Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Getting Cheap and Cheerful with Courgettes

Courgettes, Courgettes and more Courgettes!

Yes folks, it's 'that' time of year, the time when even your lonely, single courgette plant that survived the tragedy of snow and gale force winds in spring starts sprouting out courgettes. Two of my plants survived, but they're producing well, despite taking an early battering. I rescued these and transferred them to flexi-trugs on the patio.

As you can see, two plants make for a massive display, so you need a fair-sized space for them to grow. Mine are doing fine in their pots with about £2 worth of compost in each pot. Seeds were free, as I had them left over from previous years.
Nowhere sells courgettes about here and I was never a fan of them until I began growing my own. Now I know how frugal they are, I won't miss them out in future growing plans, that's for sure. This one plant has already given me two large courgettes and there are another three there that should be ready for picking soon. As long as I keep picking them, the plant will keep producing them until it's worn out - I'll let you know when that happens. In the meantime, I'm cooking with courgettes.
This is for tonight's dinner - I don't even know what it's called but it's all home-grown (some from a friend's garden) and I guess you could call it organic in as far as no chemicals or pesticides get used. I prepared it last night while making dinner using what was left over from the vegetables.
1 courgette
1 large onion
2 beetroots
2 large potatoes
Peel or scrub the vegetables then slice them.
Arrange them in rows in a roasting tin. (I sat mine in a loaf tin liner to make it easier for lifting them out and to save on the hot water when washing up afterwards.) I drizzled them with oil, covered the tin with foil and then baked the lot in the oven for 45 minutes at 200 deg C. Tonight, they'll get finished off in the oven with some cheese grated cheese over the top and served with grilled chicken. The veggies that didn't fit into the tin were set aside and cooked with last night's meal.
We call anything like this 'Bowl Food'.
In the wok, I stir fried some chicken with onions, courgette, beetroot, sliced potatoes, tomato and basil. It got seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and some spice mix. Next, I added a pack of savoury rice - 6 packs for 99p from Approved Food* - and boiling water, then left it all simmering until the rice cooked. (Whoever asked if the cheap packs of savoury rice could be fried, the answer is yes.)
 Once cooked, it looked like this: 
It's a bit of a carb-fest cooking with rice and adding in leftover potatoes but there were only a few slices left over from doing the baked veggie dish. So, that's two meals each sufficient to serve two adults for about £1.35 plus an estimated 40p for electricity for cooking. Chicken price is based on using 225g chicken breast, which costs £5.00 per kilo from Muscle Food*
Next up will be courgette and chocolate cake - it tastes delicious!
Check out the frugal gourmet tab at the top of this blog and join in the foodie discussions on the frugal food section of the forums. I'm still banging on about bread in there after baking a huge  25p loaf this morning.
* Denotes a link to an affiliated, sponsor or friend-referral page


  1. Its amazing what you can do with courgettes. Try Google for Chocolate courgette cake ( delicious and freezes well) various muffins, soups and breads. Two plants will give enough to feed several people everyday for a good few weeks. The pale green Sicilian ones are slightly sweet and delicious. Yellow ones interesting and the round ones grow to football size very quickly
    Bon appetit
    Helen in France

    1. Hi Helen, how are the gardens growing in your corner of France?
      Yes, I've grown courgettes for several years and we have a recipe section on the forum. Courgette chocolate cake is a favourite here, (I actually prefer it to carrot cake) and we have had several 'guerrilla cooking' challenges to include courgettes in various meals in the past. :)

    2. Our veg plot this year is the worst we've had for 40years. A variety of personal reasons plus a difficult spring and summer are the reasons. However it seems no matter what you do or don't do the courgettes flourish!
      Friends who have given their plots the proper amount of time and attention have good crops this year.
      It's very dry at the moment and rain is forecast for tonight so hopefully we won't have to water for a few days only deal with the weeding and split tomatoes next week.
      Helen in France

    3. IT's looking like an equally good year for cucumbers, it's a shame we can't cook those and/or freeze them, as I have loads. Eating them daily at the moment, courgettes slowing down a bit. Hope your tomatoes are OK, mine are weeks behind, still small and green.

  2. We've got courgettes in everything we eat (and drink) at the moment, it's amazing how much juice you get from them when you juice them as well.

    I don't know why I always plant so many plants but I do, every year we have about 6 plants on the go at the moment this year and can barely keep up!!

    I'm not complaining really, it's always sad when you get to the last one.

    1. At least we can freeze what's not used, I'm thinking ahead to all the cucumbers now because they'll need eaten or pickled as they get picked. Have you had a glut of those to use in the past? I need mine picked and out the polytunnel before grand-daughters' pumpkins take over the place. LOL


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