Friday, 6 April 2012

WHB Purple carrot soda bread, wildlife and sandcastles

My sister has come to visit from Ireland with her husband and son for a couple of weeks.  Her little boy Dash is the closest cousin in age to Sylvia.  It has been great to see them together.  They have had fun playing in the sandpit in our backyard, playing with a parasol at a wildlife park and making sandcastles at the beach.   They don't always get along.  A bit like me and cooking this week!

The purple carrot and chia soda bread, based on a Carrot and sunflower seed recipe from Haalo seemed like a miss at first, but ended up the welcome backbone of many meals this week.  I have also had great success with some mock tuna salad, soba noodle salad, hot cross buns (more on them soon) and a smoky stirfry of zucchini, cabbage and capsicum.  E said the latter was quite salty but when he tasted tonight's gnocchi with kale and pesto, he found out how horribly salty dinner could be.  The shop bought gnocchi was unbearably salty and my idea of adding chopped green tea pumpkin seeds made it taste like it had cardboard shrapnel in it.  Enough about bad food, let me tell you about some of the adventures and the lovely soda bread!

On Wednesday Sylvia and I went to the Jirrahlinga Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary with the family.  We have been before and seen koalas up close but this time the little fur balls were asleep and hard to spot in the trees.  We did enjoy seeing kangaroos, wombats, dingos, a kookaburra, emu, goannas, and wallabies.

I am not usually an echidna fan but I really loved this cute little fellow and the way he was looking up at the onlookers when I took his photo.  Jirrahlinga is right by Barwon Heads so we went to the beach there after seeing all the animals.  It was nice to go there because E and I have been working our way through the Sea Change boxset.  The tv show was set in the town.  It is hard to look at the iconic bridge (see top photos) without thinking of the show.

For lunch we had fish and chips overlooking the below playground.  For Sylvia and me that meant chips and potato cakes, which were very good (once she got over falling off the picnic seat).  Then Sylvia's cousins got their bathers on and went for a swim in the mouth of the Barwon River.  Sylvia refused to go in.  She loved the huge sandcastle they built with a moat that was continually refreshed with buckets of water from the river.  Finally she decided to go in the water in her t-shirt and skirt.  Fortunately I had some clean clothes for her to change into afterwards. 

Sylvia was so tired out by all the fun with her cousins that she fell asleep in the car and tumbled straight into bed when she got home.  I was quite tired too and was glad to have some easy dinner to dish up.  Soda bread, mock tuna salad and some spinach and feta pie that my mum had made for me (see bottom picture). 

I had made the soda bread the previous evening with some purple carrots that I found at the Queen Vic Markets.  When I told my nieces that we had purple carrots they thought that I was making it up.  I wouldn't have believe it when I was a kid either.  Those of us who know our food history know that carrots were eaten in many colours up until a few centuries ago.

The purple carrots reminded me of beetroot with their readiness to stain anything in their path.  In fact, in the middle of grating the carrots for the soda bread, my neighbour visited with her 3 year old.  I loved the delight that both Sylvia and Gordon took in my purple stained hands.  The colour was even more interesting than beetroot because once it dried my skin took on blue and purple hues like a bruise.

And if you don't get excited by coloured hands, then perhaps check out the purple marbling of the dough when the bread was ready to go in the oven.  The colour when it came out was even more startling.  A dark deep colour that seemed to shift between purple and blue.  The bread was soft and pleasing.  My only criticism is one that I have addressed in the recipe below.  I only put a pinch of salt and then bread needed more seasoning.  It was delicious when topped with promite, cheese or cream cheese and jam.

As I originally was inspired to make this bread by Haalo's post, it only seems right to share it with her.  Hence, I am sending this risotto to Haalo of Cook Almost Anything.  She is this week's host for Weekend Herb Blogging #328, and the coordinator of this event which was founded by Kalyn.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Strawberry muffins, new oven and an allergy
This time two years ago: WHB Easter nut roast and reflections
This time three years ago: Carrot Miso Soup
This time four years ago: Tartan Day Stew

Purple Carrot and Chia Soda Bread
adapted from BBC Olive Magazine via Cook Almost Anything

350 g plain white flour
150 g wholemeal plain flour
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 to 1 tsp French lavender salt (or regular salt)
150g purple carrots (or use orange carrots)
300 grams plain yoghurt
½ cup milk, approx (I used soy milk)

Preheat oven to 180°C.  Grease an oven tray (Haalo suggests warming an ungreased tray in the oven and playing baking paper on it when bread is ready.)

Mix flours, bicarb soda, salt and grated carrots in a large mixing bowl.  Make a well in the centre and gently stir in the yoghurt and most of the milk.  The dough should come together into a soft and slightly sticky ball.  Add more milk if needed.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead for about a minute or two until it is a smooth ball.

