They’re like buses: they are either as scarce as hens’ teeth, or they arrive in convoy. Our courgette plants behave like buses: last year we picked exactly 3 courgettes from 8 plants, this year we are giving them away to complete strangers! The summer of 2011 in the South East UK was cold,wet & windy & the plants produced lots of male flowers. September was warm but it was too little too late. Our pumpkins behaved in a similar manner & we only picked 6 mature fruit from a very vigorous couple of Italian Tondo Padana plants.
This year our earlier sowings in March for planting out in May failed to germinate; I re-sowed in May & they made it into the ground in mid June in time for the rains! However, I had them covered with large bottle cloches & they survived & started producing in July as the heat hit the South Downs. They’re slowing down now as temperatures plummet, & they’re unlikely to produce many more female flowers. Although pollinators have been less in evidence, we do have a wild flower bank & lots of Sage & Borage which attract a lot of bees & hoverflies into the allotment.
I thought you might like to try one of my recipes adapted from a traditional recipe, originally published by Arto Der Haroutunian(1982):
Teresa’s Courgette Pancakes [adapted from Middle Eastern Cookery, Arto Der Haroutunian, 1982/2010]
This recipe is based on Levivot or fried potato pancakes, taken with them by Russian Jews when they emigrated to Israel. Levivot are still called latkes by Ashkenazim Jews in the USA and Europe. Similar to Boxty from Ireland.
Courgette makes a good substitute when they’re in plentiful supply. You could also try them with grated parsnips or carrots if you have some to use up. Amounts are approximate so I suggest you try it & adapt to your own preferences.
Ingredients [enough for 2 hungry people]
1 large courgette or 3 large potatoes
1 small onion
2 small eggs or 1 large
3 tablespoons of plain flour (use buckwheat or gram/chickpea flour for glutenfree pancakes; try wholewheat flour instead of white flour)
1 teaspoon salt – (try and use good salt not cheap chemical laden varieties!)
corn oil for frying
2x tablespoons of chopped parsley or coriander
1x finely chopped fresh chilli
plain yoghurt [to serve]
1.Finely grate the courgettes/potatoes (no need to peel skins, just scrub well)
2. Place in a clean teatowel in a sieve or colander to drain – place plate on top with something to weight it down with – leave for @15 minutes. Use teatowel to squeeze as much liquid as possible from the grated potato/courgette – save the liquid and use in soups.
3. Place grated vegetables in a large mixing bowl and grate the onion into it.
4. Add the flour, egg, salt and pepper and mix to a batter.
5. Add the chopped parsley or other ingredients if making a variation.
6. Heat ½ tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and when hot add tablespoons of the batter to make a 3-4 inch pancake when flattened with the back of a spoon or fork.
7. Cook over a moderate heat for 3 minutes, until brown. Turn and cook on the other side for a couple of minutes. 5-6 minutes should ensure the pancake is well cooked through.
8. Remove and drain on kitchen paper; serve with a tomato sauce or with fresh plain yoghurt seasoned with salt and pepper, or a pinch of cayenne pepper, if liked.