Monthly Archives: July 2013

Courgette Risotto

Courgettes are very versatile vegetables. You can dice them, grate them, fry them or roast them. They are great with pasta, in soup, and can even be eaten raw with a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil when sliced very thinly. Learn how to grow courgettes here.

This week I was given some lovely allotment-grown courgettes and decided to treat myself to a courgette risotto. The great thing about risotto is that once you know the basic recipe, you can go wild and experiment. The method never changes, only the ingredients.

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Ingredients (for 2 people)
1 onion – thinly chopped
a couple of slices of bacon – cut into small pieces
1-2 courgettes – diced
1-2 cloves garlic – chopped
a few tomatoes – chopped
a handful of peas
a cup of Arborio rice
a cup of white wine
olive oil / butter
vegetable stock
a handful of chopped mint
salt and pepper to season
parmesan cheese
Heat the oil in a large pan and soften the onion on a low heat. Add the bacon and garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add the courgette, tomato and peas to the pan and cook for approximately 5 minutes (depending on how soft you like your courgettes).

Stir in the rice until coated with oil. Gradually add the wine and stock to the pan whilst continually stirring for approximately 15 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. Towards the end, sprinkle in the mint, salt, pepper and some parmesan cheese. Make sure the risotto ‘oozes’ before serving.

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Grate some more parmesan over the risotto and enjoy with a glass of white wine. Delizioso!

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Depending on what you like or what you have in the garden/fridge, you can alter this recipe as you want. Do you have a favourite recipe for courgettes? Please let us know!

What’s On – Summer 2013

We’ve settled in to the new Visitor Centre nicely, and have already had a lot of  visitors. If you haven’t been yet, take a look at our tours and events below!

We are especially excited about the Heritage Open Day in September, where you can enjoy a  Victorian themed tea party.

Please note: tours are £2 per person.

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Saturday 10th August 11 – 3pm, tour at noon

Wednesday 14th August 12 – 3pm, tour at 1:30pm

Wednesday 11th September 12 – 3pm, tour at 1:30pm

Saturday 14th September Heritage Open Day - 

Victorian Tea Party 11 – 3pm, tour at noon

Sunday 22nd September Harvest Celebration - times to be confirmed

Wednesday 9th October 12 – 3pm, tour at 1:30pm

We hope to see you soon!

We also have lots going on at the Community Orchard over the summer for local families.

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Elderflower Fritters… Yum!

If anyone saw me walking around with a pair of scissors and an empty bag earlier today, I was attempting to find and collect the last elderflowers of the year.

My plan had been to make elderflower cordial. But when I returned to the Visitor Centre, a couple of people started raving about elderflower fritters, and I was intrigued. They sounded so tasty, I decided to give them a go instead!

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It’s best to pick the flowers when they are still very white and new. I should have gone elderflower foraging a couple of weeks ago really, but there were still a few pretty, delicate white flowers on the trees around the allotments, and I didn’t do too badly.

When I got home, I looked up a recipe, and found this simple one from Nigel Slater.

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First of all, you have to make the batter: Beat 100g of sifted plain flour, 2 tablespoons of oil and 175ml of sparkling mineral water into a stiff paste, then add a tablespoon of sugar. Leave the batter to rest for 30 minutes.

While you’re waiting, dip the elderflowers into cold water and get rid of any insects. Cut the flower heads, leaving a bit of a stem so that you can pick the fritters up with your fingers. Leave to dry on paper towels.

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Just before you fry the elderflower heads, beat an egg white and fold into the batter. Heat up a pan of oil, and when hot enough, dip the flower heads into the batter and place into the hot oil. It shouldn’t take long for the batter to turn a light golden brown. Take the fritters out and dip into a bowl of caster sugar.

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The fritters will be cool enough to eat within a few moments. It’s best to eat them while they are still warm and crisp. Yum!

Do you have a favourite elderflower recipe to share? Let us know!