nigel slater's carrot and coriander fritters

nigel slater's carrot and coriander fritters
For years, I didn't much care for the herb coriander. The spice? Yes. The herb? Definitely not. The simple reason is because I am one of some ten per cent of the world's population that can taste the aldehydes in coriander, which also appear in soap. So what tastes like a slightly citrusy and aromatic herb to you, tastes of lemon-scented soapy washing up liquid to me. I think you'll agree that this isn't very appetising at all!

However, I have taught myself to enjoy coriander. I started off very slowly with miniscule amounts in tomato salsas and now am positively lavish with the herb. It has taken years, but I felt I needed to get my taste buds over the soapy hurdle - I hated feeling as if I was missing out on something. (Although to date, nothing will make me jump through hurdles to like bananas!)

I was flicking through Nigel Slater's Tender, Volume 1 - his book that focuses on vegetables, looking for seasonal inspiration. Jonathan Lovekin's photograph of Nigel's carrot and coriander fritters (on page 174) is mesmerising; I loved the warm colours of the fritters - of darkened orange of the cooked carrot, brown and crunchy around the edges, and the rich green of the coriander. The picture is pinpricked with tiny bubbles of olive oil and you can see the cheese gently bubbling under the surface of the grated carrot. This picture was my siren call to the kitchen!

Sadly, you can tell from these links - to the recipe on the BBC website here, or this one, that my fritters look nothing like. It's not Nigel's fault of course, but mine. I hadn't read the instruction about the more finely grated the carrots, the more fragile the fritters will be in the pan. I wasn't really thinking and just plonked half the ingredients into a bowl, before realising my mistake.

I actually wanted to make the fritters as a side dish with our Sunday roast chicken. Fortunately I decided to do a dry run first. Dry being the operative word, because stupidly I was too lazy to grate the carrots by hand, blitzed them in a food processor and rather overdid things. As a result, my mix was far too wet. My first attempt to make a fritter had bits of vegetable swimming off in different directions.

As a result, I had to adapt things. Firstly, I hadn't used cheddar cheese as Nigel uses in his recipe, but feta cheese. Nor had I added any double cream, as frankly my fritters were awash with liquid at this point and didn't need any more. To compensate, I added breadcrumbs to the mix and left the lot to firm up in the fridge for an hour or so. I made balls of the fritter mixture and left it to firm up in the fridge for another hour, before frying the flattened balls of carrot mixture. After quickly frying them on each side, they were then baked in the oven at 180C / Gas Mark 4 for about 25 minutes.

As a result, my fritters are less disordered fritters and more of an orderly savoury carrot cake. Absolutely gorgeous none-the-less and a perfect way to mop of my Middle Eastern-style roast chicken juices.

Since this is a Nigel Slater recipe, I am entering into Janice at Farmersgirl Kitchen Nigel Slater Dish of the Month challenge, jointly hosted by Sue at A Little Bit of Heaven on a Plate. Janice and Sue are challenging you to cook a Nigel Slater recipe every month.

As usual, it is an absolute pleasure. It is never a hardship to cook from one of Nigel's books. 
I would go so far as to say easy peasy, even if I should read the recipe more carefully in future!

And since my delicious fritters are awash with fragrant coriander, I am entering this into Karen at Lavender and Lovage's Herbs on Saturday blog challenge, which this month is not just about herbs, but preferably things you have foraged. Sadly the closest I got to foraging my coriander was a nice chat with the market stall holder in Kentish Town, allow perhaps braving the cold, the wet, maniacal black cab drivers, charity muggers and a few kamikaze pigeons counts as outdoors and intrepid!

Can't wait to see what everyone else has come up and, as always, some fabulous inspiration!


o cozinheiro este algarve said...

Yours look much more appetising,Nigel´s look more like burnt Rosti.Oh dear I will be sure to get my come uppance for criticising A Nigel recipe.

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Awww, I liked the rosti look. But either way, they tasted pretty good. Definitely be making more of them - either as a side dish or in the summer as part of a mezze menu.

