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In the Veg Box: The Humble Carrot

June 18, 2014

For as long as I can remember eating, I can remember eating carrots.  They’ve always felt like a very British vegetable to me, but that’s probably because from a very early age, I used to witness my Dad pulling them out of the earth at his allotment; something at the time that always seemed to be a ‘rabbit out of the hat’ magic trick.

But actually, it’s thought that the carrot originated from Afghanistan pre-900s.  The first record of it being cultivated in England was in the 1400s, where most patriotically, carrots were either white or red (although red was often confused as purple).  The orange carrot that we are more familiar with nowadays was developed by the Dutch in the 16th-17th century, possibly in honour of William of Orange (the Dutch are a little obsessed with their national colour). This picture is a random one of my eldest brother dressed as a carrot for Queen’s Day in Amsterdam, from when he used to live over there.  Clearly he was the well known carrot superhero!

Whatever the origin or colour, we know carrots as a great staple vegetable.  Brilliant as the base for soups, stews and ragus, they are also champions in their own right as a side dish.  You can eat them raw, or cook them until they form a silken puree to adorn your plate.  Easy to grow at home, but also cheap to buy from any farm shop, grocer or market, they are frequently consumed in most households.  And luckily enough for me, they are one of the vegetables that my veg-fussy husband will actually consider eating from time to time.

So here are five of my favourite carrot recipes for you to peruse and enjoy too:

Curry Sauce for everything.  Taken from Gizzi Erskine’s brilliant Chicken Katsu Curry recipe, discovering this sauce was a revelation.  Whilst having the breadcrumbed chicken is a delicious addition, the sauce on its own is fabulous; with rice, chips, vegetables, bread dunked in…anything you like really.  My Dad told me he has it with any leftover meat he’s got kicking about, plus a handful of whatever veg the allotment has to offer.

Vegetarian Scotch Eggs.  You. Just. Have. To. Try. This. Recipe. Enough said.

Mary Berry’s Carrot Cake.  Now whilst I’m too much of a goody-too shoes to break copyright laws and publish a copy of this myself, I found someone that has, so we might as well share in their cheekiness.  Or if you have it, open a copy of ‘Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book’ at page 292.  If you don’t have a copy of this book and you like baking, I’d highly recommend it…it taught me nearly everything I know. And that was just the second page!

Indian Slaw.  A super easy recipe that can become the vegetable accompaniment to so many things; hot or cold.

Ingredients for Indian Slaw

Pickled carrot. Most recent carrot recipe discovery. Great with meats and cheeses. Use it wherever you’d normally use a chutney. Super simple to make.

How do you like to eat your carrots?

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