As usual I am getting a bit carried away. For some weeks I have been threatening, from my little box thing on the right of each post, to give you a simple rocket (arugula) frittata. Here it is. But I also have a massive amount of sweet young courgettes (zucchini) to work my way through. I will try your patience over the next few weeks with a few courgette-based recipes, but I promise they will be easy, a bit different, and packed with flavour. All Scottish crops have grown like billy-o with their near-daily soaking, and courgettes are no exception. Rocket too. But I will give the courgettes a rest soon. In the meantime, bear with me as I work my way through many kilos of this easy to grow vegetable. You have been warned.
Because of the courgette-using-up situation today it is a bit of a two for one deal, with a tweak of ingredients, but also a tweak of the size. The mini frittata idea is not new but I thought I would bake dinky ones in parchment paper, like fancy bakeries do with their muffins. I think they are quite cute, and would look amazing all piled up on a big cake stand, still in their oven-browned papers. There is probably some art to making the papers look neat and tidy but I just cut squares of parchment paper and push them in muffin tin holes. I then use suitable drinking glasses to hold down the frankly awkward paper until I start to fill my ‘charmingly homemade’ (ie, messy-looking) cups.
Not only are they cute, these crustless quiches – for that’s what they are really – are eminently portable, and would be a superb addition to a late summer picnic, buffet table and of course the dreaded lunch box. One or two paper-on quiches, with a wee box of carrots and cherry tomatoes, and maybe a sachet of ketchup nicked from a fastfood place, would probably be more than acceptable to most children. Perhaps with firm instructions to squirt the ketchup on the quiches and not on their shirt, or worse still, a classmate’s shirt.
This is also a nutritious, easy to make and easy to eat meal or snack for if you are having treatment for cancer. Everything about it smacks of comfort, ease and digestibility. If you don’t fancy the courgettes or rocket, customise it to your taste by adding your favourite cooked vegetable, meat, herbs or cheese. Make it even more filling by having it in a sandwich with extra rocket or some salad leaves. We like it leftover for breakfast, with grilled tomatoes and plenty of ketchup. We are THAT sophisticated.
Nutrition Notes: Courgettes are not blessed with an overabundance of nutritional goodies. That’s not to say that they aren’t good to include in a cancer-fighting diet. Just that they aren’t quite in the same league as the likes of beetroot, sweet potatoes and rocket. What this member of the cucumber and watermelon family does give us is folate, potassium and vitamins A and C, but not huge amounts as most of what’s in courgettes is water (which is in itself useful, of course). If you eat the yellow crookneck variety – most commonly grown in the US – you will also get a decent whack of eye-protecting lutein and zeaxanthin, both powerful antioxidants. With the skin left on you are getting fibre too.
And lastly, they are a dieter’s friend, with only 18 calories per 100 grams, due really to the high water content. Look here for more nutritional information and preparation advice.
Rocket on the other hand has an embarrassment of nutrients. As a peppery-tasting member of the mighty brassicaceae family, rocket (or arugula if if you prefer) is packed with cancer-busting phytochemicals such as indoles, thiocyanates, sulforaphane and isothiocyanates. Believe me when I tell you that these are very potent indeed. All of these compounds are known to inhibit the growth of prostate, breast, cervical, colon and ovarian cancer cells.
Additionally, di-indolyl-methane (DIM), a metabolism by-product of indole, has immune modulator, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. It is currently being tested in Phase III clinical trials for treating cervical dysplasia – a precursor to some cervical cancers. Other nutrients, less showy but very important, include vitamins A, C and K (one serving of rocket gives of 90% of our RDA for the latter), as well as copper, iron and most B vitamins. It is best raw but a lot of the goodness remains when used in this recipe, as it wilts rather than cooks.
No room to bore for Britain on eggs. Another time.
6 large organic eggs, well-beaten & seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground pepper