Courgette, Red Pepper & Mint Gratin with Chèvre

Courgette and Red Pepper Gratin with Chèvre | Selma's Table

Such a glut of courgettes (zucchini) around – do you know that right now, the most popular recipe on my blog is Quick Summer Pickle – Sweet and Sour Courgettes? It gets more views every day than anything else at the moment! I love courgettes but unfortunately, Jake does not. No matter how I cook them, oven fries, griddled, sautéed, grated raw or ribboned  in a salad – he just picks them out and says that it is a texture thing. I can’t even fool him anymore by saying that it’s cucumber – he’s waaaay beyond that stage now!

So in order to satisfy my craving for them, I tend to cook them so that they will keep for a couple of days at least – that means gratins and stews. This one is a riff on the very first recipe I posted a year ago, Courgette, Feta and Thyme Bake. I still can’t photograph it that well – it’s not a looker but it tastes fabulous warm, room temperature  or cold.

This Courgette, Red Pepper & Mint Gratin with Chèvre is a good dish for a picnic or a barbecue as it can be made ahead and ideal for a buffet table as well. I like it on a slice of toasted sourdough with a rocket salad – it makes the perfect light lunch or supper. The combination of courgettes, mint, red pepper and goats cheese is lovely and fresh – perfect to see off the summer with.

Courgette and Red Pepper Gratin with Chèvre | Selma's Table

Courgette and Red Pepper Gratin with Chèvre | Selma's Table

My Courgette, Red Pepper & Mint Gratin with Chèvre is terribly easy to make. Sauté some shallots and peppers, then add the coins of courgettes, garlic and seasonings. While that is going on, mix up the custard – the eggs, creme fraiche and parmesan cheese. Then it’s just a matter of layering it all together and dotting it with chunks of chèvre (goats cheese) and popping it in the oven for half and hour or so. Now the trick with layering is to start off really parsimoniously – be as mean as you can get away with so that you have generous amounts left for the top layers. Printable recipe follows below, as always!

Courgette and Red Pepper Gratin with Chèvre | Selma's Table

Courgette and Red Pepper Gratin with Chèvre | Selma's Table

Courgette, Red Pepper & Mint Gratin with Chèvre

  • Servings: 4 - 8 servings
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbsp rapeseed or mild olive oil
  • 2 large banana shallots or 1 medium onion
  • 1 large sweet red pointed pepper
  • 4 medium courgettes/zucchini
  • pinch of salt
  • pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
  • a splash of water
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint leaves finely chopped
  • 3 medium free range or organic eggs
  • 150 ml reduced fat creme fraiche
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 100 g of soft goats cheese/chèvre

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 220 C/450F and butter an oven proof dish.
  2. Warm oil in a large frying pan over a medium low flame
  3. Slice shallots into half moons and stir in.
  4. De-seed and slice the red pepper and stir in. Add a pinch of salt and give it all a stir.
  5. Slice the courgettes into ½ cm coins. When the shallots start to caramelise and the peppers are starting to soften, stir in the courgettes. Let these sauté for about 5 – 7 minutes, stirring frequently so that the shallots don’t catch. The courgettes should be just cooked through and a little browned in places. It does help to use a big frying pan.
  6. Stir in the minced garlic, the rosemary and the bouillon powder and add a little splash of water and scrape up the delicious caramelised juices that will have stuck to the pan. Turn off the heat, stir in the mint and set aside to  cool while you get on with the eggs.
  7. Lightly whisk the eggs in a medium sized mixing bowl. Whisk in the creme fraiche , the lemon juice and the parmesan cheese. It will look slightly curdled and will thicken from the lemon juice but it is fine.
  8. In a well buttered ovenproof dish, layer a scant half of the vegetables and cover with a very scant half of the custard. Repeat, finishing by dotting blobs of the soft goats cheese over the top.
  9. Bake for 25-35 minutes until set and golden brown in places.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 6/8 as side dish or 4 as a light lunch with salad

Also fabulous to take on picnics or in packed lunches.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Sweet Potato, Courgette and Paneer Baked Fritters

sweet-potato-courgette-and-paneer-baked-fritters The lovely people over at Savera Paneer sent me some of their paneer to play with. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you will have seen the bloggers pack I came home to last week. Inside the large saffron hued box were a bag of cumin seeds, a bag of turmeric powder, a branded water bottle and a really cute yellow and blue lunch box containing an ice pack and two packs of paneer made from skim milk thus containing only 8% fat. There were also a couple of delicious sounding recipe cards  which had been developed by the talented  food writer, Deena Kakaya who is probably familiar to many of you as she visits so many of our blogs, commenting and encouraging.sweet-potato-courgette-and-paneer-baked-fritters Well, the lunch box came in really handy as Jake started work experience at a law firm this week, which he has really enjoyed. He’s been to court nearly every day and also written official letters to clients detailing progress on their cases. Not bad for someone who has to be reminded 3 times to take the rubbish out!

