Friday was a holiday here in Thailand - specifically the Asalha Bucha Day, commemorating the day that the Buddha gave his first sermon expounding the doctrine that came to him following his enlightenment. We're not Buddhists, but we'll take any excuse for a three-day weekend! We decided to make a road trip to Kanchanaburi province, about a thee hour's drive west of Bangkok and close to the Myanmar border. It was actually our first such trip since purchasing our first car just before Rohan's arrival and Luis subsequently getting his driver's license (he never needed one in all those years living in Paris). We opted to go "glamping" (unbeknownst to me, this is an actual word...meaning "luxury" camping). We stayed at the lovely Hintok River Camp at the Hellfire Pass historical site (named for a railway cutting on the former "Death Railway" in Thailand which was built in part by Allied prisoners of war and forced laborers from Malaysia during WWII). Beyond learning about the history (including at the famous Bridge on the River Kwai in nearby Kanchanaburi town, which we visited), we enjoyed a wonderful weekend of clean air, gorgeous green hills and valleys, swimming in the camp's natural spring pool, walking around the famous Erawan Waterfall and a campfire BBQ dinner.
It was a great weekend, but being on the road meant that we fed Rohan only packaged baby food (as well as some fruit and eggs from the hotel's breakfast buffet). You can't beat the baby food pouches and jars for convenience (and quite frankly some of it does taste good to me...*guilty pleasure*), but we generally make all of his food from scratch at home. So today I was eager to get back to that and decided to whip up a carrot puree with spices commonly found in Moroccan cuisine (cumin, cinnamon and paprika) for our little prince. If you're a lover of Moroccan food like us, you may have had a Moroccan-style carrot salad (known in French as carottes au cumin). This is basically just that made into a puree and omitting the sugar and salt to make a baby version. Rohan gobbled it right up, and I realized that this can also be served as a "tapenade" or dip for adults to serve alongside toasted wedges of pita, crackers or whatever tickles your fancy. Try it as a sandwich spread in a veggie sandwich along with some hummus. Or on canapes, topped with some grilled halloumi cheese, olives or roasted bell peppers. Use your imagination!
I'm eager to make more things like this to expose our little guy to all the different cuisines that we love, taking him on culinary journeys to places that he will surely be visiting someday. Any and all suggestions in this regard are most welcome! And by the way, if you like carrots in Moroccan cuisine, be sure to try my Moroccan carrot soup as well.
MOROCCAN CARROT "TAPENADE"
Makes about 1 cup
Scant quantity of water (for steaming)
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped into coins
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced (optional - omit for younger babies)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of fresh lemon juice (optional)
Dash of fresh chopped coriander or parsley (optional)
Scant quantity of water (for pureeing)
For adult version - sugar (or honey), salt, more lemon juice - all to taste
1. Bring water to boil in a large saucepan. Place carrots and garlic in a steamer tray and steam, covered, until the carrots are tender (about 10-15 minutes). Alternately, you can boil.
2. Once the carrots are tender, remove from heat and let cool.
3. Using a food processor or baby bullet, mix together the carrots and garlic, olive oil, spices, lemon juice (if using), coriander/parsley (if using) and whatever quantity of water you need to get your desired consistency (more water for younger babies, less for older ones and adults).
4. If you're making this for adults, season with sugar/honey, salt and more lemon juice, as desired.