So as promised another courgette recipe. This one is so simple that everything can just be thrown in together and left to develop. Don’t worry about exact weights and quantities – with soup it can all be very ‘rough’ and still come out tasting delicious. This soup also freezes really well so it is a great one for making in the summer to use the glut of courgettes and saving for the colder winter months.
I apologise in advance for the number of courgette recipes you will find coming your way. We seem to be swimming in them at the moment and so almost every meal contains courgettes. One of the tastiest ways I find to use them is in the form of fritters. Although they are very quick to cook you need to start the preparation at least an hour before you want to start cooking as the courgette needs to ‘sit’. For this reason it tends to be more of a weekend dish in this house.
Grate the courgette (I can do this in my food processor which helps). Put the courgette in a fine colander or muslin cloth, sprinkle with the salt and set over a larger bowl. Leave this for at least an hour for excess water to drip out. This stage is essential of your fritters are going to 'stick' together
Place the courgette in the middle of a clean (but old!) tea towel and squeeze out as much water as you can. If you used a muslin cloth in the first step you can just use this. I say an old tea-towel as sometimes they can become slightly green!
Put the courgette into a bowl, add the beaten egg and sprinkle in the flour, diced onion and garlic. Add pepper and herbs to taste (I have used thyme or mint before with great effect). Mix well by hand.
Heat a large frying pan with some oil and when hot drop a heaped tablespoon of the mixture into the pan. You can flatten these out with a fish slice/back of a spoon. Leave to cook for 4-5 minutes until brown on one side and then flip them over and repeat. If you think they are slightly oily when cooked you can put them onto kitchen towelling to soak up any excess before serving
It is time to start using the gluts from the allotment! This week it is blackcurrants. I have some steeping in vodka and gin to make cassis for the festive season and with the rest I whipped up some meringues. These are a real fruity treat and work well with some good quality vanilla ice-cream. You will have plenty of fruit puree left which freezes well or makes a good sauce to drizzle over the big greedy dessert you can make!
Put the blackcurrants in a pan with a very small amount of water (20-30ml at the most). Simmer these until they are soft and pulpy (5-10 minutes). Rub these through a sieve until you have a beautifully smooth blackcurrant puree. At this point you can add some icing sugar to taste. I personally prefer to go without as I like the contrast of the tart black currants against the very sweet meringue but you may prefer it all to be a bit sweeter. Leave to cool completely.
Pre-heat the oven to 120C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. As fruit meringues can be stickier than normal meringue you may wish to also brush the paper with a tiny bit of sunflower oil.
Beat the egg whites until they are thick, white and hold firm peaks. I use my kitchen aid mixer and it takes around 4-5 minutes to get to this stage. Keep beating, adding the caster sugar slowly (a tablespoon at a time is about right). You can stop when all the sugar is added and you have thick, glossy peaks. (You can test it by holding the bowl upside down over your head!)
Add 3 tablespoons of the cool fruit puree to the mix and gently swirl through to create a marble effect. Spoon the mixture onto the tray in equal blobs (this mixture should make around 8).
Bake for 90 minutes and then leave them in the oven when you turn it off. Remove when the oven has cooled down (they can be left overnight).
I don’t often bother with cakes since I found out I was gluten intolerant as I haven’t found one that tastes as good as the real thing. (So instead I save my ‘splurges’ for cake). However, I really had a hankering for a Victoria Sponge for my birthday so tried a few variations on a basic recipe until I got this one. It isn’t quite as light as a traditional one but once teamed up with good quality jam and buttercream it is very hard to tell the difference!
Beat the butter or spread with the sugar in an electric mixer (I use my kitchen aid for 3-5 minutes) or until it is light and fluffy. If you don't have an electric mixer you can do it by hand but be prepared for it to take longer!
One at a time lightly beat in the eggs with a tablespoon of flour then fold in the rest of the flour with a metal spoon in a future of 8 motion to keep it as light as possible.
Oil 2 loose 20cm (8 inch) cake tins. Spoon the mixture into the tin and tap the cake tin gently a few times on the counter top to flatten out the top.
Pre-heat the oven to 180c and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the sponge is golden brown on top and a skewer comes out clean. Be aware that as the sponge is thin it can cook very quickly so keep an eye on it after 20 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the tins and allow to cool
For the filling
Beat the butter in a large bowl until soft. Add half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
Add the remaining icing sugar and one tablespoon of the milk and beat the mixture until creamy and smooth. Beat in the milk, if necessary, to loosen the mixture.
Assemble the cake by spreading jam on one sponge and 3/4 of the icing mixture on the other and then sandwiching them together. Use the remaining mixture for decoration