It’s been a while since I posted a market log! I already mentioned the purple carrots and beetroot leaves in this pasta post; here’s the rest of what I got:
Three bunches of spring onions (€1), a bag of purple carrots (€1), a bag of red chillies (€1), three containers of “bull’s blood” beetroot leaves (€1), ten yellow peppers, three heads of romanesco (€1), and two bunches of parsley and one bunch of coriander (€1). I also got two pineapples (€1), but they were still in my bag when I took the photo.
I’d never seen the purple leaves before and the packaging only said “bull’s blood”. Google told me that these are a type of beetroot leaves, and that they’re similar to spinach, so we stir-fried them and had them on pizza with peppers, spring onion, seitan pieces, and a coriander and parsley pesto. Not bad.
Because the leaves are so small, they also taste very good raw. They were almost the same colour as the purple carrots, which I thought made for gorgeous salads:
The salad above had beetroot leaves, purple carrots, and red onions with a simple vinaigrette. On the side, I had bread with hummus and toppings: a romanesco tapenade based on this recipe, only with miso instead of anchovies (a tip I’d read on Bryanna Clark Grogan’s blog); a harissa made with the red chillies in the front.
I don’t have a very high tolerance for spicy food so I think you can tell by the quantity that this harissa wasn’t very potent (next time I’ll leave more seeds inside the chillies!) but it was very good. I looked at recipes from Smitten Kitchen and The Kitchn and delicious. and made my own version using red chillies, olive oil, garlic, toasted coriander and caraway seeds, ground cumin, and salt.
I wanted to make a kind of quick pickle out of the carrots so that I could keep them for a longer time, so I briefly boiled them in vinegar with salt and sugar and then let them sit for a while. Somehow, this process turned the carrots bright red! Not what I’d expected, but they certainly made my afternoon snack of rice crackers and hummus (with parsley pesto underneath the carrots) a lot more interesting to look at.
After pickling the carrots, I saw Rachel Khoo do something similar with red chillies, so I decided to do the same. My version used regular vinegar instead of rice vinegar, but the flavour was still great — less spicy than raw chillies, but full of flavour and great to have in the fridge. I used them in cornbread, on sandwiches, and as a topping for the enchiladas pictured above.
I’m really pleased with the things I discovered this time. I often only use a few chillies at a time and let the rest dry out, but maybe next time I’ll buy extra to make more harissa and pickles. I’m also curious about the way the rainbow carrots seem to change colour. My Mum used them in a soup which didn’t look very appealing on its own (apparently puréeing a rainbow turns it grey), but then she sprinkled it with lime juice and the surface became flecked with a lovely bright orange. I’ll buy more of the carrots if I see them again — I wonder if they have any other surprising properties. :)