A couple of years ago, the local media ran a story about a daikon radish in Tokyo. It seems this humble root, managed to grow in one of the most densely populated cities in the world – and not only that – the radish grew through the concrete of a busy sidewalk. The story stuck with me, it struck a chord. If anything, that story was a lesson in resilience. Lately, I have felt somewhat less resilient, compared to that daikon, I’m just below the concrete ceiling, deciding whether or not I have the will to break through.
In the last few weeks, my skin has felt paper-thin and porous. I’ve become a tap-root, imbibing everything around me to the point of oversaturation. I’ve felt angry and sad, I’ve felt despair, I’ve questioned so many things. I have seen one of my dearest friends, lose her baby at 22 weeks and as I looked at pictures of her, with her tiny, perfectly formed hands and feet, I have felt that life, despite all its wonder, can be so terribly cruel.
So I took a time out, because I’m not feeling as strong as I did before. I bruise easier. Tears flow at the drop of a hat. I wish I could tell you that I’ve been on a spiritual quest, holed up in some cave reading Sartre and drinking green tea, doing yoga and meditating beneath a slice of moon. The truth of the matter, is that I’ve spent a lot of time lying on my couch, watching trashy tv and reading magazines, in my pyjamas, ugly crying to sad songs and eating cereal straight out the box.
On thursday, I was given a bunch of carrots, fresh from the ground. I liked the idea of carrots that fresh. They smelt sweet. They lay on the counter for a couple of days, until, I couldn’t bear the thought of them going to waste any longer, and made this dish. This would be lovely as part of a mezze platter, a starter, or a light meal/snack for two. The earthy sweetness of the roasted carrot and the fresh mint is altogether uplifting and comforting.
Roasted Carrot Puree with Caraway, Feta and Mint
Adapted from Casa Moro by Sam and Sam Clark
350-400g organic carrots, scrubbed
2-3 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
1 tsp caraway seeds, roughly ground in a mortar
1 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
50g feta cheese
Pita bread for serving
Preheat the oven to 200C. Slice the carrots into rounds, no more than 2cm thick. Toss with half the olive oil and some salt and pepper, and place in a roasting tin. Cover with foil and roast for about 45 minutes, or until completely tender. Remove and cool for a little, before mashing or whizzing in a food processor. Transfer the pureed carrot to a bowl, stir in the caraway, the mint and the remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, spread the puree on a plate, crumble over the feta and sprinkle over a little fresh mint if you like. Drizzle with a little more olive oil. Serve with pita bread triangles, made by brushing pita bread with olive oil and toasting in the oven until crisp.