I think summer’s over. It was so nice and so fleeting and now it’s back to stereotypical London rain and cold. Iain thinks there will be an Indian summer. I’m such a pessimist when it comes to weather that I bet him it wouldn’t happen. We’ll see. I feel like I still had so many things to do on my hypothetical summer list, though I can’t really think of what they were right now. I haven’t even been swimming yet. I haven’t eaten nearly enough ice cream or summer fruit. Or sat in enough beer gardens. Or made all the summer-y recipes I’ve pinned. I just need more time!
With the end of summer comes the end of late sunsets. As this has been my first summer blogging, I’ve really noticed how great late sunsets are for taking pictures of food. I don’t have to use artificial light. Or wait for the weekend to make a dish. Already it’s getting darker much earlier and I don’t know what I’ll do when the sun starts setting at 4:30pm. I don’t want to become the person who makes dinner for breakfast just to get a good photo of it. But I also don’t want to have to rely on artificial light, so I’m in a bit of a pickle there.
Until then, I’ve got a bit of time to work it all out, so I’ll just keep on doing what I’m doing and enjoy the last dribs and drabs of summer. While it may be over weather-wise, it doesn’t seem to have changed produce-wise. I’ve mentioned the lack of food seasonality in London before, and it’s no different with zucchini, but from all the recipes out there right now, I get the feeling it’s a late summer vegetable, so I think this is the perfect time to post this recipe. You can get one last hurrah out of your zuccs before they’re gone (unless you’re in London, in which case, you can have your courgettes and eat them too. Any time you want).
This Zucchini Bread/Cake/Quick Bread/whatever you want to call it is incredible! It’s lightly spiced with all the right flavours, and is perfectly dense-but-not-too-dense. You can’t taste the zucchini, but you’d notice if it wasn’t there, if you know what I mean. Under strict supervision and slight temperature dial adjustments every 10 minutes, I somehow kept my incompetent oven at the right temperature for the entire bake and ended up with a beautifully risen, not sunken or under-cooked, crisp on the outside, moist on the inside, delicious bread. It tastes great as is, or lightly toasted with a bit of butter, to each her own.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
2 medium zucchini, grated
1⅓ cup caster sugar
⅔ cup vegetable oil
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups plain flour
1½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarb soda
¼ tsp nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Line a 21cm x 11cm (or similar) loaf pan with baking paper.
- Set grated zucchini in a sieve or colander to drain liquid. Place a two or three pieces of paper towel on top to absorb the liquid as well. Allow to sit for a few minutes while preparing other elements.
- Combine caster sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and eggs in a medium bowl. In a separate large bowl, add plain flour, cinnamon, baking powder, bicarb soda and nutmeg and mix well to combine.
- Use your hands to squeeze the zucchini and remove any remaining liquid, then add to the flour mixture, along with the sugar mixture. Use a wooden spoon to mix until all the dry ingredients are just incorporated into the wet. Pour into prepared pan and bake for approx. 1 hour, until the top has turned golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove bread from pan and cool on a wire rack.
- To keep crisp on top and moist inside, store cake wrapped in baking paper, followed by aluminium foil and inside an air-tight container. This is the best storage method I’ve found to prevent the top going sticky and gooey.