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!

 

 

 

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Thai style lentil soup

Thai_LentiL_Soup

I made this soup out of  the normal ‘base’ vegetables and what I had available. Hence no fresh coriander, which I would have added at the end, if I had had some. This quantity will feed 2-3 people:

  • 2 tbs cooking oil
  • 1 medium onion (sliced)
  • 1 medium carrot (sliced)
  • 1 celery stick (sliced)
  • 1 clove of garlic (sliced/roughly chopped)
  • 1 large chilli (green or red: cored, deseeded and chopped)
  • 2 pieces of dried lemongrass (chopped)
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves (crumbled)
  • 2 generous teaspoons of Thai curry paste (green or red)
  • 50g creamed coconut (the hard block sort, crumbled)
  • 200g good quality tinned of chopped tomatoes (ie 1/2 a tin)
  • 800 ml water
  • 1 tsp vegetable stock powder (or stock cube equivalent)
  • 120g red split lentils (washed under the cold tap in a sieve)
  • 1 bundle of fine rice noodles (c. 60g)
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lime

Heat the cooking oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, chilli, lemon grass and the kaffir lime leaves. Mix the ingredients well, turn down the heat and stir frequently over a lowish heat for about five minutes.

Add the curry paste, creamed coconut (crumble in), chopped tomatoes, water, stock powder and the lentils. Stir well, bring to the boil and simmer for about thirty minutes.

Blend the soup – in a liquidiser, food processor, or use a hand blender (my preference because it is so much easier to clean than a liquidiser or food processor) in the saucepan.

Break up the noodles and stir into the soup. Heat the soup until it just starts to boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lime juice and grated zest. At this point the soup is very thick. You can add some cold water which will reduce the overall temperature so that it can be eaten immediately (if you are freezing it, the thick soup saves space).

Grilled prawns

BBQ_Prawns

Big, whole prawns are best for this quick dish. I used the Big Prawn Company big & juicy tiger prawns which only seem to be available from Waitrose and Ocado. Currently £5.99 for 220g (the box says ’10 prawns’, but mine contained 11!). Enough for 2:

  • 10 large, raw prawns (defrosted)
  • 1 tsp chipotle paste (the type I used was very hot, so quantities will vary)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp tomato ketchup
  • 1.5cm cube of ginger grated
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime

Partially shell the prawns – leave on the heads and the last bit of the tail, but remove the rest of the shell from the body.

Mix together the chipotle paste, the olive oil, the ketchup, the ginger, the garlic, the curry powder and half the lime juice. Spread the mixture on the prawns.

Heat the grill, and cook for about 2 minutes on each side, or until the prawns are fully cooked.

Serve sprinkled with the remaining lime juice. I served the prawns with rocket, avocado and cherry tomato salad.

 

Sweetcorn Fritters

 

Sweetcorn_frittersThese featured in Waitrose Kitchen (March 2014), and are served with avocado and tomato salsa. They taste really good and are easy to make. Serves 2:

For the salsa:

  • 1 avocado (roughly chopped)
  • 125g cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • A handful of fresh coriander (chopped)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle paste (be careful strength varies!), or Tabasco

Mix together all the above ingredients and set aside in a serving bowl.

For the fritters:

  • 330g can of sweetcorn (drained)
  • 3 spring onions (thinly sliced)
  • 75g self-raising flour (sieved)
  • 1 large egg
  • 65ml milk
  • 2 tbsp oil

Heat the oil (to a medium heat) in two large frying pans (this enables you to make all 8 fritters at once). Beat together the flour, egg and milk. Mix in the sweetcorn and spring onions. Spoon the 1/8th of the mixture onto the frying pan (and repeat until all the mixture has been used).

Cook the fritters for 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve warm with the salsa.

Chipotle prawns

Chipotle_prawns

I had some uncooked king prawns in the freezer and a ripe avocado, so I made this (for 2):

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (chopped/crushed)
  • 2 red chillies (deseeded and chopped)
  • 1 green pepper (deseeded and chopped)
  • 1 tbsp chipotle paste
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 200g (1/2 can) red kidney beans (drained)
  • 175g uncooked king prawns (peeled, if necessary)
  • 1 lime (grated zest and juice)
  • 1 avocado (roughly chopped)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a further 2 minutes. Increase the heat, and stir in the green pepper,  and cook for 1 minute.

Stir in the chipotle paste and the tomatoes, bring to the boil, and cook for about 20 minutes. Stir in the red beans and the prawns, bring to back the boil, and simmer for 4 minutes (or until the prawns have cooked (turned pink)).

Stir in the lime zest and add lime juice to taste. Serve scattered with chopped avocado; and with brown rice, if you want something more filling.