Roasted Carrots & Dukkah + Meaning

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I started writing a text about summer food. About being offline and trying to unwind. A happy text about nothing of importance, really. With too many sad reports on the news recently, finding meaning in these short texts can sometimes be difficult.
Millions of refugees keep filling up camps in countries around Syria. Or climb onto small boats in Libya hoping that they will make it across the Mediterranean sea. Meanwhile, prejudices, hate and racism are on the rise both in the US and here in Europe. So how can  a blog post about summer food be meaningful at all?

Luise and I often talk about this. I am sure everyone does. This feeling of wanting to do more but not being sure what, or how to do it. A recipe can seem so irrelevant in the midst of it all. It looks like we might get involved in some voluntary work within the next couple of months. But until then, we are trying to see meaningfulness around us.

The truth is of course that food does matter. It is important, in many more ways than just for our physical survival. Food is memories, heritage, happiness, family and food is love. Food gathers people around a table and makes us talk. Many of our best memories are connected with food. We solve problems over food. We celebrate. We become friends. So maybe a food blog isn’t that meaningless. Food is after all more than just a recipe.

And talking about meaning. Another truth that Luise and I try to live by, is that the most responsible thing we can do at the moment is infusing our children with kindness. Talking to them about how it never will matter how much money you have, the colour of your skin, if you are a man or a woman, where you are born or who you choose to love. We are all humans. And we are all equal. If we can all just pass that on to our children, they will hopefully grow old in a world with less hate and fear and more love than the one we are currently living in.
By writing this text, I have also passed that simple message on to you. Prepare the recipe in today’s blog post, share the meal with your friends or family and talk about the importance of kindness. It might be a cliche, but we believe it is one worth sharing.

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This is a simple summer dinner that we did the other day after we had prepared a large batch of the Egyptian spice blend Dukkah. Calling the meal simple might be a slight exaggeration as you actually have to prepare the spice blend as well as making the rest of the dinner. But it will be worth it. You will find that Dukkah can be added to an infinite amount of meals this summer. It carries a lot of flavour and adds both richness and crunch to whatever you pair it with. There are lots of Dukkah recipes to be found online so instead of adding yet another to the mix, we are simply sharing a slightly adapted version of Yotam and Sami’s brilliant Dukkah from their Jerusalem book.

In this recipe the Dukkah is generously sprinkled over roasted summer carrots and onions that rest on a bed of herby quinoa with a creamy feta cheese and yogurt spread on the side. Any roasted vegetables can of course be added to this meal and they can just as well be grilled on a bbq. It’s a summery, creamy, very flavourful and absolutely delicious dish. And hopefully more than that. Enjoy!

Much love and happy summer!
David, Luise, Elsa & Isac

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Roasted Carrots with Dukkah, Quinoa & Feta Yogurt Cream
Serves 4

Oven roasted summer carrots & onions
1 lb / 500 g (approx. 8 large) carrots
4 onions, shallots or red onions
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
sea salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F. Scrub the carrots under water and trim off the top greens. Cut the carrots lengthwise if they are thick (and keep thin carrots whole). Place on a baking tray. Peel off the outer layer of the onion and trim the top off. Cut into large chunks. Place on the baking tray next to the carrots. Stir together oil, maple, salt and pepper and drizzle over the vegetables, toss to cover. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until tender.

Herby Quinoa
1 cup / 170 g uncooked quinoa (or 2 1/2 cups pre-cooked)
1 large handful flat leave parsley
a generous drizzle of olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
sea salt & black pepper

Place rinsed quinoa in a saucepan, add water and salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat immediately and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes, set aside and let cool. Chop parsley and stir through the quinoa together with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Feta & Yogurt Cream
5 oz / 150 g feta cheese
1 cup / 250 ml plain yogurt
sea salt & black pepper

Place feta cheese in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork, add yogurt and combine until creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste, set aside.

Dukkah spice blend
(adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi)

1/2 cup / 70 g hazelnuts
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
3 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp nigella seeds
½ tsp sea salt

Preheat the oven to 160°C / 320°F. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking tray and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until cracked and golden.

Meanwhile heat a skillet or frying pan to medium heat. Add sunflower seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and cumin and dry roast for no more than a minutes while stirring. Now add sesame seeds and nigella seeds and keep stirring until the sesame seeds turns light brown, it takes about 30 seconds. Set aside and add salt.

Rub the hazelnuts between the palms of your hands (or a towel) to remove and discard some of the skin. Place all ingredients in a pestle and mortar and coarsely crush the spice blend. Store in an airtight container for up to a month.

Assembling:
Spread the quinoa in a serving dish or on a large platter. Arrange the oven roasted carrots and onions on top. Spoon the feta and yogurt cream into a small bowl and place in the dish. Sprinkle the vegetables with a generous amount of Dukkah. Serve.

