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Courgettes

courgettes

How to use up

It's been a good year for courgettes – some might say almost too good! Here are some ideas if you have a glut on your hands

September is harvest season, and there's an abundance of fresh, seasonal British produce to cook, eat and enjoy.

  

If you grow your own fruit and vegetables, you may find it hard to keep up with the quantity of crops flowing into the kitchen, so it's time to get creative. By making preserves, jams and chutneys – and by freezing gluts of produce – you can enjoy the autumn harvest well into the winter months.

Harvest table

One crop that many kitchen gardeners struggle to keep up with is courgettes. This has been a fantastic year for courgettes in our garden, and the vegetables have featured in many of our meals – we've even baked them into cakes!


Our friends, family and neighbours have been helping out by taking some of the harvest off our hands, and we put a large bowl of the vegetables outside the house, with a sign inviting passers-by to help themselves.    

  

Ratouille is a good way to use up lots of courgettes – and it can be made in bulk and frozen for future use. Fry onions and garlic until soft, then add diced courgettes, tinned chopped tomatoes and some mixed herbs, and simmer for 10 minutes. This versatile sauce can be used to top pasta, fill a jacket potato, or be layered into a lasagna. You can also add chilli and some kidney beans to ratatouille to make a vegetarian chilli sauce. Serve with rice, or spoon onto tortilla chips and top with grated cheese and guacamole for tasty nachos.

  

For a speedy supper snack, mix a tablespoon of plain flour with a tablespoon of grated parmesan and a twist of black pepper. Slice courgettes lengthwise and coat in the floury mixture, then fry in hot olive oil for a few minutes on each side until crispy. Delicious served with tzatziki and pitta bread.

  

Courgettes are also good roasted. Slice them thickly, toss in olive oil and bake in a hot oven for half an hour – great as a topping for pizza or a filling for quiche. Or to make tasty individual pies that are great for picnics and lunchboxes, place roasted courgettes and feta into puff pastry squares. Fold over at the corners to create triangles, seal the edges, brush with egg and bake for 20 minutes until golden.

Courgettes are good raw too, and make a super salad. Using a potato peeler, slice the courgettes lengthwise to create thin ribbons. Toss in a dressing made from a tablespoon of olive oil mixed with a teaspoon of honey and the juice and grated rind of a lemon.

  

If you don't grow your own fruit and veg, you can still take advantage of the cheap, seasonal produce that's available now – shaving pounds off your shopping bill and cutting your food miles. This can help to reduce your carbon footprint and your impact on climate change. Farmers' markets are a great place to check out locally produced fruit and vegetables – or you could sign up for a weekly veg box to make sure you get your 5-a-day.

  

If you buy fruit and veg in supermarkets, check the labeling to make sure that you are buying British produce. And remember to keep an eye on your neighbours if they have a veggie patch or allotment – like us, they may be desperate to give away their surplus harvest!

Courgette salad
Courgette frittata

Courgette and chard frittata

Serves 3-4

1 tabelspoon olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 medium courgette, diced

3 chard leaves

5 eggs, beaten

60g strong cheddar cheese, grated


Use a medium-sized frying pan with a heatproof handle to gently heat the olive oil, then add the onions and cook for five minutes until soft and golden.

  

Cut the stems off the chard leaves, and slice finely. Add these to the pan along with the courgettes, and continue to cook for about five minutes, until the vegetables have softened and lost their crunch. Roll each chard leaf up lengthwise and shred finely. Add to the pan and cook, stirring, until the leaves are just beginning to wilt.

  

Make sure the vegetables are spread out evenly in the pan, then carefully pour the eggs over the top. Cook over a medium heat for about five minutes, until the egg is beginning to set around the edges. Sprinkle the cheese over the top, then put the pan under a pre-heated grill for a couple of minutes, until the top of the frittata has completely set and the cheese is bubbling and golden. Serve with a salad.

Courgette and cheese scones

Makes 8

250g self raising flour

pinch of salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

50g butter

100g cheddar cheese, grated

1 courgette (approx 200g), grated

1 egg, beaten

100ml milk


Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl, then rub in the butter, using your fingertips. Add the cheese and courgettes to the bowl and mix well. Stir in the egg and milk, and keep stirring until a soft, slightly sticky dough is formed – you may need to use your hands to knead the mixture into a ball.

  

Turn onto a floured board and roll out to a thickness of about 1.5cm, then cut into rounds. Bake at 200ºC for 12 minutes, until the scones are well-risen and golden brown. Serve hot from the oven with butter.

Spiced courgette cake

250g self raising flour

2 teaspoons mixed spice

120g butter

50g light brown sugar

50g caster sugar

170g sultanas

200g courgette, grated

100ml milk

1 egg

1 tablespoon clear honey

2 teaspoons granulated sugar


Sift flour and spice into a bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips. Stir in the sugar, sultanas and grated courgette. Whisk the egg with the milk, and mix in gradually. Put mixture into a lined loaf tin and bake at 170ºC for 50-60 minutes, until the top is firm to the touch, and until a skewer, inserted into the centre of the cake, comes out clean. Leave to cool, then turn out onto a plate. To finish, melt the honey in a small pan until runny, drizzle all over the top of the cake and sprinkle with the granulated sugar.

Courgette scones
Courgette cake

Little Green Space September 2018