31 Jul 2014

Busting a Glut ...

I'm seeing a lot of courgette gluts being mentioned on gardening blogs at the moment. Trust me, I've been there but this year have neatly side-stepped that trap by having slugs eat my spare courgette plant and only having one to harvest.  I'm not counting my Ikea courgette growing experiment, more of which in another post. (Which means I'm posting backwards, I think.)


When faced with a daily deluge of courgettes, it's easy to begin to feel slightly overwhelmed at the challenge of appreciating all this bounty. I have a number of recipe books in my kitchen to turn to as well as coming across some nice glut-busting ideas on the internet and in magazines.  I thought a round up might be in order.

In  my own kitchen I turn to Dr Hessayon's Garden to Kitchen Expert, Sarah Raven books, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Veg Every Day and Nigel Slater's Tender Vol One (the veg one). Last night, I cooked the ratatouille (minus the aubergine but with lots of courgettes- fruit, baby leaves and stems) from Kitchen Garden Experts, teamed it with a Mary Berry beef mince sauce and sandwiched it all together with lasagne sheets. Delicious.

On the internet, I thought the following all sounded worth a shot:

From Faith Wallinger writing for The Atlantic:
  • Chop the male and female flowers and sauté in olive oil with finely chopped garlic for a pasta sauce or risotto flavouring. 
  • A Sicilian dish: Stew the tender young leaves with garlic, courgette chunks and courgette flowers. (I'm thinking some tomatoes would be nice with this.)
  • Courgette carpaccio recipe here.  (Thinly sliced raw, drizzled with olive oil, topped with parmesan.)
  • Stuff the flowers with ricotta, layer into a non-stick pan, drizzle with olive oil, cover with a lid and steam/fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes. The steam from the ricotta will cook the flowers. Season and serve.

From Veg Box: Lemon Butter Courgettes.  Plot to plate in less than 15 minutes. Butter, lemon, olive oil, courgette. Simples.

From the BBC Good Food website:
A courgette and caraway cake with apple flavoured cream cheese frosting and caramelised oat topping. Now, be honest, if you saw this on a stand in a café, you'd want a slice wouldn't you? I know I would! This cake is from chef Valentine Warner; It looks, and probably is, delicious. I make a fantastic pork and barley stew by this same chef; on that criteria, I'd say he knows how to make really tasty stuff.

Courgette and caraway cake. Image courtesy of BBC Good Food website.
Roasted vegetables (including courgettes or whatever else you may have lurking) from that queen of the kitchen, Mary Berry. Actually, this is a great end of week meal to throw over couscous or rice and to use up all the veg in the fridge before a Saturday shop.

Sweet stuffed courgette flowers.  Initially this looks like a right faff but, oh my goodness, I bet these are beyond yummy! A recipe by John Torode (the grumpy one from Masterchef), wherein he stuffs courgette flowers with a crème pâtissière, coats with a light batter, fries them, then rolls them in cinnamon sugar. A bit like 'healthy' custard doughnuts, eh?  Recipe also includes a boozy raspberry syrup - I'm not sure these fritters would last that long in my kitchen.

Sauté potato and courgette.  Quick and a delicious side, or a meal in itself with an egg on top, but note this recipe serves only one. Personally, and I don't know what this says about me, I could easily eat three times this. You'll need potato, courgette, garlic, oil, a few herbs, seasoning … and a fork. This is my kind of food.

Citrus and courgette ribbon salad.  Garden ingredients are salad onions, courgettes, parsley plus lemon, walnuts and olive oil. Add a glass of chilled Prosecco, some warm evening sunshine, a table in the garden and who needs to go on holiday?

Courgette pancakes with spiced greek yogurt.  Goodness, is there no end to the versatility of this vegetable! This is lovely finger food - roll them up and dip away! I guess any children might have to get over not finding chocolate and banana in their pancakes but would soon get over it if a variety of dips and toppings were on offer.

