I am always pretty excited by the New Year. Rather like the feeling of opening a new book, clean and fresh, not knowing what is in store but with the hope of something fulfilling. Of course Spring, which I love, is a while away but I know it is out there and I am already looking forward to the new green leaves, the tiny shoots and buds and a bit more sun.
In the same way that I don’t know what the new year holds, I don’t know whether this January will be the one when I actually do lose a few pounds. Although I only had two slices of Christmas cake and five or six mince pies, some of my clothes are feeling a little snugger than they were. To the point in fact that a pair of jeans literally fell apart whilst I was wearing them last week (sitting on the sofa in case you wonder, not doing anything strenuous). So if ever there was a hint from my body to me, this was it.
What I do know however is that I won’t be following some diet that restricts me to four bananas a day and nothing tomorrow, or only protein one day and vegetables the next. I want to eat food that is healthy and delicious but relatively normal and also, family inclusive. I can’t be doing with one thing for me and another for the children. Surely it is good for us all to indulge in more crunchy, colourful salads, vegetables in a way we all like them (easier said than done chez May) and fruity puddings.
First on my list then is this zingy carrot salad that will awaken any tastebuds feeling jaded after the party season. It is raw, fresh and crunchy, quick and cheap to make and deeply moreish. Having made some today I am now going to roast a chicken for supper so we can then have cold chicken and carrot salad tomorrow for lunch and I am already looking forward to it.
2 large carrots, around 300g, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 tablespoons light olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 red chilli (seeded if you don’t want it too hot)
Small clove of garlic, finely chopped
Good pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon caster sugar
1 chopped spring onion
Large handful of parsley and/or rocket chopped
In a medium bowl mix the oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt, sugar, chilli and garlic together. Add the carrot, spring onion and parsley and/or rocket and give it a good stir. Leave for half an hour before eating stirring several times. Taste in case you need a squeeze more lemon or seasoning. Serves 2-3.