Place the dough on the prepared tray.  Flatten slightly and cut a cross in the top with a sharp knife.  Bake for about 30-50 minutes.  (I thought mine was ready after 35 minutes because it had a good crust on it but when I opened it the middle was still a bit doughy and because it was still hot I could put it straight back in the oven to cook further.  Perhaps I could have stuck a skewer in the middle to check if it was cooked through.)

Serve warm.  If you have any left, cool on a wire rack and it will be delicious kept in an airtight container and eaten at room temperature or toasted over the next two to three days.

On the stereo:
The Sound of Music soundtrack

21 comments:

  1. They really do stain your hands, don't they? Mine took nearly a day to get back to a completely normal colour after I made that not-very-purple carrot cake the other week.

    Your bread almost looks like blue cheese - obviously more alkaline than acidic, according to the purple carrot litmus test...

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    1. Thanks Catherine - I thought they stained my hands more than beetroot! And I was tempted by cupcakes but a bit wary after reading about yours - must read more about the alkaline-acid scale for purple carrots!

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  2. Sounds like a fun family visit! One of my coworkers is going to Australia this week and I'm SO jealous of all the animals she's going to get to see!

    I really hope I can find purple carrots to make this bread. I know orange will work just fine...but it just won't be the same.

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    1. Thanks Joanne - oh you should really sneak into your co-worker's suitcase and come and cook with me (or even for me) and I will take you to see some cute animals :-)

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  3. Mmm fish, chips and potato cakes. Lovely childhood memories for us! And I haven't grated purple carrots but will consider myself warned for the staining.

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    1. Thanks Lorraine - fish and chips is such a nostalgia trip, isn't it! Otherwise I am not sure I would embrace them so readily

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  4. Oh how wonderful! I've been meaning to make soda bread for - well, years, and your creative spin is just plain wonderful :)

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    1. Thanks Hannah - I find that grated vegetables in soda bread makes it wonderfully moist (my favourite is sweet potato soda bread that I revisit every now and again)

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  5. It sounds like you had a lively day out, and the first photo shows the weather was glorious that day. I have never seen purple carrots, but if I buy them, I will have to remember to use gloves. Love the soda bread. Happy Easter!

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    1. Thanks Cakelaw - a very lively day indeed! Definitely use gloves with purple carrots if you don't want stained hands - though I find they usually are washed out by the next day.

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  6. I love the look of this bread. I think it's going to be one that burrows into my mind until I make it - what wonderful colours and flavours. It sounds like you had a great day out too - cute echidna indeed!

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    1. Thanks Kari - just hope you remember it when you find some purple carrots :-)

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  7. The soda bread looks yummy to me. And it's really kept the purple colour - I often find that purple veg loses the purple when you cook it.

    I love the little spiky creature, he's SO adorable.

    And chips & potato cakes must be a lot of potato for one meal, isn't it? Tasty but probably best not to have regularly... here I always look out for mushy pea fritters when my husband has fish & chips :)

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    1. Thanks Rachel - there are times I manage to find an alternative at fish and chip shops but sometimes it is easier just to go with the flow and eat more salad and protein over the rest of the day. Mushy pea fritters sound delicious but I have never seen them for sale here - corn jacks is one of my favourite alternatives.

      The purple in the bread changed with cooking but was still enough to delight!

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  8. The soda bread really does look good and I am intrigued by the addition of the chia seeds. I've seen them at a health shop recently, but did not buy them cos of lack of money, but also not sure what I would do with them. Now this bread may be on the list to make.

    I've still to sow carrots, and am looking out for rainbow carrot seeds so that i can grow my own in the recycled tub bath in my new garden.

    So good to read that you were able to spend time with your sis and her family and that Sylvia got to play with her cousin :) Enjoyed looking at the different beasties in your part of the world too.

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    1. Thanks Shaheen - I often try and put chia seeds into bread and other baked goods - I quite like the little bit of texture it adds without being too obvious - I was going to add sunflower seeds like Haalo but I was out of them and love chia seeds. I'll post a cake soon that I put chia seeds in as well. Good luck with growing some colourful carrots!

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  9. Wow, that purple carrot soda bread looks amazing! I don't think I've seen purple carrots over here, or maybe I did once last summer. I will keep my eye out for them. Look forward to hearing more about your hot cross buns too!

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  10. As lovely as the purple carrot soda bread is, i am afraid that it is your picture of the echidna that has totally stolen the show for me! Soooooooooooo cute!

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  11. Whee, I love kangaroos! :D

    The purple carrots are so fancy, and I see they're messy like beetroot! :D I haven't gotten my hands on purple carrots so far (boo), but not long ago I discovered yellow carrots at the organic supermarket and bought some.

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  12. Love the purple soda bread, what a fun idea. as for the echidna, he is so cute. I fell in love with them when we first came across one wondering out on the hills near Seymour. And our absolute amazement when we saw our very first kangaroo in the same place is still as sharp as ever when I remember it.

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  13. Wow, those purple carrots are something else! Love the little echidna, too--looks like a mini porcupine to me. Just so amazing that there's an entire world of animals over there that we don't have here--much better than butterscotch chips, don't you think? ;-)

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