I reckon the courgette has to be about one of the easiest vegetables to grow. It practically grows like a weed, providing you with an abundant supply during August. It's a very versatile cookery ingredient and the trick is to keep up with it, and to keep picking it's fruit before they grow as big as marrows!
We love it stir fried in a bit of oil, with some garlic, salt and pepper and then dusted with some freshly grated Parmesan.
We eat it cut into sticks and battered and then served with a delicious garlicky dip.
We eat it raw on a crudite platter along with an herby dip or aioli.
We eat it raw and sliced into salads.
We eat it sliced and casseroled or gratined.
Grated and slipped into meatloaves or pasta sauces . . .
Our favourite way to eat it though, is baked into a tasty quick bread. I have long had my own delicious recipe, but this time I wanted to try something new. I turned to "Bake", one of my favourite cookbooks, written by Rachel Allen. I love Rachel's recipes. They always turn out fabulous, and this was no exception. Filled with spice and two types of sugar, it has a wonderfully crunchy crust on the outside, and a moreishly moist texture inside.
This is one of those loaves that gets better tasting with every day that passes. It does make two loaves, but that's not a problem. You can either freeze one for a later date, or become the favourite person in your neighbourhood by passing the extra one onto one of your neighbours!
Makes 2 9X5 inch loaves
It just wouldn't be summer without having made at least a couple of courgette loaves. This is an extremely delicious way of using up some of that "glut" in the garden. The inclusion of demerara sugar makes for a very nice crust.
14 ounces plain flour (4 cups)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
11 ounces caster sugar (1 2/3 cups)
3 1/2 ounces of demerara sugar (1/2 cup)
3 large free range eggs, beaten
200ml sunflower oil (7 fluid ounces)
2 tsp vanilla extract
13 ounces of grated courgettes, with the skin left on (3/4 pound)
3 ounces chopped walnuts (3/4 cup)
Pre-heat the oven to 150*C/300*. Grease and flour two 9 X 5 inch loaf tins. (alternately you can grease them and then line them with baking paper, and grease again)
Sift the flour, salt, soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves into a large bowl. Whisk in both sugars.
Beat the eggs, sunflower oil and vanilla extract together.
Stir the egg mixture and grated courgettes into the dry mixture, mixing until well combined. Stir in the walnuts. Divide between the two prepared loaf tins.
Bake in the heated oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the loaves comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes or so before turning them out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Delicious toasted and served warm with some cold butter.