05 August 2008

Savour the Seasons: Courgettes

I remember when I was a teenager--sometime between 14 and 16 years--my parent's garden provided a plethora of courgettes. I asked my piano teacher if she wanted some--her eyes lit up accepted. The following week I arrived with a shopping bag of carrying several kilos of squash. The week afterwards she gave me two loaves to take home.

The next week I arrived with a double load of zucchini (my parents insisted) and she looked...umm...bemused but accepted them.

The next week I had one more bag of veg and she mused aloud about home gardeners overrun with zucchini...I stopped bringing her courgettes that year.

It's not as if my parents weren't aware of the rabbit-like proliferation of zucchini, but something was obviously amiss in their patch that summer.

I can't pinpoint the exact reason why I prefer yellow courgettes to green ones, but I do. Not sure if I've convinced myself of its superior flavour or the colour is just so happy-endorphin making I can't help but gravitate towards them. Unfortunately this year my neighbourhood mediumcarymegamart doesn't seem to have a lot of them...I counted ONE a couple of weeks ago...so I bought it....even though I knew it was about to go off in a day or two (no, I didn' t get around to using it before it met its sad ending).


Anyway, I was blessed with a home-grown, pesticide-free zucchini, courtesy of a colleague (yes one zucchini. More on that in a post or two from now). Determined to not let it go the way of its sole yellow cousin (difficult that, since it was so perfectly ready), I did the first thing that came to mind...a chocolate loaf.

No, my chocolate tooth hasn't returned...but zucchini really, really wanted to be paired with it...I couldn't say no. And isn't a sign of a good cook is her ability to listen to what the ingredients tell her to do...and then do whatever it is...within reason?

Well, it was within reason.

I figured I could easily get get two loaves out of it--which was good because I so desperately wanted to give my most wonderful web designer something as partial thanks for trying to fix my SensualGourmet.ca site, which I broke by trying to be creative and interesting. It's still not 100 per cent, but it's MUCH better than it was a couple of weeks ago (and yes, my Canadian Bloglist update won't happen until the pages are fixed properly..too afraid of breaking it again). Yeah...if you want to break anything, just give it to me...I'm good at that...and I won't even realise what I've done (blush blush blush).

This recipe is quite easy and filled with choco-zucchinified goodness. It's very moist and quite tasty (if I do say so myself)...and it makes enough batter to fill two seven-inch loaf tins.

Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

275g sifted plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
150g semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly
125ml flavourless oil
2 eggs
150g sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
125ml milk
300g zucchini, grated (large holes on a box gater) with as much water squeezed out as possible

Preheat oven to 160C/325F; butter and sugar two 7" loaf tins.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together the melted chocolate, oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and the milk to the mixture in alternating additions. Fold in the zucchini.

Divide equally between two prepared tins. and bake for about 50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.


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Meeta K. Wolff said...

My mum-in-law has been sending tons of zucchini and I've been thinking of all sorts of clever things to do with them - choc/zucchini cake was one of them. Looks wonderfully moist!

Anonymous said...

Never made chocolate zucchini loaves before somehow even though I've seen quite a lot in food blogging land. Really should try it one day, a great way for my youngest to get his veggies ;)

K and S said...

I think listening to your food is always a good thing :) this bread/cake looks delicious!

Mama Squirrel said...

We've had a few zucchini so far but it's this week that they're really coming out--we're hoping to get enough all at once to make some zucchini relish. My husband hates cucumbers so I often slice a zucchini into the salad instead as well. And yes, zucchini loaf is very nice.

But our zucchini is (are?) nothing compared to the monsters that a lady brought to church last Sunday to share around. Her secret?--I think it's that she keeps chickens and uses the...fertilizer. ;-)

Deborah said...

I've just started to get zucchini out of my garden. I pulled one last weekend that was so large, I only needed 1/3 of it to make a loaf of zucchini bread! And yes, zucchini goes perfectly with chocolate - you must be really in tune with that zucchini!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Jasmine, I had a laugh with you - I can only imagine your teacher's face. I think she was worried about all the baking and cooking those tons of zucchinis implied! :)
Your recipe looks so delicious. I have never made anything sweet with zucchinis.

Anonymous said...

This year, we have been overrun by basil -woo hoo! Your courgettes are known as zucchini in the US - and this recipe looks marvelous!

Gigi said...

tee-hee! I just opened a box (like 10 minutes ago)from my mom which contained 2 huge loaves of zucchini bread! Her note said "...invasion of the zucchini's send recipes asap! love, mama". I'll have to send her your chocolate version which I am sure she'll enjoy.

Aimée said...

Love, love the choco/zucc combination!
And a Canadian Blog list? Hope I'm on that one!! :)

glamah16 said...

I cant cook my zucchini fast enough. I may have to give in ana make this.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I think I've had that same expression on my face when coming home to find that some wonderful friend has left piles of zucchini on my porch! I do wish there were a way to spread the zucchini glut over several months.

Annemarie said...

I grew zucchini two summers back during my first attempt at growing anything (ANYthing) in the garden). I was unprepared for a) the hugeness of the plants and b) the sudden glut every zucchini farmer must find himself in sooner or later. Cue to zucchini cake, which of course is a wonderful end to a problem to have on your hands.