I had not cooked with paneer before this so I had a little research to do before I started experimenting. Paneer, an Indian cheese,  is traditionally made at home from the curds formed when lemon juice is mixed with hot milk. It’s a fresh, bland, unsalted cheese which can be substituted with Queso Blanco or Fresco. It is quite crumbly, an excellent source of protein and absorbs flavours beautifully. It really is a cheese to cook with rather than eat as is and is most often found cubed, sautéed and added to spicy vegetable based sauces and gravies.

There are hundreds and hundreds of Indian recipes which use paneer so, I really wanted to use it in a different way. And as Savera had gone to the trouble of developing a low fat cheese, I wanted to make something fairly healthy. No frying or rich sauces but lots of  vegetables and flavourings. At the green grocers, a bag of sweet potatoes caught my eye and which made me think about latkes and so idea for these Sweet Potato, Courgette and Paneer Baked Fritters was born. sweet-potato-courgette-and-paneer-baked-fritters Keeping in mind the tips I had gleaned on how to use it, I grated and seasoned the paneer and set it aside to absorb the flavours. Honestly, I was a bit hesitant when I saw how crumbly the paneer looked but it grated easily and absorbed the flavours of the spices absolutely perfectly. sweet-potato-courgette-and-paneer-baked-fritters I also grated the sweet potato and courgette and left them to drain separately. When it came time to assemble the fritters, I mixed them all together with a light hand then added a little flour and some raw couscous and stirred in a beaten egg. Set on a lightly oiled baking sheet, and brushed with a little more oil, the fritters baked up beautifully. sweet-potato-courgette-and-paneer-baked-frittersThe Sweet Potato, Courgette and Paneer Baked Fritters were light and crunchy with a lovely smoky flavour from the paprika and cumin. I had wanted to add fresh mint to the mixture but realised that I didn’t have any when I started cooking – I think it would be a lovely addition. Serve with a wedge of lemon and a little tzatziki and some salad leaves and you have a delicious light lunch or first course. sweet-potato-courgette-and-paneer-baked-fritters   sweet-potato-courgette-and-paneer-baked-frittersA big thank you to Savera Paneer for introducing me to this lovely product! I have a few more recipes to make and post in the coming days.

As it is Friday, I am taking these over to that fabulous party over at Angie’s – Fiesta Friday. Crowd control aka co-hosts this week are Elaine @ foodbod and Prudy @ Butter Basil and Buttercrumbs.

Courgettes are in season so I am also entering them into the Simple and In Season hosted by Ren @ Renben and guest-hosted this month by Sally @ My Custard Pie.

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Please do take a look at their fabulous blogs – you will come away chock full of great ideas for recipes to take you through the summer and beyond! And, don’t be shy – visit as many of the blogs as you can, follow the ones that are new to you, leave comments and tuck in!!

Sweet Potato, Courgette and Paneer Baked Fritters

  • Servings: makes 12 fritters
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium sized sweet potato/kumara – about 200g
  • 1 medium sized courgette/zucchini – about 200g
  • 125 g grated Saveera Paneer
  • 1 clove of garlic grated or crushed
  • ½ tsp smoked paprkia
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • juice of ¼ of lemon
  • ¼ cup parsley
  • 50 g flour
  • 1 Tbsp raw couscous
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Peel the sweet potato and grate – try and get long strands. Place in a colander sprinkle with a little salt, mix and leave to drain for at least half an hour.
  2. Grate the courgette – try and get long strands. Place in a separate colander sprinkle with a little salt, mix and leave to drain for at least half an hour.
  3. Grate the paneer. Sprinkle over the garlic, smoky paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin powder, coriander powder and squeeze over the lemon. Using a fork, toss to mix and leave to marinate for at least half an hour.
  4. When you are ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F.
  5. Line a baking tray with parchment and spray with an olive oil cooking spray or smear with a little olive oil.
  6. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can from both the sweet potato and the courgette and place in a mixing bowl.
  7. Add the chopped parsley and the paneer and using a fork, toss to mix well but lightly. Have a taste of the mixture at this point to see if it needs any salt. I found that the salt I used during draining was enough.
  8. Sprinkle in the flour and couscous and again, using a fork, toss to mix.
  9. Stir in the lightly beaten egg and mix.
  10. Mound about 1 ½ Tbsp of the mixture on the prepared tray and press down with a fork to flatten and make a rustic looking fritter. You should get about 12 portions from the mixture. I baked six at a time in two batches.
  11. Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake for 10 minutes. Flip them over and bake for 5 minutes more or until golden brown and crispy
  12. Serve hot, with a wedge of lemon and a dollop of Greek yoghurt mixed with a little mint.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Quick summer pickle – Sweet and Sour Courgettes

