In recent weeks I saw these being made a few times on other blogs. I have made them before, and can remember liking them, but the memory was quite hazy. So every time I saw them I thought I’ve got to make them again, and eventually I did!
I know why I put it off. I dislike grating things, particularly cheese. Everyone has their thing in the kitchen that they don’t like and mine is grating and sifting icing (confectioners sugar). A couple of birthdays ago a friend gave me a baby grater, and I grated some cheese and carrots on it and thought it wasn’t too bad. Recently when out and about I came across the Mama grater in the same design, so I thought, well anything that gets me over my grating thing, and home it came. I don’t know if it’s the design of the grater or just the joy of new gadgetry, but it works so fast and smoothly that I don’t seem to have the dread of grating that I used too. They even go in the dishwasher!
Back to the courgette fritters though Nigella, Bill Granger and Delia all have version of this fritter, these come from Nigella Lawson’s Forever Summer. I’ve been cooking a lot from it these last couple of weeks and have more planned. They are quick to mix, although take a little while to shallow fry. I served them with the lime for lunch one day, and we had the leftovers reheated in the oven the next night for supper, hubby actually preferred them like that. The reheated ones needed a sauce I decided, so I just made a one minute sauce by mixing a small tub of low fat yoghurt (5 fl oz) and a heaping teaspoon of ready made mint sauce (from a jar) and hey presto a refreshing minty dip. Next time I’m adding the sauce for sure, because it just seemed to compliment the courgette fritters so well, made them seem fresher somehow. Very summery either way.
The Mama and baby graters
In case courgettes are not your thing, here is an easy summery pudding with rhubarb – and a little biscuit to have with it!
Rhubarb Fool and Vanilla Shortbread
This is a pudding that Nigella makes on the TV series which accompanies Forever Summer, and the thing that pulled me to make it the first time I saw it was seeing Nigella drizzling over her beautiful magenta rhubarb syrup on top. You really have to have the very pinkest rhubarb, I made this one with some I’d frozen when I saw some lovely pink slim rhubarb. It’s just as well because all that I could find in the shops was thick and green and I’m sure it’d have been sour as a lemon too! I have copied these recipes from a Nigella article here.
From Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer
1 kg rhubarb, trimmed and coarsely chopped
300g vanilla sugar
500ml double cream
Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas Mark 5.
Mix the rhubarb and vanilla sugar together in an ovenproof dish. Do not add water. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the fruit is completely soft.
Drain in a colander, or sieve, and pour the juice (you should have about 500ml) into a saucepan, then heat and let bubble away until reduced by about half.
Pour into a jug and leave to cool; do not, however refrigerate as the syrup might crystallise and lose its fabulous puce clarity.
Puree the fruit until totally smooth, then cool and chill this as well.
Whip the cream in a large chilled bowl until lusciously thick but not stiff.
Carefully fold in the rhubarb puree, then some of the reduced juice, so the mixture is streaked, rather like raspberry ripple ice cream.
Put the juice in a glass jug so that people can add more, if they want, as they eat. Or frankly, you could instead use half the amount of rhubarb juice in the pan for reducing and use the remaining 250ml for adding to champagne for a fabulous, blush-pink summer drink.
From Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer
I know that biscuits sound like the sort of cooking someone else does, but you need never have baked anything ever in your life to be able to make these with ease. And I hate to say this, but they are so much better than anything out of a packet.
Makes 33 fingers
100g icing sugar
200g plain flour, preferably Italian OO
200g very soft unsalted butter
seeds from 1 vanilla pod
vanilla or ordinary caster sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3. Put the icing sugar, plain flour and cornflour into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the double-bladed knife and give them a quick blitz (just to save you sieving, which is my most-hated job in the kitchen) before adding the butter along with the vanilla seeds you've scraped out of a pod. (Don't even think of throwing the deseeded bits of pod away: stash them in a jar of caster to use next time a recipe requires vanilla sugar.)
Process again until the soft mixture coheres and begins to form a ball, loosely clumping around the blade. Turn this out on to a Swiss roll tin and press to form an even (or as even as you can make it) layer, using fingers or the back of a spoon, or both. Be patient, it will fit smoothly.
Using the tip of a sharp knife cut the pressed-out shortbread into fingers. I make two incisions lengthways - ie to form three layers - and then make 10 cuts down - so that you end up with 11 fingers per layer. Obviously, the aim should be to cut at regular intervals but don't start getting your ruler out.
Just go by eye: uniformity is the province of the conveyor belt not of home cooking. Use the tines of a fork to make little holes in each marked-out biscuit: I press down about three times, diagonally, on each finger.
Now that you've pressed, incised, and punctured, slide the Swiss roll tin into the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes, by which time the shortbread will be pale still, but not doughy. Expect a little goldenness around the edges, but shortbread should be not crisp but melting. Remove the tin from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes or so, before removing, with a palette knife and your fingers, to a wire rack. Sprinkle with sugar and leave them to cool completely before storing in a tin.