Tag Archives: carrots

12 veg of Christmas – 5 festive carrot recipes

Twisty-Riverford-carrotsGuy says
Carrots are more highly bred than our royal family. Through 500 years of intensive selection, the Dutch have selected out all the freaks so that what we have left are fast-growing, uniform, bland-tasting roots with ‘robust handling characteristics’, meaning that you can drop them out of an aeroplane without them breaking – crucial for mechanical harvesting, grading, washing and packing. I once visited a carrot variety trial and throughout the day I never saw anyone taste a carrot or even mention flavour. We try hard to do better and customers often cite the flavour of our carrots as a reason to recommend us. Here’s how to make the most of them!

roast carrots with honey and fennel

serves 4 as a side
Roasting the carrots intensifies their flavour and really makes a stand-up side dish.

roast-carrot-with-honey-fennel1kg carrots, peeled
2–3 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
1½ tsp fennel seeds
4 tbsp honey
a good pinch of salt

Heat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Cut the carrots into long wedges or roll-cut them into angular pieces. If they are small and slender, leave them whole or cut them in half lengthways. Toss with the oil, fennel seeds, honey and salt. Spread the carrots in a single layer over a roasting pan lined with baking paper. Roast for around 30 minutes until cooked through and caramelising in places – check after 20 minutes and turn over to ensure even roasting. Serve hot or warm.

carrots in a bag

serves 4
This nifty technique seals in the flavour and lets the veg cook in its own moisture. It also brings a nice bit of theatre to the Christmas dinner table! You’ll need baking parchment and a stapler.

carrots-in-a-bag2 rosemary sprigs
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 bay leaves
knob of butter
8 good-sized carrots, peeled
and chopped on the
diagonal into 1cm chunks
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and black pepper

Heat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.To make the bag, spread out a rectangle of baking parchment, approximately 60 x 30cm, with the longer side towards you. Fold it in half from left to right. Double-fold the top and bottom ends and staple the folds closed with two staples. Using a pestle and mortar, bash the rosemary, bay leaf and garlic roughly (you can also do this using the back of a knife on a chopping board). Put the mixture into the bag with the butter. Put the carrots in a bowl, season well with salt and pepper and drizzle over enough of the olive oil so that the seasoning sticks to them. Tip into the bag. Double-fold the open edge of the bag and staple in both corners and in the middle. Lay in a roasting tin and bake for about 25 minutes; the bag should puff up.
Turn out into a bowl or open at the table like a big bag of crisps. Watch out for the staples!

roasted carrot & chickpea salad with tahini dressing

serves 4, prep: 15 mins, cook: 40 mins
You can also make this with cubes of squash, sweet potato or other roots.

roasted-carrot-chickpea-salad600g carrots, peeled & cut into large chunks
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp clear honey
100g mixed salad leaves
400g tin chickpeas, rinsed & drained

for the dressing:
2 tbsp light tahini
2 tbsp plain yoghurt
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Toss the carrots in a baking dish with the oil, chilli, cumin, coriander and paprika. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 mins, until tender. Remove from the oven and toss in the chickpeas, coating them with the spices. Leave to cool slightly. Scatter the salad, chickpeas and carrots over a large serving plate. Make the dressing: stir the tahini with the yoghurt until you have a smooth paste. Whisk in the rest of the ingredients with a few tbsp water, just enough so the dressing has the consistency of pouring cream. Drizzle over the salad.

beetroot, carrot & alfalfa salad

serves 2, prep 15 mins, cook 0 mins

beetroot-carrot-alfalfa-salad2 large beetroot, peeled
2 large carrots, peeled
handful alfalfa sprouts, washed
4 tbsp mixed toasted seeds
1 pack wootton white cheese or feta

for the dressing:
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp finely grated ginger
4 tbsp good olive oil

Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together and seasoning with salt and pepper. Very thinly slice the beetroot and carrot, then cut into matchsticks. Arrange on a serving plate. Sprinkle over the alfalfa and toasted seeds. Drizzle over the dressing and crumble over a little of the cheese. Drizzle over a little extra olive oil to serve.

carrot hummus

serves 4, prep 20 mins, cook 20 mins

carrot-hummus1 tin chickpeas, drained & rinsed
700g carrots, peeled & diced
6 tbsp light tahini (sesame paste)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
juice of 1-2 lemons, to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp paprika, plus extra for garnish
good olive oil
small handful toasted pine nuts or pumpkin seeds

Boil the carrots in salted water until tender (approx 10 mins, depending on size). Drain and cool. Place in a food processor and add the tahini, chickpeas, garlic, juice from 1 lemon, cumin and paprika. With the processor running, gradually trickle in enough olive oil to make a thick dipping consistency, to your liking. Add salt and more lemon juice to taste. Serve sprinkled with toasted pine nuts or pumpkin seeds, a little paprika and drizzle over a little good olive oil.

Visit the recipe pages on our website for further recipes, or add organic carrots to your order.

For more ideas for a Christmas rich in veg, download our seasonal booklet full of recipes and tips from our Riverford cooks and you, our customers. Available to download here: www.riverford.co.uk/christmas-veg.

