South Leigh Seasonal Recipes

More summer recipes to make the most of what’s in season...

Shoestring Courgette Fritti

If you grow courgettes it is always good to find a new way to use a few up. After the excitement of finding the first couple of courgettes hiding under the plant’s big leaves, it then becomes a challenge to find ways to use them all! I had forgotten just how good these thin, crisp strips of courgette, dressed with sea salt and lemon juice are, until I had them again recently. I don’t really like deep frying food (you must always concentrate and take great care when cooking with hot oil) but I will make an exception for these as they taste so good.

3-4 medium sized, firm courgettes
Approx. 500ml vegetable oil, for frying
250ml milk
100g plain flour
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges, to serve

Discard the ends of the courgettes and slice each courgette in half lengthways. If the centres of the courgettes are a bit soft and seedy, scoop this out using a teaspoon and discard, then cut the firm flesh in long, thin strips, about 0.5cm x 0.5cm. If you have a mandolin you could use this - but mind your fingers!

Pour the milk into a small, shallow dish, wide enough to accommodate the courgette strips. Place the flour in a similar dish and season with salt and pepper. Prepare a baking tray lined with paper towel. Heat the oil* in a large saucepan (it should come about one third of the way up the side of the pan) or in a deep-fat fryer.

Take a handful of the courgette strips and dip them in the milk. Shake off the excess liquid then dust the strips in the flour, giving them a little shake to remove any loose flour. Using a slotted spoon, gently drop them into the hot oil and use the spoon to separate the strips. Fry for 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. Lift out with the slotted spoon and drain on the kitchen paper. Continue cooking the courgette in batches.

Season with salt and serve with wedges of lemon to squeeze over the fries.

* The temperature of oil for deep fat frying should be approximately 180°C. If you don’t have a suitable thermometer you can test that the oil is ready by inserting the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil. If small but fierce bubbles form around it, then the oil is ready. If the bubbles are going crazy, the oil is too hot, so let it cool down a little before frying

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Roasted Raspberry Jam

I recently came across this recipe and it is SO easy and quick to make that I thought I would pass it on. If you haven’t made jam this way before, it basically takes 30 minutes from start to finish and roasting the fruit seems to really intensify the flavour.

1kg fresh or frozen raspberries
900g caster sugar
Juice of one large lemon

Preheat the oven to 200°C / Gas 6. If using fresh raspberries they must be dry, so do not wash them. Place the raspberries in a large metal roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes.
After 20 minutes, pour the caster sugar into a small roasting pan and heat in the oven for the last 10 minutes of the overall cooking time.
Remove both pans from the oven and tip the hot sugar into the roasted fruit. Stir in the lemon juice then place the pan on the hob and stir for a minute or two, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Instant jam! Pour into warmed, clean jars and seal.

Roasted Vegetable Ratatouille

Roasting the vegetables before making ratatouille makes this a richer, more flavourful dish and, by deliciously caramelising the vegetables they lose some of their moisture and stay chunky when made into ratatouille. Ratatouille is perfect for freezing and is a quick and easy way to preserve some summer vegetables for use throughout the year.

3-4 courgettes,
3 peppers (red, yellow and orange)
2 red onions, peeled
3-4 garlic cloves
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
250g tomatoes
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tblsps concentrated tomato purée, or
'Bomba' - a tomato purée seasoned with vegetables, herbs and spices
a pinch of chilli flakes, optional
A handful of fresh basil

Preheat the oven to 200°C / Fan 180° / Gas 6. Remove the soft, seedy, inner core of the courgettes if they are large and remove the seeds from the peppers. Chop all the vegetables into chunks so that they are roughly the same size. Peel 3-4 cloves of garlic and cut each clove in half. Put all this into a large roasting pan, making sure that the vegetables have plenty of space - if necessary, use two pans. Drizzle over 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast for 35-40 minutes, turning the vegetables after 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and toss in the cherry tomatoes or quartered larger tomatoes, followed by the chopped tinned tomatoes, tomato purée and the chilli flakes, if using. Return the pan to the oven and continue cooking for a further 10 minutes, or until the cherry tomatoes have burst open. Check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper to taste, and scatter over the torn basil.