carrot recipe

Carrot & spinach KuKu – A seasonal Frittata

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A recipe inspired by the way Iranians make their open omelette or frittata, known as Kuku. It uses March’s seasonal vegetable like carrots and spinach still abundant at Blaencamel farm and in their weekly organic vegetable boxes. This type of frittata uses a generous quantity of ingredients so don’t be surprised when you see how much vegetable goes in it – it is what sets it apart from other open omelettes.

You can find Blaencamel farm vegetables at both Farmers’ markets in Cardiff, Roath and Riverside, on Saturday and Sunday respectively, but also in Aberystwyth and their own farm shop. Order their boxes here.

Ingredients (4 portions)

  • 250g (3 medium) carrots, coarsely grated
  • 150g spinach, finely chopped
  • 15g (half a small bunch) parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 50g sundried tomatoes or mixed antipasti e.g. peppers and artichokes, finely chopped
  • 30g cashews, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. Goji berries (optional)
  • Fresh mandarin or orange juice
  • 100g (half a pack) feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • A generous pinch of smoked or regular sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 1 generous pinch of saffron strands
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 generous pinches of salt
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • Olive oil 

Preparation (30 minutes)

  1. Add enough fresh mandarin or orange juice to cover the goji berries in a small bowl or mug. Infuse whilst prepping.
  2. Add a tablespoon (or two) of olive oil to a 20 to 25cm non-stick pan, and sauté the onion on low heat with a pinch of salt and the sugar until it caramelises (5-10 min).
  3. Pound the saffron in a bowl with a rolling pin, beat in the eggs and allow time for the saffron to infuse in them.
  4. Remove the onions from the pan, add another tablespoon of oil, add the carrots and cumin. Sauté until soft (5 min).
  5. Return the onions to the frying pan, add the goji berries, cashews, sundried tomatoes and antipasti. Mix well.
  6. Add the spinach and parsley little by little so that it slightly wilts. You don’t need to cook your spinach much or at all but you might choose to wilt it a bit of you are using a smaller pan.
  7. Add the flour, pinch of salt, baking powder, paprika and oregano to the eggs and beat until the flour is mixed well and to give the eggs some volume and softness.
  8. Mix into the pan gradually and carefully making sure the beaten egg goes to the bottom of the pan and mixes in well between the abundant ingredients to hold them together. The pan should remain on low heat all this time.
  9. Make sure that the ingredients are spread evenly on the pan and sprinkle the feta cheese on top.
  10. After firming up the frittata on the hob for a couple of minutes, you can cook the frittata in two ways: a) If your pan is heat resistant place it in a preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes at 180-200 degrees –cover with a lid or aluminium foil for half the time, or b) Cover the pan with a lid or plate. Continue cooking on the hob on low heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Then place under a preheated grill for a couple of minutes or until golden and risen.
  11. If using a 20cm pan it should be at least 5cm dip to make a cake like frittata that will rise.
  12. You can choose to omit or include ingredients on this list. It is also very easy to replace them. For example goji berries can be replaced with cranberries or even barberries if you prefer an authentic Iranian taste.

Carrot and chickpea tagine with lemon couscous

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Carrot and chickpea tagine with lemon couscous

A dish served at Somersault festival from an outdoor Lia’s Kitchen.

Moroccan is one of those cuisines that combine sweetness, tanginess and aromas beautifully, transforming even the most basic of ingredients into deliciously opulent dishes.

This carrot and chickpea tagine is an ideal dish for outdoor cooking for the masses and can be executed easily in the most basic of outdoor kitchens, as we found out at Somersault festival at the end of July. The non-dairy ingredients not only make it light and healthy but also more suitable for camping and outdoor kitchens without refrigeration.

What makes this dish, apart from the toasting of its aromatic spice mix, is the combination of ginger and onion which are sautéed at the first step of the dish. This pairing is not unique to Moroccan cuisine and I first came across it in Cambodia and then Kerala, where it seems to be the base for so many of the dry dishes that accompany family meals every day.

The accompanying lemon couscous is easy and quick to make. Its tanginess pairs well with the sweet spiciness of the tagine. In shortage of preserved lemons last month I used lemon and lime peel and much of their juice to flavour the couscous.

Ingredients

(Feeds 4-5)

For Tagine

1 onion

4 garlic cloves

1 T grated fresh ginger

¾ t ground cinnamon

½ t ground black pepper

½ t cayenne pepper

¼ t ground cumin

¼ t Ras-el-Hanout or couscous spice mixture

A pinch of smoked paprika

Handful of fresh coriander chopped

5 carrots thickly chopped –whole- (400g)

5 cups precooked chickpeas, drained and washed

2 T honey

Olive oil for frying

Salt for seasoning

1 T lemon or lime juice (optional)

For Cous Cous

4 T turmeric

Peel of half a lemon

2 T lemon juice and up to half a lemon

3 garlic cloves (mashed or finely chopped)

1.5 cup couscous

¼ cup or a handful of chopped coriander

Salt and pepper to season

Instruction

(One hour preparation and cooking time)

Fry the finely chopped onion and grated ginger (and a pinch of salt) in a little olive oil for a couple minutes.

Add the spices and fry for a bit more until translucent.

Add the garlic and fry for a minute or two at low heat -make sure it does not burn.

Add the carrots and stir fry until well coated with the spices.

Add the drained chickpeas and the lemon juice and a few pinches of salt.

Add a bit of warm water (just enough for the ingredients not to stick to the pan).

At the same time add the honey and some more olive oil.

Stir well, cover and simmer on low heat until the carrots are soft but still have a bite (usually twenty minutes).

At the end of the process add the fresh and finely chopped coriander and mix.

Whilst the tagine is cooking boil one and a half cup of water.

Add some olive oil to a hot frying pan and fry the lemon peel and the turmeric.

Add the garlic and some salt and lightly fry but avoid burning.

Add the boiling water, season, mix and then stir in the couscous.

Take off the heat and cover until the couscous rises and doubles in size.

Add the fresh coriander when the couscous is ready.

Try and season to taste.

Lia’s Tips:

For the tagine use a wide and deep frying pan, preferably twenty centimetres. This allows the liquid to evaporate more evenly and quicker speeding up your cooking time. It also means you don’t need as much liquid to cook the carrots.

At the end of the cooking time there will be no sauce for this tagine but the dish should not be really dry. The honey and the added liquid should have formed a thin syrup that keeps the dish moist. If you run out of liquid as the carrots boil make sure you add enough to achieve this.

The dish is vegan but of course there is nothing stopping you from adding a couple of dollops of Greek-style yoghurt or some feta.

You can replace the fresh coriander with a tablespoon of dry coriander in the couscous if you would like.