There's heaps more to inspire on the BBC website.

And if the blighters do start to get the better of you, there's always Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Glutney, a fantastic way to preserve and eke out those delicious summer flavours.  That link also has Slow-cooked courgettes on toast and a courgette moussaka. Unsurprisingly, my thoughts are veering towards snacking on courgettes and toast for lunch tomorrow.

There, that should keep us all going. Actually, I'm beginning to wish I'd grown a couple more plants… I could do with a glut after reading all those recipes.


Edited to add:  Sue at Green Lane Allotments has a page of delicious courgette recipes that can be found on her blog here

26 comments:

  1. Ooh, the cake, definitely the cake. And sauteed with potato with an egg on top sounds brilliant too. I have a bit of a self-induced glut already because I've ended up with three good-sized courgettes from other plot holders, and suddenly it was time to pick mine as well. I've learned that I need to pick them when they're really quite small, otherwise the next time I look three days later they will be ginormous. Has anyone ever measured how much they grow in one day??? Thanks for all of the ideas, I hope your plant takes off and produces loads. Last year almost all of my courgettes came from just one Romanesco plant, it was phenomenal. CJ xx

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    1. I missed one the other day, CJ. I saw a finger sized courgette forming and within TWO days it was the size of a marrow. Those missing two days were the ones when we had torrential rain - obviously regular watering is what brings the fruit on, and the one thing that I can't provide at the moment!
      I'm definitely going to give that cake a go, although not sure what caraway tastes like! Learning curve! C xx

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  2. I've courgette recipes on my blog too Last year courgette crumble was a revelation it tasted just like apple crumble.

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    1. Wow, great selection of recipes, Sue - thank you! I love apple crumble and will definitely be making your courgette version this weekend when I go to visit family. Courgettes with basil and mozzarella sounds good too - and inexpensive if you grow your own basil. Sainsbury Essentials mozzarella balls at 50p-ish each are v good and excellent value.
      I've added the link to the bottom, thanks for the suggestions! C x

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  3. I have thing for Courgette flowers on soups but courgette as a cake might overtake my existing preference!

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    1. Essential to have one of those lovely wide-brimmed soup bowls for balancing a courgette flower on, I imagine! I love the look of that cake too - sounds so much nicer than courgette BREAD, which always looks rather solid and challenging. I'm going to check out Sue's courgette crumble, too!

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  4. Oh my....some fab ideas here...says she dashing out to pick some more spuds and courgettes....even maybe some wet garlic!!! Yum.xxx

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    1. If you're anything like me, Dina, I'm always glad of some ideas, I get so sick of cooking the same things over and over. I've got to check on my spuds: they've flowered but are still lovely green plants but I'm beginning to get curious as to what's lurking beneath the soil - the spuds and courgettes recipe appeals to me too! Could be a good excuse!

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  5. It's cucumbers here.. only Mike eats them but I still stupidly grew four plants. Aren't cucumbers in the same family as courgettes?

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    1. I don't eat many cucumbers either, Jessica. Shop bought ones tend to go to mush in the bottom of the fridge before I can eat them. Yes, courgettes and cucumbers are both in the curcubit family. I'm still waiting for the cucamelon that I'm growing to be more than 12 inches high - I thought I'd be safe with some bite sized cucumbers but I may be waiting a long time to taste them!!

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  6. A good post for anyone who has a glut of courgettes. As I've not fussed about them I don't generally bother growing any nowadays although I am this year as I was given a plant, but I'll probably give the courgettes away if I can. Flighty xx

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    1. What a shame I don't live closer, Flighty! I'd take your spare courgettes from you after finding these recipes! Perhaps you could trade the courgettes for a dish of the end product - particularly nice if it's courgette cake produced! C xx

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  7. I can't eat cucumbers, they don't agree with me, so I am using loads of courgettes instead. They have gone mad this year, we have far more than we need, so I will definitely try your cake, thanks!

