Seasonal local food recipe No.387 – Courgette loaf cake

Want something different to make with the glut of courgettes in your weekly veg box? This simple sponge loaf is recommended by Camel CSA expert grower Bridget Gould. It’s taken from BBC Good Food, which says: “The hidden veg keeps it moist and walnuts add crunch.”

Serves: 8

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: one hour

butter, for the tin
2 large eggs
125ml vegetable oil
85g soft brown sugar
350g courgettes, coarsely grated
1 tsp vanilla extract
300g plain flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
85g walnuts, roughly chopped
140g sultanas

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Butter and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, oil and sugar, then add the courgettes and vanilla.

In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients with a pinch of salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, then pour into the tin. Bake for 1 hr, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool, then serve, or freeze for up to 1 month.

Seasonal local food recipe No.385 – Anna Jones’ courgette and halloumi fritters with chilli and mint jam


This is a surprisingly tasty courgette fritter recipe that doesn’t contain any eggs. It’s from the Modern Cook vegetarian series in The Guardian. Anna says: “If you are vegan, you can replace the halloumi with two more courgettes.”

As there was some Camel CSA chilli and crab apple jelly left over in my fridge, I didn’t need to make the chilli jam.

Serves 4 (makes 16 fritters)

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

3 medium courgettes (about 400g)
1 packet halloumi (about 225g)
100g rice flour
100g plain or white spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch dried oregano
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil
Salad leaves, to serve

For the chilli jam
6 red chillies, finely sliced
6 tbsp red-wine vinegar
5 tbsp sugar
1 small bunch mint, leaves picked and finely chopped


Put all the chilli jam ingredients into a small pan and bring to a simmer for five to eight minutes, until the liquid has thickened and the chillies are soft and sticky.

Grate the courgette and halloumi. Mix the flours, baking powder, oregano and lemon zest in a large bowl. Add the grated courgette and halloumi, and mix well. Season well with salt and black pepper. If your batter looks too dry add a little milk or water until it is spoonable.

Heat a large heavy-based frying pan on a medium heat and add a generous drizzle of olive oil. Next add the batter – about two tablespoons for each fritter – and fry for a couple of minutes, until the edge is well-set, then flip and cook for another couple of minutes. Keep going until all your batter is used up – keep the cooked fritters warm in a low oven.

Serve with the chilli jam and salad leaves dressed with the lemon juice. Leftover fritters keep well in the fridge for several days – reheat in a 180C/350F/gas 4 oven for about 10 minutes. They’re also delicious cold!

Seasonal local food recipe No.331 – Flora’s famous courgette cake with lime and pistachio icing

This luscious teatime treat was recommended by a friend on our Facebook page in a conversation about courgette olive oil bread. It comes from Nigella Lawson’s classic How to be a Domestic Goddess, and is reproduced here thanks to Irish community gardening guru Dee Sewell of Greenside Up.

Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 8

60g sultanas, optional
250g courgettes (2-3), weighed before grating
2 large free range eggs
125ml organic rapeseed oil
150g caster sugar, sieved
225g self-raising flour
half teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
half teaspoon baking powder

lime curd for filling (buy in shop or make your own)
2 x 21cm sandwich tins, greased and lined

If you’re using sultanas, put them in a bowl and cover with warm water to plump them up.

Wipe the courgettes with kitchen towel (don’t peel them), then grate.  The coarse side of an ordinary grater is best as anything finer or smaller can make them mushy).  When the courgettes are grated turn them into a sieve over the sink to remove excess water.

Put the eggs, oil and sugar in a bowl and beat until creamy.  Sieve in the flour, bicarb and baking powder and continue to beat until well combined.  Now stir in the grated courgette and add the drained sultanas.

Equally pour the mixture into the tins and bake for 30 minutes until slightly browned and firm to the touch.  While they’re in the oven, make the icing. When baked, leave the cake in the tins on a rack for 5-10 mins then turn out and allow them to cool. Fill with lime curd and ice the top.

Lime and pistachio icing:
200g cream cheese
100g icing sugar, sieved
juice of 1 lime, or more to taste
2-3 tablespoons chopped pistachio nuts

Beat the cream cheese in a bowl until smooth, add the icing sugar, beating well to combine, then stir in the lime juice to taste. Sprinkle the pistachio nuts over the top.

