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FOOD A bit on the side


Glazed baby new carrots with honey and thyme.
?Glazed baby new carrots with honey and thyme.

A bit on the side

Redmond Cabot

We often focus on the main part of a meal, be it meat, fish or game, and pay less attention to the accompaniments. Whatever cultural, social, and economic conditions helped create this view have now surely changed, so perhaps our perceptions could catch up as well?
In the most cases, accompaniments are vegetable dishes, but they can also be smaller fish or meat dishes. These ‘sides’ offer variety, contrast and alternative ways to get nutritious vitamins and minerals into your body, so they should not be viewed as the poor relation of the dinner plate. With a little bit of thought, love, fun and imagination, very nice side dishes can be drummed up.
Only last night, we sat down to a simple plate of boiled new potatoes, and a couple of bunches of new-season asparagus from England. Delicious with melted butter, a squeeze of lemon and some sea salt. It was a meal in itself! Let’s think about some interesting side dishes for our summer meals, and play around a bit.

Recipe 1
Beetroot tzatziki
Tzatziki is a Greek dish that mixes yogurt, cucumber, garlic, salt and sometimes oil and lemon. It’s always served cold. It contrasts very well with meat, particularly barbecued meat in summer. This recipe variation incorporates beetroot, just about to come into a new season. It’s a great lunchtime accompaniment.

What you need

  • 1 Big fresh beetroot
  • 250g Greek yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Glug of olive oil
  • Splash of wine vinegar
  • Sea salt

What you do
Grate your cooked beetroot into a bowl and mix in the garlic, olive oil and vinegar. Then mix in the yogurt well, and cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to infuse the flavours. You can add some chopped dill for a little lift if you like.

Recipe 2
Glazed carrots with honey and thyme
Take a break from the usual heavily boiled cut circles of carrots at dinner time. The earthiness of the root veg is enhanced by the sweet glaze in this recipe. The honey and thyme flavours combine very well. The baby-carrot fingers or baton-shape slices lend themselves to a touch of crunch. By not boiling it to death you are celebrating the delicious, nutritious, fresh flavours of new season carrots.

What you need

  • 500g new carrots
  • 20g butter
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • Water
  • Seasoning

What you do
New carrots don’t require peeling, a wash and scrub will do. Use whole baby carrots if you have them, or cut bigger ones lengthways and then split them into batons. Place the carrots, honey, butter and thyme in a deep frying pan and cook for five minutes, making sure you don’t over-brown or burn them. Throw in a quarter cup of water, bring to the boil, turn down heat, and cook until water is boiled off and the carrots are glazed. Serve in white bowl or dish.

Recipe 3
Broad beans and peas with mint butter
The lovely greenness of this dish is perfect for the summer time, and the mint cools the senses in those (hopefully) hot summer days.

What you need

  • 600 broad beans, shelled
  • 400g peas
  • 40g butter
  • Handful mint leaves
  • 1 bunch spring onions
  • Sea salt

What you do
Slowly heat most of the butter (hold a little back) and all the chopped onions. Add beans and peas, throw in a glug of water and a pinch of sea salt. Cook for five minutes until greens are tender. Stir in the chopped mint and the last bit of butter. Serve in a bowl.