A baking triumph (or, Too hot to handle)

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 With a deadly new strain of E. coli racing about in Europe, the usual cleaning and cooking of vegetables seems almost inadequate — if not downright risky.

As a result, I decided to “double cook” some Spanish courgettes (zucchini) I bought at a Marks and Spencer Simply Food shop last weekend.

I thought the act of grating and baking would pulverize any germs or disease, so I made a courgette loaf from a recipe in “Mary Berry’s Complete Cookbook”.

Unfortunately, due to a mishap while testing to see if the bread had finished baking, I lost my grip on the baking tin momentarily and it crashed cake side down onto the floor. Some of it remained stuck in the tin, so I carefully put it back together and set it back in the oven to let it continue baking.

It looks a bit of a mess, but it is delicious. I am sharing the recipe (below).

I think the amount of sugar could be cut, but I am no expert on these things, so I am not sure by how much. I would start by using 200g instead of 250g and see what it is like.

Mary Berry’s Complete Cookbook 
Courgette Loaf

Cuts into 12 slices 

– 250g (8 oz) courgettes
– 2 eggs
– 125ml (4 fl oz) sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
– 250g (8 oz) caster sugar
– 1/4 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
– 375g (12 oz) self-raising flour

– 1 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 60g (2 oz) walnut pieces, coarsely chopped
– 1 kg (2 lb) loaf tin

1. Coarsely grate the courgettes, put them into a sieve, and leave for about 30 minutes to drain.

2. Beat the eggs until light and foamy. Add the sunflower oil, sugar, vanilla essence (if using), courgettes and mix lightly until combined.


3. Sift the flour, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle, pour in the courgette mixture, and stir to mix thoroughly. Stir in the chopped walnuts.


4. Pour the mixture into the greased loaf tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C (350 degrees F, Gas 4) for about 50 minutes until firm. Turn out and cool.

** General (relevant) tips from the book about baking, testing and cooling cakes. When cooked the cake will shrink slightly from the side of the tin. To test, lightly press the middle with a finger tip; the cake should spring back. Rich cakes should feel firm to touch. Set cake tin on a wire rack and leave to cool for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the side of the cake to free it from the tin. Hold a wire rack over the top of the tin, then invert the rack and tin so that the cake falls onto the rack. Lift the tin from the rack.

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