TOAST Magazine

A Garden Recipe by Gill Meller | Time to Make


Chef and food writer Gill Meller lives in Dorset and has been part of the River Cottage team for over 15 years. He regularly teaches Park Farm, the home of River Cottage; a smallholding and cookery school producing many of its own ingredients in a simple and respectful way.

Gill’s cooking is a reflection of his surroundings. He takes inspiration from the local landscape as well as the amazing growers, farmers and fisherman that supply many of his ingredients.

As part of our Time to Make series, Gill talks us through his simple summer recipe for courgettes on toast with garden herbs, goat's cheese and lemon – from his very own garden.

"Cooking courgettes slowly with garlic and olive oil has to be one of my favourite ways to deal with this summer vegetable," Gill explains, from his garden in Dorset. "Fistfuls of herbs go in and a touch of lemon cuts their richness. I like to pile the courgettes onto crunchy toast and top them with thick slices of goats cheese. It’s such a great combination and is a brilliant way to use an excess of courgettes."

INGREDIENTS, to serve 2

4 Tablespoons of olive oil

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

4 – 5 medium sized courgettes, sliced into 5mm (1⁄4in) rounds

1 small handful of lovage, leaves picked and thinly ribboned

1 small handful of chives, chopped

1 small handful of parsley leaves chopped

1 small handful of fennel, roughly chopped or torn

A few sprigs of lemon thyme, or regular thyme leaves

About 150g (51⁄2oz) soft goat’s cheese

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 thickly sliced pieces of sourdough or good country bread


Place a large, heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add half of the olive oil and when it’s hot, add the garlic and sizzle for a few seconds. Then add the courgettes and the lemon zest, season everything well with salt and pepper. Cook the courgettes slowly over a gentle heat, stirring regularly, for about 25 minutes or so, until they are just beginning to break down but still retain most of their shape.

Stir the chopped chives, lovage (if using) and parsley into the courgettes, then season again to taste with plenty of salt and pepper. Remove the pan and keep warm. You can either pop the bread under a grill or do it in the toaster. Either way, you it want to be nice and crunchy, even charred in places.

To serve, trickle the toasts with a little of the remaining olive oil then heap the courgettes straight onto the toast. Scatter over the bruised thyme leaves and top with thick slices of goats cheese. Finish with some torn fennel tops, a squeeze of lemon juice, a twist of black pepper and the remaining olive oil.

Gill's new book Root, Stem, Leaf, Flower is a cookbook about plants making the most of the land's bounty in everyday cooking.

For the live recipe, Gill uses the Outdoor Iron Pan by Netherton Foundry and the Long Oak Chopping Board, made by hand by Forge Creative. Gill wears the Linen Workwear Apron in Burnt Sienna. 

We hope you enjoy this little recipe guide. If you do make a dish, please share it on Instagram using the #TOASTtimetomake. We would love to see.

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