Carrots can be Carats

Image result for carrots

As I write this, Storm Ciara is hitting Britain with high winds and lashing rain and the last few sunny days are forgotten as we batten down the hatches again!  Pookie is sat by the fire, the hens are snug in their coop and The Husband disappeared into his warm office, only to reappear for coffee and sustenance as its obviously too wild to go fishing! So it’s back to comfort food – but still want healthy. And what could be better than carrots – the unappreciated gold amongst vegetables?  Too often presented as a side dish of extraordinary dullness, they can be pepped up with herbs, lemon juice and butter – or made into any of the below recipes. (We are very lucky living in a productive rural area but even our farmers have battled with the winter rains – so much so that our immediate one has given up trying to get his tractor into one carrot field and abandoned it to we yokels to pick as we need!)

Spiced Carrot and Lentil Soup

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 -2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 dessertspoon grated ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon each chilli flakes, ground turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin
  • 2 -3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 tin chopped tomatoes
  •  80g red lentils
  • 500ml vegetable stock

Melt the butter in a saucepan and gently fry the onion, ginger and spices and cook until soft.  Add carrots, lentils and stock and slowly bring to the boil.  Cover and simmer for about 40 minutes until tender. Serve, with toasted sourdough (or below), in a bowl with a swirl of yogurt and mint for garnish.

Quick Carrot and Walnut Bread

  • 350g plain flour  
  • 150g wholemeal flour 
  • 1 teasp salt 
  • 2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda  
  • 150g carrots, peeled and grated
  • walnut or pieces a handful, toasted
  • 300ml Greek yoghurt
  • 125ml semi-skimmed milk 

Heat oven to 230c/fan 210/gas 8. Mix the flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda, then stir in the carrot, walnuts and yoghurt, followed by enough of the milk to make a soft, quite sticky dough. Tip onto a floured surface and form a flat ball, put on a baking sheet, slash the top and bake for 30 minutes until risen and cooked. It’ll sound hollow when you tap it.

And for something sweet – Carrot Muffins (makes 6)

  • 75g margarine
  • 125g carrots
  • 100g sugar
  • 100g Self raising flour
  • 3/4teasp cinnamon
  • 1teasp baking powder
  • 1large egg
  • 60g sultanas
  • 25g nuts

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6/fan 180C. Melt the margarine in the microwave. Top and tail, then peel and grate the carrots. Combine the carrots, sugar and margarine in a bowl. Sift in the flour, cinnamon and baking powder. Beat the egg in a small bowl and then add to the mixture. Also mix in the nuts and sultanas. Line a muffin tray with 6 muffin cases and divide the mixture equally between them. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool – and either enjoy them as they are on mix a little cream cheese and icing sugar together as a topping.

I KNOW the above are for more than ONE, but on this occasion you cannot really make soup for one; the bread can be sliced and frozen to be taken out as needed – and the muffins – do you really need an excuse to make 6 (although, obviously you can also freeze them)? Part of your 5 a day, I say!

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