You may have gathered from the previous couple of posts that I have quite a lot of courgette and marrow to get through! I rather like having a glut of a fruit or vegetable because it tends to lead to the invention or discovery of new and exciting recipes.
I found this recipe in one of my mother’s 1970’s cookery books. I was a little sceptical but thought I would give it a go – it’s delicious, my new favourite thing! The cooked marrow and egg makes a kind of egg custard, and the nutmeg gave it a wonderfully autumnal feel which reminded me a little of American pumpkin pie (although friends who tried it thought it was apple!). I have made it a couple of times now and intend to make it a few more times as I try to get to the bottom of the pile of courgettes and marrows.
I find that older recipes tend to assume that you know what you are doing, so I add the following clarifications:
You can buy shortcrust pastry but it is pretty easy to make. I tend to use a recipe from another of my mum’s old books, where the proportions are 8oz flour, 4oz fat (half lard half margarine is best) and 2 tablespoons of water. I am very lazy and bung it in a food processor; this time I was even more lazy because Steve made too much pastry the previous day (he is renowned for his pies).
It works best if the marrow is mashed while it is in a colander or sieve, so as to get as much liquid out of it as possible. The first time I made it it didn’t look like it would set; I took some beaten egg, added some more sugar and nutmeg and put this as a layer on top of the tart and cooked it for another five to ten minutes which rescued it nicely.
The recipe doesn’t say what to do with the sugar; I sprinkled demerara sugar on top of the pie which made it nice and caramelised.
I used quite a small, deep dish because I like thick flan filling; this is a matter of taste.
Ahh marrows – if you have one you have a hundred! I have inherited my mother’s glut of courgettes and marrows because she is away on holiday (not that she would have had a hope of getting through them anyway) so I have been putting them in everything. Some I have ‘hidden’ – grated into curry sauce, thinly layered in lasagne, used to make an egg custard (no, really!). Others I have fried in butter and garlic as a delicious side dish, sometimes with added leeks or mushrooms. This one I stuffed.
Am I bored of courgettes and marrows yet? Certainly not!
There are many variations on stuffed marrow; I remember my mum stuffing them with minced beef when I was younger which was rather nice. This particular version was vegetarian, and included some good using up of leftovers as well eating into the glut of marrows.
I had cooked far too much rice to go with a curry I had made the previous day (the curry of course had grated courgette in it…), and also had a part pack of cooked lentils and kidney beans in the fridge from a previous meal. I added this to fried onion, garlic, fresh chillies and a couple of tomatoes to make the filling.
While the filling was cooking I cut a marrow in half longways (one marrow is more than enough for two people), scooped out the middle, and then put them skin-side-up on a lightly oiled baking tray. I then put them in the oven (preheated to about 180oC) for 10 to 15 minutes. When I had tasted and seasoned the filling I took the marrow out of the oven, turned them over, filled them and then covered with grated cheese. Another 20 minutes or so in the oven and they were done.
A sad thing about moving house at this time of year is that I didn’t get to harvest the vegetables which I had lovingly grown. Thankfully my mum came to visit last week bearing gifts from her own garden. This picture was taken about a week ago and I have just polished off the runner beans, and only have a few apples and over-sized courgettes (zucchini) left.
So how have I used this great abundance?
The courgettes I have of course stuffed – I will share this with you later in the week. I have also fried them in butter and garlic as a side-dish and ‘hidden’ them in other dishes, some sweet and some savoury.
The apples are delicious eaters and I have been munching on them as they are, as well as making rather wonderful cake with them.
The new potatoes were mostly a lovely variety called Pink Fur Apple; they are delicious just boiled and then smothered in butter and pepper, although I also had a go at roasting them.
… and of course everything has been served with runner beans (apart from the cake).
Emma told me that she really likes mozzarella and courgette (zucchini for you Aussies), so for our third cooking lesson we cooked pasta with chicken, mozzarella and courgette. However, we decided on tasting it that it was a bit too bland for our liking and just a little bit too dry. I asked Emma what she thought we could have done differently and she came up with adding some lemon juice and some paprika; she tried this adapted recipe a couple of days later and apparently it was delicious.
The recipe given below is with Emma’s amendments. Enjoy.
These amounts feed one person – double it if you are cooking for a friend.
1 cup of pasta
A tablespoon of olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon paprika (you can add more if you like)
1 tablespoon of Green pesto
½ Mozzarella ball
Salt and pepper
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan, add the chicken, paprika and a grind of pepper and fry it stirring frequently. Chop the courgette into rounds. When the chicken is sealed (cooked on the outside) add the courgette and lemon juice and continue to stir. Turn the heat down if the chicken starts to stick to the pan.
While the chicken is cooking boil the kettle for the pasta. Put the pasta in a saucepan with a grind of salt and a tiny splash of oil, add the boiling water and give it a little stir so that the pasta doesn’t stick together. Cook on a medium heat.
Next, slice the mozzarella ball into circles.
When the pasta is cooked drain it and then put it back in the saucepan along with the Pesto, give it a good stir.
Check that the chicken is cooked all the way through by taking the biggest piece and cutting it in half.
Put the pasta onto a plate, arrange the mozzarella on top, and then put the chicken and courgette on top of that – the heat from the pasta and the chicken will make the mozzarella nice and melty.