Scrumptious Nutty Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

carrot-cake

Definitely a favourite of mine. This recipe takes me back to childhood. There’s just nothing like a home made carrot cake. The ones that you buy in stores just don’t even get close to what I think carrot cakes should taste like. You can also make carrot muffins with this recipe which I also love. Just reduce that cooking time to about 20 minutes. 🙂

For the Cake: 

2 Cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cloves

4 large eggs

1 Cup white sugar

3/4 Cup muscovado sugar (firmly packed brown sugar)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 Cup vegetable oil

3 cups grated carrots

1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts

1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecan nuts

For the icing: 

125g butter (room temp)

250g Philadelphia cream cheese (room temp)

480g icing sugar

1tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp finely zested orange peel

1/4 cup chopped walnuts for garnish

– Preheat oven to 180 C and grease and flour a cake tin.

– Mix the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and cloves together in a bowl.

– Beat eggs, sugar, vanilla together until smooth and add oil gradually in a steady stream on low speed.

– Add the flour mixture and beat until just blended.

– Fold in the carrots and nuts and place in the prepared cake tin.

– Bake for 40 minutes or until cooked. – cool first in the tin for about 20 – 30  minutes and then take it out and cool further.

– For the icing, beat the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, zest together until smooth and light. Then add the icing sugar and mix until smooth. Ice the cake and garnish with the nuts.

Photo courtesy of google.com

Advertisements

Creamy Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup Pic

Pure decadence and comfort food! This gorgeous soup will put a smile on your face and make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. One of the reasons I love winter! 🙂 Enjoy xxx

2 Cans of peeled tomatoes

5 onions, finely diced

2 chicken stock cubes, crumbled

250g cream cheese (Philadelphia brand is good)

Freshly ground salt and pepper

2 bay leaves

800 mls water

125 mls fresh cream

Parsley to garnish (optional)

-In a large saucepan, saute the onions in a little bit of oil until softened slightly. Add the tinned tomatoes, water, stock cubes, bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to a fast simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.

– Remove the bay leaves. Add the cream cheese and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

– Blitz the soup with a hand blender or in a food processor until smooth.

– Add the cream, adjust the seasoning and server garnished with a touch of parsely.

Serve with cheesy garlic bread

Photo courtesy of google.com

Crispy Yoghurt Chicken

Crispy Yoghurt Chicken pic

Let’s face it, chicken can get boring and needs a little bit of help sometimes. This is a great recipe as you get fantastic flavour as well as some great crunchy texture. The kids will love this one! You could experiment with doing Chicken nuggets too (just cut the breasts up into blocks and cook for less time (about 20 minutes).

4- 6 Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut in half, lengthways

125ml (1/2 cup) lemon juice

45 mls (3 Tbsp) honey

1 clove garlic, crushed

Freshly ground black pepper

60mls plain yoghurt

3mls salt

250mls (1 cup) dried breadcrumbs

250mls (1 cup) crushed cornflakes

30mls grated parmesan cheese

Garnish with lemon wedges

– Combine the lemon juice, honey, garlic and black pepper in a glass bowl

– Add the chicken and make sure that its coated well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.

– Remove the chicken from the marinade, drain well and pat dry with paper towel.

– Brush each piece with yoghurt and season with salt.

– Combine breadcrumbs, cornflakes and cheese in a bowl; coat each chicken breast in this mixture.

– Line a baking  tray with baking paper and place the crumbed chicken breasts on the paper.

– Bake at 180 C for about 35 minutes or until tender. Turn after 15 minutes.

Serve hot with salad and roast potatoes.

Gordon Ramsay’s Blondies

blondie

In my eyes, you can’t really go wrong with white chocolate and cranberries! One of my favourite combinations. This recipe is from Gordon’s Ultimate Cookery Course and is a real winner. They freeze really well too!

230g butter, plus extra for greasing

340g dark brown sugar

Pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs, lightly beaten

280g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

4 tbsp dried cranberries

240g white chocolate, chopped into small chunks

– Preheat the oven to 180 C. Lightly butter a 23cm square cake tin and line with greaseproof paper.

