Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Recipe Tuesday: Carrot Cake

It’s cake, Jim but not as we know it....

If there is one story about me in Lockdown, it’s that I seem to be baking cakes, tweaking a lot of recipes to get what I want.  Well, this is another one of those recipes.  You may remember back to April, when I talked about all the mutant carrots we’d unearthed?  At the time, I went looking for my carrot cake recipe card.  I’d made it several times before - but not recently - and it was a really great cake.  Do you think I could find it?  It wasn’t in the binder together with the rest of the set.  It wasn’t tucked inside any of the recipe books...  Thinking back, the last time I remember seeing it was in the old kitchen, pre 2013 makeover, when it was on the top of the bookcase that was tucked in beside the fridge.  All I can tell you is that it was for a carrot cake made with oil not butter and had a cream cheese frosting.

I never did find the recipe and, if 2012 was the last time I’d used it, there was no hope that I’d remember the quantities.  Eventually, I turned to Google.  This recipe from Rachel Allen turned out to be the closest to the one I remember, but the first time I made it, I combined the carrots and sugar in the food processor, turned around to measure out the other ingredients and turned back to find the carrots swimming in water.   The sugar either dehydrated the carrots or sucked moisture out of the air!  The mixture came out very wet, resulting in a cake that was more like fudge.  The next time, I left the sugar until the end and made a rather dry carrot cake.  A couple more experiments later, I’m happy with the results, so thought I’d share them with you.

I’ve changed a couple of other things, too.  Decreased the oil slightly, since I found the original quantity made the cake greasy.  Also, I tend to use sunflower seeds whenever a cake requires nuts. They’re cheaper and I always have some in stock.  (I add a tablespoon of sunflower seeds to my breakfast each morning for additional protein.). On the oil front, I use rapeseed oil, which is a) cheap and b) monounsaturated like olive oil.  Flour, in this house, is always Atta Flour aka Chapatti flour, which is a strong, light wholemeal, plain flour.  This recipe doubles up well or can be used to make carrot cake muffins (at step 5, divide the mixture between 12, lined, muffin pans and bake for 25 minutes at 180C).

Carrot Cake - makes 1


125ml/0.5 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
300g carrots, cut into chunks
200g soft, dark muscovardo sugar
75g sunflower seeds or chopped walnuts
100g raisins or sultanas
180g plain flour + 1 teaspoon baking powder (or use 180g self raising flour)
1/2 teaspoon sodium bicarbonate
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a loaf pan with non-stick baking parchment.
  2. In the food processor, combine the oil, eggs and carrots.  Process until the carrot is chopped up small.
  3. Meanwhile, measure out all your remaining ingredients.  (You can put them all into the one bowl, if you want.)
  4. Add all the other ingredients, in one go, to the food processor and process until combined.  You should have a slightly lumpy batter.
  5. Pour into your lined loaf pan and bake at 180c for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. 
  6. Once cooked, remove from the loaf pan and cool on a cake rack.  When cool, you can ice it if you want. (I don’t.  I’m not a huge fan of icing.)


- Pip

Monday, 15 June 2020

Finished jumper to show off

I will have to change the picture in the right side-bar.  I’ve finished that jumper!    It only took two months to make.  This is the Caradon Hill Sweater by Blacker Designs, knitted in Mithril DK, spun from Stansborough Grey sheep in New Zealand.  (The Stansborough Greys are a really rare bread of sheep.  Their yarn was used to make the Elven cloaks in Lord of the Rings.)

I modified the neckline.  I didn’t like the boatneck shown on the pattern.  I completed the shaping given in the pattern then added an additional 6 rounds to the neckline before knitting a ribbed collar.

- Pam

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Carrot and Hazelnut Roast

Something for our continued series of Using Up Carrots.  Following on from the Carrot & Lentil Soup I made last month, one of the dishes I  planned to make with our mutants was the Carrot & Hazelnut Roast from Rose Elliott’s Cheap and Easy vegetarian cookbook.  Sadly, Lidl aren’t stocking hazelnuts, so I tried it with cashews and, you know what? It tastes even better.  This recipe doubles up well and copes if you need to vary the size/number of carrots or can’t get a large enough packet of nuts.  Serve with roast potatoes and peas or, in hot weather like today, cold with a green salad.  It’s delicious either way.

Price-wise, this should work out at less than £2 for one loaf.

Carrot & Nut Roast - serves 4

2 large carrots, sliced
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2-3 slices bread, torn into strips
100g-200g hazelnuts or Cashew Nuts
2 teaspooons mixed herbs
2 eggs
1 tablespoon soy sauce

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Place the hazelnuts, carrots, onion and bread into the food processor, hold it securely and process until chopped.  (It’ll bounce around a bit.) 
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and process until combined.  You want a grainy texture, not completely smooth.
  4. Spoon into a lined loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the middle feels firm to touch and it is browned on top.  
  5. Turn out of the pan, peel off the lining and cut into 4 to serve.

Note:  If you’re making roast potatoes to accompany this, parboil them for 15 minutes, baste with oil and put them in the oven at the same time as the roast.