace—just ask them and they’ll fetch some from the back of the shop. They keep for a long time in the freezer.

The recipe for the roasted curry powder makes a lot. Keep it for use in future courgette curries, or in other recipes that might appear later this year. It’s really easy and worth the small effort.

Courgette Curry with Roasted Curry Powder
Serves 2

Ingredients
For the Roasted Curry Powder
1 tablespoon basmati rice (brown or white)
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

For the Courgettes
2 medium courgettes, chopped into big chunks
1 teaspoon chilli powder
salt
3 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon fennel seed
a sprig of curry leaves
1 white onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons roasted curry powder
300ml tinned tomato (or you can use fresh tomatoes)
150ml coconut milk

Preparation
For the Roasted Curry Powder:
Heat a dry frying pan over medium heat. Add the rice and toast it for several minutes, until it starts to turn brown (or browner, if it’s already brown). Add the other spices and toast for 3 to 5 minutes, until they start to darken but are not getting burnt. Turn the heat down if necessary and stir regularly.

Remove from the heat and let it cool. Once it’s cool you need to grind the mix. You can either use a spice grinder, if you possess such a thing, or ask someone else to grind it for you in a mortar and pestle. The latter is hard work, which is why I’d recommend asking someone else to do it.

Put the ground spice mixture in a jar and label it so you don’t forget what it is.

For the Courgettes:
Put the courgettes in a bowl and toss them with the chile powder and a pinch of salt. Set them aside.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. When it’s hot add the mustard and fennel seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds start to pop and fly all over the cooker add the curry leaves and stir. Then add the onion and garlic and fry for 5 minutes, until the onion is starting to brown.

Add the curry powder, stir, and cook for a few minutes, to allow the flavours to emerge with the heat. Add the tomatoes and stir some more. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Add the courgettes, stir again, and cook for about 5 minutes, or longer, until the courgettes are tender.

Pour in the coconut milk, stir, cover and let cook gently for another 5 minutes or so. Now it’s ready. Eat with rice, perhaps.

(Recipe adapted from Rosie Birkett, Guardian 22 July 2017.)

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Another Tea-Time Treat

If you like carrot cake you will enjoy this variation. It’s spicy with fresh ginger, and sticky with a lemony glaze.

Courgette Cake with Crunchy Lemon Glaze

Ingredients
1 US cup measure = 8 fluid ounces.

For the Cake:
1 cup plain flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
zest of one lemon
3 eggs
1.5 cups sugar
1 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2.5 cups finely-shredded courgette (that’s about 2 medium-sized Canalside courgettes)
1 cup ground almonds

For the Glaze:
1 cup icing sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice

Preparation
Heat the oven to 180. Grease a cake pan, and dust it with flour. I used a fancy tubular bundt pan that holds about 2.5l. You could also bake it in two loaf pans, in which case you’ll need to reduce the baking time a bit.

Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and dry spices aside from the nutmeg, which probably won’t fit through the grater. Add the nutmeg, fresh ginger and lemon zest, and mix.

Put the eggs, sugar and olive oil into a mixer and beat on medium speed for 10 minutes. Stop periodically to scrape down the sides. Add the vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients and mix well for about a minute. Stir in the ground almonds and shredded courgette.

Turn the batter into the cake pan and bake for between 50 minutes to over an hour. (If you’re baking this two loaf pans instead of one large bundt pan you should start testing after about 40 minutes.) It is done when a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

While the cake is baking prepare the glaze: sift the icing sugar and stir in the granulated sugar and lemon juice. Note that this makes A LOT of glaze, and results in a very sweet, sticky, moist cake. If this is all a bit much, make half the amount.

Let cake cool for 10 minutes, then carefully remove it from the pan. Brush the warm cake with the glaze and leave to cool before eating.

(Recipe adapted from http://www.davidlebovitz.com/zucchini-cake-with-crunchy-lemon/)

Rebecca’s recipe of the week: Mexican Courgettes

This spectacularly easy dish has a delicate flavour combining the sweet scent of cloves and cinnamon with a little bite from the chillies. Very delicious with rice or some grilled fish.
—–
Calabacitas con crema (Courgettes in Cream)
Serves 4-6

Ingredients
700g courgettes, cut into smallish cubes
500ml tomatoes (tinned are fine)
6 peppercorns
4 sprigs of coriander
2cm length of cinnamon stick
4 cloves
2 whole green chillies
100ml creme fraiche or soured cream
salt to taste

Preparation
Put all the ingredients into a sturdy pan with a lid. Cook over low heat, covered, for about half an hour, or until the vegetables are very soft and tender. Stir it from time to time to ensure it’s not sticking at the bottom. Add some water if it looks very dry. Once the vegetables are soft and toothsome it’s ready to eat.
(Recipe adapted from Diana Kennedy, The Essential Cuisines of Mexico.)

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