Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Courgettes

Like anyone else who grows them, we're enjoying a bumper harvest of courgettes.

I've been having lots of fried courgettes with salad.  I've fried them cut into circles, i've done lengthways slices. I've used oil,  I've dry fried.

When my dehydrator arrived,  I set about using it.

The first load of courgettes that I attempted to dry, were actually a bit too thinly cu (I used the 2mm blade on the processor) . They ended up like chewy rice paper.  I ate them all anyway.

The second load of courgettes were cut more thickly, I used the 4mm blade.  These came out much better. I ate some, and put some in an airtight glass  jar. Not kilner, what's the one with the rubber ring called?  Slipped my mind for now.  Anyway, despite being airtight, the quality of the courgettes deteriorated, and so I decided the next lot would be dried to a crisp.

I got distracted into drying some sage leaves, which took forever.  Eventually the dehydrator was free, so I loaded up some sliced bananas,   estimating that these would take 24 hours to dry to a crisp.    The three nearly-over-ripe bananas only took up a tray,  so I hand sliced some courgettes for another tray.  And then, because I had some leftover, I put mushrooms on a third tray.  To see what would happen, I left the mushrooms whole.

The mushrooms were dry after about 15 hours.   The courgettes and bananas are still going.

So, I decided to make a courgette and lemon drizzle cake.   300g of courgette sounded like a lot, but was actually only one very large courgette.    I found a recipe online. I read the feedback both good and bad, and I made some adaptations.  I made the cake.

It was lovely.

Even DH, who doesn't eat vegetables,  ate it and commented favourably.  He's not known for saying things just to be polite,  so I was very pleased.  I've typed up the recipe including my alterations,  and put it in my recipe folder.

Here's the recipe - I used a mixer, so it was very easy. 

COURGETTE AND LEMON DRIZZLE CAKE wth CREAM CHEESE and LEMON FROSTING
INGREDIENTS
For the Cake                      
200g butter, at room temp   
3 eggs

300g coarsely grated courgettes
(squeeze out as much  water  as possible. I spread on a clean teatowel, roll up, squeeze hard)
1 tablespoon lemon juice                                                                                        
zest of 2 lemons
1 tsp poppy seed (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract

100g self raising flour
100g plain wholemeal flour
1stp baking powder             
1/4 tspn salt                                                                          

For the Drizzle          
25g Icing sugar
1 tblspn lemon juice

For the Frosting
60g Icing sugar
50g butter
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tbslpns lemon juice
250g Full Fat cream cheese (Philadelphia is perfect)

A few poppy seeds to decorate
Lemon zest to decorate

Preparation
Grease and line 2 x 7inch sandwich tins
Preheat oven to 180 degrees (160 Fan), Gas Mark 4

 METHOD
Make the Cakes:
1. Beat/ butter and sugar together until smooth
2. Lightly beat eggs, then add a bit at a time to the beaten butter/sugar mixture, beating in between. Too much too quickly, will curdle
3. Add (squeezed) courgettes, poppy seeds, lemon juice and lemon zest  to mixture and beat in
4. Sift the flours, baking powder and salt into the mixture, stir to incorporate.
5. Spoon mixture into prepared cake tins. Level.  Cook until browned and a skewer comes out clean (min 25 mins, mine took 40 mins)
6. Remove from oven and leave in tins for 15 mins.
Meanwhile, make the drizzle
7. Mix the icing sugar and lemon juice together.    
8. Turn the cakes out of the tins, prick all over with a cocktail stick or large skewer, and spread the drizzle over.
9. Leave cakes to cool completely
Make the Frosting
1.   Sift icing sugar into a bowl, add butter, and cream well.
2.   Add the lemon zest and juice, and beat briefly
3.   Add the soft cheese and beat until combined and fluffy. Do not overbeat - if you do the mixture will split and go runny
Sandwiching the Cakes and Frosting
1.   When the cakes are cold, put one layer of cake on a serving plate. Spread with half (or just under) of the frosting
2.   Put the second sandwich on, and spread the remainder of the frosting over the top.
3.   Sprinkle a few poppy seeds and/or lemon zest to decorate

 What do you do with your courgettes?

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