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Archive for September, 2015

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Half way down our long garden is a greenhouse and to the right a fig tree and beyond that lies our kitchen garden.  It’s a very simple set up of two large beds enclosed with a low box hedge and a wide grass path up the centre. Directly behind the greenhouse is a gravel area where herb-filled pots sit, out of reach from pets.  With each year that passes we learn something new.  We learn what doesn’t grow and what does, but the garden never lets us get complacent. Just as we become confident in a crop it will play up and not produce anything.  This year our courgettes were a triumph.  At times it was hard to keep up with production but courgette fritters are a wonderful way of using up any overload or any courgettes lurking in the back of the fridge.

As soon as the seeds are sown I find myself trotting down the garden looking for the first signs of life.  Courgettes grow quickly and as the first leaves unfold and stretch out I increase my visits down there.  It’s not long before their bright trumpet shaped flowers dotted amongst their large leaves appear, filling me with expectation.  The visits become more frequent and I more impatient for my first courgette of the season.  It doesn’t matter how many times I have grown and harvested courgettes I cannot help but get excited at the thought of a baby courgette. As the season progresses the leaves of the courgettes start to spread and grow larger, shielding their offspring.  At this point I have to bend and gently part the leafs without snapping off a stem to look for the little green courgettes. This is when I discover the courgettes past their prime, the ones that I have missed.  These might not be good enough for an omelette but they are just perfect for courgette fritters!

No courgette has grown in vain in my garden!  After a quick wash to rid them of any soil, they are grated, salted and left to release their water.  The older and larger the courgette the more water it will hold.  After an hour I squeeze the living daylights out of them, adding bread crumbs, crumbled feta, eggs, flour, chopped dill and seasoning.  Depending on what I have in the fridge denotes the actual quantities – if the mixture is too loose I might add some more flour or breadcrumbs, a little less if I only have one egg.  This is a recipe that over time can be altered and played with.  A lot of Greek recipes include grated onion.  I feel that the strong flavour of the onion is a bit of a bully and overpowers the courgette so I leave it out. Feta can be substituted with grated parmesan or percorino and the dill can be replaced with other herbs such as mint, fennel or parsley.  It all depends what you have and what flavours you like.  Finally the frying.  I prefer to use olive oil as it gives a nicer flavour but sunflower oil does produce a slightly crisper fritter.

A small note.  I have grated the courgette and left it covered in the fridge over night and it has been fine but even with a strong squeeze the courgette has more water to give so don’t make the full mixture up to use later as you will find it has become watery and won’t hold together so well.

Courgette Fritters/Κολοκυθοκεφτέδες

800g-1kg courgettes

2 eggs beaten

60g plain flour

60g bread crumbs

100g Feta crumbled

3 tbs fresh dill  (fennel, mint or parsley could also be used instead or as well)

Salt and pepper

Oil for frying (olive or sunflower).

Method

Wash courgettes, trim each end and grate with skin on into a large bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and cover.  Leave for about an hour to allow the courgettes to shed their water.

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Squeeze the grated courgette hard to release as much moisture as possible and place into a clean bowl.  Add the feta, eggs, flour, breadcrumbs, dill and seasoning. (Beware not to add too much salt as the Feta has a salty taste and the courgettes will retain some of the salt used earlier).  Mix thoroughly.

In a frying pan add a generous amount of oil.  Using two tablespoons make a rough ball of the courgette mixture, if it is too wet add a little more flour or breadcrumbs to dry it out a little. Drop the courgette balls into the hot oil and gently fry.  Allow to brown on one side before turning the fritter over  – this stops the chances of the fritter breaking. When both sides are golden brown transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper.

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These can be eaten hot or cold.  We eat them hot and any left over get put in the fridge for the following day.  We enjoy them with crab apple chilli jelly but they can also be eaten with tzatziki.

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