Courgette muffins sitting on the wall,
courgette muffins sitting on the wall,
and if one courgette muffin should accidentally fall (into my mouth),
there’ll still be plenty left for later.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to share a little taster of my book, Gifts from the Garden, and post a few of the hundred or so projects here. I thought I’d start with the courgette and ricotta muffins because they vanished quicker than you can say ‘free food’ at my book party. And also because it’s probably the most familiar territory for us all. It’s a recipe. It’s food. I warn you, in the weeks to come there will be sewing and a face mask. There will also be gardening. Don’t panic. We’ll all get through it together.
Courgette and ricotta muffins
A basket of muffins is always a welcome gift. These light and tender savoury ones are a delicious way of using up a plentiful crop of courgettes in summer. Alternatively, use grated carrot instead of courgettes and Cheddar in place of the Parmesan.
240g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon salt
A few grinds of black pepper
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano or marjoram
120g Parmesan, coarsely grated
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
100ml olive oil
200g courgettes, coarsely grated
5 spring onions, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6 and line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Whisk in the salt, pepper, oregano or marjoram and 80g of the Parmesan.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, ricotta and olive oil. Fold this into the flour with a spatula until just combined – be careful not to overmix as it will make the muffins tough. Fold in the courgettes and spring onions.
Spoon the batter into the paper cases and sprinkle over the rest of the Parmesan. Bake for 18–20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
These muffins are best eaten on the day of baking, though they freeze quite well.
Courgettes, Cucurbita pepa, are possibly the easiest of all vegetables to grow. Sow seeds singly in small pots indoors in spring and harden them off by placing them outside in a sheltered spot during the day and then bringing them in at night for about a week. Only plant them out once all threat of frost has passed. Plant them in the ground about 1m apart, or grow them in pots at least 40cm in diameter. Keep courgettes well watered and pick them when they’re no larger than 10cm long for the best flavour. One of the benefits of growing your own courgettes is that you get to harvest the beautiful yellow flowers. You can eat them fresh or stuff them with soft goat’s cheese, dip them in a light tempura batter and deep-fry them until golden.
Gifts from the Garden by Debora Robertson (Kyle Books, £16.99) Photography: Yuki Sugiura