I know that I use the word 'epic' too often (you may have noticed that I like a bit of hyperbole) but after last night, I don't know that I will ever be able to bring myself to use it about anything else.
While we were becoming more and more obsessed with our new friends, for we began to feel like we actually knew all of the competitors in the decathlon, the main event of yesterday was, of course, the Men's 200m final. Oh yes and as a warm up we had what has been described as the greatest Men's 800m race in the history of the Olympics and a new world record. I've honestly never seen anything like it.
As the time for the Men's 200m final grew closer and closer, the buzz of anticipation in the stadium grew stronger and stronger. There was a ripple of excitement when the officials set out the starting blocks. The moment the athletes emerged from the tunnel, the whole stadium jumped to its feet and stayed that way for the best part of an hour. It is difficult to put into words the effect that Usain Bolt has on a crowd. They are appreciative and respectful of the other athletes but Bolt's presence is just electrifying. Again, I've honestly never seen anything like it.
I'm sure you've seen the race, or at least the result, by now. If you haven't, then this post probably doesn't mean much to you and in which case I'm sorry for my slight obsession. There was headline on the front page of one of the newspapers yesterday morning which said 'This evening, the world will stop for 20 seconds to see this man run' and that's really how it felt. There was a moment, just after the bend, when it seemed like the story wasn't going to have the ending that everyone in the stadium at least wanted so desperately. But who were we to ever really doubt the legend that is Usain Bolt?
I made these cookies on Wednesday afternoon because I knew we'd need some sustenance. Whilst there are other foods that I don't particularly like but will eat, I've held a deep-seated fear of courgettes (otherwise known as zucchini to most of you) since I was about 7 and a friend's mother tried to force feed them to me. They are also on the list of 'wet vegetables' that my boyfriend can't abide so they don't often appear anywhere near us.
Inspired by the lovely Heidi's round up of courgette pastas, I grabbed some courgettes on a whim when I was out shopping. By the time I got home though, I was feeling much less brave and cookies seemed a much easier way of trying to get to grips with my most hated vegetable.
This recipe is adapted from one in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver which a couple of people had recommended. The book is the story of one family's attempt to eat seasonally and locally for a year, living of what they could grow on their farm and what they could buy in the local economy. I read it when I was in France a month ago and have been thinking about it ever since. These cookies have, as you might expect, a more cake-like consistent than a traditional cookie consistency. The courgette adds a fragrant sweetness and a pillowy texture and it doesn't for one moment feel like you're eating a cookie filled with vegetables.
A couple of small notes on some of my changes to the recipe. I wanted to make these cookies gluten free so used a mixture of buckwheat flour and a gluten free all purpose flour. The original recipe calls for equal quantities of white and whole wheat flour but it seems to be flexible enough to take any combination you want to throw at them. I also added a tablespoon of cocoa powder to the mix. I might be tempted to add a little more next time, not least because of the slightly dodgy colour that they ended up...
Chocolate chip courgette cookies
Adapted from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingslover
Yield: Approximately 20 cookies
- 90ml (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium egg
- 90g (1/2 cup) light brown sugar
- 80ml (1/3 cup) honey
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 115g (1 cup) buckwheat flour
- 100g (1 cup less 1 tablespoon) gluten free all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 courgette, grated finely (approx 1 cup)
- 150g (6oz) chocolate chips or finely chopped dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line a couple of baking sheets with non-stick paper or a silicon mat.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda/baking soda, ginger, nutmeg and salt.
- In another bowl, beat together the egg, olive oil, sugar, honey and vanilla until thoroughly combined.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients before adding the courgette and chocolate chips. Fold until all the ingredients are combined.
- Drop tablespoons of the mixture onto a baking tray and bake for 9-11 minutes until firm to the touch. Allow to cool on the baking tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.