July is the ideal month to get your hands on courgettes – they’re very easy to grow as they basically look after themselves.
Deep-fried batons of fresh courgette make a great little summer snack which, once cooked, need to be eaten straight away.
Dip them into a fresh, zingy salsa made with cherry tomatoes, red onions or spring onions, fresh corriander and a bit of seasoning and that’s it.
The best way to eat ripe Scottish strawberries is with a good dollop of Scottish cream.
The next best way to eat them is in a Strawberry tart.
Today’s recipe is ideal if you want to get children or grandchildren interested in cooking as they’ll love getting hands-on with this dessert.
Making the pastry is an absolute doddle as all you do is get the ingredients together and pop them in a food blender.
If you don’t have access to a blender then just use your hands to bring it together.
No rolling required either – just push the pastry into the flan tin.
And here’s a great tip for you…
To get a nice sticky sauce, simply warm up some strawberry or fruit jam in a pan, then sieve it into a bowl and hey presto! You have a lovely fruity sauce.
Visit www.lochbay-restaurant.co.uk for more from Michael.
Courgette fries with salsa
SERVES 4 AS A SIDE DISH OR STARTER
- 2 medium courgettes
- 150g plain flour
- 2 egg whites
- Olive or vegetable oil, to fry
- Slice the courgettes laterally about 0.5cm thick (a mandolin would be useful), then lengthwise into long matchsticks, then cut these in half.
- Toss with a little salt and drain in a colander for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a wide, shallow dish, stir together the flour with enough lukewarm water (roughly around 250ml) to give the consistency of double cream.
- Season lightly and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
- Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks then fold this into the batter.
- Heat a large pan a third full of oil to 170°C and put the oven on low.
- Squeeze the courgettes and dry on kitchen paper, then tip into the batter and toss to coat.
- When the oil is at the right temperature, add a handful of the courgette strips a few at a time and stir gently to separate, then fry until golden.
- Scoop out with a slotted spoon on to kitchen paper and season lightly, then put in the oven to keep warm while you fry the rest in batches.
- Serve immediately, ideally with a home-made salsa.
Simple strawberry tart
For the pastry:
- 200g plain flour
- 110g cold butter, cut into cubes
- 65g caster sugar
- ¼tsp fine salt
- For the filling:
- 300ml whipping cream (well chilled)
- 2tsp icing sugar
- 100g thick whole milk yoghurt
- About 500g ripe strawberries
- 4tbsp redcurrant jelly or tart glaze to finish
- To make the pastry, put all the ingredients in a food processor and whizz until they look like damp ground almonds – this will probably take a minute or so.
- Tip into a loose-bottomed shallow tart tin about 25cm wide, spread out and press with a mug or glass until you have a pastry case.
- Put in the freezer for 15 minutes until firm.
- Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180°C.
- Prick the pastry base all over with a fork, then bake for about 20-25 minutes until lightly golden (overcook it and it will be crumbly). Allow to cool in the tin, then gently transfer to a serving plate.
- When the shell is cool, whip the cream until soft peaks, adding the sugar towards the end of the process, then fold in the yoghurt.
- Taste and add a little more sugar if needed.
- Spoon into the tart shell and smooth.
- Hull the strawberries and cut into quarters, or sixths if large, and then arrange, point upwards, in concentric circles.
- Heat the jelly in a small pan until liquid, then brush over the fruit and leave to set for at least 30 minutes before serving.