Courgettes 2018 – Recipe for courgette fritters

COURGETTE SEASON 2018

So the 2018 courgette season has arrived and I’m enjoying trying out new recipes to find different ways of preparing them. I prefer to pick them when they are still quite small. That way you can use several at a time when they are at their best for a side dish rather than waiting until they are the size of marrows. There are always some that get away but I’ll slice these lengthways and give them to the chickens so that they can peck out the seeds.

FAVOURITE COURGETTE RECIPE

My all-time favourite way of preparing courgettes is to slice the small courgettes into 2cm slices. Fry them in a covered pan with some extra virgin olive oil. Turn every so often so that they lose their liquid and catch a bit of colour on each side. After 10 minutes or so, toss in a knob of butter, grind over some black pepper and squeeze over some lemon juice. Delicious.

DIFFERENT RECIPES

My challenge each year is to find some new and interesting recipes to use up the abundant crop.

The first recipe I tried didn’t salt the courgettes first which proved to be a messy mistake. In the second one I salted the grated courgette and left for an hour before squeezing the water out.

This recipe is adapted from Felicity Cloake’s “How to cook …” column in the Guardian “How to cook the perfect courgette fritters“.

The second recipe worked a lot better and I’d use this technique again in the future.

Here is the recipe.

Courgette fritters
Serves 2
A simple recipe for courgette fritters
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Ingredients
  1. 2 medium-sized courgettes, coarsely grated
  2. 1 small salad onion, finely chopped
  3. 2 handfuls of grated cheese
  4. 2 tablespoons self-raising flour
  5. 2 tablespoons polenta
  6. 1 egg
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Put the courgette in a bowl, sprinkle over the salt and mix well.
  2. Leave for about an hour and then transfer to a colander and squeeze out the water.
  3. Add the onion and egg and mix well.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Heat some oil in a frying pan.
  6. Put in sponfuls of the courgette mixture and fry on a high heat for 3 minutes.
  7. Flip the fritters and fry for a further 3 minutes on the other side.
Cortijo de la Plata https://cortijoblog.com/

Gluten-free carrot cake

Gluten-free carrot cake
Serves 24
In this carrot cake recipe, polenta and ground almonds replace the flour and olive oil is used instead of butter.
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Cook Time
40 min
Cook Time
40 min
CAKE
  1. 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  2. 350g brown sugar
  3. 5 medium eggs
  4. 150g ground almonds
  5. 100g polenta
  6. 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. 125g chopped walnuts
  9. 500g grated carrot
  10. 1 teaspoon baking powder
ICING
  1. 125g salted butter
  2. 250g light cream cheese
  3. 250g icing sugar
  4. grated zest of 2 large oranges
TO MAKE THE CAKE
  1. Heat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Line a rectangular cake tin (25cm x 29cm) with baking parchment.
  3. Beat the eggs, sugar and oil together in a large bowl.
  4. Sprinkle in the polenta, ground almonds, salt and cinnamon and mix well.
  5. Add the carrots and walnuts and give the mixture a good stir.
  6. Pour the mixture into the baking tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes.
  7. Test with a skewer to check that the cake is cooked.
  8. Cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a baking rack.
  9. Leave to cool completely.
TO MAKE THE ICING
  1. Cream the butter in a bowl with a wooden spoon.
  2. Add the other ingredients and keep in the fridge until needed.
  3. Once the cake has cooled, spread over the icing.
Cortijo de la Plata https://cortijoblog.com/

Nut roast

Nut roast
To celebrate finishing the olive harvest before Christmas, we normally have a roast meal cooked in the bread oven. As this year (2017) we had Aida a vegetarian working with us, I decided to cook the traditional roast plus a nut roast. This recipe is an adaptation of Felicity Cloake's post in the Guardian
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Ingredients
  1. 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into chunks
  2. 1 medium-sized red cabbage
  3. 150g almonds
  4. 150g walnuts
  5. 40g butter
  6. 1 large onion, finely chopped
  7. 150g mushrooms, finely chopped
  8. 100g Manchego cheese, grated
  9. 100g brown breadcrumbs
  10. 2 tablespoons fresh sage, roughly chopped
  11. 1 large egg, beaten
  12. Extra virgin olive oil
  13. Salt
  14. Pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook the sweet potato in boiling, salted water until soft and mash.
  2. Oil a loaf tin approximately, line with foil and oil again.
  3. Blanch the cabbage leaves in boiling, salted water for 2 minutes. Run under cold water and then dry. Remove the central stalk so that they lie flat.
  4. Heat a frying pan and gently toast the chopped walnuts and almonds until they start to colour and transfer to a plate.
  5. Turn the heat down and add the butter. Fry the chopped onion and fry gently.
  6. Add the mushrooms and fry for another couple of minutes until they are concentrated.
  7. In a bowl, mix the nuts, onion, cheese, breadcrumbs, mushrooms, sweet potato, beaten egg and chopped sage. Season and stir well.
  8. Line the tin with the cabbage leaves, and spoon in the mixture, pressing it down well.
  9. Fold any overhanging cabbage leaves back over the top.
  10. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  11. Remove the foil from the top and put the loaf back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
Cortijo de la Plata https://cortijoblog.com/

