Courgette (zucchini) soup

 

img_4340 courgette soup

If you grow vegetables or know anyone who does, then you might well be facing a glut of certain varieties right now (well in the Northern hemisphere anyway). Everyone I know who grows veg always seem to grow courgettes and runner beans in abundance. I have to say I’m a bit stumped over ways to make runner beans tempting and delicious, rather than tasteless, woody and stringy! But courgettes are another matter – cooked badly they’re the stuff of nightmares (watery, tasteless), but treated with the respect they deserve they can be wondrous.

This soup is perfect for a big harvest of courgettes, particularly less than perfect specimens, as it is really a recipe comprised of just courgettes and flavouring. You may think that there is no way you could enjoy a dish solely made from courgettes, but I promise you, as long as you treat them right you’ll end up with a wonderfully flavourful, silky smooth and unctuous soup. So next time you see that glut of courgettes, don’t sigh, think ‘mmmm, courgette soup for lunch’ instead!

Courgette (Zucchini) Soup (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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Serves 4

  • 3 tbsp olive oil (or 1 tbsp per courgette used)
  • 3 courgettes, cut into fairly chunky slices
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs of basil
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • Seasoning

– Sauté the courgette slices in the oil until nicely browned
– Add the garlic and basil and continue to cook until fragrant but the garlic hasn’t browned too much
– Pour in the stock and simmer for 10 minutes
– Blitz then taste.
– Season to taste
– Serve garnished with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and basil leaves.

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Courgette/Zucchini Carpaccio

I’m over-run with courgettes – kind friends and relatives keep leaving them on the doorstep, so I’m having to be inventive as we’ve made them into ratatouille, courgette soup, and courgette ribbon pasta. All delicious, but these yellow ones deserved special treatment. I saw a photo of a similar dish to this in a gorgeous French food magazine. Carpaccio plates can look so simple and stunning but you often miss out as a vegetarian. Well, no more! These delicately dressed, blanched courgettes make an elegant, light starter and are going to leave a memorable impression on any who eat them.

The other vegetable that kind people leave me with is runner beans….. does anyone like runner beans? If anyone can give me a way to use them up I’d be most grateful. I certainly won’t be repeating my runner bean chutney disaster from the other year!

Courgette Carpaccio (dairy-free, egg-free, peanut-free, nut-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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serves 2, multiple the recipe for more

  • 1 courgette
  • a small handful of pine nuts or sunflower seeds
  • 2 sundired tomatoes, cut into small slices
  • a handful of pitted balck olives
  • olive oil (i had basil oil which worked wonderfully)
  • balsamic vinegar
  • parsley, basil or rocket leaves
  • salt and pepper

– Boil the courgettes whole for 5 minutes. Then drain and refresh in iced water

– Slice into long, thin strips

– Place onto a plate

– Drizzle with a little oil

– Arrange the tomatoes, olives, pine nuts and parsley/basil on top

– Drizzle with a little more oil and a few drops of balsamic

– Season and serve.

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Courgette / Zucchini Fritters

It’s courgette season, and this is a fantastic way to make a satisfying lunch out of little other than grated courgettes. Make sure the pan is hot when you add the fritter batter, otherwise they’re likely to soak up a fair bit of oil, and you want these little beauties to be crispy and dry, not soggy!

Otherwise though, the basic recipe is fairly forgiving and you can add whichever herbs or spices you have to hand. I served mine with sweet chilli sauce and salad, but any kind of sweet sauce or chutney would work perfectly well. See also my sweetcorn fritter recipe for a variation, but I love the green in these.

Courgette Fritters (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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Serves 2 adults or 4 children

  • 1 large courgette, grated
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsps plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 handful parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped (optional)

– Place the grated courgettes in a clean tea towel and squeeze out as much moisture as possible
– Place the dry grated courgette into a bowl.
– Stir in the dry ingredients, making sure it is all well distributed
– Pour in the water and mix to form a batter.
– Set aside while the oil heats in your frying pan.
– Fry on each side in some sunflower (or other flavourless oil) until crispy and golden
– Drain on some paper towels before serving.

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Courgette (Zucchini) and Pea Soup

This is a fabulous, green and vibrant soup – perfect if you have a couple of courgettes hanging about and not much else. There have been more nasty viruses going round in our house, so an injection of good green vegetables and bundles of vitamins was almost a necessity.

I’ll come clean – this is the basis of my non-winning entry into the World Watercress Soup Championships that I entered back in May. I think it’s a blinding soup but the judges didn’t agree – maybe it’s not traditional enough?!

D, on the other hand ended up with a ‘highly commended’ runner up in the speciality section (2nd out of 47 entries). Sophie Grigson even made a special point of mentioning his fantastic balance of flavours and spices. I have to admit, I was a bit gutted at the time -after-all, cooking is my ‘thing’, and she thought nothing of my attempt! But what an achievement and definitely a soup worth making…. maybe I’ll get him to write a guest post this week….. 🙂

Garnish with a drizzle of vegetarian worcestershire sauce, a little extra virgin olive oil and/or a pile of grated parmesan/vegan “sprinkly cheese” (as we call it!)

Courgette and Pea Soup (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

serves 3-4

  • good splash of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 courgettes, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • small bunch of basil
  • 500ml vegetarian stock
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • seasoning

– Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the courgettes and cook until soft and starting to turn golden.

– Add the garlic and basil and cook out.

– Pour in the stock and simmer for 10 minutes.

– Add the frozen peas and cook for a further 5 minutes.

– Blitz in a liquidizer until smooth and bright green.

– Check the seasoning.

– Serve drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and a grind of black pepper.