Wednesday 14 August 2013

Courgette (or Zucchini) - prolific producers

Courgette plants have no sense of timing; they wait until you are at your most unsuspecting, and then they become productive, and boy do they fruit 

If you fancy your own plants, they are really easy to grow from seed and can be sown outdoors in late May or early June in the spot where they are to grow. Sow them about 1 inch deep and keep the seedlings covered using a cloche, or a jam jar, which will do the trick, for as long as you can until they are too big.
Or, you can start them off indoors in pots a little earlier, which is what I did, and then plant them out when the plants are sturdy and roots are emerging.

Courgettes, or Zucchini, are prolific if they are kept well-watered, and the odd feed is also appreciated.

Botanically, however, the zucchini is an immature fruit, being the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower.

The problem is, what to do with them? 

Why not try one of our recipes? Click on the link to be taken to there.

Like marrows, they are quite bland, so need to be livened up a little, so it’s time to get creative and try out the courgette recipes, which are on the menu at Fancy Pans.

© Karen Ette 2013

Courgette Gratin

This yummy, vegetarian recipe serves four people.


2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 medium onions, sliced fairly thinly
1 garlic clove, crushed
12 oz of sliced courgettes (that's about 350 grammes)
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
1 teaspoon of chopped thyme
4 large tomatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

Seasoning (that's salt and pepper to you and me)

1 oz butter (that's about 25 grammes)
1 oz plain flour (ditto)
Half a pint of milk (that's around 300 ml or 10 fluid ozs)
40 oz grated Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon of fresh breadcrumbs

Heat your oven to 170/180 degrees C (350 F, Gas 4)

Heat the oil in a pan and cook the onions until soft, taking care not to burn them. Add the garlic, courgettes and  herbs, plus salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking and burn. Remove from the heat and put half into an oven-proof dish. Cover with the sliced tomatoes and then put the remaining courgette mix on top.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat, then add the flour. Cook for about two minutes, stirring all the time. Gradually add the milk and bring the sauce to the boil; keep stirring - you don't want it to catch and burn. Simmer gently for about 2 minutes, until the flour is cooked.  Add half the grated cheese and season.

Pour the sauce over the courgettes and tomatoes. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top and then the rest of the grated cheese.

Bake for about twenty minutes; until golden.  Make sure the courgettes are cooked by testing them with a skewer before serving.

This dish can be served as a complete meal, or with roast potatoes for that "little extra".


© Karen Ette 2013

Lemon and Walnut Courgette Cake, with Lemon Icing

You will need:

Approximately 8 oz peeled and grated courgette (that’s approx. 250g)
Squeeze as much water out as you can – put it in a sieve with a saucer on top and a weight on top of that, overnight if possible. If you have a food processor, then you can blitz it with that instead of grating.

When you are ready to make the cake, grease and lightly flour a 2lb loaf tin and set your oven to 160C, 325F, Gas 3.
You will also need:
6 oz golden caster sugar (170g)
1 egg
¼ pint vegetable oil (4 fl oz or 125 ml)
8 oz (250g) Self Raising Flour
8 oz (250g) Plain Flour
            plus ½  teaspoon salt
            ½  teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
            ¼  teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
Zest of one lemon
4 oz chopped walnuts (113g)

Put the courgette into a bowl with the sugar. Beat the egg into the oil then
Add to the courgette and sugar and beat them all together.

In a separate bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients except the nuts and zest, then stir the flour mix into the courgette mix and add the zest and nuts.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and pop it into the pre-heated oven.  Bake for 55 minutes. Test with a clean knife or skewer to see if it comes out clean when pushed into the cake.

Remove from the oven and leave the cake in the tin for about 10 minutes. Whilst it is cooling, prepare the icing.

Put 2-3 oz of icing sugar into a bowl and add the juice of the lemon a little at a time until the icing is runny enough to drizzle over the cake, but thick enough to stick.

Tip the cooled cake onto a cooling rack and drizzle over the icing. Leave it to set for a few minutes.

© Karen Ette 2013

Saturday 3 August 2013

Raspberry, Chocolate and Vodka Mousse

Today's Dessert of the Day comes courtesy of Kelly White.

Kelly has dropped three dress sizes, so it just goes to show, you can eat scrumptious food and lose weight.

Not suitable if you are tea-total, and as it has uncooked egg, maybe best avoided if you are pregnant.

This recipe has three of life's most mouth-watering ingredients:

Raspberry, Chocolate and Vodka.

You will need:

1 sachet gelatine (you can use agar agar instead if you prefer)
12oz raspberries
1oz cocoa powder
3 sachets Cadbury High Lights Hot Chocolate
4 tbsp artificial sweetener (Canderel)
1 lb (500g)  fat-free, natural fromage frais
1 tbsp vodka
1 egg white

A few raspberries and blueberries, to garnish

  • Sprinkle the gelatine onto 4fl oz boiling water. Stir to dissolve and leave to cool. 
  • Retaining a few for garnish, lightly crush the raspberries and divide between 4 dessert glasses.
  • Sieve the cocoa into a bowl with the High Lights, sweetener, fromage frais and vodka.  Mix until smooth.
  • Add the cooled gelatine to the mixture and stir well. 
  • Whisk the egg white until stiff, then fold carefully into the chocolate mixture with a metal spoon. 
  • Divide between the dessert glasses and chill for 2-3 hours until set.

Garnish with the reserved raspberries and a few blueberries.

You can freeze the delicious desserts, if you can resist them for long enough to get them into the freezer.

Photograph by Kelly White

Thanks Kelly