Today’s recipe is all about the humble courgette. Though if you say it with an American accent its pronounced zucchini. The main season for growing courgettes in the UK usually runs from June until September. Left to their own devices these summer squash can reach a humongous one metre in length. Here in the UK we prefer to harvest them when they are around 15-25cm long. They are better eating that way. But they are actually the immature version of what we in the British Isles would call marrows. Although we treat the courgette as a vegetable it is technically and botanically classed as a fruit. Or to be more precise it‘s a pepo. The swollen ovary of the courgette flower. So if you do have trouble getting your kids to eat their greens it might be best to avoid getting into those particular details. It seems that we are switching to a more Mediterranean diet here in the UK. And with many of us choosing a healthier diet, an increasing amount of our vegetables are being imported from overseas. And that has been a problem just lately.
Freak weather systems across Europe have meant that cold snaps, blustery winds and flooding have wreaked havoc with the harvests. Especially in Spain where they provide a huge amount of the vegetables eaten here in Blighty. And while it may be a cause for celebration for millions of kids across the UK it does mean that the cost of imported veg has rocketed – if you’ll pardon the pun. The prices for aubergines, lettuces, tomatoes and onions from Spain have all gone through the roof. But it is probably the courgette that has been the worst hit. In some supermarkets courgettes have reached as much as £4 a kilo. Thankfully you only need 140g for this recipe. That’s nobbut a smidgen. So it doesn’t matter how many downpours and gale force winds they have in Spain. It’s not going to blow your budget.
No grater, love.
Courgette cakes mostly have you making a fairly standard cake mix. The recipe would use either oil or melted margarine and finish off by stirring in the shredded vegetables at the end to keep them from breaking up too much. The idea being that you would want to see the flecks of green in the finished article. The cake would normally be baked in a loaf tin or something similar. So this recipe is quite unusual. And not just because it is baked in a traybake tin. All of the wet ingredients – including the courgette – are just blitzed together in the food processor to make a smooth puree. After that you just stir the wet and dry ingredients together. Which makes it easy to mix and quick to bake. In fact, it comes together so fast it will make your head spin. And because it’s such a big traybake there will be plenty to go around.
A tin to bake it in.
This is another recipe for the 23cm by 33cm traybake tin. The pan that can. You should have enough to feed a crowd and some to spare. The beauty being that the courgettes and oats keep the cake nice and moist. So if there are any leftovers they will be just as good after a couple of days. I have to say this recipe was something of a surprise. It didn’t look like much. Not when it was written down and not when it was finished. But it was a resounding success. Several of my taste-testers declared without hesitation that it was one of the best cakes I had ever made. So if you are looking to make a traybake that is a little bit different. I’m not leading you up the garden path. Even when courgettes are literally thin on the ground – these blitz barz should go down a storm. Now here’s that recipe… Enjoy.
Courgette Blitz Barz.
- 120g Plain Flour.
- 130g Porridge Oats.
- ¾ tsp Salt.
- ½ tsp Baking Powder.
- ¼ tsp Bicarb.
- 300g Plain Chocolate (chopped into chunks).
- 140g Courgette (chopped finely).
- 210g Soft Dark Brown Sugar.
- 80g Margarine.
- 1 Large Egg.
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract.
- 80g Chopped Pecan Nuts (optional).
- Position a shelf in the centre of the oven. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4. Grease and base line a 23cm x 33cm tray bake tin with greaseproof paper leaving an overhang on the two long sides.
- In a large bowl stir together the flour, oats, salt, baking powder, bicarb and chocolate chunks until aerated and well mixed. Set aside.
- Place the courgette, brown sugar, margarine, egg and vanilla extract into the bowl of a food processor. Blitz together until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Pour the courgette mixture into the dry ingredients and stir together until just combined, taking care not to over mix.
- Scrape into the prepared tin and level the surface.
- Scatter the chopped pecan nuts evenly over the top and gently press into the cake mixture.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until pulling away from the sides of the tin slightly and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool completely in the tin before carefully removing to a chopping board.
- Place in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares or bars.