Courgette and Chunky Cheddar Loaf

Courgette and Chunky Cheddar Loaf

The food blogosphere is currently at fever pitch over what to do with a courgette glut. So, not one to strike out independently, here is my own courgette glut:

courgette glut

What’s that you say? It’s not very gluttish? Well hang fire, judgey-pants, because there’s more:

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Okay, okay, it’s probably fair to say that my courgettes are not glutting this year. I honestly don’t know what their problem is. They get sun, they get watered every night, they get worm tea when I remember. Ungrateful is the word for it. I read something the other day about picking the flowers to encourage fruiting but I just don’t know. Any Percy Throwers and Charlie Dimmocks out there, feel free to advise accordingly.

Anyway, it so happened this week that my vegetable box was looking gluttable on the courgette front so I decided to do something suitably cheesy with them. I also thought I might be able to earn some parenting stripes if I could persuade my offspring to eat some courgette and so decided upon a version of this recipe for Courgette (Courgette, look you, not Zucchini) and Cheese Loaf, which I liked for its big cheesy lumps.

Ingredients

325g courgettes
1 tsp salt
225g plain flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp paprika
3 eggs
80ml olive oil
2 tbsp water
3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
80g Cheddar cheese, cubed

Take the ends off the courgettes and grate them coarsely into a colander. Mix the salt through thoroughly and leave them to drain over a sink. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Grease a loaf tin with butter and line the bottom with greaseproof paper.

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Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and paprika (I used smoked paprika but in retrospect this was a mistake as its flavour dominated too much).

Beat the eggs and whisk them with the oil and water until combined and frothy.

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Squeeze any excess water out of the courgettes and add them, with the thyme, to the egg mixture and combine. Stir this wet mixture into the dry ingredients until combined (don’t be too vigorous or your loaf will be too dense). Season. Pour half of the resulting batter into the loaf tin and poke half of the cheese pieces into the batter.

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Pour over the rest of the batter and stud the top with the rest of the cheese. Bake for about 45 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

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Cheese-lovers both, the children immediately swarmed around the loaf. Both were given a slice in a bowl. The first to return was boy the older who gave it back to me with a diplomatic ‘I don’t like it. But that’s okay Mummy because we’re all different.’ Boy the younger was more blunt as he returned his bowl: ‘Bread, Mummy. No!’ I am starting to suspect courgette sabotage may be at the root of things…

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Fromage Friday: Harbourne Blue

It’s been a very sheepish Fromage Friday for the last few weeks with St James, Flower Marie and Homewood Ewes Cheese all making an appearance. But the sheepish one this week is me; after tantalising everyone with my promise of cooking something up with the Homewood curd, it all went very wrong. I planned to make stuffed courgette flowers, waiting four days for enough flowers to appear, diligently stuffed them, prepared the batter, heated the oil and then fried them. Oh – except I’d forgotten to batter them first so they all disintegrated on impact. I blame the heat. Sigh. Anyway, onto this week’s cheese which is decidedly goaty:

harbourne blue
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Homewood Fresh Ewes Cheese

I said last week, didn’t I, that you wait for months on this blog and then three ewe’s milk cheeses come along at once? Well, here’s the third. I didn’t mean to choose another sheepy one this week but then I saw these little pots of strained curd, quite unlike any cheese I’ve tried before, so couldn’t resist buying one. Plus, it’s the season for fresh sheep’s milk cheese, given that they tend to stop producing milk in the winter months. So here is the pot of ovine temptation that lured me in:

Homewood Fresh Ewes Cheese
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Nasturtium and Goat’s Cheese Salad

Nasturtium and Goat's Cheese Salad

I’d had my eye on this recipe for the best part of a year, since seeing a local wall festooned with nasturtium flowers last summer. I’d read about them being edible with a slightly peppery taste and thought that they would pair beautifully with goat’s cheese. For weeks I staked the house out, wondering if I could just nab half a dozen or if they’d think I was a lunatic if I knocked on the door and asked for a bunch. And then, the season was over, the moment passed. So this spring I bought a packet, sowed them and waited for them to do their thing.
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Fromage Friday: Flower Marie

