My days as an idiot gardener appear to be numbered. Our little patch at the community garden is doing so well that people, actual gardening type people, are asking me what I’m doing. The answer is, of course, channeling the energy of the benevolent god of sheer dumb luck. My beans are doing beautifully – I will collect my second mini crop of them tomorrow for our Roast Chicken – and an apparently unheard of watermelon has made an appearance (how long it will last I do not know but for now it continues to grow). But I should clarify by saying that my most abundant crop has been zucchinis, that fail-safe friend of the idiot gardener.
So. Zucchinis. My poor children. They were mad with joy – actual vegetables harvested from our own actual garden. They rode the wave of excitement only be dashed on the rocks of disappointment as high expectation encountered bland and flavourless reality. I must admit I rode this roller coaster with them. Whatever spin you put on zucchini, it comes down to one of two things: medium (for, say, the flavour of fresh herbs or wahtever you choose to stuff them with) or filler (think pasta sauces, casseroles etc).
This recipe falls into the latter category. It is not so much a zucchini recipe as a cake recipe that uses zucchini as a moistener. I got this recipe from Nigella Lawson. I don’t mean that I met her personally and she gave me this recipe, rather that I did some research and got it from her website and… Anyway, Nigella reckons this is a good way of getting your kids to eat more vegetables. I think this is hugely optimistic given there is only 1 cup of grated zucchini in the entire cake and so it doesn’t exactly make a massive contribution to your RDI of veggies. She also claims that the mint essence is a good camouflage for the zucchini as it makes her kids think that the green stuff is actually mint. I can only say that my kids don’t care about the zucchini, they care only about the cake. I care only that it is a productive and very yummy way of using up some of my home-grown zucchinis.
Choc mint zucchini cake (not quite the same as Nigella Lawson’s).
- 90g butter
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- tsp of mint essence
- 1 1/4 cups of self raising flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 1/4 cup milk (I needed to add a smidge smore so keep it handy)
- 1 cup grated zucchini
Preheat your oven to 180. Grease a 15 x 25cm loaf tin. Line the bottom with baking paper then grease again. Cream the butter and sugar in a small bowl bowl until light and fluffy. You know what, I don’t even know what this means. My butter and sugar never ever goes light and fluffy. It only ever goes mixed. Maybe I have the wrong tools – I am an infrequent and poorly outfitted baker. Anyway, cream the buggers then add the eggs one at a time and finally the mint essence. Mix until, well, mixed. Transfer to a large bowl then add the sifted flour and cocoa and milk. Mix well. Add a touch more milk if it seems too stiff. Then add the zuchinni and mix well. Pour into tin and bake for around 45mins or until skewer comes out clean. Wait a few minuted before turning out on a rack to cool. I didn’t ice mine but a cream cheese icing would probably be lovely…