Roasted Carrot Dip and A Garden

I remember when my parents bought "the clinic". I was five years old. It had salmon-coloured walls and on the day they were handed the keys we had fish and chips on the floor of what would become dad's consulting room. They were both teachers first, and then they both weren't. Twenty four years on (lordy) and I'm working at the clinic in a more professional capacity than my teenage job of "organising and cleaning", which I never did very well. I'm on the cusp of a virgo and libra, you see, and while I don't know too much about star signs, I believe it to be true that I am occasionally orderly and neat, like a virgo, but occasionally the opposite, which I believe to be the libra side of me "balancing" things. At least that's the way in works in my head. 

In my practice I talk about food with clients and then mum and I will catch each other for chats. Dad usually pops his head around, invariably saying something funny and/or lame, depending on the time of the day and the day of the week. In my observations, the closer to Thursday (his Friday) the weirder his humour. I like Thursdays. Anyway, it's a pretty rad job, helping clients achieve diets that are nutritious, balanced, appropriate to their goals and health needs and, importantly, enjoyable. Since when did food become such work? There's no fun in that. I like to help people have fun with their food.

About a month ago we put in a vegetable garden at the clinic, to further encourage this getting to know and love your food business I keep harping on about. There's nothing like plucking your own kale leaves or making a salad out of edible flowers to help you see the power and beauty and importance of freshly harvested produce. As I was planting the nasturtium my grandfather informed me that a childhood treat of his was nasturtium sandwiches, made of nothing but bread, butter and nasturtium leaves. Way to go great grandma, playing with edible flowers since the 1930s.

Mum and I started the day at Bunnings, buying things like a hose reel and a few tools, before heading to the clinic to help Ben and Dad assemble the garden bed. We received a soil delivery then got our hands dirty planting and tidying. Mum had made Rosa's almond biscotti for a snack, which we ate with my grandparents who had stopped by. Later on my grandpa showed me how to loosen and plant lavender. It was nice.

On the way home, dirt on our faces and in desperate need of a shower, Ben and I felt it would make sense to visit Target, where we bought pillows and contemplated a hairdryer. We decided against a hairdryer and instead visited a produce shop to buy fancy pasta and a bottle of wine. And carrots.

Back home I roasted those carrots and made a dip, which we ate with crackers while sitting outside waiting for our pasta water to boil. I've made this dip a number of times and favour it lumped into bowls with falafel, quinoa, chickpeas and roasted eggplant. It is also lovely spread on sourdough toast with avocado, though I wouldn't think it odd to simply take to it with a spoon.

Here are some photographs from that day and at the end, a recipe for that carrot dip. Happy weekend, folks.


Roasted Carrot Dip

800g Carrots
2 cloves Garlic (large ones if you like a big garlic hit, as I do)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated Ginger (or more, to taste)
2 tablespoons fresh Lemon Juice
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for the roasting pan
1 teaspoon ground Cumin
Sea Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper, to taste

* Optional: 1-2 tablespoons natural or Greek yoghurt (for a creamier dip)

1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Chop your carrots into 3cm chunks and in half lengthways, then place in a roasting pan lined with baking paper. Add the garlic cloves (skin on) and a generous glug of olive oil. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper and roast for 20-25 minutes, before removing from the oven to toss the carrots and remove the garlic cloves (set them aside to cool). Return the carrots to the oven roast until tender (maybe another 10 or so minutes). Remove them from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
2. Add the cooled roasted carrots and garlic clove (skin discarded) to a food processor with the ginger, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and cumin. Blitz until smooth (though I often leave mine a bit chunky), taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Add any yoghurt, more lemon, salt, etc as desired.
3. Don't scatter extra cumin over the top (as I did here) in a failed attempt to beautify the dip, but do serve with flax crackers. Store leftovers in an airtight container with a layer of extra virign olive oil on top and consume within a couple of days.

Heidi xo