So it seems like soft sheep’s cheeses are like proverbial buses: you wait a year and then two come along at once (yes, that should be three but I think you can have too much of a gooey ovine thing…) This week’s cheese is one that I’ve often spotted in cheese shops but have never bought due to the sheer heft of the thing and the fact you have to buy a whole one. Since starting this blog I’ve had to start walking about 10k a day to avoid turning into one of those people on Channel Five documentaries that have to have the front of their house removed by emergency services to let them out. And I try not to buy pieces of cheese the size of a small house brick. However, the imminent visit of some fellow turophiles gave me the perfect excuse to snap one up this week. So here is Flower Marie:

Flower Marie cheese
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July’s Cheese, Please! Recipe Blog Challenge – Summery Cheese

The Big Cheesy Barbeque: Halloumi Rosemary Skewers vegetable kebabs

It’s early in the morning as I write this but the sky is bird’s egg blue and the sun is shining. Of course, in the blink of an eye the rain could be cascading through the drainpipes but nevertheless it feels like a sort of summer has arrived. So, in its honour, I declare July’s Cheese, Please! Recipe Blog Challenge to be all about cheesy summer food.
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June’s Cheese, Please! Challenge Round-up – Cheese and Herbs

June has been a busy one, so much so that I’ve had little time to even eat cheese, let alone write about it. A sad state of affairs indeed. Fortunately, my fellow bloggers have waved the cheese standard, passed the cheese baton and generally paid homage to the fromage and so this month’s Cheese, Please! Challenge, as usual, has some lovely recipes, all featuring the abundant, fresh herbs that are verily flourishing at this time of year. So without further delay, I bring you cheese and herbs…
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Fromage Friday: Old Winchester

I am easily confused this week. Off the back of last week’s lurgy, we launched straight into the festivities for my Other Half’s ‘big birthday with a zero on the end’. Six days later my liver is a pulsating rugby ball and my head is filled with cotton wool. The only milk product I really need is milk thistle. So exactly the sort of day that some cheese could sneak up and get me all geographically confused again. First of all there was Shropshire Blue, which I discovered wasn’t made in Shropshire and then there was Appleby’s and their gold-standard Cheshire cheese, which is made in Shropshire, not Cheshire. Stilton, of course, can’t be made in Stilton. And now, here is Old Winchester – which isn’t made in Winchester (although it is sort of nearby, I’ll give them that…)

old winchester cheese
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Fromage Friday: Five Counties

Every now and then I see one of those posters advertising an eighties spectacular concert and I’m tempted. The line-up usually features any and all of the following: Rick Astley, Bananarama, Katrina and the Waves, T’Pau and Curiosity Killed the Cat. They sound like fun events, a mash-up of all the pop acts of my schooldays. How can you go wrong, combining all your favourite things together at once? Well, that, dear reader, is what I will explore in today’s post.

I’ll be honest. I didn’t plan to buy this week’s cheese. We’ve all been under the weather in this house (nothing to do with my cheesy cocktail, I can assure you) and anyway I seem to have spent much of my life this week waiting in for deliveries. So I haven’t had a chance to go anywhere other than my local supermarket, which is where I found this cheese. And I’ll admit, when I first saw it, my innate cheese snob rose up and said ‘no’. I did the rest of my shopping but kept thinking: ‘What’s your problem. Not all British cheeses are made from the milk of rare-breed pygmy llamas and pressed between the thighs of Morris Men in Neolithic caves. It’s a British cheese you’ve never tried before. Go and buy it. Then try it.’ So that’s what I did. And here it is, Five Counties:

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Club Tropicana – cheese-based cocktails are free

cheese and gin cocktail

As I posted here in a fit of excitement last week, I recently won a toastie maker. This has opened up a whole new world of culinary excitement but in particular there was one toasted cheese ‘combination’ that I’d read about and, despite my best attempts to suppress the memory, it kept returning to me. Apparently – and I know this is hard to believe – there is a Stateside trend for cheese toastie-based cocktails (or ‘grilled cheese sandwiches’, as they’re known over there). Spirits plus cheese toastie. Seriously? Seriously. You can find it here.
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