If you are like me, right about now the courgettes in your garden or allotment are going nutso! Mine are ripening fast and furiously!!
It's just wonderful. I like to use them when they are fairly small and so we have been having courgettes in one form or another most days.
They are very versatile and generally speaking take on the flavour of whatever you happen to be cooking then with. We like them raw and in salads, or lightly sauteed until crispy tender with a bit of garlic . . . sprinkled with a bit of Parmesan . . . mmmm . . . mmmm . . . good!!
Cut into sticks or rounds and rolled in seasoned flour, then dipped in egg and coated in spicy breadcrumbs, they make excellent dippers!
I stog them into soups and lasagnas and casseroles!
My favourite thing to do with them though is to bake them into lovely muffins and loaves. They have the wonderful capacity to create wonderfully moist and tender loaves and muffins!
This is one of my best recipes, creating a moist and spicy loaf, chock full of toasted walnuts and sweet/tart dried cranberries! It's also very pretty with little green flecks and ruby morsels . . . almost festive in appearance. In fact, I keep small bags of grated courgettes in my freezer to use for this very type of thing when the winter winds begin to blow!
I hope that you'll try this and I hope that it becomes a favourite with you too!
*Courgette Loaf with Dried Cranberries and Toasted Walnuts*
Makes one 8 inch loaf
I like to use small courgettes for this, but if you have larger ones, just be sure to scoop our the seeds and discard. Moist, spicy and chock full of lovely dried cranberries and wanuts!
2 small courgettes (about 1 pound altogether), washed and ends trimmed off
10 ounces plain flour (2 cups)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
10 1/2 ounces caster sugar (1 1/2 cups)
6 TBS butter, melted and cooled
2 large free range eggs
1/4 cup of plain yoghurt
the juice of one half lemon
2 ounces toasted walnuts, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 small handfuls of dried cranberries
the juice of half a lemon
3 TBS caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark4. Butter an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf tin. Line with parchment paper. Set aside.
Grate the courgettes on the large holes of a box grater. Place into a clean cuptowel and squeeze as much moisture out as you can. Set aside.
Measure the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and allspice into a bowl. Whisk together well.
Measure the sugar, melted butter, eggs, yoghurt and lemon juice into a small bowl. Whisk together well. Using a rubber spatula, fold into the dry ingredients along with the grated courgettes, mixing only to combine. Gently fold in the nuts and cranberries. Spoon into the prepared baking dish.
Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, turning the pan around halfway through the baking time. It should be well risen, golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre should come out clean. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Stir the lemon juice and sugar together until the sugar dissolves. Remove the loaf from the pan and brush the lemon syrup all over, allowing it to soak in completely. Allow to cool on a wire rack for about 1 hour before serving.