Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Big Green Zucchini Machine

Here’s Ann, armed with a courgette and ready to lead her next Foodie London Walk…

The trouble with growing your own vegetables is that one week there is nothing ready for picking, but a few days later you are struggling to get out from under a mound of tomatoes, runner beans, French beans and, worst of all, courgettes. There is nothing like a courgette plant for hiding a tiny, delicious little vegetable under its leaves, only to reveal it to you when it is a large, watery, tasteless marrow.

And even if you avoid the marrow problem, you will be hard pressed to consume the pounds and pounds of courgettes that only one harmless little plant produces. Don’t try giving them to your neighbours, who probably are struggling with the courgette problem themselves. And in any case, at this time of year you can buy courgettes in the market for pence.

So here are some helpful suggestions for using up your courgette glut: sliced and fried with garlic and herbs, or with cumin and some Indian spices, stuffed with some Greek combination – feta cheese and rice, or minced lamb, grated and made into little fritters with egg, flour and a little mint. Slice lengthways, brush with olive oil, and grill – if you do it on a griddle they will have those classy black lines on them, and look nice as a starter with a couple of nasturtium flowers and maybe some cheese. Dip them in a light batter and deep fry – delicious, and I think one of the best disguises for them. As a kind of ratatouille (you can up the courgette content). Slice them into ribbons using a potato peeler, and add to a salad, or to pasta. Then there are cakes, using courgettes instead of, say, carrots – a good way of concealing the main ingredient.

If you really want to, you can buy courgettes at Borough Market on Saturday at the end of my next walk for foodies. Join me at 10 am at Monument tube, Fish St. Hill exit, on Saturday, August 6, for more foodie titbits.

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