Frittering away the summer

A DUBBO family has wasted no time eating a giant zucchini that turned up in their backyard this week.

Carolyn Simmonds was performing her daily check of her family's vegetable patch when she was stunned and delighted to find the biggest zucchini she had ever laid eyes on.

"We have just one zucchini plant and we obviously never noticed this one that had made its way out of the planter box and was growing down the side," she said.

"I yelled out to my husband, 'Scott, you have to come and see this!'

"It was definitely a two-person job to harvest it."

As soon as the voluminous vegetable was inside, Mrs Simmonds began to "freak out" about how she was going to use it.

"I was determined that it wouldn't go to waste, so I whacked it in my Thermomix machine and five seconds later it was all grated and ready to make into vegetable fritters."

When the Daily Liberal spoke to Mrs Simmonds yesterday, she had just begun baking a loaf of zucchini bread.

"So now I've used half of the zucchini, I'm thinking about what I'm going to do with the other half," she said.

"Some friends suggested cutting it in half lengthways and stuffing it but it wouldn't have fitted in the oven."

Mrs Simmonds was so eager to use the colossal courgette that she forgot to weigh it before chopping it up.

She did, however, manage to capture the size of the zucchini in a snapshot that showed it was almost as tall as her one-year-old son, Rusty.

Mrs Simmonds said while the zucchini may not have been quite as tall as her boy, it was definitely heavier than the 3.4kg he weighed when he was born.

The monster zucchini is the pride of the abundance of produce the Simmonds family has enjoyed since installing four raised garden beds in their backyard in October.

"We did that because we are a young family and want to eat organic vegetables and avoid as many chemicals as we can," Mrs Simmonds said.

"It can be difficult to source quality organic produce in Dubbo so we decided to grow our own."

Since taking maternity leave from her full-time employment, Mrs Simmonds has developed her passion for both healthy eating and helping others to eat healthily.

She has become a local Thermomix consultant, showing people how they can quickly prepare healthy family meals from scratch while catering for special dietary requirements such as gluten intolerance. Her Facebook page, Mix-O-Rana, also showcases a selection of nutritious meals and dessert treats that contain surprisingly healthy ingredients.

And since becoming a mother, Mrs Simmonds said, she had become quite the expert at hiding vegetables in her children's food, at least until they were old enough to make healthy eating decisions for themselves.

"My daughter Zara loves the Magic Bean Chocolate cake," she said.

"She has no idea it contains spinach and kidney beans. I also make chocolate and beetroot brownies and neither she nor Rusty have any idea how good it is for them."

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