Just now, as September begins, the vegetable patch is at its most productive. The beans, the cabbages, the tomatoes, the new potatoes…… It’s all so very satisfying…apart from one thing. Courgettes. They never give up.
It’s a far cry from a few weeks ago, when the flamboyant yellow flowers first announced the appearance of just a few of those tiny delicately flavoured green fingers, waiting to be celebrated as the centrepiece of a light summer meal. Exciting times.
Now they’ve become something of a trial. Day after day we courgette-farmers haul dozens of the things back to the kitchen. We comb recipe books and scour the net, seeking yet more inspiration. I think we have to support each other. It’s time for every blogger with a veg. patch or allotment to offer inspiration to us all. Even if you normally write about politics, music or the vagaries of the fashion industry, you and your ideas are needed as a service to the whole courgette-growing-community.
Here’s a recipe to start things off. This dish is good as part of an Indian-style meal, or as a complement to, say, simply grilled meat.
Courgettes cooked in pickling spices: a recipe from Hyderabad.
2 tablespoons oil or ghee
I tablespoon pickling spices
½ tablespoon ground turmeric
½ tablespoon chilli powder
½ tablespoon ground coriander
2 large tomatoes, skinned and chopped
450 g. courgettes, diced
Chunk of fresh ginger, grated
2 green chillies, finely chopped
½ tablespoon Kashmiri masala
I tablespoon fresh coriander
Heat the oil in a deep pan and temper with the pickling spices. Reduce the heat and add the turmeric, chilli and ground coriander. Sauté for one minute and add the tomatoes. When the mixture has thickened, add the courgettes and season to taste. Cook till the courgettes are soft. Just before the end of cooking time, add the ginger, chillies and Kashmiri masala. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve.
Both the pickling spices and Kashmiri masala can be made in batches and used as required. They’re useful additions to the store cupboard if you enjoy Indian food.
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon black cumin seeds
1 tablespoon kalonji
½ tablespoon mustard seeds
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 tablespoon cardamom seeds
6 bay leaves
2 tablespoons mace
Grind to a powder and keep in an airtight container
Actually, though, we’ve just come back from a week in Italy. That’s far more exciting, so…….to be continued in our next