Every year I wait for the lovage to spring up in my garden and I use as much of it as possible before it gets rather old in mid to late summer. It is strongly flavoured and goes especially well with spices, as do the sweet, cooked carrots in this recipe. This is a good salad to serve with other vegetables or with fish.
Top and tail the carrots and slice them thinly. Cut the pepper in half, discard the seeds and stem and chop the flesh up into the smallest possible pieces. Peel the garlic and ginger and chop together finely. Put all these ingredients into a saucepan and strain in the lemon and orange juice. Then stir in the vinegar and spices and cover the pan. Put over a fairly low heat and let the liquid barely simmer for 8-10 minutes, until the carrots are just soft but still have a slight resistance. Then remove from the heat, cover the pan and leave until cold.
Meanwhile, chop the mint leaves finely. Slice the lovage leaves across in thin strips, reserving 2 or 3 whole ones for garnish. When the carrots are cold, stir in the chopped mint and strips of lovage, followed by the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and black pepper and turn into a serving dish shortly before you eat. Garnish with the reserved lovage leaves.
© 1997 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.