As I mentioned in my last blog, our neighbour dropped off a huge amount of vegetables the other day, which included a large box of courgettes. I don’t mind courgettes; however they are not the most popular vegetable in our household and often just seem to get chucked into things just to use them up. Subsequently I have been trying to think of new recipes to cook them in. So far I have cooked with them in a tart, I have made them into fritters and I have baked with them in a cake. I think out of the three my favourite was the tart, the flavours were subtle but pleasant and would be lovely with a salad on a summer’s day.
In addition to trying out new recipes I have been making up vast quantities of baked ratatouille which have been frozen ready for use in the upcoming months. I have been using the same ingredients that we use in our families recipe for ratatouille but have been cooking it in a slightly different way. My mother’s recipe cooks the ingredients as you would a vegetable stew, whereas I prefer to layer up the vegetables and tomato sauce before baking it (if I am being truthfully I got the idea of layering up the vegetables from the cartoon Ratatouille – I guess inspiration can come from anywhere…)
I can safely say that I have eaten courgette every meal this week (save for breakfast) in some form or another and I am looking forward to eating something other than courgettes once we have managed to use them all up/preserved them… However until then I am pretty sure I am eating my ‘five a day’ in the form of courgettes.
Courgette and Tomato Tart
- 1 packet pre-rolled puff pastry
- 4 tbsp tomato puree
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 3 small sprigs of basil (leaves torn)
- 12-15 cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 3 medium courgettes (sliced 2-3mm rounds)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 3 tomatoes (peeled / de-seeded / sliced)
- 100-150g blue cheese like a Cambozola (sliced)
- Black pepper for seasoning
- Preheat oven 190C Fan.
- In a bowl mix together the ingredients for the tomato sauce.
- Prep the courgettes, by salting the slices in a colander to draw out the water – rinse in water – then dry with a tea towel.
- Mix the garlic and olive oil in a bowl, then toss the courgette slices in the oil mix.
- Finally make up the tart: Spread the tomato sauce on the pastry (leaving an inch from the edge), place on the courgettes overlapping them as you place them, then equally distribute the cheese and the tomato slices in a pattern of your choosing, lastly season well with black pepper.
- Bake in the oven for 17-20 minutes.
(Note: When I made these I decided to add a little more flour to the mix after cooking the first two fritters because the mix was fairly wet, by doing so it helped hold the mix together a little better. I had a couple of thoughts about how the recipe could be adapted depending what you were eating them with, for example if I was serving the fritters with fish and a side salad I would add a little lemon zest, coriander and chilli in the place of the parsley, paprika and cayenne. )
- 2 large courgettes (grated and either using your hands or a colander and a spoon squeeze out any liquid that you can)
- 1 small onion (grated)
- 1 garlic clove (minced)
- 1 heaped tbsp parmesan
- 3-4 heaped tbsp plain flour
- 1 tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 sprigs parsley chopped
- 1 egg
- Oil (for cooking with)
- Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and season well.
- Heat some oil in a frying pan.
- Shape the courgette mix into golf sized balls, place a few at a time into the pan and then flatten slightly using a spatula.
- Cook on each side for 3-4 minutes (or until they are golden brown)
Mini Chocolate and Courgette Cakes
[Note: I am pleased to say that this attempt at making chocolate and courgette cakes were a far bigger success than the complete failure that I had earlier this summer! I like the little kick that the cayenne pepper adds in this recipe however if you are not a fan of spice then just leave it out when you are making up the cake batter.]
The ingredients for this cake are measured by using an individual yogurt pot (125g).
- 1 pot plain yogurt
- 1 pot oil (sunflower or vegetable)
- 2 pots sugar
- 2 ½ pots self-raising flour
- ½ pot cocoa powder
- 1 large courgette (grated)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- Preheat oven to 170C fan.
- Grease and flour a muffin tray.
- Mix everything except the courgette in a bowl. Once the batter is well mixed, stir in the courgette. Then pour the batter into the muffin tin.
- Bake for 17-20 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean).
- Leave to cool before serving with crème fraiche or ice-cream and a simple chocolate sauce (made by melting some chocolate with some cream).
[This is a great accompaniment to any meal particularly on a cool autumnal day. This is a dish that takes a bit of time to prepare, but, is well worth the effort and leaves you feeling very healthy when you eat it.]
- 1 aubergine
- 3 courgettes
- 1 red pepper (Roasted in the oven for 30 mins at 190C Fan then peeled and de-seeded)
- 1 medium sized onion (diced)
- 1-2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 can of tinned tomatoes (or 5-6 fresh tomatoes roasted in the oven with a little oil, thyme and seasoning for 30 mins at 190C Fan then remove the core and roughly chop the tomato)
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- salt and pepper
- olive oil for cooking with
- Preheat your oven to 190C fan.
- Cut the aubergine and courgettes into 2-3mm thick circles. Place them into a colander sprinkle with salt and place on top of a bowl/in the sink to allow the water to draw out of the aubergine and courgettes.
- Place the onion and garlic in a pan with some oil and the sugar then cook on a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, stock cube, thyme, season with salt and pepper, then stir all the ingredients together and leave to simmer on a very low heat whilst you get on with preparing the other vegetables.
- Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a frying pan. In batches cook the aubergine for roughly 1-2 minutes on each side until they are soft. Once the aubergines are cooked quickly pan fry all the courgette slices in a little bit of oil to give them a little colour this should take no longer than 2 minutes.
- Finally make up the ratatouille in a medium sized oven proof dish layer up the dish in the following order:
- Tomato Sauce
- Red Pepper
- Tomato Sauce
- Tomato Sauce
- Place the dish in the oven and cook for 35-40 minutes.