Thursday, January 6, 2011

Harvesting the spoils

Though it's construction is yet unfinished (I'm not nagging, darling husband, I swear!) our vege garden is out of control. We literally cannot keep on top of the broccoli and courgettes, and are partaking of reckless amounts of new potatoes every day. The celery and lettuce have turned into rabbit food, as no-one other than me will eat it, unless it's well camouflaged, and the beans and tomatoes are just a few days away.

We had a fabulous holiday over the new year in Queenstown, and returned to courgettes (are they meant to be called zucchinis? Or is that an Americanism? Must find out...) the size of small cats. And similar shapes, too - you don't see things like that in the store. What was IN that compost?! I have always been meaning to make a courgette cake, but paying for a vegetable that is to be used in a cake always felt wrong, in case it was hideous, so I figured if I tried it with some our excess crop, I wasn't wasting money or produce.

I adapted a recipe I found online, and it was fabulous!

Lemon Courgette Tea Cake

200g (7 oz) grated courgette
150g (5 oz) caster sugar
1 egg
125ml (4 fl oz) vegetable oil
200g (7 oz) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 lemon

Preparation method
1. Preheat oven to 160 C. Grease a loaf tin.

2. In a bowl, beat together the courgette, sugar, egg and oil. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder; stir in the cinnamon and lemon zest. Stir the flour mixture into the courgette mixture, adding the juice of half of the lemon and mix just until blended. Pour the batter into the prepared tin.

3. Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from heat and glaze with a mixture of lemon juice from the other half lemon and 1/4c sugar, warmed.

Am planning to attempt a gluten free chocolate and courgette brownie in the next day or two. Nag me if I forget!

I've also been chargrilling courgettes with other veges (experiencing some difficulty with this technique since our BBQ ignited itself a few months ago, but I'm not one to nag about getting things fixed / finished, as we know ;-))and layering them in pasta dishes. The kids aren't so fussed on veges overtly parading themselves amongst their beloved pasta, but as they are so starving and exhausted due to this fabulous summer weather, they eat them eventually.

I had a dabble with blanching and freezing some of the broccoli today too. Hope it works!

My greatest achievement today though, was making JAM! The kids and I managed to pick a full 2L icecream container full of raspberries this morning over at Mum and Dad's, in about 10 minutes, leaving loads to spare - mostly the tricky to get at ones, as those canes are scratchy! Actually that's a lie, I picked them, they ate them from the container while I bellowed and yelped and threatened them with dire consequences, before giving up and letting them feats their lucky wee selves silly on the spoils. With that many raspberries, we ended up with 5 and a half jars of jam. It was so easy and fun that I might make more tomorrow :D

Sophie was supposedly helping me make the labels, but when my back was turned, her paper squares hastily acquired horns, eyes and a mouth and were snipped and stuck together to form a giraffe. He lives in a cereal box and was not allowed to be stuck to any jam jars ever. A more domestic-typed goddess would make more labels, but I couldn't be faffed. Two will do!

Anyway, fresh bread with jam was consumed in copious quantities at tea time during our picnic on the lawn.

Really must post some bread recipes, too...

Here are a few holiday snaps of our camping trip to Queenstown:

Monkey on Daddy's back - with the coolest pair of shades around ;-)

On the Earnslaw on Lake Wakatipu

Family photo

Amazing sunset

Have I mentioned that I love our new camera?

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