Tuesday, 4 September 2007


Whilst doing my shopping last week, I came across marrows in the vegetable section. I noticed that these were produced in Britain and so decided to try one out. Now, I've never done anything with marrows before, so I wasn't sure what to do with it. So, it sat in my fridge for a few days while I gave this some thought. In the end, a quick web search revealed that marrows can be chopped up and used in stir frys and things, much like courgettes, or they can be de-seeded and roasted. I'm sure there are other things you can do with them to, but I don't know what they are!

In the end, I went for marrow stuffed with minced beef in a tomato sauce. This is really easy to do and turned out to be very tasty indeed. Simply preheat the oven to gas mark 7 (reasonably hot - about 220 degrees C), then slice the marrow into two halves and then slice each of these length-wise down the middle. The seeds can then be scooped out with a spoon, leaving a decent size trench into which the filling can be put. Arrange these on a baking tray, ready for the filling.

To make the filling, I chopped and fried a small onion and a few spring onions until soft and then added the minced beef. Use a high heat and don't be tempted to stir the minced beef around straight away after adding it to the pan. Leaving it still for a while allows it to get sealed and this held to keep more of the juices in, I think.

Once the beef had browned I added chopped mushrooms and continued cooking until they started to shrink. I then added some salt, pepper, paprika and chopped basil (OK, OK, none of the spices were produced in Britain - I'm working on that one!). Finally, I added about 6 decent size tomatoes, chopped into small chunks and then stirred this around until the tomatoes began to release their juice. I then simply put this mixture into the trenches in the marrow and then put it all in the oven for about 20 minutes. It was great, so give it a try and let me know what you think. I guess you could add cheese or any number of other ingredients to make a bit more exciting.

I have frequently had conversations with people about British cheese. Often, visitors to Britain assume that all British cheese is Cheddar and given how much Cheddar is produced and how many different 'varieties' I can see how they get this impression! However, according to www.cheeseboard.co.uk, there are around 700 different varieties of British cheese! Although they don't list what they all are, which is a shame. I shall have to try to get hold of some of the more exciting ones at some point. I have been a fan of British cheese for sometime and regularly enjoy the delights of Somerset Brie, Shropshire Blue, Double Gloucester and of course, Stilton (the king of cheese, according to the website!). I know there are some great goats cheeses out there, for example, so I'm keen to find a more extensive source of British cheese. Watch this space.

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