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Produce of the week: Carrot

Ah… the humble carrot, these sweet and crunchy little everyday heroes – what would the world be without them!?
It’s a bit of a standing joke in the test kitchen that if a dish is lacking a bit of vege content it is our knee jerk reaction to add a carrot to it.
“Let’s grate a carrot in this”
Then we try to control ourselves and give the other vegetables a fair chance.
Although the orange variety is the most well know and readily available, these beautiful root veges come in more or less all the colours of the rainbow. The other day we were using some locally grown purple specimens in the test kitchen, a little earthier than the orange friends.
While it’s not entirely true that carrots can make you see in the dark, they are rich in beta carotene, which converts to retinol in the human body – vital for eye health and also general immunity. So tuck in!
Most of the carrots we source are grown in…. you guessed it…. Ohakune! Most of the baby carrots used in EFB dinners come from Southern Fresh just outside Cambridge. Delish!
Sure, carrots are great “on the side” but if you fancy getting a little creative I recommend trying this recipe: carrot taco shells/tostadas. They’re really grate! (see what I did there?)
Carrot Taco Shells 
Ingredients:
2 cups carrots, grated
¼ cup water
¼ cup cheddar cheese, grated
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp flour (wholemeal, gluten free or plain)
Salt and pepper to taste
Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
For the carrot taco shells, peel and grate carrots then place into a pot and cover with water. Place over a medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain them and spread out on clean tea towel. Firmly squeeze out any extra water until they are dry. Removing the excess water is crucial to prevent the taco shells from going soggy. 
Combine carrot with the grated cheese (reserving some for serving), egg, flour and salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into 2-3 evenly sized portions per person. Spread out the portions onto the baking paper in thin layers, pressing down gently. Pop into the oven and cook for around 15 minutes until crisped up.
Test kitchen tip: This method will make flat taco shells, aka tostadas. If you prefer them bowed like a traditional taco shell, simply “bend” the rounds over a small bottle or glass. Gently transfer shells to the oven. As the shells cool after cooking they will harden up.
Serve with taco mince and crunchy veges. 
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Free recipe Friday – Chicken, parmesan and red lentil coins on cauliflower purée

What can I say about this week?
I survived. 
That’s it. There was enjoyment in the week that’s for sure. My mum arrived from Sweden on Monday night, we had a fab fun-filled day in the test kitchen on Tuesday and on Thursday I was re-elected for the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce Board of Executives (such an honour!). 
But other than that it was back to back meetings, recipe writing, editing. Now without Lucy in the office, and with the lovely Debby on holiday, suddenly the workload was a little higher than normal.
But, I survived… 
So, although this post is coming to you a little later than normal, I would lie to share with you my favourite recipe from the week just gone. It featured on the Original and Inspiration Menus and it has crowd pleaser written all over it! 
I suggest you give this a go when you’re having a week like mine. It will lift your spirit and feed your soul.  
Wholesome, filling and delicious.
Chicken, parmesan and red lentil coins on cauliflower purée
Serves 4 
For the chicken coins:
2 spring onions, finely sliced
600 g chicken mince
2 tbsp mustard (wholegrain)
10g parsley, finely chopped
1 cup grated parmesan
1 cup red lentils
Pinch of chilli flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil for frying
For the cauliflower purée:
1 head cauliflower, chopped
3 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
To serve:
1 head cos lettuce, finely shredded
1 red onion, finely sliced
½ tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
Method:
Rinse the lentils under cold water and place into a pot. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 6-8 minutes – just until the lentils start to lose their shape. Drain and fluff with a fork then pour out on a clean tea towel to dry and cool a little.
Meanwhile, shred the lettuce and finely slice the red onion for the side salad. Dress with a drizzle of vinegar and olive oil. Set aside.
While the lentils are cooking, get started on the cauliflower purée. Chop the cauliflower florets and some of the stem into 2 cm pieces. Pop in a saucepan and only just cover with salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Reserve about ¼ cup of the water before draining.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the spring onion, chicken mince, mustard, parsley, parmesan and cooked lentils. Season with salt, pepper and chilli flakes. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add a large tablespoon of the chicken mixture to the pan and flatten to a coin shape. Fry for 6-8 minutes, turning halfway through, until cooked through and browned. If your pan is not large enough to house all the coins comfortably, use two pans or fry in batches.
Put about half of the cooked cauliflower into a food processor. Pour in ¼ cup of the cooking liquid; purée until smooth. Place the rest of the cauliflower on top, add a little more liquid and purée again, adding more liquid as needed to form a firm puree. Alternatively, mash using a potato masher. Stir in the butter, salt, and pepper. Taste for seasoning and serve hot.
To serve, spread some cauliflower puree on each plate. Top with the chicken and lentil coins and serve the salad on the side.
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Friday – possibly the best day of the week? Free-recipe – Thai chicken, mushroom and leek soup