Seasonal local food recipe No.330 – Zucchini (courgette) olive oil loaf cake


I fed this classic American loaf cake surreptitiously to a courgette-hating 11-year-old who gobbled it down and asked for a second slice. It really is delicious and ideal for summer outdoor eating.

This version from Claire Ptak of Violet Bakery in east London uses cardamom and ginger root, others prefer nutmeg and cinnamon.

It’s worth noting that our veg box courgettes don’t need salting to leach out the excess liquid, as they’re small and freshly picked. If you buy your vegetables from a supermarket though, beware.

Makes 1 900g loaf

Preparation time: 20 minutes (longer if you salt the grated courgettes)
Cooking time: 50 minutes

500g courgettes, grated
[1 tsp salt]
butter, for greasing
280g wholemeal flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp ground cardamom
200g olive oil
200g light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
70g knob of ginger, peeled and grated (around 50g after peeling)

[Grate the courgette and toss with the salt. Put in a colander over a bowl, and allow the liquid to leach from the courgettes for 3 hours, or overnight. You will lose around 150g in liquid.]

Set the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Butter and line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin with parchment.

Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and cardamom together. In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla and ginger together. Add the drained courgette. Stir in the dry ingredients, mixing until just incorporated.

Tip into the prepared loaf tin, and bake for around 50 minutes, or until the bread is golden and springs back to the touch.

Seasonal local food recipe No.286 – Hugh’s raw courgette and fennel with peanut dressing

This recipe is from my new book – River Cottage Light and Easy by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall.  It can be dished up as a light lunch or starter on its own or as a partner with some protein such as lentils, chickpeas, chicken or fish for something more substantial.

Serves 2, or 4 as a starter

Preparation time: 15-20 minutes

For the dressing
2 Tbs no sugar added peanut butter
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp runny honey
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

200g young small courgette
1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs
A little extra virgin rapeseed or olive oil
1 Tbs sunflower or pumpkin seeds or a mix of the two (optional)
A small handful of basil or mint leaves

To make the dressing, put all the ingredients in a bowl, adding salt and pepper as needed, bearing in mind that the nut butter will add salt.  Add 2 tablespoons water and whisk until you have a thick mixture, smooth except for any chunks of nut.  It should be loose enough to fall off the spoon in thick ribbons – you can whisk in a little more cold water, if necessary, to reach this consistency.

Top and tail the courgettes, then use a veg peeler to shave them lengthways into wafer-thin ribbons.  Put into a large bowl.  Trim the fennel, removing any tough and fibrous outer layers, saving a few of the fronds if there are any.  Slice the fennel, top to bottom, as thinly as you can, and add to the courgettes.

Trickle a little oil over the veg, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss lightly.  Scatter the seeds, if using, over the veg and spoon on the dressing.  Finish with roughly torn basil or mint leaves and fennel fronds if you have them, then serve.

Seasonal local food recipe No.283 – Courgette and spinach tian

I don’t know where the original recipe for this dish came from but it tastes good.  The quantities quoted are what I used tonight.  I served it with carrots though a salad would also be good.  It is also delicious cold.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

1 onion, finely chopped
1 Tbs olive oil
3 medium courgettes, chopped into small chunks
200 g spinach, shredded
50 g rice, cooked
100g cheddar cheese, grated
3 eggs, lightly beaten
freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs grated parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a large pan and gently fry the onion.  Once the onion is starting to go translucent add the chopped courgette and cook until the courgette has softened.  Add the spinach and cook until wilted.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the rice, cheddar cheese, pepper and eggs.  Mix well before pouring into a greased, shallow oven proof dish.  Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top.  Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C/ Gas Mark 6 for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Seasonal local food recipe No.280 – Jamie’s Couscous with grilled summer vegetables and loadsa herbs


This is from Jamie Oliver’s second book, the Return of the Naked Chef.

