|nigel slater's carrot and coriander fritters|
However, I have taught myself to enjoy coriander. I started off very slowly with miniscule amounts in tomato salsas and now am positively lavish with the herb. It has taken years, but I felt I needed to get my taste buds over the soapy hurdle - I hated feeling as if I was missing out on something. (Although to date, nothing will make me jump through hurdles to like bananas!)
I was flicking through Nigel Slater's Tender, Volume 1 - his book that focuses on vegetables, looking for seasonal inspiration. Jonathan Lovekin's photograph of Nigel's carrot and coriander fritters (on page 174) is mesmerising; I loved the warm colours of the fritters - of darkened orange of the cooked carrot, brown and crunchy around the edges, and the rich green of the coriander. The picture is pinpricked with tiny bubbles of olive oil and you can see the cheese gently bubbling under the surface of the grated carrot. This picture was my siren call to the kitchen!
Sadly, you can tell from these links - to the recipe on the BBC website here, or this one, that my fritters look nothing like. It's not Nigel's fault of course, but mine. I hadn't read the instruction about the more finely grated the carrots, the more fragile the fritters will be in the pan. I wasn't really thinking and just plonked half the ingredients into a bowl, before realising my mistake.
I actually wanted to make the fritters as a side dish with our Sunday roast chicken. Fortunately I decided to do a dry run first. Dry being the operative word, because stupidly I was too lazy to grate the carrots by hand, blitzed them in a food processor and rather overdid things. As a result, my mix was far too wet. My first attempt to make a fritter had bits of vegetable swimming off in different directions.
As a result, I had to adapt things. Firstly, I hadn't used cheddar cheese as Nigel uses in his recipe, but feta cheese. Nor had I added any double cream, as frankly my fritters were awash with liquid at this point and didn't need any more. To compensate, I added breadcrumbs to the mix and left the lot to firm up in the fridge for an hour or so. I made balls of the fritter mixture and left it to firm up in the fridge for another hour, before frying the flattened balls of carrot mixture. After quickly frying them on each side, they were then baked in the oven at 180C / Gas Mark 4 for about 25 minutes.
As a result, my fritters are less disordered fritters and more of an orderly savoury carrot cake. Absolutely gorgeous none-the-less and a perfect way to mop of my Middle Eastern-style roast chicken juices.
Since this is a Nigel Slater recipe, I am entering into Janice at Farmersgirl Kitchen Nigel Slater Dish of the Month challenge, jointly hosted by Sue at A Little Bit of Heaven on a Plate. Janice and Sue are challenging you to cook a Nigel Slater recipe every month.
As usual, it is an absolute pleasure. It is never a hardship to cook from one of Nigel's books. I would go so far as to say easy peasy, even if I should read the recipe more carefully in future!
And since my delicious fritters are awash with fragrant coriander, I am entering this into Karen at Lavender and Lovage's Herbs on Saturday blog challenge, which this month is not just about herbs, but preferably things you have foraged. Sadly the closest I got to foraging my coriander was a nice chat with the market stall holder in Kentish Town, allow perhaps braving the cold, the wet, maniacal black cab drivers, charity muggers and a few kamikaze pigeons counts as outdoors and intrepid!
Can't wait to see what everyone else has come up and, as always, some fabulous inspiration!