Thursday, 14 February 2013

Community Service

At this time of year, the decision to plant not one zucchini (courgette) plant, not two, but, on the grounds that one or more might turn up their toes, three zucchini plants way back in October always comes back to haunt me. Why do I never accept that there is really never going to be a shortage of zucchinis, even with one plant? Why do I never remember that they very rarely turn up their toes and more than one plant will always produce an amount that makes the word glut an understatement?

Assuming that I am not the only Canberran foolish enough to produce for myself, year after year, an overabundance of long, green, fairly tasteless vegetables, I have decided to provide to others in the same position a recipe that has become my greatest ally in the face of this absurd and entirely avoidable annual problem.

The recipe in question is for something called a Zucchini slice. It isn't the most wildly exciting thing I've ever eaten but it can be frozen, and sometimes in the depths of winter, when you can't be bothered to cook anything that involves chopping et cetera, it can be removed from the freezer, heated in the oven, and produced miraculously, together with a salad of whatever you can find in the vegetable garden (there is always, always rocket). I have to admit that no-one in my household has ever said, 'Oooh goody, zucchini slice' or 'Oh, couldn't we have zucchini slice tonight'; on the other hand, there has never been any left at the end of a meal:

Heat oven to 170C
Beat 5 eggs, add a cup of self-raising flour and beat until smooth, add in 375g grated zucchini, a chopped onion, 200g chopped bacon or smoked ham, 1 cup grated cheddar, 1/4 cup veg oil. Combine, put into a baking dish and cook until golden. Eat or freeze and eat later.

I do also possess a recipe or two for zucchini cake and zucchini muffins, should anyone want them. If I'm absolutely honest, I actually own a copy of a publication called The Squash Cookbook which is almost entirely devoted to what to do with vegetable marrows of various kinds. Most of the recipes are very fiddly though, (who really wants to spend their time stuffing baby courgettes when the sun is shining?) whereas the one above is a trusty thing that involves no stuffing and cannot be stuffed up, unless you forget it's in the oven.

If anyone's got too much basil, incidentally, I've recently discovered that home-made pesto is just as delicious - or possibly more delicious - if you don't toast the pine nuts. Apparently they never do in Liguria (and the pesto I had there was great).


  1. In the US, "rocket" is usually called "arugula", and tanned young persons at farmers markets charge you outrageous prices for it. (My late mother-in-law, who grew up on a farm in York County, lumped arugula and sorrel together in the category "weeds down by the creek.")

    Our usual squash recipe is roughly as follows: brown sliced onions and minced garlic; add squash cut to size, cook until a bit brown and done; serve with rice and yogurt.

    1. Your mother-in-law was right. I suspect your squash recipe would not lose anything by not including the squash. And yet I grow it every year. It's green, it's good for you, it grows.