Here at EFB we do love Mondays, there’s something very cool about coming to work knowing that you have a whole week ahead to create and do awesome things. We love Sundays too, because it’s the day of the week most of our deliveries go out and we get to catch up with many of our customers for a chit chat. Tuesdays are a good day too because that’s the day we test cook our menus, and yeah, test eat too!
Fridays though… there’s something about Friday, that beautiful day at the end of the week and start of the weekend. We normally kick off early on a Friday and start the wind down to the weekend, it’s an exciting time isn’t it? It has to be said, we have some troopers who sometimes come in and do some work on a Saturday, and I take my hat off to those dudes and dudettes, they rock our world.
So yeah, it’s Friday. I hope you have some exciting plans for the weekend! I  It’s a wee bit grey out there so I thought a soup recipe would float your boat. This one is an absolute fave of mine. So easy to cook, and even easier to eat! I’ve been battling a sore throat this week so I think it’s exactly what I need for dinner tonight…
This dish was actually born from a rushed lunch in a local café. I didn’t read the menu properly and thought it said Thai chicken, mushroom and leek soup. In reality it was THYME, chicken, mushroom and leek soup. Oh well, I thought, that’s nice too but I think I will go ahead and create a THAI chicken, mushroom and leek soup, because it made me so excited. Some easy swaps – out with the thyme, in with the lemongrass, ginger and lime, out with the dairy cream, in with the coconut cream. And voilà! What’s more, this bowl full of yum will be on the table in 20 minutes or less. As so many customers will tell me, simple is best during the week. Simple and inspiring, I say.
Serves: 4 
Gluten Free 
Dairy Free
Ingredients:
Thai-inspired chicken, leek and mushroom soup
2 tbsp rice bran oil
600g chicken thigh pieces
1 leek, finely sliced
3 tbsp lemongrass, hulled and finely chopped
300g mushrooms, diced
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbspginger, peeled and grated
1 lime, zested and cut into wedges  
400ml coconut milk
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
4 cups vegetable stock
Handful of fresh Thai basil
Method:
Heat the rice bran oil to a medium-high heat in a large soup pot, preferably with a wide base. Once the oil is shimmering, add a layer of chicken to the pan (don’t overcrowd the pan). Allow the meat to sear on one side, around 3 minutes, before gently stirring. Brown for a further 2 minutes, then remove from the pan with a slotted spoon – do this in batches if necessary.
While the chicken is underway start preparing the vegetables; trim, slice and rinse the leek – using most of the green and all of the white; remove the rough outer husk from the lemongrass and chop very finely; cut the mushrooms into 6-8 pieces; peel and grate the ginger and finely chop the red chilli – removing the seeds if you prefer a milder flavour.
Once all of the chicken is cooked and removed from the pan, start adding the leeks to the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes until softened, then add in the mushrooms and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Add the lemongrass, ginger and chilli and cook out for a minute, then add the chicken back in. Sprinkle in the lime zest and pour in the stock and coconut milk, fish sauce and brown sugar.
Simmer the soup for 5-6 minutes on a medium-high heat to let the flavours develop, then turn down to a low heat. Avoid rapid boiling as this would split the coconut milk. Taste and season with some more fish sauce and black pepper as desired. Roughly chop the Thai basil and cut the zested lime into wedges.
Serve the soup in deep plates or bowls. Squeeze over some lime juice and garnish with Thai basil.
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Today is all about Dad!

We all know the way to a man’s heart is via his belly, so this Father’s Day, serve up something special to the dad in your life to show how much you care.  This Latin-inspired recipe is just what this day needs to end it on a high note! Yes, it does have some green stuff on top but I can promise he will love it! 
Enjoy 
Serves: 4 – 5
Preparation time: 25 minutesNote: For best results bring the steak to room temperature before cooking Gluten and Dairy Free
Ingredients
900 g skirt steak 1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 tsp smoked paprika
For the chimichurri:
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 red chillies, deseeded and chopped
2 red onion, chopped
40 g Italian flat leaf parsley
30 g fresh coriander
10 g fresh mint
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
6 tbsp olive oil
For the carrots
6 large carrots, peeled and cut into batons
1 1/2 large red onion, cut into wedges
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
Pinch of black pepper
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
Heat the oven to 220°C. Peel the carrots and cut them into batons. The easiest way of doing this is to halve them widthways and then cut each piece into 6-8 pieces lengthways. Cut the red onion into wedges remembering to leave some for the chimichurri. Toss red onion and carrot with olive oil, chilli flakes and salt and pepper. Place in a large oven pan, spread out evenly and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes while preparing the chimichurri and steak. 
To make the chimichurri, use a blender or food processor, or chop by hand. Place remaining onion, red chilli and garlic into food processor or blender and roughly chop. With the motor still running, add olive oil and vinegar. If needed, stop the blender and scrape the mixture down from the sides from time to time. Wash herbs and shake off most of the water. Remove the thickest stems from the mint, but most of the stalks can go in to the chimichurri. Keeping the blender running, add herbs and blend for a few minutes. Check the seasoning and consistency, add a few teaspoons of water or oil if needed – the chimichurri should be loose enough to be drizzled over the steak, but not watery.
Cook the skirt steak once the carrots are just about ready. Rub steak with rice bran oil and season generously with sea salt and coarsely ground pepper. Sprinkle with smoked paprika. Heat a dry frying pan, griddle or barbeque until smoking hot. Add the steak and cook for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan, cover with tinfoil and rest for 2 minutes before serving.
Slice the steak finely and spread most of the chimichurri over the steak while it’s still hot, this will release the aromas from the garlic and herbs. Serve immediately alongside the spiced carrots and onions with the remaining chimichurri on the side.