Tag Archives: courgette

Spiced Chocolate Courgette Cake

It’s a familiar refrain at this time of year among those who like to grow their own veg… “Would you like some courgettes?” I have been lucky this year and I too can join this ritual with a bumper crop!  So what to do with this glut of courgettes?  Well, courgettes are one of my favourite vegetables.  So it was only natural that eventually I would put them in a cake!  This Spiced Chocolate Courgette Cake is deliciously, deeply chocolaty and ever so moist!

Spiced Chocolate Courgette Cake

The spices add a different dimension to this chocolate cake.  They’re not overpowering but instead add a warmth and depth to this rich chocolate cake.  I was inspired by Green & Black’s Maya Gold Chocolate, one of my favourites as the spices are just so good there!

Spiced Chocolate Courgette Cake

The icing is beautifully smooth and silky and the hint of orange complements with spiced wonderfully.  I cut back on the amount of sugar in this recipe too as I just don’t think you need as much sugar as we’re used to putting in cakes.  Overall I feel happy calling this cake almost healthy!  It’s probably one of your five a day anyway!

Spiced Chocolate Courgette Cake

While you can definitely see the courgette in the uncooked mixture by the time it is cooked it has vanished like magic!  I honestly don’t think that anyone would know it was there if you didn’t tell them.  The crumb isn’t too dense either even though the cake is gloriously moist but without ever approaching brownie territory.

Spiced Chocolate Courgette Cake

Makes 1 x 23cm cake

2 medium sized courgettes, grated (500ml in a jug is what you need YMMV on the courgettes required!)
175ml sunflower oil
300g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
350g self raising flour
50g cocoa powder
1 tsp mixed spice

250g dark chocolate (I used a mixture of 50-80% as that’s what I had in the cupboard!)
25g butter
125ml orange juice

  • Heat the oven to gas mark 4/180C  and grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin.
  • Grate your courgettes (if you have a food processor attachment then use this, its much easier and quicker!)
  • Put your courgettes in a sieve or colander and gently press to squeeze out some excess moisture.
  • Place the courgettes in a large jug, you need to have about 500ml of them.
  • If your jug is big enough (I use a 1l pyrex jug) then add the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla straight to this.  Give it all a good mix.
  • In a large mixing bowl add your flour, cocoa powder and mixed spice and mix it all together.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir thoroughly until all the pockets of flour have disappeared.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 45-60 minutes.  This cooking time will depend very much on the moisture content of your courgettes.  Check it at intervals, it’s done when there is no wobble left and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool in the tin.
  • To make the icing melt your chocolate and butter together in a bowl.  I use a microwave but you could do it in a bowl over a pan of boiling water if you prefer.
  • Add the orange juice and give it all a really good beating to combine everything together into a smooth icing.
  •  When the cake is cool remove it from the tin and unpeel the paper.
  • Spread the icing evenly over the surface of your cake and enjoy!

 

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Ricotta Veggie Lasagna Rolls

Next up we have these Ricotta Veggie Lasagna Rolls using your home made Ricotta!  These make a really nice lunch or light supper for 2.  I like variety so I made 2 different kinds.  Green Pesto and Courgette and Red Pesto and Red Pepper.

Ricotta Veggie Lasagna Rolls

I think that my favourite kind were the Green Pesto and Courgette but that’s probably because I am crazy about anything with courgette in.  I love it!

Ricotta Veggie Lasagna Rolls
Ricotta Veggie Lasagna Rolls

These are a little bit tricky to make but only in the sense of lots of little steps.  It doesn’t take long to prep or assemble these! You can even make them ahead and then refrigerate until you are ready to cook them if you’d rather get the prep done at a quieter time.

Ricotta Veggie Lasagna Rolls

Serves 2

4 sheets lasagna pasta
1/2 courgette
2 cups fresh spinach
1 roasted bell pepper (I keep the lightly pickled jars of them as a store cupboard staple)
1 ramekin Ricotta (Your yield will vary, I used all of mine)
1 tbsp green pesto
1 tbsp red pesto
Tomato pasta sauce (Awesome Sauce is a good one but if you use a jar I won’t tell!)*
1/2 cup grated cheese

– Heat your oven to gas mark 6 or so.
– Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add your pasta sheets.  Cook for 10 minutes (or according to packet instructions).
– Carefully remove the pasta from the water (keep the water!) and lay flat on a plate or chopping board.
– Take your courgette and very thinly slice it lengthways so you have slices about 1/8″.  I used a mandolin but with a steady hand you can do this by hand.
– Place your courgette in a sieve and lower the sieve into the boiling water, balancing it on the side of the pan.  Cook for 2 minutes then lift the sieve and drain.
– Put your spinach in the sieve and lower it into the boiling water.  It should wilt in less than a minute, then remove and drain.
– Split your ricotta in two and mix the green pesto in to one and the red pesto in to the other.
– Take a sheet of lasagna, spread a layer of the ricotta on it, leaving a good 1″ gap at the end.
– Layer over your spinach and then your courgette or pepper.
– Lightly spray your baking dish with oil.
– Carefully roll the lasagna sheet towards the gap.  The filling will move with the roll and start to fill the gap, it may even squish out a little.  This is ok!
– Carefully lift the roll into the baking dish.
– When they are all ready pour over the pasta sauce and sprinkle with cheese.
– You can pause here if you like and finish cooking later.
– Put into the oven and cook for about 20 -30 minutes until the cheese is nice and melted and everything is piping hot.

Ricotta Veggie Lasagna Rolls

* But really, make the Awesome Sauce.  It is actually AWESOME!