46 Comments

  • Cally
    Fantastic post full of foods I love and the dilemma of how to make a meaningful difference in our ordinary daily actions. For me food gives an extra chance to make a difference since our choices of what to purchase haves wide reaching impact on people and communities that grow things, package them, sell them etc. By choosing things like Fairtrade, ethically produced, Organics etc and by buying from small producers rather than big supermarkets we can make a genuine difference to people's lives. Multinational brands are notorious for appalling treatment of people, land, environment and communities so even though I'm on a low income I choose to spend it on slightly higher price foods from more caring producers because I know that somewhere down the line that is making life less difficult for workers and their families, many of whom are migrants or oppressed communities. Food buying choices are such a great way that we can all help make a difference every day :-)
  • So well said. It may be something as simple as food but often the most simple of things can make such a difference.
  • Although a bit difficult to make for me , this was pretty delicious. Recipes like this remind me going vegan doesn't have to mean you will no longer enjoy your food. Thanks for sharing :)
  • Vera
    Food for thought! That's what this post was all about. Thank you, David and Luise, as you definitely spoke on behalf of many of us and, therefore, for sharing much more than food recipes. This was a recipe for a better world, so it has to (MUST!!) turn out right!:)
  • LIz
    I just wanted to say THANK YOU for saying something about the recent events....so many bloggers are posting their regular content with no mention of it and it feels....empty to me. And it makes me mad and sad and discouraged. It gives me so much hope to see your reflection here because we all have to think and talk about it if anything is going to change. So thank you.
  • Mary
    Thank you so kindly, I needed that!!
  • Sometimes I get really broken inside to see that most of us just keep on with our lives, like nothing is happening... when at this moment the world is in a pretty hard situation, with this huge human crisis. Hope we all can be more pro-active to make a change with our meaningful little actions. Thank you for yours! Love you guys... As much as I love your recipes!
  • Susan Iseman
    Wonderful thoughts-we are blessed. Carrots get so little "press" - nice to see them in a leading role! Wondering about a substitute for the hazelnuts- I love them but my husband is allergic. Any thoughts?
    • You can definitely make a nut-free dukkah mix. I would simply just replace them with a little more sunflower seeds. /David
  • Latoya Morgan
    Thank you for such a beautiful post, yes the world seem quite crazy right now but it's moments (posts) like these which makes all the difference. You reaching out to connect and share a message of kindness in such a down to earth, truly heartfelt and pure way, is simply beautiful. I am always cheered to see a post from you in my inbox! The recipes are simply delicious, super nutritious and always wows my friends and family when I make them, and yes I agree food is love and sharing a meal with others is so very important. I also feel privileged to see how magically your family is unfolding and growing, congratulations! Thank you for doing what you do, we need you guys shining your light and bringing some love and kindness in these bleak times, Thank you!
  • This post really speaks to my heart and has brought a tear to my eye, in a painful but good way. The food you share is healthy, uplifting and kind, and that is such a wonderful thing to share with the world, what a positive influence you are, a blog that everyone looks up to so much in every way. Kindness is the most important thing, there is nothing more important to be as a human being what an important message. P E A C E <3 <3
    • Elsbeth Kooyman
      I so much agree with you! Kind regards, Elsbeth
  • This looks so good! The feta and yoghurt dip sounds and looks so good. x
  • Sam
    thank you for this post! the recipe looks fantastic and your words are so true. we all have a responsibitly to spread love instead of hate. especially in times like these.
  • birgit
    and me again i had all the ingredients for dukkah in my kitchen and didn't know how to combine them in such a delicious blend now it will become a stable like the savoury granola thank you for the inspiration
  • birgit
    yeah - i'm feeling the same way and i'm happy that there are people like you sharing your thoughts with us all my best wishes for you and have a great summer lg birgit
  • In times like these, one can never have too much positivity. Turning off the negative, engaging in deliberate self-care, and sharing meals with friends and family is a great way to infuse our lives with love. Thanks for being an outlet for good things!
  • I struggle with this a lot too. I think that no matter what you do, there will always be a question or an uncertainty about whether you're doing enough. You have a huge reach, though, and you really are making a difference for many people. Food is perhaps the most important and integral part of a human experience - it is representative of place, culture, and time - we would be nothing without it. And despite all of the terrible things that are happening in the world, food will always be a rooting force. Thank you for another wonderful recipe and your words.
  • Being an Italian living in the USA, problems and events of the last months in both places touch me a lot. I go on with my open mind talking to immigrants on the bus in Italy - when all the other people stare at me thinking "she's weird" - and being as kind as possible to all human beings. But I feel powerless too. Talking about the food, I love so much dukkah!! Have you ever tried it sprinkled on frozen banana ice-cream?? I found it so incredibly delicious! :D
    • No way, Dukkah on nice cream?! Cool! We've still got some dukkah left. It is definitely going on our next batch of nice cream. Thanks for the tip. /Luise
  • Stephanie
    So beautiful words. :-) I am a reader of you blog since 2012 and I know exactly why! ♥♥♥
  • thanks for the recipe. I have been looking for roasted carrot recipes for a while. https://flyingkittyadventures.com/
  • I don't know why, but I find it heartwarming to see you share my (and many other's) concerns about these worrying current events. I do believe, just as you do, that food is important, and the way you bring up your children too, obviously, in a loving and tolerant atmosphere. I found this article today on the New York Times website, you might find it interesting www.nytimes.com/2016/07/06/dining/refugees-chefs-paris.html?ref=dining Best, Julie
    • Elsbeth Kooyman
      Thank you Julie, for the refugees chef link. I almost never post replies, but the beautiful Green Kitchen Stories post about installing kindness in our kids and then your reaction with this link really touched my hearth. So much is happening in the world that it almost disheartens one, but sharing food and cultures and above all kindness can make a difference. Kind regards, Elsbeth, from the sunny Caribbean island of Curacao.

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