Chocolate Courgette Traybake, Potatoes and Slugs

Yesterday I wrote about ways to use courgettes up (also known as ‘zucchini’s).

Here is another way that gets your family eating courgettes without them even knowing.

You really can’t taste the courgettes because of the cocoa:

 

Chocolate Courgette Tray bake

120 grams of margarine

125ml of sunflower oil

100 grams caster sugar

200 grams soft brown sugar

3 eggs beaten

350 grams self-raising flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

450 grams of courgettes, peeled and grated finely with any water drained away

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

A little bit of Milk to gain the right ‘dropping consistency’

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Preheat your oven to gas mark 4 / 190C /350 F

Line a baking tray approximately 20cm X 35cm with greaseproof paper

Mix the butter, oil and both sugars together until light and fluffy

Gradually add the eggs a little bit at a time, mixing well until they are thoroughly mixed

Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder into the mixture and fold it in until combined

Stir in the courgettes and vanilla extract

Use enough milk to gain the right dropping consistency (i.e. it drops off the spoon when gently shaken)

Bake for 35 minutes

Leave to cool on a baking tray and cut into squares while it is warm.

 

This cake can be eaten as it is, or sprinkled with icing sugar, or even spread with chocolate or butter icing.

I suppose really it would be easier to grow less courgette plants next year, but where’s the fun in that?

 

Today I started to dig up my main crop potatoes.  I still have eleven rows of potatoes to dig up.  The potatoes on the table are from one row.

A couple of days ago I checked the size of the potatoes and as they were big enough, I removed all the foliage so they wouldn’t be affected by ‘blight’ (which is good considering I found blight on my tomatoes only yesterday).

After I had dug them up, I left them for a couple of hours to dry, turning them once.  Then I put them in a sack, ready to store.

I will then check them every 3 or 4 weeks to make sure none of them have rotted, as one rotten potato will turn all the potatoes around it rotten as well.

My maincrop are an early variety called ‘picasso’.  I have grown them for a few years now and I like them as they are a good all rounder and as they are an ‘early’ main crop, I usually miss the dreaded blight that comes later in the summer.

Picasso are particularly good for roasting, boiling, and baking, but I also use them for mashing and making potato wedges too.

Picasso is a popular variety for allotment growers due to its high disease resistance.

Picasso potatoes have smooth white skins with pink eyes. It usually gives a big yield, though this year is not so good due to the cold and damp weather conditions we have been having.

Picasso potatoes also store really well,  however due to the large amount of slug holes I have found in them this year, I don’t think they will store well at all.

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Slugs

Slugs have been a big pest on my allotment this year. In fact the RHS say that the slug is regularly in the top ten garden pests, but as the conditions are damp this year, the slug problem is particularly bad.

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Below are some interesting facts about slugs:

Slugs are in the Mollusks class of Gastropoda, which is the second largest class in the animal kingdom (the largest class is insects).

A Slug weighs about 300 milligrams

Slugs can stretch to 20 times their normal length enabling them to squeeze through tiny openings to get at food.

The life cycle of a slug consists of three stages: egg, immature adult and adult.

Eggs usually hatch in about three weeks, but slugs need moisture and the right soil conditions to survive, so eggs can lay dormant for several years before hatching.

Once eggs hatch the immature stage lasts for less than a year and the adult can live for up to 2 years.

Slugs are hermaphrodites; they can mate with any other slug. One slug can produce over 400 eggs per year.

Slugs must live in moist environments in order to survive since they don’t retain moisture well.

As well as drinking,  they can also soak up water through their skin.

Slugs munch on green flowering plants, flowers, strawberries, cabbage, lettuce and other vegetable plants.

A small slug can eat as much as it weighs and sometimes twice that amount in one night.

When slugs teeth wear out new rows move forward and replace them, conveyor-belt style.

Slugs are nocturnal pests and hide under rocks, ground-covering plants and in the soil during the day. Slugs love hiding under a mulch as it helps retain moisture.

They have a great sense of smell and can find their way back to a site by following their slime trail.

I have tried all sorts of things to get rid of slugs i.e beer traps, egg shells, picking them off plants at night with a torch etc. but none of them worked.  Now I have resorted to organic slug pellets, which are harmless to wildlife (except slugs) and they are rainproof.  The only draw back is that they are expensive, so I only use them on new plants until they are established and they then have to fend for themselves.

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That’s it for today.

Thank you for reading my post.

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10 thoughts on “Chocolate Courgette Traybake, Potatoes and Slugs

  1. A great way to get the kids to eat their veg and it tastes yummy you can not taste the courgettes . Thanks for another great recipe.

  2. I made your courgette cake last night & sent it into work for my OH’s colleagues. It went down a treat & none of them guessed that it had courgette in. I’m also incredibly pleased that I have used up all the courgettes in the house!
    However, in my gas oven it took over an hour to cook. I assume your instructions relate to a fan oven?

    • Hi Jessica. Glad they enjoyed the cake, i’ve made it again today for my daughter to take to her friends house tomorrow. I don’t know why your cake took so long to cook. I don’t have a fan oven, it’s just a normal gas oven and mine again only took 35 minutes. Was your cake tin deeper and smaller? That’s the only thing I could possibly think of. I suppose, as long as it was cooked properly and they enjoyed it, then that’s all that matters.

  3. The chocolate traybakes are very nice and you would not know the veg was in it. The muffins are very nice just had one with my lunch!!

    • Thanks Chris, you’re welcome, it was lovely to have you round. I’ll post the recipes for all the other cakes we had this week too. They are a great way to get veg into the kids without them knowing too.

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