Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Friday, 9 November 2007

Courgette, tarragon & lemon bread

I'm a recent bread machine convert, but finding lots of scrummy recipes like this one leaves me eagerly awaiting my next warm, fresh bread fix. It's like magic - all the ingredients get thrown into the machine, press a few buttons and hey presto! A couple of hours later out comes something like you see above. I get the same kind of wonder when a photographic image appears in my darkroom tray.
This recipe is taken from "The Bread Book" by Sara Lewis and is another cunning way of using up some of that courgette glut.
To keep things (relatively) short, I'll just post the bread machine recipe. Do post me a comment if you'd like the hand-made version.
  1. 150g (5oz, heaping half cup) courgette - grated & patted dry with kitchen paper
  2. 500g (1lb, 4.5 cups) strong white flour
  3. 1 lemon, grated rind only
  4. 1 tablespoon fresh chopped French tarragon (don't bother with Russian unless you really don't like the aniseed flavour)
  5. 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  6. 2 teaspoons salt
  7. freshly ground black pepper
  8. 1.5 teaspoons fast-action dried yeast
  9. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  10. 200ml (7 fl oz, scant 1 cup water)
  1. Assemble ingredients. Lift the tin out of the breadmaker, fit the kneader blade and then add the ingredients in the order advised by your breadmachine's manufacturer
  2. Insert the tin into the breadmachine and shut the lid. Select basic large (750g/1.5lb) white bake and select the preferred crust setting if your machine has this option. (I used the dark crust setting for the loaf you see in the photo) Press start.
  3. At the end of the programme, lift the tin out of the machine with oven gloves and turn the bread out onto a wire rack to cool. Loosen the bread with a plastic spatula if it's reluctant to leave the tin.
  4. If you don't have a crust setting option and you find the loaf is rather pale on top, brush a little butter over the top and brown under the grill.
Makes 1 large loaf. Delicious with tuna or soup, such as my pumpkin recipe
I find it very hard to keep to a recipe, so here are some variations I've tried:
  1. Substitute the same amount of peeled butternut squash for the courgette. This is a good way of using those teeny tiny squashes we've got from our plots this year
  2. Fennel foliage (bulb or herb) instead of tarragon for a stronger aniseed taste
  3. Use 30-40ml juice from your grated lemon and make up to the 200ml liquid needed with water. Tip - microwave the lemon for 10 seconds and you'll extract the juice much more easily
  4. Substitute strong wholemeal flour for the white flour to make an even healthier bread. However, you'll lose some of the green speckled effect from the courgette and tarragon. Also, remember to change the baking option to brown bread!

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