Serves 4

Preparation and cooking time: 30-40 minutes

255 g couscous
285 ml cold water
3 red peppers
1 handful asparagus, trimmed and peeled if need be
2 or 3 small firm courgettes, sliced
1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
2-4 fresh chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
3 good handfuls mixed fresh herbs (basil, coriander, mint, flat leaf parsley)
4 Tbs lemon juice
10 Tbs olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
red wine vinegar

Place the couscous in a bowl with the cold water.  This will start to soften the couscous and you will see the water disappear as it soaks in.  While the couscous is softening, blacken the peppers.  Either place the peppers directly on to the naked flame of a gas hob or blacken under the grill.  Both ways you need to blacken the peppers on all sides, so turn when need be.  When fully blackened cover in a bowl for 5 minutes until cool.  This will steam the skins and make peeling and deseeding easier.  Remove the skins and seeds and roughly chop.  On a very hot ridged grill pan, lightly char the asparagus and courgettes on both sides then toss them into the bowl with the couscous with the peppers, spring onions, chillies and ripped up herbs.  Mix well.  Make a dressing with the olive oil and lemon juice, add and toss well.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and a couple of dribbles of red wine vinegar for a slight twang.

Seasonal local food recipe No.242 – Jamie’s smashed courgette paste


This is from Jamie Oliver’s The Return of the Naked Chef.  I use it as a pasta sauce but it can also be used as a spread on toasted bread or as a ravioli filling if mixed with ricotta cheese.

Serves 6-8

Preparation time – 10 minutes
Cooking time: 35-40 minutes

olive oil
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1-2 small dried red chillies, crumbled
6-8 small courgettes roughly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 handful mint, chopped
juice of 1 lemon

Put a couple of lugs of olive oil in a hot pan and fry the garlic and chillies for a couple of minutes.  Throw in the courgettes and stir round to coat with the oil.  Turn the heat down to low and cover with a lid.  Give the pan a shake and a stir every 5 minutes for around 35 minutes, making sure the courgettes don’t catch on the bottom.  Cooking with the lid on will ensure a bit of moisture in the pan.  When the courgettes are really soft, with some chunky pieces and the rest almost pulped, remove from the heat and season to taste.  Add the mint and lemon juice and serve as required.  If using as a pasta sauce it is best to mix it with the cooked pasta before serving with grated parmesan cheese.

Seasonal local food recipe No.234 – River Cafe’s Grated zucchini


A really simple way of preparing courgettes as a side dish. It’s from the classic Italian collection of recipes in River Cafe Cook Book Easy. Quite frankly, it doesn’t make much difference if you omit the standing time.

Serves: 4
Preparation/cooking time: 15 minutes  (+30 mins standing time)

1kg courgettes
½ a nutmeg, grated
2 tbs parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tbs extra virgin oil
Salt and pepper

Wash the courgettes, dry, then grate them on the large holes of a cheese grater. Place in a colander, spread out and sprinkle with salt.

Leave for half an hour to release water, then wrap in a clean towel and wring out the water. Heat the olive oil in a thick-bottomed pan, add the courgettes, nutmeg and garlic, and season. Cover and cook on a medium heat for three minutes. Add the parsley and stir to combine. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Seasonal local food recipe No.201 – Hugh’s melon, cucumber and courgette salad with olives and red onion


Camel CSA’s growing skills don’t quite extend to melons, but there are some beautiful ones on sale at the moment at The Vine in Wadebridge. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in The Guardian suggests partnering them with cucumbers and courgettes in this side dish. Luckily we’ve got plenty of those.

He says: “All that delicate, juicy flesh is pointed up beautifully by the assertive flavours of olives and onion.”

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 5-10 minutes

½ large cucumber (about 200g)
1 medium courgette (about 200g)
¼ small charentais or galia melon (about 200g)
50g pitted black olives, such as kalamata
½ medium red onion, peeled and finely chopped
Juice of ½ small lemon
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Quarter the cucumber lengthways, scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon and slice into thin quarter-moons about 2mm thick. Put the slices in a large bowl. Top and tail the courgette, quarter it lengthways and cut into pieces the same thickness as the cucumber. Add to the bowl.

Scoop the seeds out of the melon. Carefully slice the melon off its skin, then cut it first lengthways into two to three slender wedges, then crosswise, as with the cucumber and courgette, and add to the bowl.

Roughly chop the olives and add to the salad with the onion. Squeeze over the lemon juice, trickle over the oil, give it a good seasoning and stir together gently. Taste, add more salt, pepper or lemon juice if needed, and serve straight away.

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