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Spiced courgettes. Why I cook

October 25, 2015

It’s Saturday night. The last day of the weekend here in the U.A.E.  I’ve spent the previous day in the kitchen cooking for fifteen. We’ve stayed up late. Tempted by some beautiful wines, perhaps I had a glass too many and now feel jaded. Up early this morning, I’ve driven to Abu Dhabi and back. The supermarket shop has been done, I’ve chauffeured veggie teen to clarinet. By suppertime I’m spent; sunken into an armchair; unable to move. KP comes back from golf. “What are we having for supper?” This enquiry washes over me. “I’ll just sort myself out.” he says.

I heave myself up from the armchair, find a board, a knife and an onion; soon I’m cooking again. I’m not motivated by my love of cooking.  It’s my love of eating and I want simple, tasty, comforting food.

Within half an hour last night’s left over moussaka is reheated. There is a dish of pasta, some steaming new potatoes, a bowl of fresh tomatoes, some mushrooms fried in butter and a big bowl of new season, organic local courgettes. Sliced, softened, spiced, stewed with tomatoes and mushrooms. This is why I cook. Houseguest, KP and veggie (vegan) teen dig in. Every forkful is worth it.

This is loosely based on something my friend W makes. Her courgettes are absolutely divine. This is not an exact recipe, more an idea of a tasty supper dish so tweak to your own tastes.

Turmeric courgettes with mushrooms and tomatoes

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 4-5 small courgettes, sliced
  • 100g mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  •  400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • sea salt and black pepper


  1. Warm the oil over a medium heat in a saucepan or casserole with a lid (I use a Le Creuset enamelled one). Saute the onions until they are soft but not brown.
  2. Increase the heat slightly and stir fry the courgettes so they start to colour in places. Repeat with the mushrooms.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until you smell the aroma, follow with the spices, stirring briefly to cook out the raw taste.
  4. Finally pour in the chopped tomatoes, bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the courgettes are tender and the tomato sauce slightly reduced (around 20 minutes). Season to taste.

What motivates you to cook? And what’s your go-to dish when you’ve run out of energy?

  1. October 25, 2015 5:40 pm

    A delicious dish! The kind of combination I love.



  2. October 25, 2015 5:42 pm

    Ha ha! Your day sounds so familiar! I would never have put courgettes with mushrooms and I have marrow and mushrooms waiting to be used up in my fridge. This could be the supper thing for us with some pan fried cod on top. Yes. I think that could work after a day of extra sleep that didn’t materialise because littlest decided she wanted to practice her guitar at 7am (really 6am). Sigh.

  3. October 25, 2015 6:18 pm

    Well this is fortuitous: I have some sad-looking courgettes that could use a bit of waking up! Just the thing. Thank you.

  4. October 25, 2015 6:48 pm

    Sally I am feeling you, only I have to heave myself up daily from my comfortable sofa corner to kitchen, I am eater not cooker. I got always people to ask …so Minna you have a food blog, you must love cooking? Nooot, but I do like eating and that’s pretty much making me stand up and go cooking. I love to cook for entertaining, for guests.
    Curgettes looks good, all recipes which reads easy gets my attention. Spiced courgette sounds like my go to recipe.
    By he way I live your instagram gallery. So fresh and clear. I got many inspirations from your instafeed.

  5. October 25, 2015 8:07 pm

    Lovely Post Sally. I know what you mean about being v tired and dragging ones legs to the kitchen to cook! Your couchettes look divine. Xx

  6. October 25, 2015 9:27 pm

    sounds and looks simple and delicious. 🙂

  7. October 26, 2015 12:04 am

    I feel like this every night running around after three kids! And sometimes cooking begins to feel like a chore, but then we dig in, and all is right again. I was only today thinking that courgettes are one of my favourite vegetables, mushrooms are up there too. Tonight we had courgette spaghetti with my mum’s Polish meatballs and a creamy mushroom sauce which was wonderful. I’d love to try this dish – on the list for next week.

