Courgette Quiche and Runner beans

This week I have been looking at ways to use the millions of courgettes that we all grow religiously each year, without learning that we really don’t need so many plants.

Today I made a Courgette Quiche, I have written the recipe below.

You can buy ‘ready to roll’ pastry or even buy a ready cooked pastry case to make the quiche, but making a pastry case yourself is so cheap and easy.

(If you don’t want to use the pastry case straight away, it can be frozen to use later)

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To make a pastry case:

225g Plain flour

100g soft margarine (or 50g lard and 50g margarine)

Pinch of salt (optional – I don’t bother)

 

Preheat your oven Gas 5 / 190C / 375F

Rub the margarine into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs

Add a small amount of cold water and mix with a round bladed knife.  Keep adding a small amount of water until you can make a ball with the dough.  If your dough is too sticky just add a little bit more flour.

Roll the pastry and line an 8 or 9 inch greased flan dish.  Be very careful not to stretch the pastry as it will shrink back in the oven.

Put a layer of greaseproof paper over the pastry and then place some dried peas, beans or rice, to hold the paper down.

Cook for 15 minutes and then remove the greaseproof paper and cook for a further 5 minutes

 

 

To make the quiche:

This recipe isn’t exact, as it depends on the size of your flan dish and how deep the sides actually are.  I managed to have enough of the egg mix to make another smaller quiche afterwards to freeze.

335g courgettes (approx. 1 large one) chopped in half and then sliced thinly

1 large onion

3 tablespoons of chopped parsley

1 pint of milk

3 medium eggs (or 4 small eggs)

Pinch of pepper

A little olive oil to fry

 

Preheat your oven gas mark 6 / 400F / 204C

Fry the courgette and onion in a small amount of olive oil on a low heat for approx. 10 minutes until soft and golden

Whisk the eggs well and then add the milk, pepper and parsley and stir

Put the courgette and onion in the pastry case and spread it out

Pour the egg mixture into the pastry case until it is just below the top of the pastry (so it doesn’t spill over)

Bake for 35 minutes and then check it

You can tell if it’s cooked as the inside shouldn’t move around when you shake it a little bit and if you insert a knife it should come out clean.    

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This morning I picked a basket full of runner beans.

I always grow sweet peas near to my runner beans to help attract the beneficial insects that will help to pollinate the flowers.

Normally from July onwards, runner beans are unstoppable, but this year my beans are about a month behind, due to the cold and damp weather conditions we have been having.  I am hoping the first frosts don’t come too early, so I have longer to harvest them.

I thought it would be nice to write some interesting information about runner beans and their favoured growing conditions:

Their Latin name is ‘Phaseolus Coccineus’.

They are a traditional British vegetable that has an added bonus of brightening up your garden with red or white flowers, which precede the long green beans.

Not only do they taste good when freshly picked, but they are a good source of vitamin C, folic acid, protein and fibre. Also, 100 grams of steamed beans contain less than 20 calories!

Once picked, runner beans will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days, but, as they are part of the ‘legume’ family, the sugar in the beans starts to turn to starch after picking and they are best eaten or frozen as soon as possible.

Runner beans are very popular in the UK, Italy and Mexico, and are grown and eaten in each of the five continents.

Runner beans are native to the cooler, high-altitude regions of Central America and they have been known as a food crop for well over 2,000 years. Runner beans are actually a perennial crop, but they are grown in UK as a half-hardy annual.

They were brought to the British Isles in the seventeenth century by John Tradescant, who was the gardener to King Charles I.  They were originally grown as a decorative plant in Britain, before being grown for food.

Runner beans are easy to grow and give a reliable harvest in the summer.  They will keep flowering right up until the first frosts, provided you keep picking them every two or three days.

Runner beans can be sown outside when the soil temperature has reached 10-12 degrees, but they will not stand low temperatures or frosts.

They don’t like acidic soil and as they are hungry plants, the soil needs to be deep and fertile.

Beans are natural climbers that need strong supports.  Traditionally wigwams or double rows of canes are used.

Your beans will wind around your canes anticlockwise and when they reach the top of your support, it is a good idea to cut the top off the plant  This will encourage the plant to bush out and you will get more beans.

It’s best to pick the beans while they are still young otherwise they become too stringy and tough to eat.

The runner bean doesn’t attract too many pests, but blackfly, slugs and snails can be a problem.  I usually plant nasturtiums near to my beans, as a sacrificial plant, as the blackfly love them better than the runner beans.

Sweet peas next to my beans attract insects to pollinate the flowers

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Well that’s it for today, I hope you have enjoyed reading todays post.

Tomorrow is ‘Bump the blog’ day, where I pick a blog that I particularly enjoy reading and I post a link for you to check it out, to see if it interests you too.

I hope to see you then

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2 thoughts on “Courgette Quiche and Runner beans

  1. Hi Lisa, those beans look delicious. It’s almost spring here, so I am about to plant some climbing & dwarf bean plants. Great ideas about planting sweet peas and nasturtiums next to the beans. I will try that this season.
    Thanks,
    Sarah

    • Hi Sarah, yes nasturtiums really do work and they are far better than using chemicals to kill the blackfly. It’s been a difficult year here this year, as it’s been so damp and the poor bees haven’t been able to get out and about, therefore when they are around the sweetpeas attract them and they then move onto the runnerbeans. You can’t lose as the sweetpeas are beautiful and smell great and you get good polination on your beans too. I’m all for getting nature to do what it does best

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