Friday 10 July 2020

Courgette Gratin

Although this may look unassuming, in fact it is so delicious! Concealed within the courgettes is a layer of tomato, cooked down with garlic and onion and herbs, and the flavours which present themselves are intense and unexpected. This can be served as an accompaniment to roast meat, but it also easily stands up to being a first course on its own. 

For two servings.

Ingredients: 2 medium courgettes; 1 medium tomato; 1 clove garlic, pressed; 1 shallot, minced; 2 tbs butter; 1 tbs olive oil; 1/2 tsp dried thyme; 3 - 4 tbs cream; seasoning; 2 tbs grated parmesan.


1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease two individual egg dishes.

2. Peel, seed  and roughly chop the tomato. Finely slice the courgettes.

3. In a small pan, heat half the butter, and in it lightly saute the shallot and garlic until softened. Add the diced tomato flesh and the thyme. Cook over medium heat for ten minutes or so until the mixture has collapse into mush. Add seasoning to taste, and set aside.

4. In a large frying pan or saute pan, heat the remaining butter and the oil. Cook the sliced courgettes over medium heat until they have softened. Add salt to taste, then add the cream, and raise the heat until the cream has thickened - only a minute or so. Set aside to cool slightly.

5. Make a layer of the courgette mixture in the bottom of each of the egg dishes, and then divide the tomato mixture between the two dishes. On top of the tomato, arrange the remaining courgette mixture so that the tomato is completely concealed, and then sprinkle the grated parmesan over the top.  (You can prep to this stage several hours in advance, if you like, and leave the final cooking until just before you want to serve).

6. In the pre-heated oven, heat the dishes through for ten minutes or so, and then finally brown the cheese, either by a minute under a hot grill or else by the use of a blow-torch.

Thursday 9 July 2020

Raspberry Crepes, served with Kirsch Zabaglione...

A flavour-hit from a dense - and rather heady - raspberry filling, packed inside a folded crepe, while the rich silkiness of the zabaglione which envelopes it is a complete pleasure!

For two.

Ingredients: 40g flour; 1 egg; 110 ml milk; 150g raspberries; 2 egg yolks; 1/2 tbs butter; 1/2 tbs sugar + 1/8 cup sugar; 60 ml kirsch; fresh raspberries, to garnish.


1. Make a batter, using the flour, egg, and milk, and use this to make four crepes (of which you will only use two in this recipe - but since it isn't possible to use less than one egg, you'll just have to find a use for the two remaining crepes in another dish, the following day - they keep perfectly well under plastic in the fridge).

2. In a small pan, heat the butter and the sugar, to make a light caramel. To this, add half of the kirsch, and as soon as it bubbles, add the raspberries and stir them for a minute or so, just to make them collapse. Remove to a bowl, to cool.

3. Divide the raspberry mixture between the two crepes and fold each one into a rectangular package. Put one each of the crepe packages into the dishes in which you will be serving them. and leave them for five to ten minutes in a very low oven, to heat gently through.

4. Meanwhile, in a bowl set over boiling water, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture has at least tripled in volume, and then add to it the remaining kirsch. Keep on whisking until the mixture has visibly thickened and the whisk leaves a tail as you draw it across the surface. Take the dishes from the warming oven, and spoon the zabaglione over and around each crepe.

5. Garnish with fresh raspberries and serve.

Tuesday 7 July 2020

Courgette (Zucchini) Souffle

This gets ticks in so many boxes: delicious; dietarily sound; economical; quick and easy; and  it makes good theatre.

For two individual souffles

1 medium courgette (zucchini); two eggs plus one egg white; 1tbs butter; 1 tbs flour; 100 ml milk; 1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus extra for the top of the souffles; seasoning.


1. Heat the oven to 210 degrees C; butter the inside of two ramekins (for savoury souffles, I use a deep ramekin, 10 cm diameter and with a capacity of  350 ml).

2. Chop the courgette and put it in a small saucepan. Add water just to cover, and a sprinkling of salt. Over medium heat, reduce the water to nothing, by which time the courgette should have descended to mush.

3. Using the butter, flour and milk, make a bechamel, and to this add the cooked courgette, the yolks from the eggs, and the parmesan. Mix well, and season as necessary.

4. Beat the egg whites until stiff, adding a pinch of salt at the beginning, to encourage the process. tir athir of the beaten egg white into the courgette mixture, and then fold the latter back into the remaining beaten egg white.

5. Divide the mixture between the prepared ramekins, sprinkle the tops of the souffles with a little extra grated parmesan,  and bake in the pre-heated oven for twelve minutes (or so...all ovens are different) until well risen and gratifyingly brown on top.

Monday 6 July 2020

Sugar-free meringues

Yet another element in the Technical Dept's weight-loss regime (currently standing at 24 kilos in six months...he could stop, I suppose, but we're both rather fascinated to see where it might end up). The texture of these meringues is perfect: dry, crisp and textbook full marks. The flavour is a little .....thin, maybe? Here I served them just with a blackcurrant coulis, and I suspect they would have benefited from the addition of some whipped cream and/or a scoop of ice cream -  although, that's true of many things in life -  leaving the meringues just to provide the look and the crunch.

Ingredients: for one serving, as shown.
2 egg whites; a pinch of salt; 1/4 tsp cream of tartar; 1/2 cup sweetener (NB, this has to be sucrulose, and not aspartam...check before you buy); 1 tsp vanilla.


1. Heat the oven to 150 degrees C.

2. Beat the egg whites, adding to them first the salt and then the cream of tartar.

3. Only when the beaten egg whites are quite stiff should you start to add the sucrulose, little by little, and continue to beat until all has been amalgamated and the egg white mixture will hold its shape on a spoon.

4. Fold in the vanilla, and then pipe the meringue onto a greased baking sheet.

5. Bake for 25 minutes with the door closed, and then for a further hour, with the door held slightly ajar with a spoon, to allow moisture to leave oven.

(If the meringues start to go soft after you have taken them out of the oven and before you're ready to use them, then return them to the oven for twenty minutes or more at a temperature of around 100 degrees C.)