  8. ginger and scotch permalink
    October 26, 2015 1:37 am

    You’ve inspired me to pick up some local marrow tomorrow and try this recipe – it does look and sound comforting.

    Love the photos too – I have to find the energy within me to start taking photos of my cooking again. Good on you for the “in-progress” photos too!

  9. October 26, 2015 2:52 am

    Sounds like you have been busy. Love the photography.

  10. October 26, 2015 2:56 am

    I totally relate, isn’t it amazing how energizing cooking can be, no matter how fatigued you feel? Love the zucchini recipe too

  11. October 26, 2015 3:15 am

    I’ve just had my first Bub and my whole pregnancy I struggled to find the inspiration and energy to cook. I went back to menu planning to ensure that a healthy meal got served and we didn’t eat pasta every night. Now that he’s here my curiosity and eagerness to learn continue to inspire me. Lovely reality post!

  12. October 26, 2015 8:07 am

    Ah I know how that feels. There are those really really tired days…when all the energy is burned out..

    But then what motivates me to get myself in the kitchen on those days is my love for my Lil boy.. I want him to eat good home made food as much as possible..

    Loved this recipe..simple and good ☺☺

  13. October 26, 2015 8:49 am

    Love those courgettes! I’d eat that dish on its own 🙂
    And greetings! I’m in Abu Dhabi!! 🙂 🙂

  14. October 26, 2015 10:12 am

    Lovely post. I think we’ve all been there – exhausted but have to drag ourselves to cook anyway. Those courgettes look delicious!

  15. October 26, 2015 10:33 am

    This is a perfect weekday meal when one is rushed:))

  16. October 26, 2015 11:02 am

    Cooking can sometimes be like trying to motivate oneself to exercise. There’s a whole lot of mind talk that goes on first where the laziness tries to take over, but once you get up and get started things just kind of take care of themselves and something awesome happens as a result. Such a lovely recipe!

  17. October 26, 2015 11:25 am

    Love the reality in this post Sally… you perfectly describe family life and how cooking just somehow happens, because it gets to that point in the day when everyone’s appetites kick in!!!

  18. glamorous glutton permalink
    October 26, 2015 12:08 pm

    A great combination to make courgettes, which I think can be dull, taste wonderful. GG

  19. October 26, 2015 12:28 pm

    I know my life is different from the many of you with children, and yet you still find time and motivation to cook wonderful meals. This sounds simple and delicious and I hope KP and teen were suitably grateful for mum’s cooking efforts!

  20. October 26, 2015 1:56 pm

    Sally your dilemma is one I have written about in my column and on our blog on a few occasions. But you have highlighted the key thing… just keep going. Sometimes cooking is not a fab occasion but just an honest meal. Bon appetit!

  21. October 26, 2015 5:27 pm

    Great post! I agree with your motivation for cooking because mine is that I LOVE food…I enjoy cooking all different types of food with flavor – flavor is very important! I hate blah food…sometimes though when I’m ‘spent’ we just order a pizza! LOL 🙂 🙂

  22. October 27, 2015 12:21 am

    “I’m not motivated by my love of cooking. It’s my love of eating and I want simple, tasty, comforting food.”
    I feel the same way.

  23. October 27, 2015 1:17 am

    Is this the dish you mentioned when I was asking for suggestions for fave veggie dishes for the BBC radio show I was on? If so, it sounds absolutely divine. Every. Single. Flavour. Well done you for keeping on going. Like you say, love of eating is a great motivator.

  24. October 27, 2015 5:26 am

    Great courgette dish – so quick and easy!

  25. October 27, 2015 1:14 pm

    Seems to take me a few days to catch up after late evenings with friends. Lovely dish!
    Have a beautiful day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  26. October 28, 2015 10:29 am

    Good food….my feelings are somehow the reverse of yours with regards to cooking….I often cook for the pleasure of cooking and then don’t feel hungry when I’ve finished:)

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