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    1. How intriguing - I wonder what it is that enables you to eat courgettes but not cucumbers as they're from the same family. At least you get to enjoy courgettes, though! My one plant is producing slowly but we've had problems recently resulting in a lack of watering. Frankly, I'm surprised it's still alive! Enjoy whatever you make, Pauline!

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  8. I'm not using the word glut for my courgettes this year Caro instead I've opted for an abundance. I always feel inspired when I visit here and this post is just the sort of information I could do with at hand right now so a big thank you from me. Oh that cake looks a far superior version of my recent baking in the courgette cake department!

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    1. I much prefer the word abundance, Anna - it smacks of appreciation and a welcome bounty. Thank you for your lovely comment, it's rather thrilling to think my scribblings (although typed!) are inspiring someone. When/if I have an abundance of courgettes, I'll definitely be making that cake, although with slightly less frosting! There's certainly an excess of abundance in the icing department! Caro xx

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  9. Thanks for all the ideas. I must try that yummy looking cake. Great to have recipes for the flowers too.

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    1. I'm rarely motivated enough to fry things, Chloris, but I have done so with courgette flowers and they were lovely! I prefer them unstuffed, though. The cake is the recipe that appeals!

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  10. No glut here - which is a shame because that cake looks awful good. My courgettes get to about 3" long, turn yellow and drop off the plant. Any ideas of where I'm going wrong?

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    1. I'm guessing lack of water, lack of pollination … If the leaves are healthy and green and the stems firm (and drip water when cut), then it will be a nutrient deficiency. Courgettes are very hungry and thirsty feeders. I always put fresh compost in my raised beds before planting out courgettes and then water as regularly as I can. I noticed a slowing down in my plant when I couldn't water for over a week and it was baking hot. The balcony courgette, a surprise plant in my bay tree compost, doesn't get pollinated and the fruits do exactly as with yours. Hope this has helped! Caro x

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  11. That courgettes on toast recipe (I think he calls it bruschetta) is delicious, a firm favourite of mine. There's a potato, green beans and olives recipe in the same HFW book that modifies beautifully to include courgettes lightly fried with some garlic and perhaps a hint of chilli. And Jamie Oliver has a great recipe for thinly sliced and griddled courgettes with a garlice and chilli dressing. I'm off to check out the sauteed courgette and potato recipe... Thank you for your Public Service Post, I am bookmarking it for the next time I persuade myself that it is OK to grow two plants...

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    1. Haha - you're welcome, Janet! Glad to be of service! Sounds like you're way ahead of me though - I like the sound of thinly sliced courgettes with a garlic and chilli dressing, yum! Since writing this, I've saved up a few courgettes, almost to the point of marrowdom, in order to make the River Cottage Glutney. I think I'm converted now to making my own chutney!

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  12. This is exactly what I need - thank you!

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    1. You're welcome, Annie. I like being able to bookmark a whole load of recipe inspiration.

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  13. Some fabulous ideas there. We did have a glut although a few turned to marrows because I couldn't get up to the plot and things have slowed down a bit since. There's a fantastic curry recipe in HFW's Veg book which we stick the 'marrows' in. They work well at absorbing flavour. To be honest I haven't had much chance to experiment with new recipes recently which I really miss but love the idea of the ones you've mentioned so will hopefully get to try some of them out.

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  14. Isn't it incredible how quickly they grow once they've had a good rainshower to swell the fruit! I waited patiently for a skinny 4" courgette to plump up; 2 days later it was a marrow over 16" long! Yikes! Good to know about Hugh F-W's curry recipe, I'll take a look as I like a good curry - especially with lots of home grown veg. Thanks!

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Comments on my posts are much appreciated and help to build an online community of blog friends. Everyone is welcome! However, I have turned comment moderation on so that I can delete spam comments before they hit my blog. I hope this won't deter real blog friends from commenting! :)
Caro x

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