Monday, October 06, 2008

Glut

glut: noun
1: an excessive quantity

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According to my Oxford Dictionary, yes indeedy, I have a glut of zucchini.

Heaps, hoardes, tonnes aplenty.. small ones, big ones, ones that have eluded my garden knife (obscured by huge leaves) and are now ginormous! I've tried giving them away, abandoned a few on doorsteps.. but if I am to pawn away an oversized vegetable on unsuspecting neighbours, perhaps my green friend needs a disguise. All means of trickery are fair.

So, that's what I did. And I think it the perfect disguise. (No, not a hat, fake moustache and dark glasses. That's for potatoes!) I have spent all day turning my vegetables into perfect-with-tea (or coffee) loaf cakes (aka zucchini bread).

Wot? Bread with zucchini in it? Yep. That's what ma does. When there are way too many to simply eat as is (without turning into a zucchini), she shreds them up on the box grater and mixes the pale green shards into a dark dense batter (usually with walnuts, cinnamon, and cocoa). The result is a spice and chocolate scented loaf cake not unlike banana bread with its moist texture. But since zucchini is much more of a blank slate than banana, these could be spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, 'plain' vanilla or blended with added chocolate, walnuts or sultanas, as you wish.

I'm a sucker for loaf cakes.. lemon sirup, banana, any berry in season, strusel topped or enriched with honey.. you name it. If it can be baked in a lowly unassuming loaf pan, I'm in.

Now, I have a glut of zucchini cake.. and I'm off to the neighbours with my well camoflouged vegetable.

Ma's Zucc Loaf

Beat 2 eggs until foamy and mix in 2/3 cup of vegetable oil. In another bowl, mix 1 and 1/4 c sugar with 4 Tbsp of sifted unsweetened natural cocoa.

Make sure cocoa is lump-free and blend into egg oil mixture.
In another bowl, shred zucchini, you'll need 1 1/3 cup of the grated stuff. Although Ma used to drain this, I grate it last as I don't want it to lose all its moisture but don't add any liquid that does drain in the process..

Sift 2c flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp (level) baking powder and 1/2 tsp level baking soda. 2 tsp spices (I used cinnamon to accompany the chocolate but have used a scant tsp cardamon when not using chocolate for a subtle flavour).

Have loaf pan ready. Either a tin lined with parchment (and/or greased and floured) or a stoneware pan lightly greased around the edges.

Fold shredded zucchini into egg and oil then sifted flour mixture. Don't overmix, fold in flour until just mixed. I also grate some chocolate on the box grater, like 1/3 cup of the good stuff and add with the flour.

Bake at 165C (325F) for about 1 hour. My oven takes a little longer. Approximately an hour and 10-15 minutes. A toothpick will come out cleanish, perhaps with slightly moist crumbs (not goo). Let cool for 5-10 minutes and ease out of pan onto rack to cool. Slice a few pieces and pick the one with the biggest chocolately bits..

Boil the jug.

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