Chocolate, pistachio and courgette cake (gluten and dairy free) – and a funny summer for the garden

I haven’t posted for ages. I’d like to pretend it was because I was doing too much other interesting stuff, but I just got out of the habit….. of writing, not baking, obviously. So here’s a garden update and a new recipe. The weather has been decidedly odd this year, but I guess this unpredictability is what we should expect from now on. As a result, the veg garden hasn’t been as productive as usual – the tomato plants have grown very slowly, the first crop of courgettes failed completely, and there’s been a poor crop of beans and mange tout. Our cooking apple tree has about 4 fruit on it – only the second time it has failed to produce a mega crop in the 18 years we have lived here. We have been tucking into rhubarb and beetroot, the replacement courgettes are looking promising and the blueberries and raspberries are starting to fruit, so all is not lost!

Quite a few years ago now I planted some Acanthus mollis (also known as bear’s britches) in the garden. It threw up some lovely glossy leaves each year but has stubbornly refused to flower. I even tried to dig it up one year but gave up as it was pretty well established. This year it has decided to flower and looks as if it might have been worth waiting for! This is just the beginning, there are lots of other flower spikes, so we will enjoy it while it lasts.2019 bears britches

I baked this gluten free and dairy free cake yesterday – it is rich and I think probably best enjoyed within a couple of days of making (that isn’t a problem in this house). Mr McGregor has been enjoying his with yoghurt. It’s also quite low in fat and has courgette in it, so maybe even a tiny bit healthy? I’ve adapted it from one of Harry Eastwood’s fantastic recipes.

Chocolate, pistachio and courgette cake (gluten free and dairy free) pdf:Chocolate pistachio and courgette cake

100g shelled pistachio nuts

3 large eggs

60g light muscovado sugar

300g courgettes, peeled and grated

120g white rice flour

60g cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

  1. Preheat oven to 180/160 fan/gas 2. Line a 20cm round springform baking tin
  2. Blitz the pistachios to a powder (mix in some flour if they become too sticky)
  3. Whisk eggs and sugar together til light and fluffy
  4. Beat in the courgette and pistachios, followed by the dry ingredients. Once well mixed put into the tin and bake for about 30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 mins then allow to cool fully on a rack

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