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Thursday, 6 September 2012

My orchard and a savoury courgette cake recipe

Totally unrelated of course! I thought I'd show some pics from my orchard taken about a week ago when I went over there to check how the elderberries were ripening. It just seemed fitting to show how green and lush my orchard looks after my last post showing my dried out grass in the main garden. The difference is quite remarkable but unlike our main garden on a slope, the orchard is flat and is the lowest point around here so closer to the water table.

My three walnut trees have plenty of nuts on, but then I'm barely halfway through last year's harvest, so I don't think I need them all!

There are some apples, but not a huge amount - and this is the sum total of my pear harvest, all from one tree. Actually they ripened and turned out fine once the scab was peeled off. It's better than expected. I also had two whole dessert plums out of 4 trees. I could hardly believe there were no grubs in them! So much nicer than bought plums which are always dry and floury (so I rarely buy them as I'm always disappointed).

Back in February I wrote a posting about clearing all the brambles and dead stuff from the stream. Why bother?!! Somewhere under this jungle of nettles, thistles, bindweed and no doubt, brambles, is a stream. Our new neighbour who has bought the wreck in the background suggested we have a weekend together clearing it. She must be ruddy joking. My OH says we are 'supposed' to keep it clear - yeah right. It's barely trickling and should really be completely dried up anyway; the only water trickling is that which leaks from my pond as the water level is now 2 foot below the overflow which feeds this stream. So in my book it doesn't count as a watercourse right now!

Just across the road is our entrance and you can see how dry the grass is just up a few metres. I think the difference is that there is clay in the soil in the orchard, whereas in our garden it's just sandy and gritty.

Right this was going to be a cooking post giving a recipe for savoury courgette cake. My two courgette plants have actually managed to produce a whopping great total of 9 courgettes so far and I finally had enough at one time to make this cake. When I started this blog I thought by now it'd be full of every courgette cake recipe, sweet or savoury, known to man. I guess there is still time but things have been a bit odd with the veggies this year.  Here's my kitchen looking relatively tidy whilst I was in the middle of making chilli jam (a sweet chilli relish) and courgette cake at the same time - that's about the limit of my multi-tasking abilities. (Note home grown tomatoes on the table!!)


150 g flour (5 oz)
200 g bacon bits (7 oz)
400 g grated skinned courgette (14 oz)
1 sliced onion
3 eggs
2 tablespoons of oil
2 or 3 tablespoons of milk
100 g grated cheese (4 oz) (Cheddar, Gruyere or even goat cheese)

Fry the bacon in a little oil. Once they are well fried, dry them on some kitchen paper towel. Then fry the onion until golden brown. Leave to cool.

Put the flour in a large bowl with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Make a well in the middle and put the oil and the eggs in. Mix slowly until you obtain a smooth mixture. Add the milk and mix again. Add the grated courgette gradually while you keep on mixing. Finally add the bacon, the onion followed by the cheese.

Grease a round cake tin, pour in the cake mixture and put in a hot oven.
Temperature: 180 °C, 350 °F. Cook for 1 hour.

Once the cake is cooked, turn it out on a dish. It is ready to serve hot or warm accompanied by a salad.

I forgot to take a photo until I was just dishing up and then my OH was getting grumpy at me so I didn't use the flash. This is the best you are going to get! It is really, seriously, yummy. I like it best luke warm or cold - it's perfect for picnics or buffet meals. Enjoy!


  1. Oooh I am really hungry and your recipe has just made me even more so. Woud make it this moment if I had any cheese or bacon... Boo. My friend Charlotte (who just wrote a guest post for me) made a savoury cake a while back and it was lovely. Sounds a bit odd but really works. Love your orchard - I will have to make do with blackberries and crab apples (?!) this year. We have planted our single (so far) apple tree.. the poor thing had spent the last year in a pot being ferried about all over the place. If it's not too traumatised hopefully we'll get some fruit from it next year.

    1. It is really worth it - hope you still have some courgettes that haven't been eaten by slugs! I did read your guest post (the wonders of google reader) and was amazed by your lovely crockery collection - you kept that well hidden. Good luck with the apple tree but don't be too disappointed if you don't get fruit. I have a purple gage plum that we planted two years ago and I've yet to get a single fruit from it, despite it having some blossom. :-(

    2. Well, the year we bought it (er, last year - seems aeons ago) it did have two apples on it but both shrivelled up and fell off, possibly as a reaction to being placed in the gloomiest bit of our side garden. I made the cake - it was yummy and interestingly just as nice, if not nicer cold as well as warm. I am going to put a link to it on my next blog post... Now I'm making a sweet one (a la Nigel Slater). The crockery was left in the garage when we moved in. I have plans to set up a little online shop for it and start trawling charity shops... Mind you, the cats have just broken what was a delightful teapot and two of four lovely plates. Am now thinking up cat recipes.

    3. Oh bad cats :-( Glad you liked the savoury recipe - I've just made it again but I'll make a sweet one next. I have several recipes so look forward to seeing yours - the more the merrier. So you are going into the crockery selling business.... interesting!