Tuesday, September 6, 2011

100 ways with Courgettes

In case you are growing courgettes in your garden, you might be overwhelmed with the glut of fruit one plant can produce. I am currently very overwhelmed as the courgettes grow faster than I can eat them and obviously, I don't want to give them all away. As I don't like freezing courgettes (my dad used to do that- I find they get all gluey afterwards). Anyhow, what else to do with them..... here are some ideas.

Chutney: I have come across a really nice recipe for spiced courgette chutney the other day and had to try it. Onions, courgettes, apples, cider vinegar and a spice bag of ginger, gloves gave the kitchen a wonderful smell. Cook for 2 hours or until darkened and thick and pour in sterilised jars. Leave for at least 3-4 weeks before eating it so that the aromas can develop nicely.

But since there is only so much chutney you can make and eat, I made stuffed courgettes last night. Cook mince with onions, carrots, mushroom, tomatoes (I also added some peas), add some tomato passata (seasoning and herbs to your liking), cook until done and the liquid of the meat has evaporated. Cut the courgette lengthwise and scoop out the seedy part (bigger courgettes are better suitable). Chop the scooped flesh and pan-fry until the liquid has evaporated. Add to the meat mixture and stuff the courgette halves. Place courgettes in an ovenproof dish and add some water (or stock - I always mix a bit of water with tomato passata). Cover with tin-foil and place in medium-hot oven for 30-40 mins (depends on the size of the courgettes). In the last 5 mins, take off the tin-foil and sprinkle some grated cheese over the courgettes and return to the oven until the cheese has melted. Et Voila - stuffed courgettes.

I love going to Avoca in Dublin. The display of food in their cellar cafe is amazing and always inspires me to try new things and to forget about pretty and neat. Rustic is the way to go for homely food. I tried that last night with a courgette tart. Blind-bake shortcrust pastry. Chop courgettes, onions, red pepper, garlic and pan-fry in olive oil. Layer in the baked pastry shell. Mix cream with a bit of pesto and whisk in an egg. Season to you liking and pour over the vegetables. Crumble goats cheese on top and bake until egg mixture is set. Looks lovely and rusty and is comfort-food at its best.

Another wonderful idea is courgette soup. Smaller courgettes go better here as the flavour is so much more intense yet delicate. Sweat some chopped onions in a pot, and the chopped courgette and stir around for a few mins. Add vegetable stock and cook until tender. Blend in a food processor until smooth (or chunky if you like that). Return to a clean pot and reheat. You can add crumbled goats cheese when serving. I like to add orange zest and juice before processing. Orange and courgette go so well together.

For more ideas for courgette recipes - click here

P.S. Courgettes, tomatoes, peas and onions all came from my kitchen garden

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