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Turkey Meatballs with Courgette Ribbons

I invented this dish in honour of my first ever home grown courgette from my garden.  Less than 3 meters from plant to plate, that’s not bad going!  I have to say, I was actually impressed with myself for coming up with this recipe.  A lot of my cooking sometimes feels like rehashing the same old things in new and different ways.  This recipe was actually new and different and so, so , so delicious!

It is actually a simple recipe with just a few fiddly bits.  I would recommend a stick blender with a goblet attachment but you could use a food processor if necessary.  (Mine came from Tesco for £15 so it doesn’t have to break the bank.) I would also recommend a mandoline (£9 from Wilkos, see, doesn’t have to bee that bad).  However, you can easily use a vegetable peeler if you don’t fancy giving up the cupboard space.

Serves 2

1 heels of a white bread loaf
1/2 small onion
2 rashers of unsmoked bacon
~300g turkey mince
1 egg
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 courgettes, cut into ribbons with either a mandoline or a vegetable peeler
300ml double cream

– Use the mini blender to blitz the bread into crumbs.  Place the crumbs in a medium sized mixing bowl.
– Put the onion and bacon, roughly chopped, in the mini blender and blitz until they become a paste.
– Add this to the breadcrumbs.
– Add the turkey mine, the egg and the garlic.  Season to taste.
– Mix until everything is well combined.
– Heat a few tbsp of olive oil in a very large frying pan.
– Pinch off small, walnut sized balls of the mixture and lightly roll into balls then place in the hot oil.  The mixture will be a little wet but don’t worry.
– Gently turn over the meatballs after 4 minutes and continue to cook on the other side for another 4 minutes.
– If you have a big enough pan you can do this in one batch, if not, do half, put on a plate then do the next half.
– Take the meatballs out of the pan and place on a plate to one side.
– Add the courgette ribbons to the pan and stir gently until the ribons are just starting to cook.
– Add the meatballs back to the pan.
– Pour over the cream.  Bring to a light simmer and simmer gently for 6-8 minutes stirring occasionally.
– The sauce should go a golden colour once it has picked up all the flavour from the meat.
– Serve with linguine, tagliatelli or spaghetti, something long an thin anyway.

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Vegetables

What is a roast without vegetables?  I love vegetables!

I usually steam most of my veg.  If you don’t have a steamer I very much recommend getting one.  I use mine a lot for both veg and especially for Japanese foods.  I even have a microwave steamer, technically for doing rice and pasta, that I use for making individual portions although the timings are very different for that.  If, however, you don’t have one then you can improvise with a sieve and a pan. 

Vegetables!

These are guidelines more than anything, if you cut your veg bigger than I do or choose larger potatoes then they’ll take longer to cook.  Test before serving by poking with a sharp knife.  The knife should slip easily through the vegetable if it’s cooked. 

New Potatoes – 25 minutes
Brussel Sprouts – 20 minutes
Carrot slices – 20 minutes
Corn on the cob – 10 minutes
Asparagus – 10 minutes
Brocolli – 7 minutes
Edamame in pods – 5 minutes

I like to stirfry courgette slices in a little butter or olive oil, they take about 10 minutes on a low to medium heat.  They’re cooked when they start to go soft and a bit see through. 

Sweetcorn from a tin is best done in the microwave.  Drain, tip into a dish with a small knob of butter, cover and microwave for 2 minutes. 

Leeks in Creamy Sauce

2 leeks
a knob of butter
3 tbsp corn flour
1 pint milk

– Clean, if necessary, and horizontally slice your leeks. 
– Put them in a microwaveable dish with a good splash of water (about 5mm in the base is good) and a pinch of salt. 
– Cover and microwave for 7 minutes. 
– In the meantime make a white sauce by melting the butter in a heavy bottomed pan and whisking in the cornflour to make a paste. 
– Remove the pan from the heat and add the milk and a pinch of salt. 
– Place the pan back on the heat and whisk constantly until the sauce thickens.
– Drain any remaining water from the leeks and then pour the white sauce over the leeks. 
– Place in the oven to keep warm until serving. 

Braised Cabbage

Cabbage, any colour.  I prefer white.
a knob of butter
a splash of water

– Chop or tear the cabbage into small pieces. 
– Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan, add the cabbage and sprinkle with salt. 
– Stir until the cabbage is nicely coated with butter and starts to ‘pop’. 
– Add the water, cover and keep on a medium heat until the water is absorbed and the cabbage tender.  When it is cooked it will have become ever so slightly transparent.

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Chicken Curry Recipe

I love this curry.  It’s a bit more fiddly on the preparation than most things I do as you have to do the ginger, garlic and chillies along with chopping everything else but it’s worth it.  It’s a lovely curry and because of the coconut it still retains its mildness even if you pump up the chilli. 

Chicken Curry

Serves 4

1 large onion
2 chillies (red are nice as they add colour)
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp curry powder
4 chicken breasts
400ml can of coconut milk
1 courgette
Fresh corriander

– Finely chop the onion and chillies.
– Add the onion, chillies, garlic and ginger to a pan with olive oil and sweat over a low heat for a few minutes with a little salt. 
– Add the curry powder and stir for a few minutes. 
– Slice the chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and add to the mixture.  Cook until very lightly browned. 
– Add to coconut milk and sliced courgette.  Simmer on a low heat for about 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.  Add seasoning if necessary. 
– Scatter with chopped corriander and serve with basmati rice. 

Variation – I also add baby sweetcorn along with the courgette sometimes to bring in another colour and vegetable.

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