Last year Adrian decided ‘we will grow to eat’ – my first thought was can we really grow chocolate? Seriously there is nothing more rewarding than growing your own fruit and vegetables and the plus side is that they are always at hand. In fact there are many plus sides – besides the fun you can have you can save money and you’ll get no fresher anywhere.
If you have never grown edible plants before choose something that is easy to grow to get yourself started. One of my favourite vegetables is courgettes. If you like the Mediterranean cuisine, you really should plant some courgettes in your garden. Every garden has room for a few of these plants. They also do well in a pot on the patio or decking. These plants are very attractive, so they will not look out of place in a flower border.
Last year Adrian and I grew some – wow – it was so fascinating and before they were ready for harvesting I had already started thumbing through my cookery books for recipes. After our first harvest we decided not to have a gardening night but we would have a cooking night using our fine courgette specimens.
Menu – Courgette, Bacon and Mushroom Pasta – 4 persons
120g streaky bacon
400g courgettes coarsely grated
300 ml crème fraîche
200g mushrooms sliced
1 crushed garlic clove
30g freshly grated Parmesan
100g cheddar cheese grated
Dry fry bacon for approx. 3mins – add mushrooms cook for a further 3 mins then add garlic and courgettes. Stir until well combined and cook for approx. 5 mins – season well.
In a saucepan of boiling water cook the tagliatelle for approx. 8 mins. Drain well (reserve some of the liquid) and add tagliatelle to the courgette bacon and mushroom mixture. Combine with the crème fraîche and Parmesan over a low heat. You may need to add a little of the reserved pasta water if it looks too thick. Tip into a serving dish and scatter some grated cheddar over the top – brown quickly under hot grill.
Quantities can be adjusted to personal taste. Ready in no time at all – up to the table Adrian – sorry I didn’t ask if you liked courgette and pasta – I do!! The following day I sliced what was left and ate cold with a salad – still enjoyable.
P.S. If you want to cook courgettes as an individual vegetable – slice thinly, coat in seasoned flour and fry gently in butter until golden – easy and tastes good!