Quick pickled courgettes and pickled carrots

Just a touch over a year ago I posted a recipe for quick pickled red onions and since then I’ve had this incredible craving for all things pickled.

Almost all things, as I will still draw a line on pickled eggs. So then this foolproof recipe (actually two recipes in one) for quick pickled courgettes and pickled carrots.

You could also use any other veggie of choice such as classic pickled cucumber,  sweet pepper, fennel, cauliflower, beets, asparagus or red onions amongst a few options.

You may recall that I mentioned my grandfather who has always been a fan of pickling, canning and making curries and atchars out of all kinds of produce.

Most recently I’ve been playing around with adding pickled courgettes / zucchini / baby marrow and carrots over and above the usual cucumber and red onion to our pulled pork buns (replacing the coleslaw) and boerewors rolls (South African style hot dog – but made with beef/pork sausage).

These pickles are enough to transform the good old Saturday shopping wors roll to incredibly moreish gourmet fare.

If this is your first foray into pickles, you certainly won’t be disappointed. It is quick, easy and you don’t need any special equipment.

I’m all about as little fuss as possible, so most of my pickles are based on the cold-pack vinegar method, which is basically a fancy way of saying refrigerator pickles.

This means that the pickles rely on the cold temperatures of the fridge for the preservation and not a specific pH level of the vinegar. I think this method is a bit more forgiving and takes very little time.

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Actually, we’ve been using these pickles on many other dishes and even once to give new life and zing to a take-out burger from Steers.




Courgette lasagne

Re-post of the recipe that appeared on Aquilaonline, my other blog.


Zucchini or otherwise courgette lasagne
View Zucchini or otherwise courgette lasagne on Instagram.

Ingredients

  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 can tomato and onion mix
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 3 medium courgette
  • 2 cups mozzarella or cheddar cheese, shredded

Bechamel sauce (makes about double than what is required)

  • 60g butter
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 4 1/2 cups milk
  • 75g parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • good pinch ground nutmeg

Method
In a medium sauce pan, brown meat and season with salt. When cooked drain in colander to remove any fat. Add olive oil to the pan and saute garlic and onions about 2 minutes. Return the meat to the pan, add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer on low for at least 30-40 minutes, covered. Do not add extra water, the sauce should be thick.

Meanwhile, slice courgette into thin slices. I used a cheese slicer that had the perfect thickness. Lightly salt and set aside or 10 minutes. Courgette has a lot of water when cooked, salting it takes out a lot of moisture. After 10 minutes, blot excess moisture with a paper towel.

On a griddle pan, grill the courgette on each side, until cooked, about 2 minutes per side. Place on paper towels to soak any excess moisture.

Preheat oven to 180° Celsius.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until foaming. Add flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbling. Remove from heat. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth. Return to heat. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 10 to 12 minutes or until sauce comes to the boil, thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat. Stir in parmesan, salt and nutmeg.

In a medium casserole dish spread some sauce on the bottom and layer the courgette to cover. Then place some of the white sauce mixture, then top with the mozzarella/cheddar cheese and repeat the process until all your ingredients are used up. Top with sauce and mozzarella/cheddar.

Bake 45 minutes. Let it stand about 5 – 10 minutes before serving.




Awesome veggie pasta sauce

I had no idea what to cook for dinner tonight, not a clue… so I took out what I had (mostly fresh veggies) and started cooking. The end result was a most delicious veggie pasta sauce, yummy, fresh, crispy-crunchy, divine, you-don’t-even-miss-the-meat. You can make this with whatever fresh vegetables you have in your fridge, in the quantities of your choice, I’ll list what I added tonight.

Ingredients:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Olive oil for stir-frying
  • 1/2 Green pepper
  • 6 Courgettes
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic (or to taste)
  • 1 can Chopped peeled tomatoes
  • 1 can Tomato & onion mix
  • Dried mixed herbs
  • 2 sprigs Fresh origanum, chopped
  • 1/2 sprig Fresh Rosemary, chopped
  • Tomato paste
  • 1-2 Tbsp Tomato sauce
  • 1-2 Tbsp Mrs Balls original chutney
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Steam the broccoli and cauliflower until al dente, or even slightly underdone
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot on a medium heat
  3. Cut the green pepper into strips and begin to stir-fry
  4. Cut the courgette into medium-sized rounds
  5. Add the courgette to the pot when the green pepper starts to soften, stir-fry. You may add a splash of water if the veg starts to burn. This will steam the vegetables a bit.
  6. Grate the carrots on a large grate
  7. Add the carrots to the pot when the courgette looks about done.
  8. Add some garlic to taste and stir-fry the veg until it starts to soften / is al dente
  9. Add the broccoli and cauliflower to the pot
  10. Add the tinned tomatoes and tomato & onion mix along with a little water
  11. Add some dried mixed herbs and the fresh chopped herbs
  12. Add the tomato paste, tomato sauce and chutney
  13. Season to taste with some salt and pepper
  14. Stir and leave to simmer for a few minutes before turning off the stove
  15. Serve with pasta of your choice – I used wholewheat organic Penne Rigate – some grated cheese, and if you like it spicy add some chilli paste and/or Tabasco sauce

Bon Appetite!