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I often say to my husband and kids that I would love to be a vegetarian, and I really mean it when I say that. I’m the kinda person who gets so excited about finding a good vegetable peeler (I cannot imagine my life without a one) or going to the markets early in the morning shopping for vegetables in season while picturing how they would look on my kitchen bench or dining table, where you would always and I mean aaalways find a colorful rustic vegetables display. I sometimes get this from guests when they see my attractive displays “is this real food ?!” i roll my eyes and say “yes, it sure is” thinking in my brain” why would I ever want to put some fake veggies on my kitchen bench?!” who does that?! anyway ..

last week we pretended we were a vegetarian family, I guess it was a trial/cleansing period , 7 days no meat at all! we survived on raw and cooked veggies, wholesome grains, beans, seeds and nuts. I have to say I was extremely happy, and the kids didn’t mind it either. I needed to be creative though, so I had to spend some more time in the kitchen chopping, roasting, marinating and exploring flavours, which I love. I figured out that the possibilities are endless really, we just have to step out of our comfort zone and try new things, won’t hurt!

As a child seeing my Coptic friends going vegetarian for a couple of months each year (fasting), a vegetarian diet seemed to me like eating Falafel and bread twenty four/seven and eventually becoming anaemic!                                  Well, I figured out recently that that is not true, apparently vegetarian diet is much more interesting (don’t get me wrong, I loooove my falafel), and even though falafel was on the menu last week, we only ate it once as a main meal, and the kids made rolls out of the left overs for school lunches the next day, but the rest was dishes made out of other beauties such as beetroot, sweet potatoes, cabbage, carrots, radish and pumpkin, supported by different grains and beans such as buckwheat, barley, spelt pasta, brown rice, chickpeas and lentils and flavoured with ancient middle eastern spices and fresh herbs, how does that sound ?? One of my favourite combinations that I have discovered last week was ‘hummus and beetroot’ and this gorgeous ‘kale and carrots dish with tahini dip’ that I’m sharing with you today ..  Oh, delicious!

Ah! and don’t worry too much about me going vegetarian, because on the 8th day of this plant based diet, I had to photograph a traditional Egyptian dish for a magazine, so I decided to make a ” braised lamb shoulder with okra”, the smell of the lamb slow cooking in the oven was incredible, it was so hard to resist drooling while taking the pictures, and then straight after I was done with the photo shoot, we compleeetely demolished this lamb shoulder and mopped up the sauces with bread .. oh well, I guess we are not committed to be a vegetarian family yet!

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Spicy caramelised heirloom carrots with purple kale and tahini dip
Serves 4
caramelised carrots served on a bed of marinated purple kale and served with tahini dip and sesame seeds.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 bunches of heirloom assorted colors carrots
  2. 1 bunch of curly purple kale
  3. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  4. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  5. 1/2 teaspoon ground chilli
  6. 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  7. 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  8. 3 tablespoons organic pure maple syrup
  9. half a lemon for serving
kale dressing
  1. 1 table spoon apple cider vinegar
  2. 1 table of fresh lemon juice
  3. 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  4. a pinch of fine sea salt
tahini dip
  1. 3 tablespoons unhulled organic tahini
  2. 3 tablespoons filtered water, plus extra if needed
  3. half a garlic clove, grated
  4. 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  5. 1 tablespoon of white vinegar
  6. a pinch of fine sea salt, to taste
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Instructions
  1. trim green heads from carrots and save some green leaves for garnish
  2. wash vegetables in a big bowl of water very well to get rid of dirt stuck in kale leaves folds.
  3. pat dry kale and carrots.
  4. trim centre stems from kale leaves and tear into small bite size pieces.(discard stems)
  5. combine the oil, apple cider vinegar and salt in a bowl then add prepared kale leaves.
  6. massage kale with dressing gently using your hands and leave aside
  7. prepare tahini dip by adding all its ingredients in a small bowl and stirring until it's thick, creamy and smooth, add extra water if tahini is too thick.(shouldn't be too runny)
  8. if you accidently add too much water, you can thicken it back with some tahini from the jar and adjust the seasoning.
  9. add carrots to a wide frying pan on medium heat, add half a cup of water, bring to boil then simmer covered for 3 mins on medium heat, until carrots are slightly tender.
  10. uncover and cook for an extra minute or two until all water is evaporated.
  11. add 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil then add the spices, cumin, cinnamon and chilli.
  12. gently mix carrots with olive oil and spices on low to medium heat for 2-3 mins until all coated and fragrant.
  13. add maple syrup and toss gently to coat carrots for 2 mins on medium heat until syrup thickens and caramelize.
  14. turn the heat off, and leave to cool slightly.
  15. cover your serving plate with prepared marinated purple kale.
  16. top with warm caramelised spicy carrots, drizzle some tahini dip on top and sprinkle with black and white sesame seeds.
  17. add a dash of lemon juice and garnish with some reserved carrots green leaves
Notes
  1. you can prepare tahini dip a day or two before, cover and refrigerate until needed.
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