Saturday, July 25, 2015

Utterly Simple Pie

You'd think that having some visitors would help control the courgette mountain but the Stripey kittens, for it was they, are not huge fans of the vegetable. The boy kitten went so far as to say he hated the wretched things and would not eat them.

I ignored that and made this regardless. We had the extra benefits of a greater variety of herbs to flavour it and hunger being a fine sauce for appetite it was all eaten up, even by the courgette hater. Simpler really is best.


First published in August 2009 Something for the Courgettes
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plated pie

This year, I thought cleverly, I'll only have one courgette plant. That way they will never overwhelm me. How stupid was that! Even with two of us here we are slowly being taken over by sinister cucurbits. Last night it was time to take action.

They make an easy and light family meal if you slice them thinly, sweat down with an onion and herbs until softened and toss in a handful of chopped fresh tomatoes or mushrooms, whatever you have.

Put them into an ovenproof dish and top with mashed potato. Cover the mash with grated vegan cheese, breadcrumbs, crushed nuts or nutritional yeast, any, all or a mix of what you fancy and a drizzle of oil. Then cook in the middle of a hot oven until golden and fragrant.

Serve with green beans (thistle fluff optional!) and a nice Chablis.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Middle Eastern Style Courgette Dip

A mere 24 hours later and I emerge sweaty and exhausted from a tussle with the killer cucurbit.

steaming courgettes

A courgette dip or spread seems like a practical use for the monsters, at home on a mezze table or as a filling for sandwiches and I've collected a few versions of recipes for this over the years.

The simplest form is just to use the courgettes in place of the chickpeas in hummus bi tahini, more popularly known as Hummus or Chickpea dip and widely available in various ghastly spritzed up versions all over the world. Call me old fashioned but the simple original is best for chickpeas, courgettes may need a little more help.

Ingredients:
750g courgettes, peeled or not, your choice. I liked the extra sprinkles of green produced by leaving it on.
50g tahini (or in my case, smooth peanut butter, I'm sure tahini would be better)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 large clove of garlic, mashed
Green chilli to taste (French chillies are very mild)
Pinch of cumin seeds
Salt to taste
Olive oil, chilli flakes, onion rings to garnish.

Method:
Chop the courgettes into chunks and place in a steamer. Allow to cook for about 15 minutes until they are softened and pierce easily with a knife. Leave to drain and cool.
   
Throw the flavouring ingredients into the food processor. It helps to mash down the garlic with the salt first to avoid lumps later. Feel free to add more garlic if that's your thing.

Add the cooled courgettes to the processor bowl and process until your preferred texture is achieved. I left mine a little less than perfectly smooth for interest.  To be honest despite cooking by steaming the courgettes were still a bit wet. You might usefully squeeze the moisture from them before processing to make a thicker more pleasing dip.

Test for seasoning, adjust as necessary (more salt, more lemon perhaps) and spread into a wide bowl. Drizzle olive oil on the surface and sprinkle chilli flakes and fine onion rings attractively. I used some chilli oil which worked well.

m'tabbal koosa

It's quite nice. Trouble is this made shedloads, at least six times the amount in the picture and you'd need a whole party to dispose of it.

Ideas to consider for next time, if there is one. Char grill the courgettes before blending and consider using a touch of mint in the flavourings, I think that might add a cool note that would give it a bit of distinction.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Summer of Doom

courgettes

It's barely started and already the courgettes (or zucchini if you must ) are beginning to overwhelm. Each year I gather more recipes designed to handle the glut and each year I fail to try them, leading to a compost bin laden with food waste. Yes, I am to blame for all that.

So this year, for the benefit of all, I thought I'd do a season of courgette recipes. Even so I don't suppose for one minute I'll be able to eat all results but I'll have a better idea about what might work for company.

I'm heading into the kitchen today get started on this. Back soon.