C is for Coriander, Coconut and Carrots


Coriander comes in two guises, fresh leaves and dried seeds. They both come from the same plant but have very different flavours. It grows extensively in Western Asia and Southern Europe.

The leaves are really fragrant and are most commonly added to dishes at the end of cooking.Corinader Leaves Heating the leaves diminishes their flavour. You can buy chopped frozen coriander, however freezing the leaves means they lose their lovely aroma, and consequently it loses it’s taste as well. Fresh coriander is most commonly used in Asian cooking, added at the end of cooking. Add a handful of chopped leaves to a salad and you will transform it instantly.

Coriander SeedsWhen dried, the fruit of the coriander plant become hard seeds. They have a warm, nutty flavour. You can buy coriander as whole seeds or already ground. When using whole coriander seeds, grind them in a pestle and mortar to release the flavour. To get even more flavour from the seeds, before grinding them, put them in a frying pan with no oil, and gently roast them.

In Thailand they also use the coriander root in their cooking. The root has a more intense flavour than the leaves. If you buy a coriander plant, you can pull the plant out of the soil and use the root.



Malaysia, Polynesia and Southern Asia are the main producers of coconut. The coconuts we see in the shops with a brown fibrous outer, are very different to how they look on the palm. Before coconuts are picked their outer layer is smooth and green in colour, however under this layer is the brown fibrous layer. Despite its name, the coconut is not strictly speaking a nut, it is actually a  drupe. Dictionary.com describes a drupe as, ‘any fruit, such as a peach, cherry, plum consisting of an outer skin, a usually pulpy and succulent middle layer, and a hard and woody inner shell usually enclosing a single seed’.Coconut Palm

We can buy coconut in a whole variety of forms, such as coconut milk, creamed coconut, coconut water, dried coconut and desiccated coconut just to name a few. It is very versatile and can be used in savoury and sweet cooking. Coconut milk makes an almost instant sauce for chicken, fish or vegetables. This recipe for Coconut Chicken is quick, easy and tasty.



Carrots are the UK’s major root vegetable and every year farmers produce 700,000 tonnes each year. This quantity is worth about £290 million to our economy. This means we all eat about 100 carrots every year, and 80 grams will give you one of your ‘5 a day’. Carrots are an excellent source of fibre, this help to keep our digestive system healthy and also helps to maintain an even blood sugar level.Carrots

The most popular way to cook carrots is to boil them. However there are other ways that you can try:

  • Mash the carrots after you have boiled them, add a knob of butter and mix through
  • Mix the mashed carrot with mashed swede
  • Make a pie topping with mashed carrots mixed with mashed potato
  • Roast them in the oven
  • Make a carrot cake
  • Grate and add to salads

While I do not cook separate meals for my boys and I, I am more than happy to prepare their veg in a way that they like it.  My youngest likes his veg raw, the older one likes his cooked. No extra effort on my part, but as a result the whole family is happy.


Fun Facts

  • in Belgium the brewers flavour some of their beers with coriander
  • unfortunately, falling coconuts kill 150 people each year. This is ten times the amount of people killed by sharks
  • during the Pacific War of 1941-1945 Doctors saved lives by giving coconut water to wounded soldiers as an alternative to plasma.
  • May 8th is National Coconut Cream Pie Day
  • carrots come in a rainbow of colours, along with orange they are white, purple, yellow and red
  • if you laid all the carrots grown in the UK in one year end to end, they would reach 2.3 million kilometres – unbelievably that is two and a half trips to the moon! (www.britishcarrots.com)