Cook’s notes: fresh ideas with carrots

Many vegetables become fashionable – they just as quickly fall out of favour – but the simple truth is that all vegetables are healthy and nutritious and  all vegetables should be included in your daily diet.

A typical example is the not-so-humble carrot. Packed full of nutrients, carrots are the perfect versatile vegetable, both raw (an ideal snack or added to children’s lunch boxes) or cooked in a myriad of ways, each releasing a different flavour from the carrot: juiced into a delicious morning starter of carrot, red cabbage and apple juice; char-grilled and topped with fresh coriander; shredded, and formed to make burgers or fritters; chopped and simmered in a hearty casserole; pureed into a vast array of delicious soups; and even baked into carrot cake!

The choice is literally almost endless!

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And the extra advantage in foody terms is that, depending on which way you choose to prepare carrots, the flavour is always different – but the amazing nutritious qualities remain the same!

The secret is to think of carrots – and all vegetables – as a wonderful source of different flavours and not simply the overcooked mush usually added to the side of the plate! Discovering how to adapt and use carrots in various recipes and cooking styles will be a well-rewarded journey.

A word of warning! If you really want to enjoy the full flavor of carrots, don’t buy the large bag of perfectly-straight, evenly-coloured orange carrots in the supermarket. It’s false economy. They simply don’t have the same flavour as organic, knobbly or dirty carrots, in different colours, varying between, purple-yellow and reddish-brown. And they are still very inexpensive.

Having demonstrated the incredible versatility of this amazing food, now for the best part: carrots are unbelievably healthy, thereby destroying the myth that healthy foods can’t also be delicious.

In fact, carrots are a true superfood, packing a serious nutritional punch, with high concentrations of vitamins A, C and E.    Vitamin A is essential  for good sight, especially at night, and Vitamin C has a myriad of functions, including maintaining healthy teeth and bones, but the main functions of all three vitamins is to act as antioxidants – which prevent ageing. So not only do you have delicious, healthy, natural food, but you also slow the ageing process at the same time. Simply superfood!

Including carrots in your daily diet increases energy levels and aids digestion by increasing the daily fibre. So much more delicious than bran!

A cook’s dilemma: carrots are a root vegetable (so not always the ideal ingredient to produce a delicious main meal), however introducing spices and herbs solves the problem and can create tasty recipes. The weekend is the best time to invest in trying out new recipes; once preparation and confidence are established, it’s all worthwhile. As a taster to using carrots in a main meal, try carrot, red cabbage, apple juice as a morning starter, or spicy carrot fritters.

Juices are easy to prepare, inexpensive and really satisfying. Carrots in burgers or fritters are a veggie alternative to using meat or chicken.   Grated carrots are an excellent option to make a veggie meal robust and satisfying, and are a clever option to disguise carrots in soups or salads for children or adults who dislike veggies vehemently.

Enjoy being creative in the kitchen with carrots!

Cook's notes: fresh ideas with carrots
 
Carrot, Red Cabbage and Apple Juice The perfect start to the day! For 2
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 medium sized carrots
  • 150 ml unsweetened apple juice
  • 125g red cabbage
  • 2 slices blood red oranges
Instructions
  1. Wash, peel and grate carrot
  2. Wash and chop red cabbage very finely
  3. Add unsweetened apple juice then juice with a hand-blender or juicer
  4. Refrigerate for 10 mins, serve in glasses and decorate with slices of blood orange.

 
Spicy Carrot Fritters
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 large carrots
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 cm fresh ginger root
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsps breadcrumbs
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • Freshly-ground black ground pepper
  • Pinch of seasalt
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Wash and scrape the carrots. Grate into a large bowl.
  2. Chop red onion very finely and peel and grate fresh ginger root. Add to bowl with the grated carrot.
  3. Add in tahini and gently mix
  4. Add breadcrumbs with beaten egg and lemon juice.
  5. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and seasalt.
  6. Combine all ingredients. Shape into evenly four sized fritters.
  7. Optional: sprinkle over cumin seeds if desired.
  8. Heat olive oil in a heavy based frying pan. Cook fritters over a medium heat for 4-6 minutes turning occasionally so as not to burn.
  9. Drain the fritters with kitchen roll
  10. Serve with a green crispy salad as a main dish or serve as a starter with a selection of chutneys, pickles and watercress.

 

Maureen Clark’s books are available on Amazon as well as other outlets.

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