Sweet & Sour Courgettes

Sweet & Sour Courgettes

As the halcyon days of summer slowly but inevitably draw to a close, it is with mixed emotion that I look towards the autumn days which are fast approaching. J will be back at school and studying hard, I hope, for his GCSEs (formerly known as “O” levels) while I try my best not to worry that he is not doing enough. On the other hand there are birthday celebrations to plan, trips to look forward to and game and autumn harvests to anticipate. It has been a wonderful summer of glorious weather, new beginnings, re-connecting with family and old friends and making some lovely new ones along the way. I never look forward to the cold weather but will try to appreciate more the events that it heralds.

Now is the time to preserve what you can of summer’s bounty. We are very lucky to have wonderful neighbours who have planted a vegetable patch from which they have been kind enough share their courgettes. Which I love! I came across a recipe for a quick summer pickle in an in-store magazine and straight away had to make it, tinkering with the flavourings of course.

Chilli flakes, fennel seeds and turmeric. (Missing from the photo are the coriander seeds)

Chilli flakes, fennel seeds and turmeric. (Missing from the photo are the coriander seeds) The gorgeous little spice bottles are from Ikea.

The turmeric gives the courgettes a glowing golden hue and the fennel and the coriander seeds contribute a warm herbal note.

Sweet and Sour Courgettes

Sweet and Sour Courgettes

The sweet and sour pickle juice is delicious too – use in salad dressings and marinades; douse hot potatoes with it and then add a little mayo and chopped up pickles for a delicious salad. And the sweet and sour pickle juice fantastic in a Bloody Mary! There is a wonderful article on Food52 about the uses of pickle juice. Pickleback shot anyone?

Cheese, Crackers and Sweet & Sour Courgettes

Cheese, Crackers and Sweet & Sour Courgettes

The courgettes retain their crunch whilst the onions mellow in the brine

I am entering this recipe in the Shop Local Challenge hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary. Do go over and take a look at her blog – there are some wonderful recipes there.

Shop Local

Shop Local hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary

Sweet and Sour Courgettes

  • Servings: Makes 1 x 500ml or 2 x 250ml jars
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g courgettes (or thereabouts)
  • 1 red onion
  • 2Tbsp flaky sea salt like Maldon (substitute  about 1Tbsp regular table salt if you don’t have the flaky sea salt). Kosher or pickling salt is the best but I don’t think it is easily found here in the UK – or maybe I just haven’t noticed it!

Sweet Brine:

  • 400ml white wine or cider vinegar
  • 200g sugar (use white sugar as golden muddies the colour of the brine syrup)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes (you can increase this to 1 tsp if you like a little more heat)
  • 1tsp fennel seeds
  • 1tsp *dry roasted coriander seeds

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Trim the ends then slice the courgettes into 1/2cm coins.
  2. Peel and slice the red onion into thin rings
  3. Layer in a bowl and sprinkling with salt as you go
  4. Cover and place in the fridge for about an hour or cover with ice for the same time. Keeping them cold helps to keep the courgettes firm.
  5. In the meantime, place all the sweet brine ingredients into a (non-reactive) saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let the brine cool to room temperature. You might want to open all your windows and turn on all extractor fans when you make the brine – the smell of boiling vinegar is quite pungent to say the least.
  6. Layer the courgettes and onions (do not rinse off the salt) into a sterilised jar, pour over the sweet brine, cover and refrigerate. Ready after a 24 hour steep and still tastes delicious 6 weeks later.

*To dry roast seeds like cumin and coriander, pop them into a non-stick pan on medium high heat for about 5-8 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan from time to time to ensure that all sides are being roasted. You can smell them as they begin to toast – but do keep as eye on them as they can burn easily. I usually do a small jar full at a time as they keep for a long time. Dry roasting really intensifies the flavour and adds more depth to the finished dish.

USES

  • Cheese plate
  • Roast beef or tuna or cheese sandwiches
  • Chopped up in a potato salad also using the brine to douse the hot potatoes before adding  mayonnaise
  • In an egg salad
  • With cold cuts
  • In burgers
  • Serve as a condiment at a barbecue
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Cheese plate

Cheese plate