It’s that time of year when courgettes in the garden turn into marrows overnight. Here’s a great recipe to use them up in a deliciously moist chocolate cake.
For the cake:
350g self-raising flour
- 50g cocoa powder
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 175ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 375g golden caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 500ml grated courgettes (measure by volume in a measuring jug, but it’s about 2 medium courgettes; if using 1 overgrown one, peel first and take out seeds)
- 140g toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
For the icing:
- 200g dark chocolate, chopped
- 100ml double cream
- Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, mixed spice and 1 tsp salt. In another bowl, combine the olive oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla essence and grated courgette. Mix the dry and wet mixture until just combined, then fold in the toasted hazelnuts. Line a 24cm cake tin with greaseproof paper, then pour in your mixture. Bake for about 40-50 mins, or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
- To make the icing, place the chocolate in a bowl and bring cream to the boil in a saucepan. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until completely smooth and melted. Leave the icing to cool slightly and thicken, then spread it over the cake so it’s covered and the icing starts to drip down the sides. Serve with a cup of tea or enjoy as a pud with a spoonful of something creamy.
(Recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine)
Beetroot with Green Beans and Halloumi (Cranks recipe)
275g baby beetroot, cooked
3 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp cumin seeds
125g green beans
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
dash of tabasco
salt and freshly ground pepper
Slice the beetroot and halloumi into 1cm thck strips.
Heat oil in frying pan. Fry both for about 2 minutes until the halloumi is golden on the outside and soft in the middle.
Add the cumin seeds towards the end and remove as soon as they start to darken.
Meanwhile, blanch the green beans until tender, then refresh under cold running water.
Mix the vinegar, tabasco, salt and pepper in a bowl to make a dressing, then add all the other ingredients and mix gently.
Serve with chunks of warm bread.
With a new allotment came an old and fully burdened apple tree. An ‘eater’ of unknown variety with apples that clearly will not store very long. Par-boiling apple segments in a sugar syrup and storing in jars has used some of them up, a long preparation time as they are small, need peeling and coring. More will be dried in the oven for over one hour ant 200c, do not need peeling and coring, but only last about a month in the fridge. What to do with the rest … Apple Jelly.
Use as a spread, for tarts, or sauces.
For every 2 kg of apples, up to 1 litre water, up to 500 g of sugar, rind and juice of one lemon.
Wash the apples and cut out the rough or bruised bites, then roughly chop. No need to core or peel (contains pectin needed to set the jelly)
Place half the water and lemon in a pan, add the chopped apples. Add more water if necessary, to stop scorching.
Bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Either use a sterilised muslin or a large fine sieve and pour the cooked fruit to trap the juice. Gently push the pulp to extract the juice.
Measure the apple liquor and pour into a deep saucepan, add half the sugar*, add lemon juice to taste.
Gently heat the saucepan, stirring frequently, ensure the sugar has dissolved before bring to boil.
Boil for 5 minutes until testing for a set, adding sugar to taste.
The set test involves dipping a wooden spoon in the liquor, taking the spoon away from the saucepan for about one minute, then tilt the spoon. If the last drops form a sticky thread the jelly is starting to set. If not, boil for a few more minutes and try again.
Pour into warm sterilised jars with plastic tops or cellophane tops secured with a rubber band.
Label and store in a dark dry place.
P.S. Apple jelly is generally made with ‘cooking’ apples. *Most recipes are too sweet for my taste, sugar can always be added, never taken away.