Spiced Carrot Fritters

As may have been clear from this blog I’m a huge fan of Jamie Oliver’s cookbook ‘Veg’ and this might well be my favourite recipe from it so far. I was extra impressed that I’d managed to get it on the table as I’d finally had my first confirmed COVID infection after attending our yearly company conference held in the south of the country this time. Monday to Wednesday was grim living with COVID and the lasting effects of the HIIT class I’d signed up for at the work event but after struggling to work through those days to get all the month-end journals in I decided I couldn’t go on any longer. I signed off work in the morning, had a three hour nap and got woken up by my cat pawing me in the face. When I was a bit better I found the time to watch Taxi Driver which I’ve always wanted to watch so at least my week wasn’t completely wasted.

These delicious pancakes are spiced with cumin, fennel seeds, chilli and coriander but to divert from the topic once again just because I found it quite interesting – I was watching Rick Stein’s India and he was talking about how when the spices started first travelling from India to England, the first one that was really desired was pepper. People really hadn’t had anything like it before with it’s slight kick. It’s so funny as it’s just a table condiment now and not at all seen as exotic!

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 150g carrots (I think around 2 medium)
  • 1 green chilli
  • 15g coriander leaves
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 /2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 cup self raising flour (I used a measuring jug and filled to one cup level)
  • 1 cup milk (as above)
  • 1 egg
  • oil
  • 100g crunchy veg (radishes/cucumber/carrots)
  • rose harissa
  • 1 bag watercress
  • 40g feta
  • hummus

Method

1.) Make up the salad by chopping up/peeling the veg you’ve chosen. If you’re using cucumber it’s best to cut out the seeds as they will make everything watery. Put these in a salad bowl with the watercress. Crumble in the feta.

2,) Peel and grate the 150g carrots. Add to another large bowl. Finely chop the chilli and coriander leaves and add to the bowl. Chuck in the fennel and cumin. Peel and slice the onion and add to the bowl.

3.) In a measuring jug, add the flour and milk and mix well with a fork. Crack in the egg and mix that in too. Pour the batter in with the carrots and give everything a stir.

4.) In a frying pan, heat up some oil and add about 1/2 a ladleful of the mixture. Cook until browning then flip over and brown the other side.

5.) Repeat until you get through all of the mixture.

6.) Serve the pancakes with some salad, a dollop of the hummus and a teaspoon or two of the rose harissa.

Yemeni Pancakes

Searching for jobs at the moment and noticed an old company that I worked for offering an Accountant role. I wonder if they’re still paying 10p an hour (ok slight exaggeration) but certainly being reminded of your old company gives you a happiness boost. Thinking about how the grass is greener now was mentioned as one of the strategies of being happy on the course ‘The Science of Wellbeing’ from Yale which is free on the Coursera website. If you have some free time, I really recommend it. Speaking of things that make me happy, these Yemeni pancakes were a revelation. Excluding the recipes containing ants and larvae in my complete Thai cookbook, it’s rare to come across a unique recipe to all my cookbooks (from Jamie Oliver ‘Veg’). A yeasted dough is made then fried as a pancake, eggs are cracked over the top, then the pancake is folded over. I’m not sure how authentic the eggs part is – Jamie has named the recipe ‘Yemeni-style’ pancakes but this could just be after the chorizo in paella debacle (which I’m completely on his side about). On the side is served aubergine dip and a salsa.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 300g strong bread flour
  • 7g fast active yeast
  • 2 aubergines
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 lemons
  • 4 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 4 sprigs coriander
  • 30g parsley
  • 2 green chillis
  • oil
  • 4 ripe tomatoes
  • 8 eggs ( I doubled the eggs as I was hungry after the gym)

Method

1.) Measure out 500ml of tepid water i.e. doesn’t feel hot or cold and add the yeast. Leave to sit for 10 minutes

2.) Add the flour, whisk and set aside for another 20 minutes

3.) While this is going, heat the aubergines in turn directly over a flame, blackening the skin all over, leave to be cool enough to handle

4.) Peel and finely chop the garlic, chop the lemons in half and remove the seeds, dice up the chillis, finely chop the parsley and coriander.

5.) Chop up the tomatoes and place in a bowl, add in a tbsp olive oil, squeeze in the juice of 1 of the lemons. Season with salt and pepper.

6.) Peel the skin from the aubergine, place onto a plate, squeeze over some lemon juice, sprinkle with salt and coriander. Spoon over the yoghurt and tahini.

7.) Now, time to make the pancakes. heat some oil in a frying pan and add a ladle of batter, tilt the pan so it’s covered. Once the edges start to come away from the pan, crack two eggs into the centre then break up with a fork to spread over the surface of the pancake. Sprinkle with some parsley. Fold over the pancake. Flip over until each side is golden. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.

8.) Serve with the salsa and aubergine dip.

Broad bean stuffed pancakes

Another recipe that caught my eye in the Cicchetti cookbook was this one for stuffed pancakes. It’s probably not so much a normal weeknight dinner meal but being on holiday this week, I’ve been a bit more flexible. This would be a good one to make if you have guests as you can make them the day before. The recipe suggests to use cocktail sticks to hold the wheels in place but I didn’t personally feel the need.

Ingredients

  • 1 tin broad beans (250g drained)
  • 60g cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 5g chives
  • salt and pepper
  • butter
  • 8 slices quorn ham
  • 3 sprigs basil

Method

1.) Make the pancake batter by beating the eggs in a bowl, whisk in the milk and flour. Chop up the chives and mix in the batter.

2.) Melt some butter in a small frying pan, add 1/4 of the pancake mixture at a time and make 4 pancakes. Set aside on a plate to cool.

3.) In a food processor, add the drained broad beans, the cream cheese and the parmesan. Blend until a smooth paste.

4.) One at a time, move a pancake to another plate, lay 2 slices of quorn and dollop on 1/4 of the broad bean mixture in the middle. Spread out the broad bean paste all around the pancake.

5.) Roll up the pancakes one by one then cut into slices. At this point, seal with the cocktail sticks if wanted.

6.) Chill until cool, then rip up the basil and sprinkle over the top.