My poor blog. It should be suing me for neglect and emotional distress. It's been a very busy summer, moving house and moving jobs, and I haven't had much time for culinary experimentation lately. However, as the days grow shorter and colder and Christmas draws near, it is time to spend more time at home in the kitchen. I hauled the slow cooker out for the first time in months today, and look forward to trying out some new stew recipes over the next few months. No stew in this post though. Instead, a Delia Smith recipe I've been meaning to try out for a while: courgette and potato cakes with mint and feta. I'm a fairly recent feta convert, but now I use it in every dish that I can (and even some that I probably shouldn't). It was perfect for these potato cakes though. On their own they might have been a little bland, but the feta gave them a lovely sharpness and accompanied the mint and the courgette nicely. So, without further ado:
6 medium courgettes (weighing about 700g)
4 medium Desirée potatoes (weighing about 700g)
4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
450g feta cheese, crumbled
4 spring onions, finely chopped
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly milled black pepper
First, grate the courgettes coarsely (leaving the skins on) and put them into a sieve. Then sprinkle them with 2 teaspoons of salt to draw out some of their excess moisture and leave them to drain for about an hour. While these are sitting, scrub the potatoes and place them in a large saucepan. Pour enough boiling water over them to just cover them, then simmer gently with a lid on for 8 minutes. When they are slightly tender, drain them and leave them aside until they’re cool enough to hold. Then peel them, grate them into a large bowl and season with salt and freshly milled black pepper.
When the courgettes have sat for an hour, run them under cold water. Squeeze as much moisture as you can with your hands, then put them on a clean tea towel and roll it up to wring out the remaining water. This was a neat trick - I'd never thought of doing it before, but it did help to get rid of the juices and prevented the cakes from ending up as soggy messes. Add the courgettes to the grated potatoes, along with the spring onions, mint, feta and beaten eggs and toss the whole mixture together.
To prepare the cakes, divide the mixture into about 16 (or as many as you can get with the quantities you use), shape them into small rounds about 1 cm thick and then lightly dust them with flour. The important thing is that they stick together.
To cook them, pre-heat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Melt the butter and oil in a small saucepan, then brush the cakes on both sides with it. When the oven is ready, place the cakes on trays, returning one to the top shelf and the other to the middle shelf for 15 minutes. After that, turn the cakes over, using a palette knife and a fork, swap the positions of the trays in the oven and cook them for a further 10-15 minutes, or until they are golden.
The recipe calls for them to be served hot, but I can confirm that they work well as cold leftovers too. I think they were intended to be a side dish, but two of them make a lovely light lunch, accompanied by a green salad.