Plot to Pot

  • Aaaaaaaargh! Recipe for too many courgettes!

    Dear Deidre, Recipe suggestion please!  I have too many courgettes!  I mean so many that even my neighbours pretend to be out when I stagger up to their drive under the weight of the copious courgettes.  What am I to do?  No one likes marrows (well sometimes but if I can't give away courgettes I won't be welcome with marrow!)  Help - Anon

    If you have the same problems as our friend Anon then do not fear I have two excellent courgette recipes for you.  The first is for dainty little Courgette Appetizers and the second is for Stuffed Courgette Flowers. (I also have a marrow recipe but will save that for another day!)

    Courgette Appetizers

    These appetizers can either be used as a starter or as a canapé, you can make them into little mouthfuls or you can make them larger and use a knife and fork to eat them. They are healthy – gluten free – and it is another brilliant way to use up any excess courgettes. Here we have used mint but you could try other herbs if you so wish.

    Preparation: 15 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes Serves: 6 as a starter


    2 medium sized courgettes

    6oz (175g) goats cheese

    Handful of mint leaves

    Olive oil

    A sprinkle of salt

    Recipe Directions:

    1. With a potato peeler or even a cheese slicer, peel thick ribbons of courgette, making a courgette rasher, like bacon.
    2. Chop the mint leaves into little bits.
    3. Slice the goats cheese into a size that will fit well when wound up by the courgette rasher.
    4. Get the cheese, a sprinkle of mint and wrap the courgette around it. You may want to hold it together with a cocktail stick.
    5. Put in a baking tray and drizzle or brush a little olive oil over it. Sprinkle a little salt on top too.
    6. Put in a medium oven for 10 minutes until slightly browned and the cheese has melted.

    Stuffed Courgette/Squash Flowers (Deep Fried)

    You can only really make these canapé’s/starters when the courgettes and squashes are in flower. You will also find it almost impossible to buy the flowers anywhere, so they really do have to come from your own garden. It is just a question of how many you can get in one go to make them worth cooking.

    Preparation: 20 minutes Cooking time: 10 – 15 minutes Serves: 6


    12 courgette/squash flowers

    1 medium courgette

    1 tbsp olive oil

    Small handful of basil or thyme

    4oz (100g) feta, goats or mozzarella cheese

    Salt and pepper

    About 2pts (1ltr) of sunflower oil for frying in

    1 lemon

    3oz (75g) plain flour

    Pinch of salt

    1 egg yolk

    6floz (175ml) ice-cold fizzy water or beer!

    Recipe Directions:

    1. Make the batter first by sifting the flour and salt into a bowl, make a well in the flour, then add the egg yolk and the fizzy water/beer.
    2. Whisk it all up until it is smooth and place in the fridge until needed.
    3. Put the sunflower oil into a deep pan for frying, it must be about 8cm (4”) deep, and heat.
    4. Check the courgettes flowers for unwanted insects and remove the pistils, as they are very bitter.
    5. Make the filling for the flowers:• Pour a tbsp of olive oil into a frying pan. Add grated courgettes and fry them until soft.• Chop the cheese into little bits and put into a bowl.• Finely chop the basil or thyme whichever herb you choose and add this to the cheese.• Add the fried courgette and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Mix it up.• Spoon this into the courgette flowers. Coat the flowers with batter.
    6. Immediately place the gooey ‘things’ into the very hot pan of oil for approximately 1 – 2 minutes until golden brown.
    7. Take them out of the oil with a slotted spoon and let them sit on some kitchen paper to cool and drain off the fat for about 3 – 5 minutes.
    8. Cut the lemon into wedges to serve alongside the still hot stuffed flowers.

    For a printable pdf for both of these recipes please click Courgette Recipes

  • How to make Mulled Pears

    To Bottle or not to bottle...
    It is all very well enjoying the fruits of the garden during the summer months, but of course you can enjoy them in the winter as well by storing them, this is a great last minute pudding, all you have to do is to take out of the cupboard and serve it either warm or cold.  Mulled pears are delicious with vanilla ice cream, cream or crème fraîche.

    Preparation: 20 minutes | Cooling time: 40 minutes | Serves: 8


    Haxnicks Garden Products can be brought online
    4lbs (1.8kg) firm pears
    1 orange
    1 lemon
    2 cinnamon sticks
    12 cloves
    5cm (2") piece of fresh root ginger
    11 oz (300g) granulated sugar
    1 bottle of fruity red wine - top this up with water if necessary



     Ø  Peel the pears, but keep their stalks.

     Ø  Peel the rinds of the lemon and orange using a potato peeler.

    To Bottle:       

    1.  Stuff as many pears as you can into your storage bottles.
    2. Divide the spices and rinds between the bottles.
    3. Put the sugar and wine into a pan and heat up on a low heat until all the sugar has been dissolved. Then boil for 5 minutes.
    4. Pour the wine syrup into the jars, completely covering the pears.
    5. Secure the lids.
    6. Put into the oven and cook for about 30 minutes at 100˚C/200˚F/gas mark 3
    7. Take the jars out, watch out because they are extremely hot.

    When they are cool check that the seal on the jars has worked.  You can do this by gently trying to open the jar, if it is not possible they are sealed.

    Not to Bottle:

    1. Place all the pears into a pan, add the spices sugar and wine.
    2. Put a lid on.
    3. Simmer the pears for approximately 20 minutes.
    4. When the pears are cooked, you can either serve them hot or let them cool.

    'Plot to Pot' is out now - available online and in garden centres and bookshops (check with our stockists first).

    Madeleine Cardozo's Plot to Pot
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