Thursday, December 29, 2011
I've had a lovely few days off blogging filled with excited kids ripping into presents at an alarming rate, ice-blocks (aka icy-poles or popsicles) in the backyard and family gatherings. At the last second we decided to have our Christmas celebrations at our new house, I know, I know... mad eh only 1 week after moving in? But knowing how many kids were going to be here this year and looking at our massive backyard it was a no-brainer. The kids ran around all afternoon while my mother-in-law maned the BBQ. I contributed a couple of salads, a gluten-free mango, raspberry and coconut trifle and pavlova roll for dessert, that seemed to go down a treat even though everyone's bellies were stuffed to the brim.
Ada did a great job taking over from my usual family photographer position (I was too busy!), snapping up well over 300 photos in only 3 days on her new camera from Santa (yes, one very happy girl!). She even stopped me from drinking my green smoothie on Boxing Day morning so she could take a quick little photo, I wonder where she's learnt that from? She also took this amazing picture above, the arty shadow one. Pretty cool huh?
Purple carrots have been showing up more and more in the shops lately, they are stunning in their deep eggplant-purple hue. I've tried growing them myself but never had much luck, so being able to start including them in our diet is awesome. Not only are they much higher in antioxidants than their orange cousins, they also contain anti-inflammatory properties, anti-carcinogens and betacarotenes. Packing quite the little nutrient dense punch.
It's really warmed up here in the past few days, with today supposed to be hitting 39 C/102 F! In this insane heat there's not much I feel like eating, other than pieces of frozen mango and light flavourful salads. I can't go past the classic combination of fragrant spices, salty feta and sweet currants and I find myself adding them to loads of different dishes. Here I've kept things light and fresh with a tangle of carrot shavings, loads of herbs and a lemon-based dressing. Use my recipe as a base, but feel free to use whatever you have at hand. Add a little heat with a pinch of dried chilli flakes or not. Up to you. If you don't have access to purple carrots, no worries. Just use all regular orange ones. And if you want to prepare this a little ahead of time, simply store in a airtight container in the fridge and dress before serving.
Lastly, thanks to all that entered my giveaway a few weeks ago, from the comments you left it sounds like you all ate some really nice food on Christmas day! I used Random.org to find the winner and am stoked to say that the 3rd comment wins! So Mara can you email me your postal address and I'll pop your calendar into the post asap. Congratulations!
Also just letting you know My Darling Lemon Thyme is featured in the Jan/Feb issue of New Zealands Taste magazine, out now. I can't tell you how happy I was to be asked! Happy New years people! Xx Emm
I dry roast and grind my own coriander seeds when needed as this gives you the freshest flavours, but if you only have pre-ground, use that. If purple carrots aren't available where you live, no worries! Just use regular orange carrots. Lastly I actually prefer the texture of grated carrots in salads like these, but felt like a change and went for the shaving instead. You do whatever you like, grate, shave or even julienne. We now tolerate feta, but if you are completely dairy-free, sub in a few green olives to give the same salty goodness.
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch dried chilli flakes, optional
- 1 tablespoon runny honey
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- fine sea salt, to taste
- 2 medium purple carrots, peeled
- 2 medium orange carrots, peeled
- 1/4 cup currants
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly torn if large
- 1/2 cup coriander (cilantro) leaves
- 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly torn
- crumbled feta cheese, to serve
To make the dressing dry-roast the cumin seeds in a pan over medium heat for 1 minute, or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Add the ground coriander, paprika and cinnamon and toast a further 30 seconds, then transfer to a small bowl. Add dried chilli flakes (if using) honey and lemon juice, and whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while whisking to form a dressing. Season to taste with sea salt.
Grate, julienne or shave the carrots using a vegetable peeler. Add to a bowl along with the currants and fresh herbs. Dress with as little or as much of the spiced dressing as you like and serve topped with a crumbling of feta. Any left over dressing can be stored in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 1 week.
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