– Melt the butter in a saucepan and whisk in the sugar, pinch of salt and the vanilla extract. Whisk well and remove from heat.

– Add in the 2 unbeaten eggs and stir well until a smooth paste is formed

– Sift the flour, bicarb and baking powder in a large bowl, then whisk in the egg and butter mixture a little at a time to prevent getting lumps.

– Leave the mixture to cool slightly, then fold in the chocolate chunks and cranberries.

– Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly

– Bake at 180C for 35-40 min

– Leave to cool in the pan first for at least 10 – 15 minutes and then remove from pan (expect the center to fall a bit)

– Cut into squares.

Recipe by Gordon Ramsay

Lemon Chicken

Lemon Chicken

Years ago I bought a cookbook that was written by two dietitians. I have used a few of their recipes often over the years as they are healthy and tasty and very easy to make. This is one of them. Its gorgeous with some roast veggies and rice if you want to do something healthy and quick for a mid week meal! 🙂

5 mls (1 tsp) mild wholegrain mustard

Juice of 1/2 lemon

5ml dried basil

5ml dried thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

15ml soy sauce

4 – 6 skinless chicken breasts

5ml cornflour

125ml fat-free plain yoghurt

Freshly ground black pepper

Zest of 1 lemon

– Preheat your oven to 200 C

– Mix together the mustard, lemon juice, basil, thyme, salt, pepper and say sauce.

– Baste the chicken well with this basting sauce, then bake in an ovenproof dish for 15 minutes, turning once halfway through the cooking time.

– Mix the cornflour and yoghurt together well.

– Remove the chicken from the oven, pour over the yoghurt, season with black pepper to taste and the lemon zest.

– Bake for a further 7 minutes.

Serves 4 – 6

Recipe from the  “The Ultimate Diet Solution Cookbook”

Roast Baby Marrows with Sun Dried Tomato

marrows in sun dried tomatoes

When this dish is in the oven it smells amazing!!! Tastes good too! 🙂 Its out of that diet cookbook that I have. Its a great way to do roast veg. You can add other veggies in too if you like. The oil from the sun-dried tomatoes add such incredible depth of flavour. Its a goodie! If you don’t like patty pans, you can pop in baby butternut, or baby gems or anything really!

6 small yellow patty pans

6 small baby marrows, sliced

1 x 240g packet sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (Ina Paarman’s brand is great)

6 fresh basil leaves

– Preheat the oven to 200 C

– Clean and prepare the patty pans and baby marrows, and place in a roasting pan.

– Pour over the sun-dried tomatoes and oil

– Finely chop the basil and mix into the veggie mixture

– Roast in the oven for 25 minutes.

Serves 4 – 6

Recipe from the “The Ultimate Diet Solution Cookbook”

Whole Wheat Seed Bread

649807

With my husband suffering badly from acid reflux I am on the hunt for good bread that will be gentle with him! This is a fantastic recipe that was developed by a lady who had a son with terrible  cancer. Even with his drastic ops he was still able to have this bread.  A winner I’d say!! 🙂

1/2 cup warm water

 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

3 tablespoons active dry yeast

3 1/2 cups warm water


1/2 cup honey

 
1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup vegetable oil


3 tablespoons lemon juice

 
2 eggs, beaten


9 cups sifted whole wheat flour


1/2 cup ground flax seed

 
1 cup quick cooking oats

1/2 cup sunflower seeds


3/4 cup cracked wheat


1 tablespoon sea salt

–       Stir together the 1/2 cup water and applesauce in a small bowl. Dissolve the yeast in the mixture, let stand until creamy, about 5 minutes.

–        Pour the yeast mixture into a large bowl with 3 1/2 cups of warm water, honey, molasses, vegetable oil, lemon juice, and eggs; stir together to combine well.

–       In a separate bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, flax seed, sunflower seeds, cracked wheat, and salt. Stir the flour mixture into the yeast mixture until a smooth dough forms. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover; let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

–       Lightly grease and four 20 x 12cm  loaf pans. Punch down dough, shape into loaves, and place in the pans. Allow to rise in pans until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

–       Preheat oven 180 C.

