Our member Roselyne, who runs cookery courses professionally, has kindly offered to provide recipes and tips for making the most of our produce. They will be posted here every week or two, and we hope you enjoy them!
So this week our ‘garden-field’ has produced a colourful selection of a star-studded yellow cucumbers and green cucumbers, purple beetroots, some cherry tomatoes, some multicoloured beets, charlotte potatoes, and small and large courgettes! What an array! Let’s see what can be made with these!
First, I grabbed the home-grown organic green cucumber and prepared it in the way, we French, would do it; peel the tough skin off using a peeler, and slice thinly using a mandolin or the slicer edge of a cheese grater. Sprinkle each layer of cucumber slices with a pinch of sea salt. Cover with a plate and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Drain and serve as part of a plate of crudités. Delicious and fresh, you cannot beat the taste of home-grown cucumber! Half a cucumber will serve one to two people. The same process can be used with the star-studded yellow cucumber.
Then, I took the medium size beetroot to complement my salad plate; peel and grate it raw on the cheese grater side. Dress it with 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice and ½ teaspoon dried basil. Mix well. That’s all, but it will taste delicious! The nitrates in beetroot are converted into nitrites which help open blood vessels; this helps increase blood flow and bring oxygen to part of the body lacking in it; it is for that reason that betroot is praised as helping to improve the performance of sportsmen and women – and those digging the garden! No doubt!.
Serve the cucumber and beetroot salads with a few cherry tomatoes.
Charlotte potatoes are also delicious cooked and served dressed as a salad, but here is a Courgette and Potato Gratinee recipe which you can make with them: wash and slice the potatoes thickly (0.5 to 1 cm / ¼ to 1/3 inch) and cook in salted water until the potatoes are tender. Meanwhile, peel and chop an onion and fry in olive oil until soft (approx 8 mins), in a medium to large saucepan or skillet. Chop the courgettes in chunky pieces or thick slices and add to the pan; cook for 4 – 5 minutes, basting them with the oil; you can also add the chopped stalks of the beets at this stage to this gratinee; (the leaves can be cooked like spinach). if the stalks are tough, you can remove the fibrous part by peeling them with a peeler – like you would celery. Add either four to five fresh chopped tomatoes or 4 or 5 organic tomatoes (chopped) from a tin, to the pan. Add fresh chopped thyme, plenty of garlic, some cooked peas or flageolet beans and seasoning – salt, pepper and 2 tsp bouillon powder. Mix well but gently, and simmer covered for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and add to the pan. Transfer onto a baking dish, cover with some grated cheese – cheddar or parmesan or both, and pop under the grill until golden. Enjoy the taste of the potatoes, courgettes and beets!
Of course you can make much more using courgettes, soups, purees, ratatouille, fritters, etc. I am sure that more courgettes will come our way, so more on using courgettes next week!