La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France. We chose it while on the road, moving home, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, that is back in Ireland.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Griddled Marinated Courgettes

When they start growing, they won't stop.  I have a problem with picking them before they get too big and then finding interesting ways to prepare them so we don't get bored with eating courgettes every single day during summer ;-)

It is no hardship as we like courgettes. 

An easy to make and delish stand-by, these griddled beauties,  for salads,  on bruschetta, on pizza, in quiche or omelette, on your cheese sarnie, in a pasta dish and they make a nice change in a moussaka. Do I need to say more ? Very versatile.

Ingredients    quantities are approximates
  • medium sized green and yellow courgettes, 1 of each
  • 1 medium patty pan squash or 2 smaller ones (I used the white variety)
  • coarse seasalt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • handful of freshly chopped mint
  • olive oil
  • sunflower oil
  • Slice the courgettes lengthways, 1/2 cm thick
  • Put the patty pan flat on the work surface and slice vertically, into 1/2 cm discs
  • Bring all the slices into a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, toss them around, so the courgettes are all slightly coated.
  • Use a griddle pan (is not a necessity, but makes it look nicer) and let it get rather hot.
  • Griddle the courgettes a few at a time on both sides

  • When cooked through, bring them into a bowl.
  • Squeeze a little lemon juice over the courgettes, a sprinkle of salt, black pepper and a drop of olive oil.
  • Finish all the sliced courgettes like this, but beware of too much salt.
  • Add the mint and toss.
  • Adjust the seasoning and lemon juice to taste
  • It can be kept in the fridge for a good couple of days, but you then need to cover with sunflower oil (don't use olive oil for this as it will be too bitter)

Will be seeing you at the next courgette meeting, I hope.
Patricia xxx...x

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Courgette Fritters

The courgettes are growing,  plenty and fast. So, here is the first of my courgette recipes.

Fritters are easily adaptable depending on your mood or style of cuisine, by adding different spice mixtures. 
Courgettes do not give you an explosion of flavour on their own, so they do need a kick up the backside from time to time.

  • 2 green courgettes and 1 yellow, grated
  • salt
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • parsley, chopped
  • tiny green or red chilli, finely chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • plain flour, 2 to 3 heaped tbsp
  • corn flour, 1 heaped tbsp
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • sunflower or olive oil
  • Put the grated courgettes in a colander, sprinkle with some salt, put a plate over it with something heavy on top. Leave for 30 minutes standing in your (clean) sink.  This is to draw excess water out of the courgettes. If you omit this step, your fritters will turn soggy quickly.
  • After about 1/2 hr squeeze some more of the water out of the courgettes and toss them into a bowl with all the other ingredients, except the oil.
  • Give it a stir with a wooden spoon.
  • Heat some oil in a frying pan (a non stick works best for this)
  • With a large spoon bring about four dollops of the mixture into the pan (depending on the size of your pan, more or less dollops)
  • Press them down slightly, frying them over medium heat. 
  • Turn them over and fry on the other side till golden.
  • When they are ready, drain on kitchen paper and repeat the process with the rest of the mixture and keep the others warm in the meantime.


Mexican style  Add sweetcorn, chopped red pepper, ground cumin, chopped coriander, chilli powder .....

Indian style  Replace flour with chickpea flour, add  grated ginger, ground coriander, fresh coriander, turmeric, cinnamon,  garam massala.....

Patricia xxx...x

Friday, July 15, 2011

Beetroot and Feta Salad

I just couldn't wait any longer to have a taste of the beetroot we are growing.  They were therefore on the small side, but it didn't take away from the flavour.
I love that sweet, earthiness of the beets and the colour and it works well with the saltiness of the feta.

Ingredients  (which I used)
  • 10 small beets (smaller than a ping pong ball)
  • 150 grs feta (from sheep milk)
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • 2 tsp honey
  • Juice of 1 lemon (the zest I used in the courgette fritters)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • Wash the beets thoroughly and cut off the leaves,  leaving stalks of about 3 cm (btw, you can also eat the leaves in a salad or sauteed like spinach, but this time I gave them to the chicks and they were very appreciative)
  • Put in a cooking pot covered with water on the hob. Cook until tender (al dente)
  • In the meantime make your dressing with all the other ingredients and crumble in your feta.
  • When the beets are cooked, you can drain  off the liquid, cut the beets in half and add them to the dressing whilst still hot.
  • Toss and leave to cool, put in fridge or a cool place till serving (I know ! You can use this as a warm salad too)
I served this salad with courgette fritters, panfried pollock and salmon.

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