Courgette Cake with cream cheese icing

Maison Travers

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This is a wonderful, light anytime cake that’s not too sweet. Excellent way to use up all those giant courgettes from the garden!

It can be eaten plain or with a cream cheese lemon frosting, which bumps it up to the next level.

Ingredients:

  • 200g (7 oz) grated courgette
  • 150g (5 oz) caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 125ml (4 fl oz) vegetable oil
  • 200g (7 oz) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 8 walnuts, chopped roughly

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 160C / 325F
Grease a loaf tin
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, lemon zest and walnuts
Stir the flour mixture into the courgette mixture just until blended
Pour the batter into…

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Stuffed courgette

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These stuffed courgettes are typical fare in France and especially in the South of France. There are numerous recipes for these famous stuffed vegetables, but this is one of my favourites. As we enter summer here in the northern hemisphere, we are starting to see all the typical summer vegetables start to arrive at the local weekly markets and courgettes are one of the most abundant and my favourites. I have used round courgettes here but you can use large beefsteak tomatoes, onions and aubergines too, it’s sometimes nice to stuff an assortment of vegetables this way, so your guests have a choice of which vegetable they prefer.

I made the stuffing in advance, assembled it all and popped it in the oven for 45 minutes once my lunch guests had arrived.

I used veal mince but you can use beef, pork sausage or ground chicken or even if you are vegetarian, omit the meat and add some cooked rice or quinoa in its place.

Serve these delicious stuffed vegetables with a green salad and a crusty baguette to mop up the juices and a glass of wine. voila – perfect, simple summer lunch.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 round courgettes
1 tablespoon olive oil
400g / 15oz ground veal
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 red or yellow pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 180C / 360F
Cut the tops off the courgettes, keeping them to use as lids and using a pointed spoon, hollow out the centres of the courgettes and keep the flesh
Place the courgettes in a baking dish and set aside
Heat some oil over medium heat in a sauté pan
Add the onions and peppers and cook until soft and translucent
Add the garlic, courgette flesh, tomatoes and meat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes
Add salt, pepper, cumin and herbs
Spoon the mixture into the courgettes and place the tops back on top of the courgettes Drizzle a little olive oil over and around the stuffed vegetables and bake for 45 minutes, or until well browned and the vegetables are soft, but still holding their shape
Serve hot or at room temperature
Enjoy!

Keralan chicken curry with chillies and coconut milk

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Kerala, located on the palm-fringed coast of South West India, has a very distinctive cooking style which reflects its verdant, tropical climate. Coconuts are abundant there and many recipes therefore call for the addition of coconut milk. The use of spices are generous yet not hot, rather very flavourful.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt, lightly whisked
  • 1kg / 2lbs chicken on the bone, skinned and jointed
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 green birds eye chillies, slit length-ways
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup / 150g tomatoes, pureed to a smooth paste
  • 1/2 cup / 125ml water
  • 1/2 cup / 125ml thick coconut milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped coriander, to garnish

For the paste

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2.5cm / 1″ piece ginger, roughly chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 4 dried whole kashmiri red chillies (or any dried mild chillies)
  • 2 heaped tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp black peppercorn
  • 5 green cardamom pods, seeds only

Preparation:

Put the turmeric, yogurt and a pinch of salt in a bowl and mix well
Add the chicken pieces and leave to marinate for about an hour
Meanwhile, make the paste
Place a sauté pan over a low heat and add oil, followed by ginger and garlic
Sauté for about a minute, then add all the paste ingredients and continue to cook for 5-6 minutes until lightly coloured
Leave to cool, then put the mixture in a blender, add 50-70ml water and blitz to a fine paste
Set aside
Heat a heavy-bottomed non-stick pan over medium heat and add the 3 tbsp of oil
Add the birds eye chillies, letting them sizzle for a few seconds
Add the onion and cook until golden brown, about 8 minutes
Pour in the pureed tomatoes and stir well, cooking for 3 minutes
Add the spice paste and sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring well, until the sauce thickens slightly
Increase the heat slightly and add the marinated chicken pieces, stirring well to coat them with the spice paste
Fry for 4 minutes until lightly coloured
Add the water and season to taste
Simmer, covered, for 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through
Add the coconut milk, stir well and simmer for a further 5-7 minutes or until the sauce is slightly thickened
Garnish with chilli flakes or coriander and serve with rice and or poppadoms and chutney
Enjoy!