There’s nothing more satisfying that eating something delicious that you’ve grown yourself. At WEN, that’s basically our mantra! We believe that growing your own food is a guaranteed way to improve your diet, health and happiness, as well as reducing your expose to harmful chemicals found in pesticides. Eating seasonal, locally grown food also has vast benefits for the environment too, reducing the air miles of your food and decreasing your carbon footprint.
My parents live in rural Essex and have a huge, and somewhat unruly, vegetable garden. A few years ago, my mother planted a whole series of courgette plants in the hope that doing so would ensure she got at least a small harvest. Little did we know, they are an extremely bountiful plant, supplying endless courgettes faster than we could eat them. We all became so sick of them that we never wanted to see another courgette again!
Since then, the balance has been restored, and, while courgettes are always plentiful in the early summer, they do not take over the entire garden. Thankfully, I love courgettes now, a feeling that 14-year-old me did not share, and I am more than happy to eat them for every meal.
This tart makes the most of the best ingredients of the season. Courgettes, peas and mint are all at their best at this time of year, which is lucky, because they are also delicious together! It’s also almost too easy to make, especially if you use store-bought puff pastry (which is one of the few things that’s as good from a packet as it is homemade). If only my mother had had this recipe all those years ago, we might have been saved from courgette fritters for every supper.
At this time of year, make sure you keep watering your courgettes, especially in hot, dry weather and as they are starting to flower. Harvest when they are about 10cm long for the tastiest courgettes- any longer and they start to go watery and lose their flavour. Make sure you keep your peas well watered too, as they need it to allow their pods to swell. When the pod is about 7.5cm long, it is ready to be picked. Harvest regularly to ensure that your plant keeps producing.
Courgette, Pea, Mint and Feta Garden Tart
1 packet ready made puff pastry/ homemade, if you prefer (I do!)
2 large courgettes
1 large clove of garlic
1 large mug full of peas
salt and pepper
handful of mint
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Roll out the pastry to a large rectangle. It should be about 1/2 an inch thick. Cut your courgettes into strips lengthways. The strips should be fairly thin and as even as possible. Place the rolled out pastry on the baking tray and lay half the courgette strips over it. Finely chop the garlic clove and sprinkle that over, followed by the peas.
Using your fingers, break up about 3/4 of the feta and sprinkle that over the veg. Then, make another layer with the remaining courgettes. Top with the rest of the feta, crumbled up, and a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the feta has started to brown and the pastry is crisp. Finely chop the mint and sprinkle that over to serve.