...hours in the kitchen, hours in the garden, hours online...there is no end to the frittering away of time in my household, also referred to variously as pottering, moseying and real life avoidance. For the purposes of this post, all frittering is confined to the pan, as the marrow with the mostest gets the fritter treatment. My travels on the path to courgette nirvana led me to back issues of Jamie magazine (the June 2010 issue, to be precise), where I found a two page feature focusing on the little green wonder - a very handy piece it is too, and I predict that it will become splashed and splattered to the point of illegibility as I messily make my way through the quick and simple recipes. This little beauty is the summer veggie version of a fishcake; a tasty little patty that uses up bits and bobs around the kitchen, something that can be tinkered with according to what's on offer and what you're in the mood for, and can be paired up with just about any sort of side dish that you can cobble together, whether you need to up your veggie quotient for the day with some colourful healthy bits, or you feel like being a bit of a boldie and tucking into a plate of big fat chips.
It all starts with a grater; you grate three courgettes but you need to be very careful to squeeze the pulpy mulch once it is done because the courgette has a high water content and if you don't get rid of as much water as possible you'll end up with soggy, messy, misshapen little patties.
Then you get your grater round the zest of a lemon, and add to that one beaten egg, 25g plain flour, a handful of grated parmesan, on red chilli, a bunch of mint leaves and a pinch of dried oregano. You're not supposed to crumble in the 100g feta until you have squelched that lot together with your hands, but I got a tad over-enthusiastic and lashed the lot in there willy nilly.
It all comes together to create this delightfully fuzzy-looking mish-mash of colour and juicy fresh ingredients.
The old childhood thrill of taking raw ingredients right into your hands and making neat little rounds in the palm of your hand never loses its allure for me. These make slightly more amorphous forms than, say, cookie dough or fishcake mixture, but the little plops on the pan can be nudged with gentle discipline into a more civilised shape as they cook. Common sense will tell you when they are done; each side will have crunched up into a nice crisp shell and they will have turned a golden brown colour.
A lot of recipes for courgette fritters suggest a tatziki accompaniment, with abundant variations on a yogurt-y dip style side to dip them in to. Having rather overdosed on my calcium through the medium of cheese, I decided to go with Jamie's suggestion of sweet chilli sauce. One day I kept it healthy for lunch with a side salad of rocket from the garden, along with chopped tomatoes...
...but they make quite the tasty comfort food for dinner with a generous helping of oven chips, made, of course, from the never-ending supply of potatoes that I continue to unearth from the apparently super-fertile soil in my garden.