I’m always on the lookout for new ideas for vegetables. Last week it was the Hispi cabbage ( also known as Sweetheart Cabbage), available in Marks and Spencer. This week I have a glut of carrots, well not a glut exactly, just over bought and we are leaving town.
My lovely son bought me not one but two cookery books for Christmas. A large by Tom Kerridge , the Michelin Starred Chef and another one by Yotem Ottolenghi.. A quick look through over Christmas and out came my sticky tabs, lots and lots of ideas.
And so it was the other night, looking in the refrigerator and deciding what needed immediate attention and out sprang the carrots! Well not exactly, springing but they did stare me in the face!
This book by Ottolenghi, comes from his test kitchen and is labelled SHELF, the idea behind it or so I believe is using what you have, especially that which is on the pantry shelf .
A leading supermarket the other day declared that they would no longer have “Use By “ dates on its own brand of milk, as apparently, about 490 million pints of milk are poured down the drain annually in the UK. They want people to use the sniff test instead! All very well, but I’m puzzled as to how one does this in the store ( with a sealed container) and, if it is “Off” how does the store rotate their inventory, or how does the customer return sour milk if there is no date marked? Just a thought!
Me, on the other hand am a great believer in the look and smell test for everything. Very wary of fish and chicken, but even so, as I freeze all my fish and chicken, salmonella doesn’t even enter my head! For many supermarkets food is reduced either early morning or just before closing time, which is obviously a good time to buy if one is on a tight budget. But beware the fish and poultry! I was once in my local, ( read not favourite) French supermarket, when my daughter pointed out fish that was reduced for “Vente Rapide” , it no one in their right mind should have bought it as it was green !
Back to Ottolenghi and carrots. I usually use recipes as an inspiration rather than follow to the letter of the law, and so it was with the carrots. It is smushed carrots, with Middle Eastern spices, a coriander and pistachio pesto and yogurt. I varied this by omitting lime juice and onions and served the carrots with Sumac crusted pan fried salmon.
- For the carrots
- 1-2 kilos carrots, peeled and sliced
- 100 mls good olive oil
- At least 8 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
- 2 tsp each of caraway seeds, coriander seeds, crushed
- Some chilli flakes, according to taste
- 1 tsp turmeric powder.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 maple syrup
- A small carton plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt
- For the Pesto, olive oil ( half of the above) half bunch fresh coriander, juice of 1/2 lemon, a handful of nuts ( I used walnuts, but probably pistachios are best.
Heat the oven to about 160 C, put half of the oil and spices into a roasting dish, add the carrots and garlic, and roast for about 30 minutes until the carrots are almost soft. pour over the maple syrup and roast for about 10 minutes or so, the carrots will become slightly golden.
Smush the carrots with a fork or potato masher, but I used my hand held blender on slow speed. You really need to have a chunky type of smush !
Meanwhile blend together the nuts, lemon juice, coriander and olive oil to make the pesto.
To assemble, simply arrange the carrots on a serving dish, dot with the yogurt and the pesto.
My salmon, I dusted in Sumac and pan fried.
Sumac is the name of a spice, but what makes it extra special is the complex set of flavors all in one. So it is stringent, sour, smoky, extra tart, earthy all at the same time! It is the fifth most used spice in the Middle East ! Try it on salmon, try it on chicken, both are good,