Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Tackling zucchini / courgette overload

With the courgette (zucchini) plants going into overdrive (I picked 1.2 kg this morning) I thought others down under might be in a similar situation, and looking for creative ways to use them up. My favourite way to use up a good amount of courgette (400g) is to whip up a batch of Dixiebelle's chocolate and zucchini brownies (non gluten free version with regular flour).

They are really delicious, and no-one every guesses that courgette is the main ingredient unless you tell them (love watching the look on their faces when that happens!). I use sunflower oil instead of coconut oil, and I normally make them with raspberries as I like the tart counterpoint to the rich dark sweetness of the cocoa. I've also reduced the sugar by half with no negative effects on either taste or texture, and I normally use brown sugar.

Today I made a batch but this time used dried cranberries (a generous handful or so) and they've turned out quite well. I still think raspberries are the best addition, but the cranberries are not bad at all. So do your taste buds a favour and make a batch soon. In fact it is almost worth growing a courgette just so you have the excuse :-)

Apologies to my northern hemisphere friends whose gardens are burried under the snow at the moment - I hope you thaw out soon!

Disclaimer: Dixibelle didn't put me up to this - in fact I don't know her in "real" life, but I enjoy her blog and she often posts great recipes 

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Aaah Nigel, you've done it again

My mum gave me Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries II for my birthday last week, and I've just cooked my first recipe from it - chocolate muscovado banana cake. Too delicious!

Cream125g butter and 235g muscovado sugar together (use dark brown if you can't get muscovado, but it is worth trying to find it as it really adds something extra to the taste and aroma).  Lightly beat 2 eggs and add in to the butter/sugar mix.

At this point I had a kitchen revelation when he said if it looks like it will curdle add in a spoon of the flour. Why has no one ever mentioned this before! I always have curdling at this step, but the flour trick worked a treat!

Mash 400g (peeled weight) bananas lightly (leave chunks) then mix in a teaspoon of vanilla. Chop 100g dark chocolate into smallish chunks, then fold gently into the butter/sugar mix, along with the bananas. Then fold in 250g of flour to which you've added 2 teaspoons of baking powder.

Into the oven at 180 for about 50 minutes in a lined loaf tin  - if a skewer comes out of the middle of the cake moist but clean then it's done. Cool in the tin for 15 mins before removing the cake to finish cooling - peel off the paper after another few minutes, then leave to cool.

It's fabulous on it's own, but I imagine it would also be divine lightly warmed with a dollop of thick cream / creme fraiche.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Our first road trip and sleepover

Our first traffic jam.
 Are we there yet?
  Nothing like the feel of sand in your paws - our first beach experience.
This water tastes funny...
Not sure about being tied up all day and sleeping in a garage - would much rather be jumping over the tiny fence and running around in the bush. It was nice to have our own paddling pool to drink from though.
 Plus the bones, shade, and our comfy beds.

 Home again - but we don't want to get out - can we go somewhere else?!

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