Improvised Dinner for Two

A friend spontaneously came over tonight, and I decided to make us some ‘grand’ dinner from scratch with stuff I already had in the house. What we ended up with:

Aparagus with potato gratin
German bed-time relaxation tea (luckily, my guest brought some wine and supermalt!)
Carrot halva

I had some British asparagus in the fridge, so I did not want to withold this treasure from my guest. The problem was I only had five small-ish potatoes to go with it – not enough for two people! What did I do? I sliced them thinly (with peel), spread them out put a mixture of cheeses (courtesy of goats, sheep & cows), that another friend had conveniently left, as well as oil, salt, pepper, garlic! I think that was it anyway. Turned out just perfect for the green goodness of the asparagus! Unfortunately no picture of the assembled dish… too hungry!
Would also recommend adding a bit of yoghurt to the cheese mix, if you’ve got any. Might also be nice!

And this was our dessert:

I had an enormous bag of carrots I was struggling to finish on my own, so I thought I should make a carrot salad with apples and lemon juice. But I was suddenly overcome with guilt about scoffing the cherry compote (with yoghurt) earlier today – rather than offering it to my guest – that I decided a replacement dessert had to be found. And the bag of carrots told me what it wanted to be: carrot halva! After all, I had some almonds and raisins in the cupboard (courtesy on mum). I had eaten this ‘pudding’ only once when a friend invited me to a posh Indian restaurant where all of the desserts were so amazing that we had to order several of them (it was a posh restaurant, so the portion sizes were only small – that’s my excuse anyway…). One of the desserts was carrot halva (I also have very fond memories of a certain saffron yoghurt thingy). So, today, I boldly decided to recreate this dish from memory – just to see if I can! Ended up with the following recipe:

Carrot Halva

– Heat pan, toast chopped almonds (make sure you don’t get distracted and burn them like I did!)
– Put almonds aside. Heat butter in pan. Add grated carrots. Stir-fry carrots for a few minutes until pale.
– Heat milk with ground cardamom seeds (from inside the pods). When hot pour over carrots (about the same amount of volume as that of the carrots). Stir until liquid has evaporated (takes a while).
– Add oil, toasted almonds, chopped raisins and sugar (about an eighth of the volume of the stuff that’s in the pan, but you can put in more). Stir some more.
– Serve in small portions (I hope you’ve got more matching pots than me), because it fills you up extremely quickly!

It almost tasted like the real thing. I would recommend making it with ghee (I have to admit I have a soft spot for desserts that sit in a pool of ghee!) and maybe also additional nuts if you have the option!

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