Hello! Yes, I know, it’s been ages. I’ve had a change of job and I’m back in the kitchen developing recipes full-time, doing the odd bit of food writing on the side and of course, working on Pit. I couldn’t be happier because it just feels so right, plus I’ll have much more time to share recipes here.

Here’s something I made off the cuff last night which turned out really well, particularly considering it began with a lonely (albeit sunshine-yellow) courgette. With a potentially watery, flavourless vegetables like this the success of a recipe depends pretty much entirely on the cooking technique; treat it poorly and you will be punished. We’ve all had pallid courgette in an insipid ratatouille or squeaky aubergine in a hastily layered Melanzane Alla Parmigiana. One of my favourite ways to cook courgettes in the summer is to sling them right into the coals, or as we call it in the BBQ game: cooking ‘dirty’. This technique can be applied to lots of different vegetables (as with these tacos) or to steaks (where the direct heat and charcoal help to form a mega-crust).

You just lob the courgette in there whole once the coals are at regular cooking temperature (i.e. not flaming still) and in 10 minutes you have a vegetable that is cooked to varying degrees; charred in places on the outside, starting to collapse near the skin and just cooked through at the centre. Once chopped it’s useful as an ingredient in salsas, or just as a side dish on its own but I recommend you try it this way with yoghurt and pomegranate molasses.

This is best consumed when the courgette is still warm as it’s a pleasant contrast to the cold garlic-yoghurt. The juices also begin to seep out and mingle with the other flavours and if you don’t enjoy this scooped up with toasted bread then frankly we cannot be friends.

BBQ Courgette Meze with Yoghurt and Pomegranate Molasses Recipe

1 large courgette (no need to use a fancy yellow one)
1 large clove garlic, crushed
170g Greek yoghurt (I used one of those small Total brand tubs)
Olive oil
Pomegranate molasses
Turkish chilli flakes (pul biber)
Good flaky salt

This is very easy. When your coals are ready for cooking, put the courgette directly on them. Turn it every so often until blackened patches appear all over and it feels soft (but not falling apart) – around 10 minutes.

Mix the garlic with the yoghurt and spread onto a plate. Chop the courgette and place on top of the yoghurt. Drizzle with olive oil and pomegranate molasses. Sprinkle with good sea salt and the Turkish chilli flakes. Eat with fluffy Turkish bread (or pita, or charred sourdough at a push).

I realised recently that I will only eat certain vegetables if they are served with very particular accompanying flavours. A mate asked me what my favourite vegetable was and I replied, without thinking, ‘spinach’ only to realise that it’s only my favourite when combined with feta, or ricotta. I will only eat pumpkin if it’s served with coconut milk and chilli and now I’ve realised beetroot needs the sharp cheese and spice treatment or you can throw it in the bin as far as I’m concerned. Unless it’s pickled.

I wasn’t even going to post this recipe at all, truth be told but someone called the_portland_barman asked me so nicely for it on Instagram (would I mind? If I had time?) that I said yes, actually, that will be no problem at all.

So yeah, I do read all your comments because I love to hear from you guys (stop retching at the back), and it so happens another reader sent me an email asking me to please, please sort out my subscription email because it was a bit of a mess. Thing is, I started blogging in the early days, as you know, and I’d always just used Feedburner because that’s what everyone did back then.

This poor frustrated reader had finally reached her wit’s end and forwarded her subscription email to me. Wow, it was bad. I had no idea you were all suffering through that eye poke and I’m sorry. I’ve changed to Mailchimp. If it doesn’t work and you all get the old email anyway this is going to be really embarrassing. Could happen.

So, there we go. A recipe, an apology and hopefully a snazzy email. Not bad for a… Friday? Yes, Friday. If someone could periodically update me on the day of the week that’d be grand. Thanks.

Beetroot Dip with Feta, Herbs and Scotch Bonnet Oil Recipe

I can’t remember the exact quantities here but it’s so easy it doesn’t really matter.

Five whole beetroots, leaves removed and left whole (don’t peel)
150g thick natural yoghurt
Feta, to crumble
Squeeze of lemon juice
Tarragon leaves
Mint leaves
Mixed seeds (by in a handy bag in the supermarket), toasted in a dry pan
5 scotch bonnets
125ml light olive oil
1 whole bulb garlic

Cook the beetroots whole in boiling until just tender (this takes about 40 mins), then allow to cool a bit and rub off the skins, which will come away very easily (I actually pressure cooked mine which took around 15-20 mins). At the same time, roast the garlic whole with the scotch bonnets. Heat the oven to 120C, slice the top off the garlic so the tops of the cloves are exposed and place in roasting dish with the chillies, rubbing the lot with a little oil. Cook for about 20 mins or until soft.

Blend chillies with light olive oil in a blender. I de-seeded mine.

Put beetroots in a blender with the natural yoghurt, lemon juice, half the garlic cloves and some salt and blend. Taste and add more yoghurt if you fancy it.

Spread the dip on a plate (more surface area for toppings – you could also use a nice wide bowl) and sprinkle over feta, herbs, toasted seeds. Drizzle over chilli oil.