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1. I cooked my way through the depths of lockdown…Here’s what happened

First cookbook up- Simply by Sabrina Ghayour


-Courgette & Oregano pancakes (page 113)

-Tomato and peanut salad (page 137, but I swap the tomatoes for green beans)

Paired with: White wine- maybe Pinot, maybe Sav, it’s day 6 of lockdown who even knows

It’s pitch black on a Tuesday and I finish work (from my sofa) at a decent time so decide to give these a go. The recipe says it makes 16 so I split the ingredients in half because it’s lockdown and I’ve no village to feed.

I swap the tomatoes for green beans because I’ve decided I need to eat more greens, get those iron levels up and be a better person in general.

This recipe takes me 44 mins 56 seconds from First Chop of ingredient to Plate on Table- I know because I listen to last nights’ episode of The World Tonight on BBC sounds and by the time it’s over I am done and ready to eat.

First I make the salad dressing from the tomato and peanut salad recipe- chop the red onions, leave them to soak in the dressing and add a bit of extra lemon (my step mum gave me this tip for when you want to put raw red onions in a salad without the deathly tang/bad breath/general feeling of regret) then chop the coriander ready to sprinkle at the end, along with the peanuts.

I make the courgette mixture which is easy enough, involves lots of grating, and it forms a spongy, light green blob in my mixing bowl. I substitute the fresh oregano with fresh coriander because the co-op down the road didn’t have any oregano and embracing change is good :)

I like my green beans crunchy, so before I start spooning and frying the courgette mixture (which is supposed to take only two minutes), I steam the veg, adding a bit of water to the bowl of fresh green beans, covering, and microwaving for 5 minutes.

I then spoon the courgette mixture into the frying pan which is spitting with a bit of vegetable oil, and pat them down into mini pancakes blobs. The recipe says to flip after a minute and to heat on a medium-high heat until browning, and by the time a minute has passed they are indeed very brown on the outside. They work well but I turn the heat down for the next batch. It makes 7 mini pancakes.

I pour the dressing over the green beans, add the peanuts and coriander and toss around the bowl. I serve up some spoonful's on a plate with a few of the pancakes. I crumble feta over them but don’t drizzle honey because I have already put some maple syrup in the salad dressing (as a replacement for honey) and you know, boundaries. Also I have probably already consumed the equivalent of 5.5 bags of sugar today. My episode of The World Tonight comes to an end, they’ve been talking to republicans in Pennsylvania, in the same town Groundhog Day is set, about their reaction to Biden winning the election- will they support him seems to be the overriding (and futile) question.

I think I expected these courgette pancakes to be like fritters as they are savoury, but they really are pancake like in consistency, the American kind- soft, spongy and fluffy in texture. Even though they are light green on the inside, the courgette flavour is mild leaving the herbs and chill flakes to punch through.

I’m happy! I save the other half for lunch tomorrow and text a photo to my Aunt (she gifted me this cookbook last week) who replies ‘Errmmmm’ when I ask her if they look nice. But they really are, don’t trust my photos.

Cookbook: Simply by Sabrina Ghayour

Podcast: The World Tonight

Part Tea and Sympathy, Part Negroni and a Scowl