What to do with a Glut of Courgettes /Zucchini

It is the first week of August and our second summer here at La Girouette is in full swing.  We learnt a lot from our first summer in the potager (veg garden) but, despite my decision to plant a LOT less courgette seeds, we have been harvesting about 2.5 kg of them a day for the last month or so.  This abundance is fantastic but poses a bit of a challenge because there are only so many courgette that 2 people can eat.  We have given many to our immediate neighbours here in the hameau (hamlet) and swapping season has been very fruitful for us – excuse the pun.  In return for our courgettes so far we have received from the neighbours dozens of eggs, cherries, peaches,  haricots and cucumbers.  It is such a joyful experience to connect with our neighbours in this way and it really helps to make us feel part of this little 6 house community.

20190729_110653My body just loves eating food which was grown less than 10 metres from the table we eat it at and is eaten within 30 mins of harvest.  Sadly courgette can’t be frozen (apart from once already cooked as in cake or soup) and if you leave medium sized ones on the plant overnight they can turn into monsters like these ones which Delilah is lying beside to give you a size comparison.  She is in between springer spaniel and setter size!

So I decided to set myself a culinary challenge to find as many really delicious new ways of using courgette as possible.  It has been quite amazing how we have managed to eat at least one meal a day based on courgette for over a month now and still be trying new dishes, many of them seriously tasty.  I have become an advocate for the much overlooked courgette and hopefully, if you try some of the recipes in this blog, you will grow to love them as much as we now do.

20190711_194653-1The first (and our most loved) recipe is for Courgette and Raisin (or Cranberry) Tea Loaf.  I make nearly one a day at the moment because you can freeze them so I am using the courgettes up and storing up for the winter months.  The real challenge is getting them into the freezer before Eoin gets to them!  This is a slightly modified version of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Pumpkin and Raisin Tea Loaf from his excellent VEG cookbook which I use a lot.  Click here to check out the book.  I add some desiccated coconut and use cranberries instead of the raisins for variety and a slightly sweeter taste.  It is a reasonably simple recipe once you get the hang of it and, so far, I have found it to be very consistent in its results.  In fact, I have one in the oven as I type this!  Click here to read the recipe and I hope you enjoy eating it as much as we do.  BTW this is NOT a healthy option and does, sadly, include flour and sugar.  If anyone comes up with a healthier version then please let me know.

Courgettini.JPGOne of the most important pieces of kitchen equipment for dealing with your courgette glut is a spiraliser.  I couldn’t manage without mine and it allows me to whip up incredible courgettini in less than a minute.  My own only cost £20 and has been working really well for me for a few years now.  Check it out here.

Once you have a spiraliser you can make things like Jamie Oliver’s delicious Lemony Prawn Courgettini and Lemony Courgette Linguini (although personally I don’t bother with the linguini and just make some courgettini with my spiraliser then add in the mint, parmesan and lemon for a super simple summer lunch).  We also have a lot of basil growing at the moment so my other favourite thing to do with spiralised courgettini is simple to blitz up up a delicious pesto, gently warm the courgettini in a large frying pan then mix the pesto through.  So simple yet so yummy.


This afternoon I made up 4 litres of Courgette, Leek and Goat’s Cheese soup which also freezes well in batches so I can defrost it and we can taste some summer during cold winter days!  With fresh basil leaves and some toasted pumpkin seeds on top it is makes a bowl of velvety deliciousness.


Of course, summer wouldn’t be summer without lots of gorgeous risottos made from all the fresh veg and herbs in the garden.  It is especially good when you also make your own stock with veg off-cuts which you can freeze until you have enough to make up a litre or two of stock.  Risotto is one of my specialities so I tend not to use a recipe but I have tried these three for you and they are great – Courgette & Lemon Risotto, Tomato & Courgette Risotto and Summer Courgette Risotto.  Making a good risotto requires focus and patience but it is so worth the wait and I like to use it as part of my meditation practice.

Then there are the salads.  Oh the salads we have eaten this summer already!  So much goodness and nutrition on one plate.  It leaves the mouth and the body tingling with aliveness.  We had our French/Polish neighbours round for dinner last week and they were bowled over by these Courgettes with Mint & Ricotta which I served alongside freshly dug boiled potatoes and some barbecued tuna.  This Shaved Fennel, Courgette and Orange salad is simple but excellent as is this Zingy Courgette and Spinach Salad.


That brings me on to the show stopper so far this summer which is Potato, Courgette and Goat’s Cheese Tart.  It is a labour of love and a little complicated but we just adore it.  Personally, I don’t use the pastry included in the recipe because I favour one of my own pastry recipes but I am sure it is good anyway.  This keeps well and is equally as good for a second meal the next day (if there is any left!).


