Thursday, 29 January 2015

Cor that's a whopper

I love vegetables
I claim to be a vegetarian 
(actually I'm not as I eat fish & seafood - so I think I'm a pesky-something-tarian)
I love growing my own vegetables - the whole garden to plate thing is very rewarding
But I do not love when an unnoticed zucchini (courgette to you pommes!) stealthily swells to the size of... well, a marrow.

Kiwi Good Life - Vicki Annison
A healthy whopper 
Last year I got a bumper crop of these blighters as every time my back was turned the darn plant would bring out of hiding a sample that it had been preparing just for me.

I did my best to
find a way to cook them but the skin gets tough, the seeds swell and much of the inside is very watery. I've tried salting them to get rid of excess moisture. Stuffing them. Barbecuing them. The best recipe I found was one which used char-grilled slices of monster marrow, layered with slices of apple and baked in tomato sauce in a lasagne type method with heaps of melted cheese on the top.

This year we tried planting a zucchini in our greenhouse (I was picturing the idea of fresh zucchinis in the winter when the supermarkets charge a premium for them). Anyway - big mistake.
The plants normally get fairly large and spread out. This factor, plus the heat in the greenhouse - just lead to the growth of a MASSIVE plant with zillions of leaves the size of coffee tables. The small amount of fruiting parts tended to just wither up before they grew to much of anything.

We have had a good handful of zucchini off the plant, just nothing like our normal crop, but thankfully this has also meant no marrows either. That is until a friend whose daughter was coming round to visit our Miss12, also sent round two giant marrows.

They sat on the worktop for a week or two - staring at me.
Meanwhile my zucchini plant sweltered in the greenhouse in our 30 degree summer and coughed out a couple of mini zucchinis. Which isn't really enough to satisfy anyone let alone a pesky vegetarian.

So the other night I experimented with said marrow which was cut into an assortment of slices, shapes and rings - some peeled some not - but all slathered in garlic olive oil and roasted until pronounced golden and cooked. The family verdict is still out but personally I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed some big chunky fingers of marrow after they had been roasted with garlic oil until almost caramelised on top.

I even ate leftovers the next day.

But the lesson in this whole tale is not really how to cook giant whopper marrows - but to urge you not to plant a zucchini in a hot greenhouse over summer.

Incidentally ours produced a mini plant-let with roots which was hastily planted OUTSIDE and is doing well despite being well into our summer already. I'm hoping that one or the other will survive through to winter and keep producing for my pantry. At this point the greenhouse may be the preferred residence and perhaps I'll get a home-grown supply of zucchinis over winter after all.

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The Kiwi Good Life blog and social media pages are run by Vicki Annison (aka KiwiVix)