It’s that time of year. The kids are happily back at school - never have I felt more redundant as a mother than this morning: Pink (6) graciously allowed me to accompany her into the school grounds so I could work out where I would need to pick her up from,and the best I got from Blue (8 - "and 3/4, Mummy" ) was a brief 'high five', which I had to beg for, at the school gate - and the sun has shone gloriously all day. The tomatoes might actually ripen and we have been eating beans till they come out of our ears. It’s great that we have the space for a veg patch, it is true that eating veg that is straight out of the garden is more tasty than stuff you buy in a supermarket, and I get a huge amount of satisfaction from catching Pink, secreted among the beans, picking and eating straight from the plants. But the courgettes? Well, how are you coping?
Now, courgettes are part of my lifeblood. I can’t remember a summer from my childhood when my mum wasn’t lugging wheelbarrows of the things from tiny little ones to great big marrows either from the garden or latterly from the allotment, to the kitchen, and then sighing, hands on hips, before reaching for the pickling vinegar for another batch of chutney. The trouble with courgettes is that they are so easy to grow, too easy, perhaps – and they seduce you into planting more the next year. The flowers are lovely, those yellow trumpets, softer in colour than spring daffs, tempting me – although I’ve never quite managed it – to stuff them with cream cheese and fry them, and I love the plants – the way the grow. The courgettes themselves – well, I actually like a bit of courgette – steamed, griddled, stir fried, but the kids aren’t too keen. Every year, at seed time, the Husband and I have this debate about how many plants to grow. For
my neuroses our needs, one plant is
not enough, but two is too many. What to do what to do?? This year, we have
just the one plant. I do feel like I have missed out a bit, that my life has
been slightly less stressful rich for not having to constantly think of what
to do with another crop (heaven forbid I should – gasp – feed them to the
chickens), but on balance, perhaps one plant is enough.
Anyway, rather than bang on about the exciting discourses that take place in the Recipe Junkie household, I thought I would extol the virtues of courgette as cake ingredient. Yes, that’s right. The Goddess approves – How to be A Domestic Goddess features Flora’s Famous Courgette Cake which I have made a few times. Essentially a sandwich cake with a lime curd filling, and cream cheese topping, it’s very good, although better eaten a couple of days after making if you ask me, as the lime can be a little overpowering. Not, though because you need to hide the courgette flavour. Just as carrot cake doesn’t really taste carroty, courgette cakes don’t really taste courgettey – the veg just adds moistness. These cakes made using eggs and oil are very easy, and good to bake with the kids who can help with whisking and grating with no risk that they butter won’t be creamed properly etc, and adding veg to cake is my idea of great compromise too – a bit like suggesting that jam doughnuts constitute one of your 5 a day because the jam has fruit in it...
So really, when you’re fed up of steaming, griddling, stir frying or, frankly, hiding your courgettes in any number of savoury recipes, why not bake a cake?
Courgette & Coconut Loaf Cake
Ingredients: 2 large eggs, 125ml vegetable oil, 85g soft brown sugar, 350g grated courgette, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 300 g plain flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp all spice ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda, ½ tsp baking powder, pinch of salt, 85g dessicated coconut, 140g sultanas
Pre-heat the oven to 1800C/1600fan/gas 4 and line a loaf tin (a 2lb one) with baking parchment
Method: Combine the dry ingredients (including coconut and sultanas), sieving flour & spice if you can be bothered, in a bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and sugar, then add in the grated courgette and vanilla.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then pour the mixture into the lined tin and bake until a skewer comes out clean. It took just over an hour, but it may take a little longer – you may need to cover the tin with foil to stop the top of the loaf scorching.
|Looks a little lumpy, granted, but I've always been a substance over form kinda gal|
Allow to cool in the tin, then eat.
This freezes well, so you could freeze whole (make 2??) or slice, wrap and freeze in anticipation of slipping delicious slices of loveliness into the lunchboxes over the forthcoming days. Or you could just eat it. We did.
Linking up here to Simple and in Season . Hopefully, if my tomatoes get going, I'll be back to add some more.