What’s what in the Riverford box – 19th July 2010

This week Guy talks about sugar snap peas, tomatoes, spinach, hispi cabbage, carrots and kohl rabi.

Sugar snap peas
To prepare, break the end and strip it down and it will take the string out. Take the string off each side and then you can steam or boil (for 3-5 minutes). You also can eat them in a stirfry or raw.

Tomatoes
We’ve just come into the tomato season and have had good sunlight so they taste really sweet. Try making your own fresh salsa by chopping them, adding red or fresh onions and a green herb and well as a squeeze of lemon, vinegar and a bit of sugar, salt and pepper. It’s great with tortilla chips or on a courgette fritter.

Bunched carrots
They are tasting fantastic. Don’t bother peeling them. If you want to cook them, theyre great if roast them with kohl rabi. Peel and chop the kohlrabi and roast with the carrots for around 30 minutes.

Spinach
True spinach has fine and succulent leaves. Wash it, leave the water on and cook it in a pan, turn it over, take it out push it into a colander, chop it up finely and then you can use it in all sorts of ways.

Hispi cabbage
Shred these finely, blanch and drain. You could add a squeeze of lemon as well as a little bit of butter and pepper.

What’s what in the Riverford box – 12th July 2010

This week Jane talks about bunched carrots, radish and cucumber, cherry tomatoes and french beans.

bunched carrots (0 mins, 12 secs)

Rather than peel bunched carrots, you can just wash them. Try roasting them in the oven with a bit of cumin and then mashing them before adding olive oil and feta.

radish + cucumber (0 mins, 39 secs)

Try thinly slicing the radish and cucumber and mixing it with a bit of smoked fish. You can bind it with some creme fraiche and horseradish.

cherry tomatoes (1 mins, 1 secs)

You don’t have to do too much with these. They go well with mozzarella, so you can slice them up with mozzarella, olive oil and basil.

french beans  (1 mins, 42 secs)

The season’s just started so you’ll see a lot more of them over the coming weeks. Top and tail them and blanch in boiling salted water for a couple of water. They need to have a squeak when you bite into them. Try tossing them with shredded slow cooked tomatoes, diced olives and fresh basil.

Tasting french carrots

carrot tastingWe’ve been tasting carrot varieties today, all grown on our French farm in the Vendee. Our stored Devon carrots last until the beginning of May and we have a 4-5 week gap when we import carrots to fill the gap before our Devon bunched carrots come into season. The plan is to bridge this gap with carrots from our French farm and as we tasted 8 varieities the decision was unanimous –  Namur is the best. So you’ll be seeing these in the boxes this time next year.

a carrot holiday

There is always a carrot gap at this time of year as our stored crop comes to an end. We had planned to plug this with some Spanish carrots, but we were already dubious about their environmental credentials and when the price we had agreed with the growers mysteriously doubled, we decided to give you a carrot holiday rather than offer you over-priced sticks of what often turns out to be tasteless orange water. We hope this break will sharpen your appetite for the first harvest of our bunched carrots. And by next year we hope to have early carrots from our French farm.carrots

the mud debate

muddy carrots

There is no doubt that unwashed roots retain their protective skins and keep better. I live a muddy life, but having cooked in some of your kitchens I am wondering if I have been excessively dogmatic about the stuff; would it be better for us to do a quick wash (as we have the last few weeks when the carrots have been very muddy)? If kept in the fridge and eaten within two weeks I think the effect on flavour will be negligible. It would also help us to reduce packaging because there would be less need to contain dirt and the boxes would stay clean(ish) for more trips. If you would like to share your views on this topic, we would be very interested to hear what you think.

Guy Watson

Riverford buys the Prince’s Carrots

Sainsbury’s may have rejected organic carrots grown by the Prince of Wales and Soil Association founder Patrick Holden, but Riverford has bought them – all 25 tonnes. Riverford’s Andy Johnson said, “Our customers are very discerning people who demand tasty carrots and they absolutely loved them.” What was Sainsbury’s problem?

Carrots & why supermarkets can’t have it their way

Some of you have already commented on the media hoo-ha over Sainsbury’s rejecting the head of the Soil Association’s carrot crop. As the eventual buyers of Patrick Holden’s carrots, we think that this saga highlights the lunacy of the supermarkets’ controlling and overly centralised approach to buying and selling food.

Sainsbury’s said they rejected the carrots because they were destroyed by rot. The fact is that we eventually bought over half Patrick Holden’s crop in grade A condition and our veg box customers loved them – rightly so because they were great.

When it comes to rejecting crops, the supermarkets like to make out that their hands are tied. The reality is that they are incredibly prescriptive in what they deem acceptable. Shape, size and minor blemishes all lead to rejection, waste and a financial squeeze for farmers.

The supermarkets demand that 75% of a crop is packable which is why the farmers that supply them are often forced to focus on appearance at the expense taste. It doesn’t have to be like this.

Veg box schemes like ours cut the supermarkets out of the distribution chain and this has to be good for both farmers and for customers. There is life beyond the supermarkets and it tastes good.