CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today CLICK HERE

Courgettes: how to slice, dice and grow them

PUBLISHED: 15:15 12 September 2016 | UPDATED: 15:15 12 September 2016

Courgettes for Tim Maddams column

Courgettes for Tim Maddams column

zeleno

Don’t run away from neighbours offering you buckets of courgettes; instead, embrace the summer glut, says chef Tim Maddams

If like me you are somewhat shoddy on the horticulture front you may be labouring under the impression that you can’t grow anything. Believe me, you can definitely grow one thing: courgettes. Get a couple of plug plants from the local garden centre, chuck a load of grass cuttings in the bottom half of an old dustbin, top up with peat free organic compost, stick the plants in, keep the slugs off and away you go. There are only two issues the courgette grower is likely to encounter: 1 powdery mildew and 2 far too many courgettes. A little diluted milk sprayed over the leaves will sort the former, but the latter requires a little more thought.

Firstly, you cannot do with an old courgette what you can do with a younger one and vice versa, though both have their perfect uses and there are quite a few in between stages too. The first thing I would say is fill your boots on the young ones as much as you like. I love them when they’re about five inches long with the flower still fresh at the end. I often just slice these fresh little beauties, including the flowers, into 10p coin thick slices, then dress the whole shebang with some lemon and olive oil, add a little fresh chopped fennel frond and season well before serving up as a side or garnish to another dish. The same will be very tasty tossed through some fresh pasta with a little garlic in there to warm things up.

Once the plants begin to get ahead of you things very quickly get out of hand. Even if you don’t grow your own you will know when this happens as people will begin accosting you at the school gates, on the drive, over the fence and even at the pub, demanding that you take the fantastic gift of a couple of kilos of homegrown courgettes off their hands. They are doing you a favour, honestly.

Courgettes of a medium size that are still quite young and very fresh make excellent curry and are even good grated into cake mix the same as you might a carrot for a carrot cake and various themes on these recipes can be found online. I am a big fan of a courgette ‘pakora’ or spicy fritter and often resort to this method for using up a glut. Simply make up a nice spicy mixture of gram flour, black onion seeds, turmeric, chilli flakes, ground cumin and coriander and away you go.

The best ever in the whole world thing you can do with courgettes though is to slice them up, lots of them, often a kilo or two at a time and in a very large casserole-type pan get them going with more olive oil than you think can possibly be healthy. Add a good tablespoon of chopped garlic, and a teaspoon or so each of chopped thyme and rosemary. Cook this out on the stove for at least an hour. It will look as though it has gone wrong. It will turn to mush. It will break your heart and argue with everything you think you know about cooking veg, then, slowly, it will make you fall in love. Adding salt and pepper or a few chilli flakes if you prefer will cement the relationship and before you know it you will be singing the praises of slow cooked courgettes to all your friends and actively seeking out those folk with too many courgettes rather than attempting to blank them or hiding behind the sofa when you see them coming up the road.

Served warm on toast or with pasta they really love a bit of mint and a touch of cheese. They can be cooled and used as a sandwich filling or even add a couple of beaten eggs and bake in the oven for a very fine courgette frittata.

So many ideas, so little time, yet so many courgettes. Enjoy.

Former head chef at River Cottage, Tim is a private chef, author, teacher, presenter and founder of Hall and Hearty rural supper club scheme. timmaddams.com

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Homes & Gardens

Thursday, November 22, 2018

We’ve spoken to the New Continental Hotel in Plymouth to find out why they think a weekend or city break in Devon is perfect for families, couples and everyone else!

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

NATALIE MILLAR-PARTRIDGE relaxes at a family-run Dartmoor retreat where the emphasis is on the glorious environment it sits in

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Ex-Chelsea footballer Colin Lee came home to Devon and built an incredible multi-million pound waterside house. CHRISSY HARRIS takes a look around

Read more
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

As we head into Autumn, the change in season is all around us. From the leaves on the trees turning burnt orange and fiery red, to dark mornings and nights bookending our days. As we put the clocks back an hour to battle the darkness, here’s some top tips on how you can keep your home warm and costs down this Autumn.

Read more
Monday, September 17, 2018

Green, renewable sources of energy are becoming more and more popular for domestic use. We talk to Jay-Dee Williams at Energie about thermodynamic solar panels: the fuel efficient, cost-effective way to heat the water in your home

Read more
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Fig Tree Court is a development of 14 apartments in Tiverton for retired and semi- retired over-55s with gorgeous views over the Grand Western Canal

Read more
Friday, August 31, 2018

Rural energy provider, Calor, gives some top tips for homeowners wanting to make their houses cosy and warm in time for the colder months.

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Converting a crumbling barn into a luxury bolthole takes some doing. Chrissy Harris went to see the results of an ambitious family project | Photos: Rob Coombe

Read more
Friday, August 3, 2018

From a hot tub Land Rover to a Romany caravan, Claire Saul picks out 7 Devon holiday lets that make hot topics for conversation

Read more
Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Two former city dwellers have found peace, quiet and a stunning home in an East Devon village. CHRISSY HARRIS went to visit The Old Rectory in Plymtree

Read more
Monday, July 9, 2018

The redevelopment of some rural Devon barns has unearthed a very unique link with our greatest statesman

Read more
Sunday, July 1, 2018

Residential property company heylo recently signed the Armed Forces Covenant, pledging its commitment to fair treatment and support to the Armed Forces community, including regulars, reserves, veterans and their families. The signing took place in a ceremony held at Wellington Barracks

Read more
Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A creative couple with a passion for nature took on a derelict farmhouse in North Devon and used it to inspire their life’s work. CHRISSY HARRIS went to find out more | Photos: Matt Austin

Read more
Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The luxury tree top escape is nestled in the grounds of The Fox & Hounds Country Hotel in the North Devon countryside

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy



Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search