Carrot Cake

This is based on a Jamie Oliver recipe. I reduced the size by 60% and it still provides enough for a reasonable (but not greedy) eight portions. I also cut down the butter and sugar by 20%, used wholemeal instead of white flour, and added some raisins:CarrotCakeTile

  • 80g butter (softened)
  • 80g soft brown sugar
  • 70g plain wholemeal flour
  • 2 heaped tsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs (separated)
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 40g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 100g coarsely grated  carrots
  • A small handful of raisins
  • Mascarpone icing (half this quantity with lime juice and zest)

Preheat the oven to (180C or gas mark 4).

Line a small loaf tin (mine was 20×10 cms) with silicone paper. Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy.

Sift together the flour, the baking powder and the mixed spice.

Beat the egg whites until stiff, using the electric whisk.

Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, with a little flour and add the orange zest and juice. Then mix in the remaining flour, ground almonds, walnuts, grated carrot and the raisins, making sure all the ingredients are well combined. Then gently fold the egg whites into the cake mix.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, longer if necessary.

When cooked, remove from the oven and allow to stand for about 10 minutes, and turn out (so the cake is upside-down) onto a cooling rack. When thoroughly cool, ice the ‘top’ of the cake. ENJOY!

 

 

 

Lentil and coconut dhal

This is good to eat on a cold winter’s day! Adapted from a recipe in Waitrose’s ‘Harvest 2015’ booklet. Enough for 4 people:

  • 1 tbsp oilLentil&Coconut_Dhal (2)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 3cm cube of ginger (finely chopped)
  • 1 red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 2 large carrots (diced)
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 250g red split lentils
  • 160ml can of coconut cream
  • 550ml vegetable stock
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 50g chopped almonds
  • 2 large tomatoes (skinned, deseeded and chopped)
  • Torn fresh coriander
  • Lemon juice (to taste)
  • Flat breads (heated in accordance with the instructions on the packet)

Heat the oil in a heavy pan. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger and chilli, and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Stir in the carrots and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the curry powder, lentils, coconut cream and the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer (covered) for about 20 minutes (until the carrots and the lentils are soft). Take off the heat and roughly mash the mixture with a potato masher.

Add the peas and the chopped almonds, and gently cook for a further 5 minutes. Then stir in the tomatoes and add lemon juice to taste.

Sprinkle with coriander and serve with warm flat breads.

 

Smoked haddock with lentils

Smoked_haddock&lentils

The recipe is from Nigel Slater’s Eat. The cream and the smoked haddock make a great combination. Enough for 2:

  • 200ml double cream
  • 250g smoked haddock (skin removed)
  • 6 black pepper corns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 carrot (finely diced)
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 15g butter
  • 120g green lentils
  • 300ml stock (made with vegi-stock powder)
  • A generous amount of chopped parsley
  • Black pepper and lemon juice to season

Heat the cream in a saucepan (one which will accommodate the fish), together with the haddock, the pepper corns and the bay leaves. Bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and leave covered. The fish should continue cooking (if not sufficiently cooked gently heat the pan again).

In another pan, melt the butter and add the carrots and onion, and gently cook for 5 minutes. Then add the lentils and the stock. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes (are until the lentils are just cooked). Stir in the cream (from cooking the fish (having removed the fish, pepper corns and bay leaves)), and continue cooking so that the liquid reduces, until it just covers the lentils.

Stir in the parsley and season. Divide the lentil mixture between two plates and top each with half the haddock.

Serve.

 

Ham and pea soup

Ham-tile

If you’re after some good, hearty comfort food.  One of my favourites is ham and pea soup.

I often think that supermarket bacon joints are extremely overpriced.  But Sainburys’ Basics range comes to the rescue here.  They do 670gm packs of ‘Cooking Bacon’ for £1.10.  You need to be selective about the pack you buy as some of them consist of a number of small pieces of bacon and sometimes even slices.

Soak about 150gms of split peas in water overnight.  These are usually yellow split peas, you can find green ones in health food stores, but both colours seem to taste the same.

Put the bacon in a large saucepan/stockpot with about two litres of water, an onion (quartered), a leek, a stick of celery (all roughly sliced); add some parsley, thyme, pepper corns and bay leaf.  I usually add a sliced carrot, but on this occasion I didn’t have any. Bring to the boil and very gently simmer (until the bacon is really well cooked – so that it falls apart – I cooked mine for about 4 hours (barely simmering)).

When ready, remove the bacon and pull apart into small pieces using two forks.

Strain the stock (throwing away the cooked vegetables).  Drain the peas.  Chop another onion, and gently fry until soft in a clean pan along with a carrot, a leek and a celery stick (all sliced).  Add the peas and the stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the peas are cooked (probably about 1.5 hours).  If it looks too thick just add some more boiling water.  Blend and return to the pan along with some of the pulled bacon.  Serve piping hot:

Ham and pea soup

What to do with rest of the ham?

CelereiacCeleriac remoulade – grated raw celeriac mixed with mayonnaise (with added whole grain mustard, low fat yogurt and lemon juice to taste); scatter with pulled ham – a good starter:

 

 

 

 

Ham and kale colcannon – mashed potato, sliced leeks cooked in butter, kale (shredded and briefly boiled) and pulled bacon:

Colcannon

Smoked haddock chowder again

Chowder1

Yesterday I decided to make smoked haddock chowder as I had some bacon that need to be finished.

I was well into cooking it, when I discovered that I didn’t have a can of sweetcorn. Instead I decided to use a large carrot (cut into small dice – added at the same time as the potatoes) and 100g of frozen peas (added about 2 minutes before adding the cream).

It tasted just as good!

Carrot and coriander soup

Carrot&Coriander_Soup1-vert

Enough for 4:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • 1 clove of garlic (finely chopped/crushed)
  • 1 heaped tsp grated ginger
  • 1 heaped tsp ground coriander
  • 3 large carrots (finely sliced)
  • 2 tsp vegi-stock powder
  • 1 litre water
  • Juice of 1/2 orange (small)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • A few sprigs of fresh coriander (torn)
  • Croutons (see final paragraph sweet potato and red pepper soup)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. Stir in  the garlic, ginger and coriander, and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Stir in the carrots and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add the stock powder and water. Stir, and bring to the boil. Then simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the carrots are soft.

Purée (using a hand blender or a liquidiser). Add the orange juice and black pepper to taste. Serve with croutons and fresh coriander.