Although we have had our allotment for several years now, I have never, until this year, managed to grow any carrots.
For the first 2 or 3 years I tried, but the tiny little seeds never seemed to germinate or if they did, the fragile seedlings seemed to disappear overnight, spirited away by some malevolent carrot fairy.
Though in truth, it was probably more to do with erratic watering on my part than the work of any mischievous imp; too little water so that the seeds were parched or too much so that they were washed away.
But this year, I was determined to try again. I prepared the ground carefully and sowed two rows of seeds.
This time, I watered regularly and carefully .... and was rewarded with our first ever home-grown carrots!
Never mind that this part of the fens is famous for carrot growing and the fields are awash with them, my home-grown carrots, despite the odd hole or two, are like gold!
Feeling that they were far too precious to be added to a soup or their identity lost in a vegetable stew, I decided to give them a starring role and braised them on their own with a little stock and butter.
Disaster nearly struck, when I almost boiled them dry whilst putting the washing away, but then I decided that a little brown 'caramelisation' only added to the flavour and appearance!
With some cooked pearled spelt, finished with olive oil, lemon juice, lots of herbs and some crumbled feta cheese, they were a feast to savour!