It’s hard not to be over-run by courgette flowers if you grow your own, and it’s a delicious blessing to reduce the number of fruits which multiply over night by using the flowers.
A soft cheese (cream, goat or curd) mixed with snipped herbs (I particularly like lemon thyme, the citrus working well with the acid of the cheese) and lightly beaten to combine forms the basis of the stuffing. A thin batter of an egg, a couple of table spoons of flour, and a quarter a bottle of beer, gives a wonderful tempura crust when shallow fried over a gentle heat – the idea is for a crisp batter without losing the flavour of the flower encasing the molten cheese within.
The other highlight of late July is the arrival of the first of the runner beans. Loved and loathed in equal measure, I’m very much in the camp of the former. In fact I wager that everyone likes runner beans, and those that think they don’t, simply have not had them cooked properly.
Therein is the secret: don’t cook them too much, or they tend to go leathery. Picked young and tender, just cooked – douse with oil, garlic and lemon zest, or cook chopped with tomato, smoked chilli and shallot for ideas –they make the most magical supper, particularly alongside the stuffed squash above.