Claudia Roden is a hero of mine. A genius food writer, she wipes the floor with so many of the so-called “Celeb Chefs.”
Claudia has never run an overdesigned, overpriced restaurant; she has, instead, travelled, eating food, talking to the people who cook it (rarely referred to, in their own culture, as chefs),and to the people who eat it; chronicling the cultures, histories and social situations that have resulted in the various cuisines she explores.
Her most famous book is “The Book of Jewish Food,” which doesn’t actually sit in my kitchen. It’s an unbelievable tome about the food and culture of the Diaspora in the near, middle and far east, as well as in North South East and Western Europe and the Americas - part History, part Sociology, part Poetic treatise on flavour and the aesthetics of real life food - and I can highly recommend it.
Another book of hers (one of several) which I really highly recommend is “Arabesque,” her journey through the near East (Morocco, Lebanon, Syria etc.)
From that book, comes the Carrot Recipe I promised the Veggies some time ago.
This one is, almost inexplicably, delicious. It’s almost too simple - a handful of ingredients, the largest of which is a huge bunch of earthy, Rooty carrots; a few basic steps, a process that’s fragrant, fast and that builds anticipation for a product that’s tasty, exotic and enjoyable.
I’ve played around a bit with the recipe as Claudia gives it, but what follows, I promise, will give you a carrot salad which will never be ignored, which has always gained me positive comments, and which rarely gives me much in the way of leftovers.