Cool carrots

Twisted carrotsOur soil is rocky and very clayey.  Certain root vegetables grow, but very differently from what one would expect.  Short and stubby or a bit twisted.

As happens when there are two of you, and a crop is ready to harvest, the choice of accompaniments for meals becomes somewhat restricted.  So it is at the moment:  we have a wonderful crop of carrots, but there is a limit to the number of carrot sticks one can eat.  And, unseasonally, it’s been quite cool;  not the usual 35 to 40ºCelsius (95 to 104º F) we expect at this time of the year.

And I definitely don’t do boiled carrots.  I had too many of them as a child – boiled to death, they were.

A few years’ ago, I was looking for a different way of doing carrots and came across this Jamie Oliver recipe which I have adapted. Carrots are parboiled with quartered oranges, garlic, butter and sugar, and then finished off in the oven.  Oliver says that this last makes the carrots “meatier”;  it certainly does intensify the flavours.

FirstOrangeMar2015The other day, when our baby orange tree decided to drop one of its unseasonally ripe oranges, which seemed to have blossom end rot, with a surfeit of carrots, this seemed a logical dish to do.  Of course, always the salmon, and as we needed to take a picnic supper to the annual Jazz Under the Fig Tree, I thought I’d turn this dish into a salad.  This meant leaving out the butter at the first stage to avoid the glops of cold fat that would then inevitably lurk in my aspirant salad.

The carrots were prepared (scrubbed – not peeled – trimmed and cut into convenient sizes), and then put into a pot along with a large bunch of randomly selected fresh herbs, the quartered orange and the garlic.  I added rock salt and also left out the sugar.  A little cold water was added (waterless pot) and all this was brought to the boil and simmered for about 10 minutes.

Carrot_Orange_Herbs

The drained* carrots were then placed in an oiled roasting pan.   The orange and garlic were chopped up and, with some cumin seeds, and sprinkled over the warm carrots.  This was roasted in a moderate oven for about 20 minutes to half an hour (carrots remain quite firm).

Roast_Carrot_Orange_With this, pieces of cold roast chicken, a mixed green and potato salads, we and our picnic were good to go.

GaryThomasMar2015

SAM_1913On Saturday night, I made another variation on the same theme.  Some combinations are marriages made in heaven:  carrots with orange, cumin and fresh coriander. So, instead of chopping the oranges, I squeezed the juice out and sprinkled that over the carrots before roasting them.  For a change, the cooled carrots were then topped with a sprinkling of ground cumin and fresh coriander leaves.  Divine!

Another picnic for another wonderful musical evening in McGregor, a fundraiser for the Poetry Festival later this year.

And it wasn’t just the humans that enjoyed the fabulous music of up and coming acoustic guitarist, Gary Thomas.

* save and freeze the water you drain off – for vegetable stock

© Fiona’s Favourites


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