Monday, August 27, 2007

I’m politically correct and all for equal opportunities. You won’t find our permaculture lives together on our smallholding here in Brittany divided along traditional gender lines: me out doing manly jobs whilst the “little woman” irons my socks and cooks for me. Oh no! Any time I can get Gabrielle involved in hard graft, in physical tasks, and I can excuse myself from said activity under the excuse of, “I’ll go and cook lunch / dinner darling”, I’m off.

Some of my favourite blogs have recipes and I shall join them with my suggestion on what to do with your excess courgettes. “Gabrielle … carry on chopping wood, sweetheart, I’m off to cook you a lovely lunch and then blog about it.”

Courgettes are a strange plant: they start from seed as weedy little things, top heavy above the frailest of stems and terribly vulnerable to slugs and snails until they suddenly take hold and then they’re away into huge, robust plants, throwing off leaves and fruits almost by the hour, now covered in a slug-resistant prickles. You planted extras because you wanted at least some to survive and now you can’t bring yourself to thin them out and throw perfectly good plants away, thus you find yourself with an abundance of courgettes.

We give a lot to our pigs but also try to find new ways to endure (sorry, I meant “enjoy”) our bountiful excess. “And the winner is—in this year’s best-way-to-cook-a-courgette-that-I-haven’t-tried-before award –Jane Grigson and her “Courgettes with Cream and Rosemary”. [See pg 230 of her Vegetable Book. Penguin Books 1980]

3/4 kg (1.5 lb) courgettes
75g (2-3 oz) butter
100g (3-4oz) double or whipping cream (I used crème fraîche)
10 cm (4 in) sprig of rosemary (I used four times this)
salt, pepper

“Cut the unpeeled courgettes into thick diagonal slices. Blanch them in boiling salted water for about five minutes. Drain them well and put them back into the pan with the butter. Cover closely and leave to finish cooling over a gentle heat. The courgettes must not brown or stick to the pan, so shake them from time to time. When they are tender, stir in the cream and the rosemary, and leave to simmer for another five minutes. Turn the courgettes fairly often, so that they are coated with the sauce and delicately flavoured with rosemary. Fish out the sprig[s] of rosemary before serving.”

Absolutely delicious: the rosemary really does give this sometimes-a-little-bland veg a complimentary lift. And all that’s left to do, is to call the little woman in from her labours!