Day 90: Courgette Flower Stuffed with Goats Cheese, Orange Blossom Honey
inspired by Barrafina
I can’t believe it’s been eight days since the last time I wrote about courgettes.
It’s certainly not been eight days since I last ate a courgette. I feel like courgettes have taken oven my life. They’ve certainly taken over both our veg patch and the drawer in our fridge.
This might sound strange but in the months of preparation that has gone into growing our own vegetables, I’d never properly considered eating them all.
Sure, you are filled with romantic notions of living off the land and getting back to nature. You fill with pride at the idea of eating seasonally. Of the thought that all of this produce has been tended by your bare hands.
But do you actually stop and think about what you’re going to do with all your veg….? No.
Would you, for example go to the supermarket and buy eight courgettes a week. For two people.
Forget a blog post. By the time we are through the harvest I will be able to write a novel on all the dishes you can make with courgettes.
It doesn’t help that, other than a few puny radishes, they are the first crop ready to eat. So it’s courgettes with, well, courgettes for dinner. I’m sure if and when some other vegetable varieties are ready it might not seem like such problem.
The other thing you don’t think about? They just keep getting bigger.
If I look at one of my courgette plants (yes, with hindsight it might have been a mistake to plant three) and see a courgette ready to eat, I might think I’ll leave it a day or two. I don’t need a courgette for dinner tonight. But by then I guarantee that courgette will have doubled in size! It’s practically a marrow! It will now take two dinners just to get through that one! Plus there’s two more ready now….
But there is one huge up side to growing your own courgettes. You get the flowers too.
I’ve never bought courgette flowers before. I’ve seem them from time to time in delis, or at Borough Market. But the fact you have to buy a pack of a dozen, and then pay an eye watering amount for them, means that they are something I have eaten in restaurants. But never cooked at home.
There is an ulterior motive to wanting to cook this. For every flower I snip free, for every budding courgette that I slice off the plant now – the less fully formed courgettes I have to eat later.
Barrafina, a small London chain of Spanish tapas bars, is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, but never have. It’s another example of a no reservation restaurant where I always mean to join the queue…. but then just get too damn hungry and go and eat somewhere else.
Which is a shame as everyone who has made it inside the restaurant seems to be having an amazing time.
Perhaps the best way to approach these places is to prepare yourself an in-queue picnic. So you are not worried about getting hungry before a table is ready.
Sure it would require a certain amount of restraint. You don’t want to be so full from your pre-dinner dinner that you can no longer eat the food you have been queuing for all this time. But a bag of nuts or a pot of olives perhaps? A small charcuterie selection?
I think I’m on to something here.
Or I would have been. With government guidelines for the reopening of bars and restaurants finally starting to emerge, it seems reservations are encouraged in order to manage numbers, both in restaurants and on pavements outside. So Barrafina, like so many other establishments, might be reviewing their reservation policy as we speak.
But until Barrafina reopens, queue or no queue, I’m going to have to make do cooking something at home.
I find this recipe for Barrafina’s courgette tapas here.
“Stuffed Courgette Flowers”
Which involve stuffing the flowers with a mix of goat’s cheese, thyme and black pepper. You make a simple batter with flour and water and then dip them in the batter before deep frying.
I’ve no idea if I understuffed, overstuffed, or simply didn’t get the batter mix right. Maybe I didn’t fold the petals tightly enough over the cheesy filling.
Neither of the two I fried came out of the oil with all the filling they went in with. Some of the filling was also now on the outside of the flower – which I’m fairly sure defeats the point.
But it still tasted delicious.
Barrafina drizzle theirs in orange blossom honey. I found a jar of this for sale in the Quality Chop House deli on Farringdon Road (yes, I went into central London, more on that tomorrow!)
Orange blossom honey is amazing! Yes, it’s not the cheapest ingredient. I think that’s the first time I’ve ever paid more than a fiver for a jar of honey, or anything in fact, unless there’s truffle involved.
But wow it’s incredible.
With quite a few more courgette flowers likely to be in my future I’m going to have another go at this dish. Do a bit more research first perhaps (google how to stuff a courgette flower…)
But it was still a lovely snack on a sunny afternoon.
I wonder if I could eat it in a restaurant queue?
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