Monday, May 14, 2007

Copycat: Alanna's spicy carrot salad spoonfuls, or it's all in the presentation, isn't it?

About a fortnight ago K. and I went to a carrot farm, where I was given about 10 kg of crunchy, flavoursome carrots and where I also picked up a huge bunch or rhubarb. As it happened, a few days later I had to entertain and feed a hungry army of aunts and cousins. When you've got lots of visitors coming, but no time to shop (it was a weekday night, after all), you build a whole menu around things on hand - in this case carrots and rhubarb.

One of the dishes I served was based on Alanna's great recipe for carrots with African spices - a heartwarmingly spicy concoction of carrots and, well, various warm spices - that I blogged about back in January. I treated my excited extended family to a slightly adapted version of Alanna's carrot salad, but this time served it on my newly acquired Chinese spoons (the spoons are from Jamie Oliver's new Easy Entertaining range, thank you, Jamie!). There were minor changes to the recipe. For example, I didn't have any nice-looking garlic at home, so I skipped the garlic as well as parsley, and used finely chopped fresh wild garlic instead; I replaced the lime juice with lemon juice; I diced the carrots instead of cutting them into chunks, and blanched them for about 8 minutes only, so they'd have still quite a bit of bite. Instead of a simple and heartwarming side dish I ended up with a pretty elegant mouthful.

In addition to these spicy carrot salad spoonfuls, there was a sunny savoury carrot pie. I almost made a carrot & orange soup as well, but then I really ran out of time. There were also few non-carrot dishes, like Johanna's mini potatoes with wasabi cream and veggie 'caviar' (yep, again), and Molly's bouchons au thon (I know, third time already!), deep purple pickled red beet eggs (you don't need to wait until the next Easter, you know), as well as other bits and pieces. The dessert focused on rhubarb - I made a huge pyramid of these super-moist rhubarb muffins (a great recipe - I've made them thrice in a fortnight!).

It worked. My aunties want to know when's the next party :)

As you can see, half of the dishes I served were inspired by fellow food bloggers. What would I do without you, Molly, Johanna, Alanna and others? Thank you all, for being such a good source of great and inspirational recipes!


Alanna said...

Those aunties know a good thing when they taste it! I love the idea of a 'food blogger' inspired meal ...

Zarah Maria said...

Loving it! The spoons are cute, great way to make a humble carrot all party-ish!

Kalyn said...

The presentation is fantastic.

Jasmine said...

Absolutely lovely!


Chris said...

Looks perfectly cut! And the spoons...must find some!

Thredahlia said...

Porgandid löövad laineid :P ja nii isuäratavad näevad välja.
Mina muuseas olen pooled oma nõud serveerimise (ja pildistamise) huvides välja vahetanud... see oli üks esimesi tõsisemaid arusaamu oma kööki kolides.

Lydia said...

The presentation makes those little carrots look so elegant! I'm going to borrow your idea for my next party.

Susan said...

I've got to get some of those little spoons! Lovely. Just lovely.

christine said...

You are so creative, such a lovely presentation!

Pille said...

Alanna - well, it was a great carrot recipe and would have tasted in any bowl or spoon, but I guess more people tried it because it was served in small spoon.

Zarah Maria - exactly. I wonder what I could make people eat next just by serving it on those spoons. Roasted swedes? Barley porridge? Haggis? Who knew that party dishes could be so humble:)

Kalyn - I agree:)

Jasmine - thank you!

Chris - I looked everywhere in London stores, and was about to wander into Chinatown, when I came across these. They are a bit slimmer than your usual Chinese spoon, but I like that.

Thredahlia - siin sama. Kui me sügisel uut serviisi ostsime (poissmehemajja oli vaja, noh), siis oli K. põhimureks, et kas taldrikud fotol ikka kenad jäävad:)

Lydia - exactly! You could serve pretty much anything on those spoons and it'd look elegant!

Susan - thanks, and good luck with finding the spoons. I've got tons of dishes already that I think would look great served from these spoons.

Christine - thanks for your kind words - much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Can not find your "Carrot pie (savoury) / Porgandipirukas" recipe... only in estonian - I'm not so good in it :o) your blogs are brilliant! love your beet adventures :)