And you're right, I won't have a word said against the sainted Nigel (what is it about Word of Mouth readers that have them frothing at the mouth about him?)

AND ... Nigel replied several times to my tweets on this recipe - what a nice man! Though I am not sure he read the post since I actually cocked them up. But it is a nice thought anyway!

Liz Macau said...

Well, I think your's look pretty good too. I have Kitchen Diaries I & II but yet to cook from them

I won't be using coriander though, I truly cannot stand the stuff, but I do like the seeds. My husband loves it and uses tons of it -- the very smell makes me heave!

I haven't been on your blog very long but I am enjoying it immensely.

Thanks and wishing you a very Happy, Peaceful and Prosperous Year of the Snake.

Cheers from Macau!

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Liz, thank you so much - what a lovely comment to wake up to!

I totally understand your hatred of coriander - it actually used to make me feel queasy. There is also a therory about this that there is some kind of inherited memory because coriander smells of bedbugs! I couldn't possibly say!

But if coriander isn't your thing I am sure this would work really well with perhaps a mixture of parsley and mint.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm a huge Nigel Slater fan too, so I shall have to join in the challenge think. Although mine isn't a cookery blog, I do write about his recipes quite often, though not for a while ( Having got Tender II for Christmas, he's been a useful fellow to have around this year. But please don't go on suggesting briliant cooking blogs! It's bad enough that I've just found yours, but I really can't spend all day reading

Caroline Taylor said...

I have made these before! They were lovely. I've always wondered what the fuss is about with coriander, maybe I am one of those to which it doesn't taste very nice!

Karen S Booth said...

Fabulous post, and as always Rachel, your humour and playful fun light up your posts! I also LOVE that recipe and foraging can mean searching through a cupboard of necessary! Karen

Unknown said...

these are simply gorgeous... I have eaten them and they really are fab... love your picture too x

Susan said...

Not a fan of coriander myself but an sorely tempted by these beauties, thanks for entering :-)

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Margaret - join in! It is so lovely to see how different people around the world interpret the recipes.

There are so many fabulous blogs out there and just not enough time. I get lost in them. I really want to start doing a detective fiction blog but I just don't know how I could do it justice as I spend most of my free time in the kitchen or on the internet!

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Caro - now you know! Seriously, it makes one of my friends who is sensitive to it break out in a cold sweat! But she, like me, has battled over the years and doesn't hate it quite so much. Although to be fair, I think both of us probably both overdosed on Thai green curries and that's what did it for us!

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Karen - thank you so much. It is really lovely to know that I can bring a smile to people's faces.

I have to confess I am a constant forager in other people's kitchens too . . . recently acquired a huge bag of paprika, some mixed herbs (which I am unlikely to use!) and a strange vegetable shaping implement - haven't worked out how to use it yet!

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Dom - what you can't see in the picture, is that the baking tray was actually photographed a few weeks ago when it was snowing. I wanted to cool the cakes down quickly and there was about a foot of snow on the picnic table in the garden - plonked the tray down and created an effect like the styrofoam packaging you get when you buy electrical goods! God it was cold though!

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Susan - it's a pleasure! But do try them, just substitute a different herb. (Nigel did reply on twitter that they are one of his favourites . . . :) )

Janice said...

They look great to me and Nigel obviously liked them! Thanks for joining us for Dish of the Month

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

He did, didn't he (still grinning that he replied!) But these will be making an appearance this Sunday again - because even the carrot haters liked them!

Ruthdigs said...

These look and sound scrummy. I'm firmly in the 'loving coriander' camp but I'm soooo with you on the 'evil bananas' front!!
As luck would have it I have both carrots and coriander in the fridge to use up right this minute, I feel these fritters coming on, though I have no snow to cool them in. ;-)

Jane Willis said...

These look absolutely gorgeous! I tihnk I'm going to have to find the recipe and give them a whirl. I'll have to leave out the coriander though as my husband is violently allergic to it - I wonder if that is anything to do with the aldehydes? I might try using mint instead.