courgette and feta soup, recipe

Too Much Of A Good Thing!

A pre-natal courgette!

Back in the spring, I had a gardening disaster. Not one of the four courgette (otherwise known as zucchini) seeds I sowed came up. We all love chocolate courgette cake, so disaster loomed. There were four more seeds left in the packet I’d used, so I sowed them. Then I bought a new packet and sowed four more seeds just in case. Of course, all eight germinated!

When that happens, you’re supposed to save the best plants and throw the rest on the compost heap. I couldn’t bear to do that. Keeping all those seedlings was a dangerous move.  I usually grow only three plants each year. When they get the hang of producing courgettes I have trouble keeping up with the harvest. At least one hides under those big, beautiful leaves until it’s grown to marrow size.

Yesterday, I picked the first courgettes of the season. The plants are bright with dozens of flowers, so there will be plenty more to come. I’ve been gathering recipes in advance, so it was time to try the first one. The weather was so wet and miserable, I made courgette and cheese soup. Luckily, it was lovely. Given the poor summer weather and the prospect of wheelbarrows of courgettes to come, we could be enjoying it several times a week!

I always make soup in large quantities as it’s cheap, easy, most sorts will freeze, and this one is just as good to eat next day. Making two meals at one time is a great time-saver, too.


3 tablespoons olive oil
6-8 courgettes (zucchini) unpeeled, but washed, dried and cut into big chunks.
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 litre of vegetable or chicken stock
5oz/150 grammes of cheese- I use whatever’s in the fridge. Feta or blue cheese are both good.
A handful of fresh green herbs, chopped finely. I used mint and chives.

Heat the oil in a large, deep pan. Add the courgettes and garlic. Stir, then cook over a medium heat until everything is soft and beginning to colour.

Pour in the stock, then simmer for five minutes.

Cube or crumble the cheese, according to texture, and add to the soup along with the chopped herbs. Stir over a low heat until the cheese is almost melted.

Remove from the heat, blend, check seasoning and serve.

In a perfect world,  each bowl of soup would be topped with a swirl of cream and a pinch of chopped fresh herbs reserved from the ones that went into the mixture. We didn’t have any cream to add last night, and I forgot to keep back any herbs for decoration but the soup tasted delicious all the same!

Pancake Day, recipe

Pancake Day! By jeffreyw (Mmm...pancakes  Uploaded by Fæ) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsHTML
Photo by jeffreyw

Shrove Tuesday is the traditional time for a clear-out of tempting ingredients from your store cupboard if you’re planning to give up goodies for Lent. It’s also a fantastic excuse to stuff yourself silly with various sweet or savoury pancakes.

Our new young hens have been laying an egg each per day right through the winter, and their rich orange yolks give pancakes a lovely rich colour. Pancakes to eat with lemon and sugar or maple syrup are always best eaten as soon as they’re made, but they can be frozen if interleaved with greaseproof paper. This year I found a lovely recipe for salmon and prawn pancakes, so I’m making an extra big batch of batter so we can have the old favourites for tea tonight and try the new recipe for supper at the weekend.
To make the pancake batter I use 2 eggs, 8oz flour and enough milk to make a fairly thin batter (around 15 fl oz). I do this a couple of hours before its needed – when the children were small they used to love doing this before school, then eating the pancakes when they got home!
To cook, I melt a tiny bit of lard in my dedicated pancake pan until it’s smoking hot, then quickly pour in enough batter to cover the base. Cook for a minute or two then flip it over to cook the other side. Tossing pancakes is great fun, especially with children in the house! One year while ours were at school, I cut a pancake shape from yellow paper and stuck it to the ceiling, ready to fool them that one had flown just a bit too high…
Christina Hollis author, Limoncello, recipe

Looking Forward To Those Long Hot Summer Days…


…well, we can live in hope!
A while ago, I wondered aloud – or rather on line – about Limoncello. Julie Newberry heard my plea, and had been kind enough to send me this recipe. Here it is:

You’ll need:
5 Unwaxed lemons
1 lire bottle of vodka
1lb 10oz caster sugar
1.5 pints boiling water

Use a potato peeler to thinly peel the lemons, trying not to include any pith. Put all the zest in a large jar and pour over the vodka, covering with a tightly done up lid. Now for the waiting game. You must put it in the fridge for a week, shaking the jar every day. After the week is over, put the sugar into a heatproof pan or bowl and pour over the boiling water, stirring until all the sugar is dissolved. Now add all the vodka & zest to the sugar water, stir in and when cool pour it into the jar again. Do up the lid. Now more waiting. Put it in the fridge for a further week, shaking it every day. After the week is up, strain the liquid into bottles, adding a few strips of lemon zest to each.
When completed, it will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.

I’m currently trying this out, and wonder if it would work with orange or lime zest? I’ll let you know how I get on!