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Posts Tagged ‘Courgette’

Well hello there, we have been very quiet for the last few months while our new kitchen and other house renovations are happening. We had really hoped to be back to normal by now but we’re still kitchen hopping amongst are very generous (and patient) family & friends. So normal service will hopefully resume very soon and in the meantime here’s a fab recipe for a super rich ratatouille by Barney Desmazery for BBC Good Food. We served with some steak off the barbecue but it is also great on it’s own with some toasted bread.

Wine Suggestion: we love choosing southern French reds when eating this dish and find that Syrah, Grenache, Mourvédre and Carignan (either on their own or as a blend) just work. Tonight it was the superb Faugères “les Bancels” from Domaine Cébène which is elegant, effortless and wonderfully long on the finish.

Ratatouille – serves 6

  • 3 red peppers, quartered and seeds removed
  • a handful of basil, separate the leaves and stalks (you will need both)
  • a large sprig of thyme
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil, plus extra for frying
  • 2 courgettes (any colour or a mix), roughly chopped
  • 1 aubergine, chopped into large chunks
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 x 400g tins cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • grilled sourdough, to serve

Put the pieces of pepper onto a baking tray and place under a hot grill until blackened. Tip them into a bowl, cover and leave to cool. Peel the skin off the peppers, then cut into strips and toss back into the juices in the bowl.

Tie the basil stalks and thyme together with kitchen string.

Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 4.

Heat the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and fry the courgettes and aubergine for 15 minutes or until browned. It is easiest to do this in batches, adding a little of the oil each time.

Remove the courgette and aubergine from the pan and set aside. Add a drizzle more oil, then add the onion and cook for 15 minutes or until softened and starting to brown. Add the garlic and sizzle for a minute. Scatter with sugar, then leave for a minute to caramelise before adding the vinegar. Stir in the cooked veg and pepper juice, season well, then pour over the cans of tomatoes and bring to a simmer.

Add the tied herbs to the dish, cover, and cook in the oven for an hour. Remove the lid and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes or until reduced and jammy. Leave to cool until just warm, then stir through most of the basil leaves and the extra virgin olive oil. Scatter the rest of the basil over the top and serve with the toasted sourdough.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Courgette RisottoWe loved this simple risotto with toasted pine nuts and little pieces of fried courgette. Definitely special enough to serve to friends for dinner.

Wine Suggestion: this risotto demands a waxy, nutty white and what better than an excellent Soave made by Graziano Pra. His Soave Classico “Otto” is fresh and a delight with jasmine and hawthorn aromas, but if you can step up to the “Monte Grande” cuvée then you get extra depth and greater layers of almonds and nuts that complement the pine nuts perfectly.

Courgette Risotto – serves 3-4

  • 50g butter, plus a bit extra to finish
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 250g courgettes, 140g coarsely grated, dice the rest
  • 175g risotto rice
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1.2 litres of veg stock (or chicken stock) kept hot over a low heat
  • 25g parmesan, grated
  • 2 heaped tbsp mascarpone
  • 1 heaped tbsp toasted pine nuts

Melt the butter in a heavy frying pan then gently fry the onions until softened. Stir in the grated courgettes and the rice, then increase the heat and stir for 1-2 minutes.

Add the lemon juice and a ladleful of the hot stock. Stir continuously over a medium-high heat. Keep stirring until the liquid is almost absorbed, then add another ladleful of stock. Continue like this for until the rice is just tender and has a creamy texture, about 20-30 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan, mascarpone and some salt and black pepper, then cover with a lid and set aside for 5 minutes while you fry rest of the courgettes.

Heat the rest of the butter with a splash of oil in a small frying pan. Add the diced courgettes and fry over a high heat for 2-3 minutes until golden & softened. Divide the risotto between plates, then scatter with the diced courgettes and any buttery juice from the pan, the pine nuts & a few pinches of lemon zest.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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We have just moved into yet another new house but this time it is ‘our’ new house as opposed to another rental. The result has been lots of painters, plumbers, builders etc. and very little cooking. We’ve now got the most important room in the house (the kitchen!) sorted and are very glad to be eating proper food again.

This was the last thing we cooked in our flat before packing up the saucepans. We had a generous donation of an enormous courgette (not quite a marrow but a marrow would work just as well in the recipe) from a friend of Julie’s Mum. Very tasty and there and should still be a few enormous courgettes kicking about in allotments and veg patches for you to get your hands on.

Wine Suggestion: Look out for some of the better cru Beaujolais at a good wine shop. They’re completely underrated and overlooked (due to the scourge of “Beaujolais Nouveau”) and quite delicious. We drank a Regnie from Domaine Rochette which has that delightful balance of light and easy fruit as well as a seriousness, structure and verve. Yum.

Baked Courgette & Minced Pork – to serve 2

  • 750g large courgettes
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • a handful of mint leaves
  • olive oil
  • juice of half a lemon

FOR THE PORK: 

  • a small handful of dill, roughly chopped
  • a small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 small, hot, red chillies, finely chopped
  • 450g minced pork
  • grated zest and juice of a lime

Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.

Halve the courgettes and scoop out the seedy bits. Cut into thick chunks and toss in a roasting tin with the crushed garlic, mint, plenty of olive oil and the lemon juice. Bake for  about 45 minutes or until tender.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a shallow pan until smoking hot, then add the meat. Leave to sear on one side without stirring, turning or breaking up. When the bottom has crisped up, turn over and brown the other side. Add the dill, parsley, garlic and chilli and let the mixture cook over a high heat until everything is hot and golden. Season generously with salt and pepper, then stir in the lime juice and zest.

Serve with the baked courgette.

(Original recipe from Nigel Slater’s Tender: Volume 1, Fourth Estate, 2009.)

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