The courgettes are upon us, or zucchinis if you are Italian, American or Australian. Their huge, startling yellow flowers have been fertilised by the bees, and the plants are producing courgettes in glorious abundance. Green, yellow, or stripey, to my mind they are best picked when they are young, tender and still fairly small. Then they can be fried, dry fried or barbequed a la plancha, but NOT BOILED! I say glorious abundance, but frankly, they are one of the veg that tend to glut, and I often find I have more than I know what to do with. Also, if not picked promptly, they lurk under their blotched leaves growing bigger and bigger until they resemble Sperm Whales and before you know it, they are not courgettes any more, but MARROWS! So here is a cunning and delicious way to use the larger courgette.
An American recipe in which the ingredients are measured in cups, not by weight. Measuring cups are easy to use and readily available: I bought mine at Lakeland.
It also uses the combination of buttermilk and baking soda as leaveners. This has a magic of its own, as the acid from the buttermilk combines with the alkaline from the soda, producing carbon dioxide which makes the muffins rise. Buttermilk is low in fat, and can be found in most supermarkets in the milk or cream section.
Makes 12 -14 large muffins
- Plain flour: 2 cups
- Baking soda: 2 tsps
- Salt: 1/2 tsp
- Ground cinnamon: 2 tsps
- Light brown sugar: 1 cup
- Buttermilk: 1/2 cup
- Eggs: 2 large
- Oil (rapeseed, or sunflower): 1/2 cup
- Vanilla essence: 2 tsp
- Juice of half a lemon
- Courgette: grated, 1 & 3/4 cups
- Raisins: 1/2 cup
- Mixed seeds (optional but nice): 1/4 cup
You will also need muffin tins and large paper muffin cases
- Heat oven to 180C, 350F, Gas Mark 4.
- Put the muffin cases in the muffin tins.
- Coarsely grate the courgette.
- Sift the dry ingredients together, ensuring the soda and salt are thoroughly distributed in the flour.
- Break the eggs into a large jug or bowl and whisk well. Mix in the rest of the wet ingredients.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients, and pour in the wet ingredients. Fold together with a large metal spoon, until JUST COMBINED AND NO MORE. This is important: muffins are not cakes, so don’t beat the mix until smooth, or they will come out tough and unappetising.
- Fold in the additional ingredients.
- Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases, about 2 TB in each, filling the cases about 3/4 full.
- Cook for 20 – 25 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
- Remove from oven, cool on wire rack, and then … enjoy!