The crops on the allotment are growing at full pace now and I’m increasingly laden with produce to bring home after each visit. The ratio of gardening to cooking and preserving starts to shift towards the end of summer and into autumn, and I suddenly find myself doing more work in the kitchen than I do on the plot.
After receiving so many courgettes (zucchini) in my exchange (see previous post), I’ve been busy researching recipes for this invincible little veg. So I thought I’d pass on a few of my culinary creations, and a few links to recipes in case it’s helpful.
First up is zucchini bread, or as I prefer to call it, courgette and lemon loaf.
Please follow the link here for the recipe I used. It makes 2 loaves which means you can use one straight away and either give the other one away or else pop it in the freezer for a later date. It’s a good way to get through a glut in one go. This is really comforting but the lemon zest gives it a nice lift. Treat it like malt loaf with a smear of butter or even cream cheese. Especially nice warm.
I also made …
Courgette and ricotta fritters using a recipe from here.
And mini caramelised onion and courgette tarts, perfect for popping into my allotment basket with a flask of tea for a half time snack. I didn’t really follow a recipe here, I’ve made tarts and quiches so often I know how to do them by heart, but they always end up slightly differently, and I’d never win any bake-off awards for perfection. They always look a little ‘rustic’ but as far as I’m concerned it’s the taste that matters unless you’re trying to impress Mr Hollywood. Inspiration was from here.
The next allotment visit involved a massive plum harvest. The most I’ve had from my tree in previous years is a couple of punnets worth, but this year it has gone bonkers and is literally dripping with fruit. I was worried that the birds and various other wildlife would get to the fruit before me, but I needn’t have worried. The entire wildlife population of Ely could gorge and there’d still be plenty.
So it’s back to the kitchen I go!
3 kilos worth (which is the contents of the paper bag and maybe a quarter of the basket above) went into making a dozen jars of jam. I had to cook it in 2 batches because my pan wasn’t big enough. It is absolutely delicious, similar to apricot jam, really light and tangy.
I also made an upside-down plum cake, filled a freezer bag with de-stoned fruit for future cakes and crumbles, and left the remains of the basket out for the neighbours to help themselves to.
I feel like a very greedy little squirrel with eyes bigger than her freezer capacity!
On a slightly downward note, I have blight on my tomatoes. I’m not that surprised really, I have taken my eyes off the tomato growing ball this year. I got lazy with the tying in and trimming and general tending that they need. I just didn’t have enough time this year, and they got congested. Some of the canes collapsed with the weight of the fruit and I guess they were susceptible to disease. But to be honest, I had such a lot of tomatoes last year, more than I could cope with, and they took a lot of time for me to preserve in various ways. Although I’ve used up my bottled tomatoes, I still have a lot of pasta sauces stashed away in the freezer from last summer. So it’s not the end of the world.
Also, it’s been a while since I last made green tomato chutney, so that’ll do nicely instead! My kitchen has never seen so much activity.
You can also find links to the above recipes, along with other ideas for using courgettes, plums, green tomatoes and more, on my Inspiring Recipes board on Pinterest here. Happy harvesting!