Having returned from our summer hols we found ourselves sat in the kitchen, gathered around the dining table, feeling somewhat….ill-at-ease. None of us could quite figure out the source of our malaise until it dawned on the youngest member of the family: ‘Why are we sat indoors – it’s still sunny outside?!”. Having spent the last couple of weeks eating breakfast, lunch and tea (not to mention numerous ice-creams) in the Mediterranean fresh air, we had automatically gathered around our dining table for supper. But armed with our cardigans and trusty wooden trays, we soon switched from indoors to out and instantly felt better! OK, so it’s not as warm as it could be, but we should definitely be making the most of these summer evenings and dining al fresco, whilst we still can!
Eating outside is all the more glorious if you have the right kit. Our stunning glass decanter makes a most welcome receptacle for all manner of liquids (here at the ranch it is rarely void of cider or wine).
Our fab small beech chopping boards are the unsung heroes of multi-tasking lore; LL’s Top Dog uses his for serving mini-pizzas on, whilst us girls have been piling ours high with tasty tapas – and the serving handle makes them ideal for sauntering around the garden until you find that perfect spot….Pret a Porter, eat your heart out!
The supper in question was a healthy, hearty, hefty offering of courgette fritters, served with butternut squash, watercress and cambozola salad, new potato salad and a lemon yoghurt dip. And being the kind person that I am, I thought I’d share the recipe for the fritters here:
Flour (we use gram flour for gluten free but plain flour works a treat,too)
Milk (dairy free alternatives also work well)
1 x Egg, beaten
1 x bunch Spring Onions, chopped
Fresh coriander or parsley, chopped
Zest of 1 Lemon
Madras Curry Powder
Salt and Pepper
Oil for (frying)
I have listed the basic ingredients, but as with all recipes, feel free to add your own twist….
First things first: prepare your courgettes. I tend to make a large batch of these thinking that I will freeze any leftovers….there are rarely any leftovers! So, aprox 4 courgettes (750g) will make around 25 fritters. Grate the courgettes and place them in a colander. Thoroughly salt them, as this process will draw out the excess liquid from the courgettes. Place the colander either on a deep plate or in the sink, so the fluid can escape.
Meanwhile, make up your spiced batter. Mix 2 cups of flour with 2 cups of milk – you are after a relatively thick batter to start with, as inevitably, there will be more liquid from the courgettes. You should be able to stir it smoothly, though, so not too thick! Add the beaten egg, a palmful of Curry Powder, the chopped spring onions, herbs and lemon zest.
Back to that colander; blast the courgettes with cold water to rinse off any remaining salt. Leave a little longer to drain, then place the mix on to either a muslin cloth or tea-towel. GAther the cloth around teh grated veg and squeeze any excess fluid out. Then add the courgettes to the batter mix. Stir everything together and taste for seasoning. Normally there is enough salt left on the courgettes, but feel free to add salt and pepper at this stage if you wish.
Pop the mix in to the fridge and leave for as long as possible to firm up. When you are ready to eat, add enough oil to a non-stick frying pan to shallow fry the fritters. When the oil is smoking, drop a spoonful of batter in to the pan – I repeat aprox 4 times (depending on the size of your pan – you’ll need room to flip them over). When the bottom of the first fritter looks set, flip over. Repeat for the remaining fritters in the pan, then as each fritter is cooked through, remove and place on to an oven-proof plate. Repeat until you have used all of the batter (excess batter can be frozen, too). When all fritters are ready, call everyone to the table (hopefully outdoors) and DEVOUR!