Our last blog post was all about wasting less, we provided links to some great resources which have inspired us too!
So we've been trying to come up with recipes to try that are not only delicious, but also cheap as chips - probably even cheaper. Two vegetables that we have in abundance, and that can be grown happily in Scotland are carrots and onions, they cost very little and are readily available everywhere.
Carrots are one of those vegetables that don't really need much help in the flavor department, they're delicious raw too. Children seem to always go for carrot sticks and if you grate them with a squeeze of lemon, pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil, they're a quick and easy accompaniment with lots of dishes. Think omlette with salad and a side of grated carrot, or mixed into buttery mashed potato - sounds odd, but that little bit of zing really works, or added into a wrap with spicy pulled pork or pulled jackfruit is probably one of our best discoveries so far.
Quick and Easy Cooking
These days most of us don't have the time to think up elaborate dinners, we need something quick and easy, that doesn't take much attention or thought. Well, that's definately how we feel, we all get home from work and have hungry children to feed and then there's the realisation that we didn't manage to get to the shops... So we came up with two very simple carrot and onion recipes.
The first is an Italian recipe, and as many things in Italy the simpler the better. All you need for this recipe is onions, carrots, extra virgin olive oil and a pasta of your choice. Traditionally orecchiette (little pasta ears) are used, we used spaghetti, but fusilli or penne would be fine too.
Top Tip: If you have a food processor use that to grate & slice the carrot and onion. Or you can look at it as a full on work out and go for the traditional box grater and do it by hand!
Once you've sweated it out over the carrots and onion all you need to do is pop everything in a deep frying pan or even a wide heavy bottomed pan would do. Keep the temperature on a medium heat and let it cook away, stirring every now and then to stop it from sticking and burning. After about 30 min it will have cooked down into a jammy sweet and savory deliciousness, at this point give it a taste and then season it with salt and pepper. That's it! Smother it on pasta and enjoy.
10 x Carrots - grated
2 x Large Onions - Sliced finely
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
It feels wrong passing on a recipe that is this simple, but when we tried it for the first time it was a complete revelation! It feels like a super power when you have these very simple go to recipes that are a winner every time. The other one is pesto, but not as we know it - we'll save that for the summer....
It's Still Soup Season
It might officially be Spring, but here in the North West of Scotland it is very much still a winter vibe. We tried showing our ankles to the sunshine the other day and when they went a lovely shade of blue we realised our bodies are not quite ready to be revealed yet (unless we're doing a cold water dip and then it's the perfect weather for swimwear).
Our next recipe is a classic carrot soup, we put some spices in it and a little bit of chilli and it worked a treat to warm our insides and our spirit at the same time.
Once again this recipe is very basic and quick, it's also very adaptable. If you don't have the exact spices we have used you could leave them out or try experiementing with different flavors.
We love referring to Niki Segnit's book The Flavour Thesaurus, Niki gives great ideas for some food parings that you might not think of at first. In her book she has a flavour wheel so you know what foods will go together due to where they come on the wheel. For carrots she suggests parings such as cinnamon, cumin, hazelnut and orange.
We thought carrot and orange juice would be a lovely refreshing drink, maybe with a hint of fresh ginger too!
Spiced Carrot & Onion Soup
To make the soup a little preparation is good, we would recommend heating your stock in a separate pot first, or dissolve a stock cube in a perspex jug. It's also very useful to have the carrots and onions chopped before starting, we roughly chop everything because at the end we blitz the soup so it's smooth. Place your onions into a heavy bottomed pot to lightly brown in some olive oil. Once they've become translucent then add the roughly chopped carrots and all your spices and gently let them all cook in the olive oil to release the flavours of the spices. This should only take a few minutes, but you will just need to make sure you keep stirring so that the spices don't stick and burn. As soon as you start to get the aroma of all the spices releasing you can add your stock, gently let it simmer for roughly 20 minutes, while the carrots soften and flavours come together.
Once the carrots are soft your soup is done! All it needs now is a good blend, if you have a metal hand blender then this would be perfect, as the metal allows it to go into hot food. If you have a food processor or a plastic hand blender then it's important to wait until the soup has cooled a little before you blend it. Blend for a few minutes until the soup is completley smooth, season to taste and to serve it looks great with a little sprig of fresh coriander.
5 x Carrots (medium sized)
1 x Onion
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Coriander ground
1/2 tsp Chilli
1 Litre Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Don't forget to serve with a thick slice of sourdough bread and butter! Yum.
We hope you enjoy these two recipes for a quick 30 minute mid-week dinner, the best bit is they're super cheap to make as well. We'd love to hear and feature some of your seasonal and frugal recipes, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.