Roast butternut squash with cous cous and vegetables

 

Roast butternut squash with cous cous and vegetables
Serves 6
In this recipe, the flesh is removed from the roasted butternut squash halves and mixed with fried vegetables and cous cous.
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Ingredients
  1. 3 butternut squash, halved and seeds removed
  2. 1 1/2 cups of cous cous
  3. 3 cups of boiling water
  4. 1 onion, finely chopped
  5. 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  6. 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  7. 6 tablespoons fried tomato
  8. grated cheese
  9. oregano
  10. salt
  11. pepper
  12. chopped parsley
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 180ºC-200ºC.
  2. Sprinkle the squash halves with oregano and season with salt and pepper and roast until soft.
  3. Meanwhile, heat some oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onions until soft.
  4. Add the chopped red and green pepper and continue frying gently.
  5. Boil some water.
  6. Put the cous cous in a bowl. Season with salt and drizzle over some olive oil. Mix well. Pour over the boiling water. Cover with a plate.
  7. When the squash is cooked, remove from the oven and scoop out the flesh into a bowl.
  8. Add the cous cous, fried tomato and fried vegetables.
  9. Mix well and check for seasoning.
  10. Fill the squash halves with the squash mixture.
  11. Sprinkle over the grated cheese.
  12. Put back in the oven and turn up the oven to 220ºC.
  13. Roast for 20-30 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
  14. Sprinkle over the parsley.
Cortijo de la Plata https://cortijoblog.com/

Kumquat and Lemon Marmalade using a pressure cooker

I have never made marmalade before and have always been put off by the seemingly  never-ending, tedious task of chopping, peeling, shredding, juicing, boiling, testing, etc. But when a friend told me about his method of making kumquat and lemon marmalade by soaking the fruit in sugar for a day, I thought I would give it a go. In his recipe, the kumquats are halved, the pips removed, and then combined in a bowl with lemon juice and sugar for 24 hours before boiling as normal.

My challenge, therefore, was to invent a recipe for a pressure cooker which would be even easier and quicker to prepare. A neighbour’s sister makes quince jelly in a pressure cooker by combining equal parts of fruit and sugar and then cooking for 3 minutes at pressure so I decided to experiment with times to see if this method would be possible for marmalade.

The first attempt was a success (although the cooking times needed tweaking) and I was really pleased with the consistency, texture and taste of the first batch. I had literally thrown everything in together (pips, pith and lemon quarters) but decided that for the second attempt I would tie the pips and lemon pith and skins in muslin to keep them separate.

It was clear that three minutes was far too short and I had to bring the cooker back up to pressure several times. So I decided that for the second attempt I would cook the marmalade for 15 minutes at pressure.

INGREDIENTS
500g kumquats
2 large lemons
400g brown sugar or half the weight of the prepared fruit

METHOD
Cut the kumquats in half, remove the pips and save on a muslin square. Cut the loquats into 2mm slices.
Peel the lemon rind with a vegetable peeler. Shred the rind into 2mm strips.
Put an empty bowl on the scales and weigh in the fruit and lemon juice. Add half the amount of sugar and mix well.
Securely tie up the lemon pith and pips in the muslin square and add toe the bowl of fruit.

Leave for 24 hours, stirring every so often. At the end of that time, the sugar will have completely dissolved and there will be quite a bit more syrup.

Transfer the kumquats and the muslin bag to a pressure cooker. Bring up to pressure and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the pressure cooker from the heat and slow release the pressure.

Open the pressure cooker and transfer immediately into clean glass jars using a jam funnel and a measuring jug. Turn all the jars upside down to sterilise the caps for about half an hour and then turn back the right way and leave to cool completely.