JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Carrot bites

These carrot bites for Heart of the Matter were inspired by a lovely comment I found on my hearty oatcake post from Eleanor (I'm assuming that this Eleanor is not my daughter, but I could be wrong!). She suggested this:

A lovely, crunchy substitute for pastry in finger food is granary bread, crusts removed, squashed flat with a rolling pin and baked in a muffin tin until it forms crunchy little cups that can be filled as you please.

I used a Waitrose wholemeal seed bread, and put them in a hot oven. I set the pinger for four minutes, and they were ready soon after that, lovely little shapes with no saturated fat. I made a herbed carrot puree to go in them, and experimented with it, as you can see from the photograph.

I peeled and sliced three medium carrots, then boiled them in lemon juice sweetened with a teaspoon of honey, and flavoured with a sprig of thyme. When they were tender, I took off the lid, and boiled off all the liquid to make a clinging syrup. I liquidised the result.

The first batch just had this puree, and it was lemony sharp. I think this would be better if the carrots were cooked in a half and half mixture of lemon juice and water.

The second batch was mixed with a little stiffly beaten egg white. It made the puree fluffy, and slightly softened the taste. This was the boys' favourite.

For the third batch, I stirred some of the egg yolk in with the carrot puree, and then mixed some stiffly beaten egg white. This wasn't so good as either of the other two; it tasted quite eggy, and wasn't so good as the clear vegetable flavours of the first two versions. (Having said that, they were all good.)

PS the three carrot mix was enough to fill about 18 little cases.

I also cooked some filo pastry cases for this mixture, some plain (not a success, they didn't look nice, and they burnt very easily), and some brushed with a little egg white (also not a success, they stuck to the tin and made a horrible mess). So thank you, Eleanor, for a really useful new way to make unpastry cases. Time you started a blog, I think!


Eleanor said...

You're welcome, I'm pleased they turned out so beautifully! I adore vegetable purées; you have me thinking about using the carrot mixture as a sandwich spread.

(Although my mum is a wonderful cook, I'm just a namesake of your daughter!)


Jeanne said...

Wow - I love this idea! And think of the possibilities for fillings... Broad bean puree, hummus, aubergine caviar... Bring on the cocktail parties!