I am a little startled to notice that this is my 50th post since I began Plant Abundance to celebrate my 50th birthday. As regular readers and followers will have noticed, I am addicted. Didn’t take long, however I suppose there are worse obsessions….
It seems appropriate then to celebrate with something truly abundant – marrows.
Also known as courgettes or zucchini and coming in all shapes and sizes. Marrows epitomise the joy of food gardening. Growing easily, producing like mad and being very versatile too. As it is likely that you also have plenty in your garden at the moment, after popping three seeds in a mound of earth a few months ago, I thought I’d share some of my favourite recipes on how to use them all up – with all the other things that are abundant in gardens right now.
Courgette Salad: Slice courgettes into long strips. Grill or fry to get some colour on them. Layer on a plate with drizzled olive oil, fresh lemon juice, chopped basil, salt, pepper, garlic and some natural yoghurt. Aim for at least three layers, topped with the dressing. Leave to stand for at least an hour before serving. Mmmmmm… You can scatter with toasted almonds for a bit of crunch or pomegranate seeds for extra zing.
Grilled courgettes are really lovely served on pasta too.
Courgette Koftas with Almond and Tomato Sauce
- 750g grated courgettes
- 1 Finely chopped onion
- 100g chickpea flour (gram flour)
- 1 tsp paprika
- Fresh chopped coriander
- Chopped green chillies (optional)
Squeeze grated courgette of excess liquid, one handful at a time. Place all the kofta ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Heat about 6cm of oil in a large saucepan (I use a bit less!). using 2 tablespoons, drop the fragile mixture into the oil, a few koftas at a time. Turn carefully and cook until golden all over – about 2-3 minutes. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Eat as they are with salt and lemon juice or a garlicy yoghurt.. or make this delicious sauce:
- two tins of tomatoes (depending how much you want to make)
- Chopped green chillies
- Grated fresh ginger (about 4cm)
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp ground paprika
- 2 tsp garam masala
- Finely sliced garlic
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 tblsp ground almonds (I used more)
The recipe says blend the tomatoes, garlic, chilli, ginger and spices to a smooth paste. I didn’t feel like washing the blender, so didn’t, but I think it would be wonderful. I just bashed them in my pestle and motar. Add salt to taste. Fry paste in oil for a few minutes, stirring all the time, then lower the heat and simmer for about 30 mins, adding a little water to loosen the sauce. Best to stand for a few hours or overnight. Keeps in the fridge for days. While the sauce is hot, gently add the koftas and heat together for 3 or 4 minutes – or just serve the sauce in a bowl to dip them into.
Call-up Quiche(aka Summer Slice) – This is one of my favourite picnic/on the move foods which I gave a new name after I cooked it for a picnic supper with friends in Mfolozi while we were doing a “Lion Call-Up”. Perfect for those long dark nights with wailing buffaloes (and other occasions)! It lasts well in the fridge for about a week so you can get prepared and avoid the last minute madness.
- 5 eggs
- 3 cups of coarsely grated courgette
- 1 cup of grated potato
- Spring onions chopped
- 1 cup of grated cheese
- ½ cup of vegetable oil
- 1 cup of S/R flour
- Fresh basil and tiny tomatoes
Break eggs into mixing bowl and beat lightly.. Add grated veggies and chopped onions.. Add oil, cheese and flour – mix well.. Add chopped fresh basil, salt and pepper. Spoon into baking dish (glass or metal) about 18cm by 28cm but this can vary depending on how thick you make it. or use two dishes. Even round ones will do. Press halved tomatoes into the mixture (or chopped sun dried tomatoes) at regular intervals. I sometimes use bits of sundried tomatoes, instead of fresh. Bake at about 180’C for about 40 minutes until set. (test with a skewer which will come out clean when centre is cooked) Cut into squares and store in the fridge until you need to set off to bother some lions.
Zoodles are the coolest thing ever invented (after sun dried tomatoes). I have an hourglass shaped device that grates the marrows into long strips as I twist them. I am sure there are more sophisticated ways of spiralising things, but this works fine for me.
I don’t cook them, but serve raw with a variety of toppings, a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of oil.
- cherry tomatoes, capers, basil, olives, leek flowers and pesto
- fresh coriander, ginger, garlic, nuts and spring onions
- whatever I have in the garden – radishes, chives, celery, parsley, some cheese
- or a cooked tomato sauce
Zucchini Cake (courtesy of my friend Sharon, who finds all sorts of ingenious ways of disguising marrows to feed her family)
2 eggs, 1cup sugar, 1/2 cup oil, 1tsp vanilla extract, 1c peeled, grated zucchini, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2tsp bicarb of soda, 1/2tsp salt, 1/2tsp cinnamon, 1/8tsp baking powder, 1/2 cup chopped nuts.
Beat all ingredients together. Bake in a greased and floured loaf pan at 180C for about 40 minutes – until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Apparently, this cake freezes well too.