Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Moar courgettes

The season is nearly over and the plan hasn't been very well adhered to. Before it's too late here is my truly favourite way to make a courgette edible and fit for friends and that's griddled.

courgettes sliced

It's barely a recipe, cut your courgettes into neat slices however you think is most attractive. Don't use any that are too seedy if looks are important, guests expected or anything like that because they tend to fall apart during cooking but otherwise any courgette that still qualifies for the name and hasn't become a marrow will do nicely.

courgettes on the griddle

Get the griddle nice and hot and brush a little oil on one side of each courgette slice, which is then placed oil side down on the hot pan. Leave them, probably for several minutes (reduce the heat under the griddle if necessary) until there's a really nice set of toasty lines on a test piece then lightly oil the uncooked sides and turn them over to repeat the cooking on the second side. I told you this was easy.

courgettes dressed and ready to go

Arrange on your serving dish and dress to taste. A really garlicky lemon dressing is delicious but I made a classic French dressing for these with added grainy mustard. It's your choice.

I have a couple more courgette recipes waiting around, personal favourites not trials from elsewhere, for soup and a marrow ginger jam but who knows when they'll appear. Bon appetit.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Ketchup catchup

I haven't quite finished with courgettes yet, and I'm sure I'll miss them when they're gone but I've been dealing with another rather more welcome glut; of tomatoes. There were several tomato ketchup / sauce recipes on the blog now archived and this one from 2008 is typical of the recipe I've been using this time.

First published 3/9/2008 A load of balls
balls up

Tonight's dinner was such a failure that I really didn't want to share it but decided in the interests of painful truth and transparency to admit that once in a while I make a small error, sometimes, maybe, a bit.

If I were to tell you how I made these I'd have to kill you but if you're determined to have a go set your search engine for Bondas, for it was these delectable treats I based my disaster upon. My advice? Don't try to use up leftovers, it'll only end in tears.

However, having made my supper I ate it and what made that possible was the coating of sweet spicy tomato sauce I poured over the deep fried lumps while they were still hot.

In fact, I've spent a long time working on this sauce or ketchup or even, if you like, tomato jam as part of the autumn task of preserving the tomato crop for winter.

It's a lot of work for a scant 800ml* of sauce but the flavour is good. If you have a lot of tomatoes, or they're cheap at the market give it a go. You have only most of the day to lose.

Sweetly Hot Tomato Ketchup.

2kg tomatoes, green stems and bad parts removed.
25g or so fresh ginger root, grated.
4 or 5 cloves
Cinnamon stick, about 4 cm.
Dried red chillies, to taste. I used three.
4 cloves garlic, crushed.
15g salt

250g sugar (white is fine)
250ml 6% vinegar (I used a red wine version because I'm in France but white malt would do)

Put everything except the sugar and vinegar in a pan, put the lid on and bring to a simmer over a gentle heat for 45 minutes or so. The tomatoes will release their juice and cook in it. Allow to cool with the lid on the pan.

Run the whole lot through a mouli or food mill (or press through a fine sieve) to remove the tomato skins, lumpy bits and spices. You will have a quantity of thin, flavoured tomato juice.

In a cleaned pan, put the juice, sugar and vinegar and bring back to simmer. Stirring frequently, allow to reduce until the spoon leaves a short lived clean line on the bottom of the pan after a straight stroke. The sauce should now be about the thickness of ketchup. This may take a couple of hours or more. If the heat is too high and your attention is distracted it will probably burn. Bottle into hot sterilised jars and seal with vinegar proof lids immediately. Should keep for a year but probably won't as it gets eaten very quickly once opened.

* It might not have been quite such a meagre yield had I not raided the pan to douse my Bondas, but a girl has to eat.