–       Bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until the loaves sound hollow when removed from the pan and tapped on the bottom.

 

 

Makes 4 loaves. You can change the quantities for less.

Recipe from allrecipes.com

 

Gordon Ramsay’s Fragrant Fried Rice

Photo 2013-06-10 7 55 20 PM

This is a super fast and easy way of doing fried rice. Goes so well with any kind of stir fry or dish with an asian twist.

1 clove garlic, chopped finely

1 red chilli, finely chopped (keep seeds for extra heat, leave seeds out if you want a milder kick)

1 x 3 cm piece of fresh root ginger, chopped finely

4 or 5 spring onions, sliced

1 x broccoli head, trimmed so you just have the flowers

+- 2 cups sliced spring greens (can be substituted with chinese cabbage, normal cabbage or baby spinach)

2 eggs, whisked

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cups cooked thai rice (jasmine or basmati works well)

A dash of fish sauce

–   In a pan, heat the oil and fry the garlic, ginger, chilli for a minute.

–   Add the broccoli flowers and the other greens

–   Add a touch of water to steam the veggies (about 3 – 4 tbsps)

–   Add the cooked rice.

–   Make a well in the middle and add the eggs and the spring onions and a dash of fish sauce. Allow the egg mixture to scamble in the well and once cooked, incorporate it into the rice and veggies.

–   Season and serve with sliced lime and spring onions.

Decadent Chocolate Chip Cookies

Choc chip cookies

This recipe calls for some extra time as you need to refrigerate the dough, but its so worth it when you get crunchy golden outsides and gooey soft insides!

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
100g cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 cm pieces
½ cup sugar
¾ cup tightly packed light brown sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten
200g dark chocolate

1) Chop the chocolate up, break it up into blocks and then cut each block into quarters

2) Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

3) Cream the butter and sugars with a hand mixer (or standing mixer) on low speed until it is smooth and lump free, about 3 minutes stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4) Add the vanilla and egg and beat on low speed for 15 seconds, or until fully incorporated. Do not overbeat. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl .

5) Add the flour mixture. Beat (low speed) until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the chocolate chunks and mix with a wooden spoon until they are just incorporated.

6)  On a clean surface, roll the dough out into a think ‘snake’. About 6 or 7 cm in diameter. Then wrap in clingwrap (plastic wrap) and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably 24 hours.

7) Preheat oven to 180 C. Adjust racks to lower and upper thirds of the oven.  Or middle shelf if you have a small oven like me  🙂

8) Line two baking trays with baking paper.  Take the cookie dough ‘roll’ out of the fridge, unwrap it and then slice it into rounds about 1.5cm thick and place the cookie dough rounds onto the baking paper about 5cm apart .

9) Bake for 11-13 minutes or until golden brown around the edges but still soft, almost underdone-looking, in the center. (But remember to turn the baking trays back to front and switch racks halfway through the baking time)

Remove the trays from the oven and carefully slide the baking paper directly onto a work surface. When cookies are set, remove them to a cooling rack. Wait at least 5 minutes before serving or 20 minutes before storing in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.

Coconut Ice!

lens11904621_1278090713Coconut_ice_sweets

A childhood favourite! So versatile too – you can play around with different colours and shapes! If you have cookie cutters you can make coconut ice shapes. Hearts look REALLY sweet but you can do just about anything! Have fun with this classic treat! xx

340g desiccated coconut
340g icing sugar
400g tin of condensed milk
Optional food colouring

1. Place the condensed milk into a bowl and add the icing sugar. Beat well then mix in the desiccated coconut. The mixture will get firm and difficult to stir but persevere until everything is all combined.

2. Divide the mixture into two (add optional food colourings to each, or no food colour if you want it to remain white) and spread into an 20cm square tin. One colour at the bottom and the other colour on top of that.

3. Refrigerate overnight to set.

4. Cut into small cubes and store in an air tight container.