Where to begin with these complex vegatables [ or fuits!]?
The most familiar is probably Zucchini, the darling of Ratatouille - a mix of the French and Italian cuisine.
Wikipedia says - The zucchini or courgette is a summer squash which can reach nearly a meter in length, but which is usually harvested at half that size or less. Along with certain other squashes, it belongs to the species Cucurbita pepo. Zucchini can be dark or light green. A related hybrid, the golden zucchini, is a deep yellow or orange color.
In a culinary context, the zucchini is treated as a vegetable, which means it is usually cooked and presented as a savory dish or accompaniment. Botanically, however, the zucchini is an immature fruit, being the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower.
The flowers themselves = if harvested early and fresh can provide wonderfully tasty meals and appetisers:
My own favourites are Orelia F1 - although slower to grow, they are denser in texture and have a wonderful buttery taste but, readily absorb herb or spice flavours in many dishes.
Insert body text here ...
Marge’s Chicken and Courgette Curry
For 6 portions
6 leg portions or large thighs [I prefer these to the breast portions as they are more moist and succulent] – remove the skin and excess fat
3 large onions – peeled and finely sliced
1 bulb of garlic – peeled and chopped
2 square inches of fresh ginger – peeled and finely chopped
1 – 2 red chillies [ these depend on the type of chilli – some are hotter, some less so – I use Joe’s Long which are predictably of medium heat but, use according to your taste]
3 – 5 courgettes – depending on the size and type [I am not a fan of zucchini, which I find too wet and tasteless – I have used Orelia, - medium sized, much denser and drier and great for absorbing flavours]
1 – 2 tins tomato pulp – I use my own pulped tomato from last year’s crop
3 medium sized potatoes – I prefer the more floury potatoes as they will thicken the curry
3 medium to large onions – peeled and finely sliced
Spices – 1 large tsp turmeric, 1½ Tblsp ground cumin, 2 Tblsp ground coriander, 1 – 2 tsp Garam Masala [do be careful with the amount of Gram Masala you use, it can be quite dominant]
½ litre [ 1 pt ]chicken stock
Olive oil or ghee for frying
• Peel the garlic and ginger – chop it with the chilli [ I use a small Kenwood minichopper – absolutely brilliant for this job- there are other makes on the market]
• Peel and finely slice the onion.
• Wash and thinly slice the courgettes.
• Add enough ghee or olive to a large saucepan to sweat the onions – cook without colouring.
• Add the garlic/chilli/ginger mix and continue to sweat.
• In a large pan, add olive oil and seal the chicken portions then add them to the first pan.
• Sweat the sliced courgettes but don’t allow them to burn
• Add the dry spices but not the garam masala – it will be added later.
• Stir and allow to fry gently. Don’t allow the spices to burn or they will be bitter.
• Add the courgettes, stock and tomato pulp and bring to the boil.
• Add the potatoes – I choose to not peel my potatoes and to add a variety of tubors depending on the season.
• Simmer for 1 – 2 hours until the vegetables and chicken are tender and the juice has reduced.
• Check the seasoning – add salt and Garam Masala to taste.
• Serve with rice, chapattis, lemon wedges or pickled onions – finely slice a couple of medium onions and soak in malt or white vinegar for a couple of hours before serving – everyone I know loves this accompaniment.
Aine’s Courgette and Potato Pie
500-750g courgettes – green or gold
4 large potatoes
1 onion, sliced or diced
250g grated cheddar cheese
1 Tblsp olive oil
4 leaves of fresh sage or lemon thyme
1 portion of puff, flaky or rough puff pastry [use frozen or make your own]
salt and pepper
• Grate the courgettes (no need to peel) and then pat dry to remove excess water. If you are using
• Peal and then grate the potatoes
• Combine the courgettes, potatoes, onions, herbs, eggs, cheese with some salt and pepper in a large bowl and ensure thoroughly mixed
• Again drain off any excess water, though some water is fine as the potatoes will need it to cook
• Grease a pie dish and place the mixture in the dish
• Roll out the pastry and place over the top, trimming off any excess
• Bake for 50mins-1hour until the pastry is golden
• Serve. Great with a crisp salad and zesty dressing.