I have also made and frozen batches of these Courgette & Feta Fritters which you can find in this cookbook which is one of my favourites by the lovely guys at the Happy Pear who inspire me so much.  Check out all their books along with several other of my favourites here.  These Sweetcorn Courgette Fritters are also very tasty (especially with the sweet chilli sauce) but I prefer the Happy Pear ones.

20190727_204429And last, but not least, is this incredibly rich Chocolate Courgette Cake.  I have only made it once but I will try it again and will only make half quantities because it is very big and we could only manage a small slice at a time.  It needs some vanilla ice-cream to cut through the richness but it has potential and I am determined to master it.

This week I will be trying another Happy Pear recipe for the first time because my two nephews are coming to stay and they love a good cake so I will be serving them up Lemon Curd and Courgette Cake.  I will also be trying these Veggie ‘Meat’balls and, now that our tomatoes are starting to redden, we will be enjoying Courgette & Tomato Soup.

I hope this all gives you some food for thought and inspires you.  If you have any of your own favourite courgette recipes then please do share a link in the comments box.

Bon appetit.










Spring Clean Your Life

20190216_125521.jpgOver the last week or so we have been blessed with the most glorious warm sunny days and cloudless skies which, according to the neighbours, is not normal.  Certainly our memory of last February while we were renting in the area was of wet, wet, wet and more wet.  So the phrase of the moment between everyone we meet is “Il faut en profiter!” which basically means “make the most of it!” So we are.

Eoin has been hard at work cleaning our roof, chopping down old trees and doing lots of other outdoors jobs.    If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you will know that I am a passionate organic gardener and that our aim is to grow as much of our own veg as possible here at La Girouette.  This beautiful weather has started my green fingers itching as we rapidly approach the start of another growing year and yesterday I completed Phase 2 of Operation GIY (Grow It Yourself) which was to clean out and reorganise the potting shed.  As I was taking everything out, cleaning tools, disposing of rubbish, organising my pots  and generally seeing what was there, I realised how therapeutic I found this job and how much it mirrored how I approach life. Continue reading “Spring Clean Your Life”

Nous sommes arrivés chez nous!


It has been just over a month since I last wrote a blog and it has flown past in a blur of buying a new car, planning our move, packing, loading, cleaning, moving, unloading, unpacking and settling in to our beautiful new home here at La Girouette.  We have now been here for 2 weeks and I am SOOOOO happy as I sit here in the heart of this sweet house writing these words.

The house was built in 1845 and was beautifully renovated in more recent times and, so far, she is offering us a very different life to the one we had before.  We are both starting to feel the impact of our decision to downsize and to simplify our lives.  Continue reading “Nous sommes arrivés chez nous!”

Home Sweet Home!

After 6 months looking and 3 months extremely focused and intensive (15 hours per week) house-hunting we have finally bought our new home in the Dordogne!  Voici ‘La Girouette’……

New house1

Anyone who has bought a home in France knows that the system here is very different to the UK/Ireland.  For starters there are no big centralised property search engines that all the immobiliers (estate agents) register their properties on.  There are dozens of different websites many of which are difficult to navigate and have poor search terms.  Next, hardly anyone puts up “A Vendre” (For Sale) signs so you have no idea which houses are actually on the market.  After all our searching we genuinely believe that maybe 1 in every 5 houses in the Dordogne must be on the market.  The number of properties for sale here is just staggering so you can spend literally weeks trawling through websites trying to find houses which match your criteria.

Then once you do find one which looks good and ticks the boxes on paper you have to try to find out where it is.  “Proche d’un village” (near to a village) can mean anything up to 10 kms from the local village and, even then, that village might have no boulangerie or any other shops because there are many, many ‘dead’ villages in the area.  The estate agents’ descriptions of locations are deliberately vague because they don’t want people to go to the owners directly for a private sale.  Given that the agent’s charge a massive 5-6% of the selling price in fees, you can understand that they might want to safe-guard that income by being as cagey as possible.  However, for the house-hunter this makes life very difficult and the whole process incredibly slow because you have to arrange a viewing of every single property which might vaguely be of interest even though you have no idea if it is on a main road or right beside a factory!  Continue reading “Home Sweet Home!”

What this blog is all about…..

cropped-20170712_172841.jpgOn 25 August 2017 my partner Eoin and I leave our home in Northern Ireland for a new life in France.  We have sold our home, sold one of our businesses, are selling or giving away most of our furniture and buying a motor-home to live in until we find our new home.  We think this will be somewhere in the Dordogne but we aren’t 100% sure yet!

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain

This blog is dedicated to the start of a whole new life for me at the age of 49 and will be inspired by our adventures, my passion for food, nature, France and all things beautiful.

I hope it inspires you to follow your dreams and step out of your own comfort zones to create a life you love.

If you enjoy it, please share and I would love to hear from you so please feel free to leave comments and tell me what you are liking (or not!).

You can also follow our adventures on our YouTube Channel by clicking here.

Jenny Gx