ROOT CAUSE Sweet, nutritious and versatile, the carrot is the king of root veg.
I simply love fresh food. I’m fascinated by the endless beauty of potatoes, I love boring boiled cabbage, I get the tinkle tinkles thinking about autumn Irish tomatoes, I flirt with fresh spinach leaves, I’ve recently been craving some luscious local lamb….
In testing times I find a plate of vegetable really roots me. I love the crunch and chew, the taste and texture, the flavour and the sweet earthiness of them. I likewise love a bit of beef or lamb that I know where it comes from. Veggies and animals that I don’t know where they come from I like less.
One of the simplest pleasures that I enjoy is biting into some lovely, freshly cooked carrots, usually boiled. It’s hard to feed this love of fresh veg these days though, with the multiple dinners we now cook for young monsters, each child demanding something different, often minus the veg. Still, when I do see a plate of carrots in front of me, I’m delighted. Carrots may not be cool, but they are no passing fad. They are eternally delicious.
Some years ago, a TV crew came over to film a documentary piece about our food business, the title of the doc being ‘Red Means Go!’. I foolhardily signed up to run a 5km race at Carrowholly as a pretext to cooking up two carrot soups to taste-test on the race participants – one soup made with carrots sourced from a supermarket, and another with carrots from local growers in Carrowholly, Lilly and Liam Ryder. The recipe was a French carrot soup called ‘Crécy’.
We cooked up the two soups, I struggled through the road race, and afterwards, in Carrowholly NS, we tasted and tested both versions. The local version won out, as expected.
If all this talk of carrots has you in the mood to try doing something a little different with them, try out these two carrot recipes – they’re easy, and very satisfying.
Creamed carrot side dish
What you need
- 2 carrots (washed and chopped)
- 150ml Cream
- 25g butter
- 2 tbsp white wine
What you do
Place the chopped carrot into a pan of salted water and boil for five minutes and drain. Melt the butter in another pan then add the carrots, stirring to coat them, then add the cream and wine and simmer for another five minutes. Season and serve with supper or dinner as a side plate – a simple, tried-and-tested crowd pleaser.
Sweet carrot and chickpea bake
Fancy a sweet but healthy snack? This carrot and chickpea bake packs plenty of flavour, with the protein from the chickpeas helping you to feel fuller for longer. The bake is also free from grains, gluten and refined sugar. Cut it up into little squares, and munch on one or two whenever you crave something sweet.
What you need
- 1 large carrot grated
- 400g tin chickpeas, rinsed (or 125g dried chickpeas, soaked)
- 1 free-range egg
- 75g dates
- 1 tbsp each of cinnamon and vanilla extract
- 1 tsp grated ginger root
- ½ tsp bicarbonate sodaBig pinch of salt
What you do
Blend everything, except for the grated carrot, in a mixer/blender until well integrated. Add in the carrot and pulse a couple of times, retaining the texture and colour.
Scrape the mixture onto a baking tray with sides, lined with baking parchment. Smooth flat with wide knife or blade. Cook for 30 minutes in a pre-heated 180˚c oven, remove and allow to cool a little.
Cut the bake into squares and serve warm with ice cream or yogurt, or store in the fridge to eat cold for snacks.
Red Cabot is interested in food, nature and small things. He sells his food at Westport Country Markets in St Anne’s Boxing Club, James’s Street car park, Westport, every Thursday, from 8am to 1pm.