Best home grown from mid-June to October
Courgettes are baby marrows, and don’t I know it! I used to grow them, but if I wasn’t vigilant about picking them every day in season they seemed to turn into marrows overnight – and marrow for supper night after night is not a good idea! Now I would rather buy them small and tender. Courgettes are a delicate vegetable, with not a great deal of their own flavour, and like aubergines they have a high water content that can render them watery and dull. I like them chunkily cut and roasted in the oven, as in Oven-Roasted Ratatouille, or marinated in a vinaigrette with herbs, which allows them to absorb some real flavour.
Soup may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you're deciding what to do with a glut of summer courgettes, but they do produce the lightest soup imaginable - and the watercress pesto adds the final flourish.
This makes a filling and enjoyable meal for 4 from a few cheap ingredients - even more so if you grow your own courgettes and have a glut to use up. Add fresh herbs, eggs and parmesan-style cheese for a wonderful vegetarian recipe.
Vegetarians and meat-eaters alike will love this really thick soup crammed with beans, rice and a host of wintry veg. All you need is some good bread and cheese to go with it…
A classic ratatouille is wonderful, but if you roast the vegetables it takes it to another dimension and retains all the vegetables' flavour and texture.
Mulligatawny was highly fashionable in Victorian times and, indeed, this recipe was influenced by Eliza Acton, one of that era's most prolific cookery writers. Spicy, warming and vegetarian, it's a real classic.