Tuesday, 28 July 2009

All by ourselves


We grew that. All by ourselves! I know earlier this year we had radishes, and last year we got two little tomatoes, so this doesn't technically count as our first harvest from the North London Garden. But it feels like it is, because this is more than a mouthful, this is enough for a meal, a meal made from a courgette picked just moments before cooking, from a pot in our back garden.

I feel so immensely proud. Last year we lost all nine of our courgette and squash plants to disease. This year, we seem to have prevailed, and are finally beginning to see the fruits (or rather the vegetables) of our labour.

My biggest problem after picking the courgette was knowing what to do with it. We have tonnes of courgette recipes. Being veggie they are a large part of our diet. The problem was that I wanted to make a dish with our not-so-little beauty as the star of the show.

In the end I settled for a puff pastry tart. My Mum and I discovered this concept in a restaurant years ago, and have been using it ever since. It's such a basic idea, but it's so effective.

You roll out puff pastry into a rectangle or square (or any shape you like really), and then place vegetables on top, sprinkle with a little cheese, dab the edges of the pastry with milk, and cook at 190C until the pastry edges are brown and puffed up. Simple, yet oh-so good. We have many variations of the recipe. I believe my Mum does it with roasted veg and lashings of cheddar, I often forgo the roasting, and add parmesan, basil and balsamic vinegar. However you do it, it really allows the vegetables to hold their own against a flaky puffy indulgent background.

This time I sliced the courgette really thin (note to self (I must invest in a mandolin, it would make things so much easier and faster) and layered them prettily on the pastry base. I then place little cherry tomatoes in between the rows. Over this I sprinkled a very light helping of Swiss cheese and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Off it went into the oven, and out came this:

It was so nice. I can't believe how amazing the courgette tasted. It just goes to prove how much better home-grown is.

I can't wait until our tomatoes and beans start fruiting!


  1. YUM! I've made something similar, except I've put a layer of goats cheese under the courgette.

    Nothing like your own homegrown stuff is there? We had our own srawberries with lemon cake for dessert a few weeks ago, and are now impatiently waiting for the green tomatoes to ripen...

  2. I do indeed use roasted veg. Although the other version is to put onions on the base, top with a single large mushrrom ( without stalk, but stalk side up) and cook for just five minutes before topping the mushroom with a round of goats cheese, and cooking until it's gone all melty and lovely.
    Of course if you let the courgettes get bigger you can stuff them........
    There truly is nothing like home grown. Well done you two.

  3. home grown is better :) beautiful pictures, as always!! That simple recipe truly sounds too good to be true. I'm going to raid my Mom's veggie garden and make one for myself!

    Can't wait to see what else grows out of the NLK garden!