Sunday, 29 August 2010

Courgette Relish

Still trying to find something to make with your excess courgettes?

We decided to be a little more organized and make relish this year, but all the recipes we found either contained something we didn't like or had enough ingredients to feed a small army. So we just tweaked lots of different recipes to fit our needs. We made it with courgette, red onion and pepper and fresh sweetcorn as my husband loves sweetcorn relish. It looked a lovely colour when we started.

The children have really been enjoying all the harvesting, working out new recipes to try and then seeing if they work. The cooking smells from the kitchen have been amazing too. This one was quite successful and I have been having trouble keeping it to mature (one jar completely gone already).

This is the finished relish, still kept it's lovely colour too.

    I love cooking when everyone is in the kitchen helping, even the littlest  ones,(who make lots of mess) it makes the end product a real family concoction, where everyone has had a little input into making the recipe work. The best bit is ... my son has declared it the best relish EVER!

Recipe for the courgette relish.

-750g grated courgette and 1 finely chopped medium red onion.

put in a bowl, sprinkle with salt (about 3tbsps), cover and leave overnight.
 in the morning drain, rinse and put in a large pan along with;

 -a chopped red pepper and the sweetcorn removed from a cob (recipe could easily take 2 cobs though).

-about 325ml of cider vinegar, a large pinch of cayenne and a tbsp each of mustard powder, turmeric and cornflour.

-500g sugar.

bring to the boil and then simmer for about 45 mins until relish has reduced and thickened and put into your sterilized jars (about 2-3 depending on size).

you might want to add some of your favourite things instead of ours if you prefer, then just enjoy.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Garden Love

    We are not lucky enough as yet have an allotment, so my poor hard working husband has to fit as much as he can in our garden. We have been blessed with some good crops though, so we definitely owe the garden a little love. One of our best croppers has been our blackcurrant bush as you have seen in previous posts it has produced many fruits, at the moment it is in the middle of a second crop. Sometimes you get surprises, the plums below were picked today from our new plum tree, which must only be three foot tall, we certainly weren't expecting any plums from it this year.

    Not only is the garden good for growing things it has excellent educational potential for our children. Right from the start they have been involved in the seed selection, planting, care and harvesting, and they have enjoyed every minute (especially the eating). We still have the "bean in the jar" science experiment on the kitchen window ledge in spring, but this is because my husband gets a little concerned if my son pulls up the beans to look at the roots.

    They also love their bug hunts, but even this has advantages when the cabbage white caterpillars are on your brassicas and someone needs to pick them off. There is great excitement in the tomato bed too, as this year we decided to grow four different kinds of tomato just to see the different growing styles and tastes, two are pictured below the plum tomato and the marmande.

   So, I'd like to say thank-you to my garden, for the bountiful crops, for the education provided to my children, for the fun times, even for the frogs and toads that jump out of the undergrowth and scare me half to death and the abundant mini beasts that I've had thrust under my nose... to the chants of "WOW, Mum have you ever seen one of these?"
    How about you? I hope I'm not alone with the garden love thing.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Can one have too many courgettes?

       Well, it's that time of year again when the courgettes from our plants just keep on coming and everyone you meet gives you some more. I'm constantly thinking about what to make with them so they are not wasted... something new... that my courgette avoiding children may eat. This year I'm planning to make a courgette relish, courgette bread and I've even got a recipe for courgette cupcakes that I may consider, but while I was laying awake in the early hours of this morning ( yes, courgette induced insomnia) I thought I would try adding courgettes to something the children loved... cheese scones.

    I just used my usual cheese scone recipe and added grated courgette and amazingly all the children loved them and so did we. I recommend adding courgette to your own usual recipe for a slight change, especially if you have fussy children like mine who don't like too much change. They didn't mind when I added herbs to the recipe last week, that's what gave me the idea of trying to add the courgette too.

     In case you don't have a usual recipe here is my much simplified recipe;
8oz self-raising flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 2oz butter. Rub these together in a bowl. Add your chosen flavoring to taste approximately 2-3oz (more if you prefer).

   I doubled the ingredients for a larger batch, I put in a grated courgette and the cheese. Add enough milk gradually to bring the mixture together in a firm scone consistency probably about 1/4 pint. roll out shape or cut, I always add a quick brush of milk and a little cheese to the top to give it a crispy cheese topping. cook on 200C for about 15-20 mins. There you go, something simple, everyone knows how to make and the children ate them... definitely a bonus.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Blackcurrant ice cream

   I'm not one for really complicated recipes, I know they are much loved by food connoisseurs, but speaking as a busy mum the simpler the better for me, especially if I only have a few minutes spare to wow the kids.

   We have been making good use of the blackcurrants from the bush in our garden, which always has a very large crop every year. This is one of the many things we have made from our harvest.

  We used about 250g of blackcurrants, after washing and preparing they were liquidized with 3 tablespoons of juice (any type can be used apple, orange, or we have even used squash once) and sieve to get rid of any larger bits.

    Then you need to add icing sugar, how much is up to your taste. Blackcurrants are not very sweet so we added about 75g and stirred it in well. If you are using a sweeter fruit, you can use less icing sugar or none at all.

    Now for the creamy piece. we have used about 300ml of cream, and whipped it until it was quite firm.

    Then add the blackcurrant mixture to the cream and stir it in. The colour you get after this is amazing.

All that is left to do now is tip your mixture into a freezable tub, cover with cling film and put into the freezer.  It takes a few hours to freeze in my freezer but I have a big industrial thing, so keep checking it. I prefer to get it out when it's just scoop-able, or you could get it out half an hour before you want to eat it.

   My kids really love making this, I have to say I do too, it tastes incredible, and it is so simple and adaptable. My son loves this and he doesn't even like blackcurrants! He also said that this was his favourite ice cream.

   We have recently been thinking up some really exotic recipes using these same basic guidelines. The measurements here are just a rough guide as we tend to just throw it all in. Why not give it a try, see what flavours you can think of...