Cool carrots - two ways...


Our 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, so they're right at home!


One of our earlier harvests - around 2104

However, working the garden the last eight or so years, has improved the soil quality: fewer stones helped along with our own compost and locally sourced manure. Of course, crop rotation - a necessity - also helps. Carrots are a crop we can grow all year round - with patience. They are a slow crop. They are also versatile because they are great for eating raw and cooked; hot or cold; in salads and as sides.

Let me nail my colours to the mast. Again. I am not a fan of the local traditional carrot salad which is just too sweet, or the salad of finely shredded carrots with pineapple and raisins. They are in the same category as coleslaw - with slightly less vehemence.

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 (and ongoing) crop of carrots, but there is a limit to the number of carrot sticks one can eat.

But -

I can get quite creative with carrots an love growing heirloom ones of different colours. A sowing of black ones is hopefully germinating to be pulled in about three months' time.


Carrots make great table decor. Especially with my bunnies which often grace the Sunday Supper table.

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, thanks to celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, I learned about finishing carrots off in the oven. I subsequently found the recipe by which time the practice of parboiling* and finishing off in the oven has become a Fiona SOP. I have to agree with his sentiment that the practice makes the carrots "meatier"; it certainly does intensify the flavours and it's become my favourite way of preparing carrots - whether they have Oliver's treatment or not.

I have also adapted his recipe with a number of variations - with or without the oranges and herbs, using my spicy plum jam as a glaze and with blue cheese and served top of a bed of rocket (arugula).

Rocket and me


Contrary to popular opinion, I'm not overly fond of hot, peppery stuff and for years I really didn't like rocket in anything other as one of the leaves in a green salad. When it was the vogue to have rocket with everything, I was often found to be picking it out of my salad or asking for an alternative. Yes, I can be that customer, and if it can't be done, I'll find an alternative restaurant dish.

Then, a few years ag,o we visited Babylonstoren and toured the garden. I left with their book which is less about recipes than it is about ingredients and combinations that work.

Among these was beetroot with rocket and goat's cheese (chevin to be precise), which I tried, and about which I shall write when our current crop matures - it's become another favourite. The sweetness of the beetroot works really well with the pepperiness of the rocket, rounded off with the saltiness of the creamy blue cheese.


That combination gave me the idea of trying carrot with rocket as I did for this dish - and with the saltiness of blue cheese.


I am now a whole lot more adventurous open to recipes that include rocket and even have a mini plantation emerging in the garden. Now we have water.


Which brings me back to carrots.

Going back some five or so years, I have stash of carrot recipes, many of which I'd rejected or not tried. Because, well, just because. Now, though, because of Sunday Suppers, and because I keep an eye open for dishes that are vegan and vegetarian-friendly, I have a somewhat different lens. Among the recipes Is one with almonds, olives and cranberries. Yes, you guessed right, it is served on a bed of rocket.

I gave it a go. It's a winner and a current favourite.


Carrot salad with rocket, almonds and olives

Best of all, it's versatile and with various additions or subtractions, it can form a main course for either vegetarians or vegans.

The full, recipes are available to download here

  • save and freeze the water you drain off - for gravy or vegetable stock

    Post script:


    This is a new and improved version of the "original" carrot post first published in March 2015. There are a couple of other carrot recipes lurking in the wings for another occasion.

    Until next time
    Fiona
    The Sandbag House
    McGregor, South Africa




    Photo: Selma

    Post Script


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Thank you @fionasfavourites for reducing your CO2 footprint with the CO2 Compensation Coin (COCO) 👍

You are welcome!

I have tried carrots many ways as well @fionasfavourites and without much luck. Perhaps I'll give these a go, the cranberry with carrots would be fun during the holidays :) Love your persistence, your carrots look great, my carrots always looked like your first shot lol

Hahaha! You know, that when our carrots look like the first shot - and some still do, we have fun with the shapes... And they taste as delicious. Odd shapes never put me off - it's part of the reality of homegrown produce - all shapes and sizes. But the flavours! Nothing can beat them.

Love your persistence

You are very kind. My father would have called it bloody mindedness! So thank you! And for stopping by @birdsinparadise


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Thank you so much, @c-squared. Oh, and you do have my witness!

I never had rockets before. And I never successfully grew carrots! I keep trying though. Good job and creating such ana amazing vegetable and a yummy dish!

Thank you @foxyspirit. I think you might know rocket as arugula? Carrots require patience - they take a long time to grow and because you can't see what's happening. They also prefer sandier soil and soil that's not too fertile. To much fertiliser/compost and all the energy goes into their leaves. Give them a go again. When you get them, they are very rewarding!

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How the heck did I forget to come back and comment on this? Jeez, carrots for brains over here. ;)

I'm still keeping my fingers crossed those black beauties grow for you. Can't wait to see how those come out. I enjoy carrots, but I think I most often eat them raw. I love them shredded in an Asian slaw or a chunky salad. Though thinking on it more, they feature often in a quick stir fry or soup, just as easily. That olive, almond, cranberry mixture sounds delicious, too. Definitely going to have to give that one a go!

Hahahaha!

That Asian slaw that I make is just fabulous and, for me, is becoming a go-to way to do both raw cabbage and carrot. I also enjoy carrots in a stir-fry. All of that said, I've developed a "Sunday Supper" / "Supper @ The Sandbag House" lens which is all about versatile combinations. Lots of learning going on around here.... I do love carrots in soup. Did I mention that I have a recipe for a mean gingered carrot soup?

Let me know how you go with the olive, almond and cranberry one... :D

Let me know how you go with the olive and almond one

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I've never had "copper penny" salad, but it does look intriguing. I may have to give it a try some time - if I do, I'll be sure to report back to you (hopefully it won't take as long to get to as your scrambled eggs... just haven't been feeling breakfast foods lately... but I digress...lol).

That's wicked cool that you have such a huge variety of carrots in the making, and displaying them in your bunnies is just too awesome for words. Thanks for the link to Jaime Oliver's tips. We usually boil them (sorry!) with a bit of garlic, salt, butter, and a dash of honey, and so far no one in the household has any complaint.

Love seeing all the green growing in your garden now! And thanks for the PDF of those recipes - that's a cool idea. Hmmm, I wonder if I can "pin" a PDF... 🤔😂

Ah, @traciyork - if you and the family have a sweet (and sour) tooth, then you will enjoy the copper penny salad. It's also one of the ones that you can make in humungous quantities and feed the family over a few days which has certain distinct advantages.

We usually boil them (sorry!) with a bit of garlic, salt, butter, and a dash of honey

That's a great way to do them especially if one hasn't got the time or inclination to do them in the oven. The rider, of course, is not death by boiling which I am sure is not a danger in your house :P

thanks for the PDF of those recipes - that's a cool idea

Thank you! I started it when I moved to my self-hosted blog and partly out of necessity: it was a pain scrolling back and wading through all the bulldust to find the recipe...Also, I'd write it on the blog and not print a copy and if I did it was full of bulldust...she says talking bulldust.

And, if I do as some suggest, eventually publish a book, I've some of the basic work is done... Let's see what 2020 holds...