Courgettes make for a very unusual but surprisingly delicious ingredient in our Friday cake… A great recipe to bake at the week-end whilst keeping to your 5-a day.
A lovely way to eat your veg
- 3 large eggs
- 250ml sunflower oil
- 250g soft light brown sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla essence
- 300g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 300g courgettes, peeled and grated
- 100g walnuts, chopped roughly
Preheat oven to 180C and prepare two 8” round cake tins.
Grate the courgettes, making sure to choose them fresh and small so they are not bitter! This could ruin your best efforts…
Beat the eggs and sugar and add the oil. Then add the flour followed by all the other ingredients.
Pour into two sandwich tins or one round tin. Bake for 35 min to 45 min, depending on your tin size. Check the top is springy and nicely raised before taking out.
I decorated the top with pumpkin seed to keep to the autumn theme.
I chose to sandwich it and spread a mix of light cream cheese and lemon curd (shop bought) in between. This is not always necessary and this cake is also nice on its own. I like the fact it is not overly sweet and the oil gives it a very springy, soft and aerated texture.
Flowers in parcels
Eating flowers in summer is one of life’s simple luxuries.
I have got a courgette flowers “beignet” recipe on the blog already but this one is our Sicilian version and I love it for the sharp freshness the ricotta gives against the fried batter. Here I used the same batter recipe as before.
This light snack makes a perfect starter to a summer dinner party.
- Per Courgette flower:
- Ricotta, 1 Tbsp
- Salt and pepper to flavour
Season the ricotta and drop a spoonful inside each courgette flower. Delicately close the petals around and dip this into a light batter. Shallow fry in a bit of rapeseed or sunflower oil. Once brown – it takes a few seconds- lay each parcel onto kitchen towel to drain the excess oil.
Serve warm as soon as they are done.
Ricotta filled flower
Summer is a time for enjoying all the wonderful mediterranean vegetables that we don’t tend to get for the rest of the year. I try and make use of the seasonal cornucopia of tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes and others as much as I can!
Enjoying the summer tastes and building sandcastles!
Here I give you a family recipe that has delighted us for generations with its simplicity and rich taste:
- 4 big courgettes
- Creme fraiche 125 ml
- Milk 60ml
- egg 1
- Grated Emmental 100g
Take 4 beautiful courgettes, rince and slice them in half.
Steam or boil them briefly until slightly tender but not fully cooked.
Slice them thinly and lay the slices into a buttered dish.
Cover the first few slices with a few spoonfuls of cream and a bit of grated cheese and layer the dish until you run out of ingredients. Best to use quite a deep dish and not too large, like a tureen for meat loaf or patés for example.
Beat the whole egg in a glass of milk and and pour over the top. Add cubes of pancetta and ground pepper to taste. You can sprinkle the top with Parmesan if you don’t eat pork. I never use salt here because of the cheese!
Bake on medium heat for 35 minutes until it is properly roasted and very soft, and you can serve it with a spoon. Guaranteed to please everybody including those who think they have no taste for courgettes! How deluded…
Dunes and kite surfers at L'Espiguette
This was the view last week and the location of a great “cousins” picnic, on what is officially for me the most beautiful beach in the world: Our sea to the South, Camargue to the North and the foothills of the Cevennes dreamily appearing to the East in ghostlike shadows…
For this colourful dish from Provence, you need very fresh and tender summer vegetables and a mandolin to cut them finely so the final consistency is more that of a moist loaf than a gratin.
2 large onions
Glass of Passata
Parmesan to sprinkle after baking
Slice all three vegetables finely then nestle them in alternate order inside an oiled Terracotta dish. Season with salt and pepper, generous thyme and a line of olive oil. Pour the Passata on top and decorate with the basil.
Put in a warm oven for a minimum of 45 minutes, until the vegetables have melted into each other. Drain by tipping the dish if they have released to much water. Sprinkle with more olive oil and parmesan and serve very hot.
Gateau de courgettes a la menthe
Minty courgettes loaf
Onion 1 small
Cream cheese1 big tbsp
Crème fraiche 1 tbsp
100g feta cheese
Oil for the dish
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch of mint
Grate the unpeeled courgettes and brown them with a bit of olive oil and the diced onion. Stir and simmer on low heat until all water has evaporated from the vegetables.
Whisk the eggs in a bowl, then mix the cream and cream cheese with the salt and pepper. Incorporate the feta by crumbling it in between your fingers. Add the chopped mint – I also used some dried mint flowers I had bought in Greece some time ago and found it still smelt wonderful! Like Thyme flowers, this is a very special ingredient if you happen to find it in a market on holiday or to collect it yourself.
Mix in the grated courgette after chewing on a morsel to make sure they are not bitter. One bitter courgette can ruin a whole dish…
Butter your tin, pour the preparation inside and put in a warm oven (170° C.)for about 30 min. Serve cold with a tomato coulis (cold tomato sauce) or hot tomato sauce.
A perfect picnic dish bringing back wonderful memories of Greek holidays and sunshine, of finger-food on the boat and al-fresco lunches in sea-side tavernas.
This is the best thing about food: you may travel on the smell of a dish or on a forgotten taste suddenly rediscovered as if it were on a flying carpet. You get a whiff of wild mint and suddenly you are spread-eagle on a soft meadow bed, looking at the clouds overhead and chewing a wild fennel stem.