A very long time ago, before the fall of the Roman Empire, before the evolution of warm-blooded life, before Mars lost its water, I did not live in London, but a place that can most charitably be described as a damp rural backwater littered with increasingly impoverished farmers and a lot of hippies who really ought to have known better (about what? About everything). This was less a matter of my own choosing than of financial and legal necessity, as I wasn’t yet 18 and had saved up slightly less money than it takes to get one student rail fare the hell out of dodge.
In my glorious West Country arsenic dump, there was then as there is now a strong movement towards Organic food. Now, my views on most things have changed a lot since I left home: for one thing, I no longer think vaccines are the devil’s work and nor do I subscribe to any explanation that involves handwaving about “energy”, which is problematic for NPower when I start being cranky about bills. I’ve drifted away from the stridency of support for organic farming and now occupy a position of moderate ambivalence about it: I think the option to buy that way should exist in a choice-driven economy and I think the opportunity to buy more cheaply should be available while we live in a capitalist hellscape where a large portion of the population are more concerned about not letting their kids die of malnutrition than they are about whether or not pesticides on their apples will accumulate to cause Little Phillippa to break out in a bad case of dysfunction.
Back in the glorious day, though, I worked for an organic seed/growers’ equipment mail order company, in a warehouse in a plantation in what definitely felt like the frozen, musty middle of nowhere. They had a compost toilet, which I think is about as much as you need to know about that job.
Via this job, and via my mother’s impressive network of people who were determined to save mankind, the planet, and all the structures and organisms there in, yea, largely by Centring Themselves, Practising Forgiveness, and growing stuff, I was quickly acquainted with the existence of Riverford Organic Farms. Somewhat earlier than the Trendmongers of Islington, owing to them being a supplier of ours and Riverford being significantly closer to Wet Nowhere than to Canonbury.
Thus when I finally snapped this week and insisted that, in an attempt to reduce the amount of time I spend walking to and from Morrisons on a work week (this may sound petty: it is less than a mile round trip, but night shift and 2-3 mile walk commutes don’t agree with grocery-shopping) trying to make sure there are enough fresh vegetables in the house to stave off my persistent and possibly slightly delusional belief that I am one missed lime away from apocalyptic and fatal scurvy, I already knew where to look for “people who will bring vegetables to my house”.
The first, one-off, experimental box arrived today, and with uncanny insight they’ve predicted at least two of my current eating fads: bloody big mushrooms (I started on this because it was 39p for 3-4 of these in Morrisons and they’re practically a meal in themselves), and fried carrot hash.
It also came full of fantastic-looking fluffy heads of lettuce, which is how the following recipe came about.
Vegan, Gluten-Free, Summer Snack “Wrap”.
YOU WILL NEED
- Some carrots
- Possibly some other root veg, I’ve tried parsnips so far
- Several leaves of a big, floppy lettuce like Batavia
- Some oil
- Whatever spices/salts/peppers you’re into
- A frying pan or wok or chef’s pan or something
- A grater/microplane
- A heat-proof spatula
- A means of heating your pan.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO IS
- Get that pan hot.
- But with oil in it. Also put in the spices at this point if you’re using them, so that the oil tastes of stuff.
- When the oil is hot, grate your root veg very finely into the hot oil, or if you enjoy making washing-up for yourself, take pre-grated veg out of a bowl and dump it in the hot oil. Do not, as I did, grate part of your knuckle, as blood is not vegetarian.
- Let the gratings go a bit crispy, maybe a little burnt (but not a lot), then move them around a bit.
- Keep doing this until you have a darker, more crispy mass than you started out with.
- Divide this up into golf-ball-sized amounts.
- Wrap in your big, floppy lettuce leaves.
- Eat hot.
- Feel powerful and virtuous and full of carrot.
Other upsides to this recipe: it’s easy to make lots of servings if you happen to suddenly have a lot of vegans who want feeding; anyone who doesn’t like carrot is an actual monster and may be disregarded; it’s adaptable; it is very quick which is good if you suddenly have lots of vegans; it’s immediately portable because the big floppy lettuce leaf acts like a tortilla/wrap; the hot/cold combo is really satisfying; uses virtually no equipment so washing up will not result in agony and woe.
Also it’s a nice colour combination.