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Monday, 18 April 2011

Carrot & Walnut Cake

This cake is best when made two days before, it needs time to moisten & the flavours to come out!

Our fave cake in this household is a nice moist carrot cake, so much so that we had that for our wedding cake.
This is not that type of cake, more a midmorning or afternoon snack with coffee rather than a big creamy affair, that comes later :)
This cake still has its place here though, its tasty & for me uses up some of the abundant walnuts that grow on my land. Unfortunately for me the flour I found which was perfect has disappeared of the shelves so this effort did not rise as it should but still was very tasty & moist..

175g Brown sugar
175 ml Sunflower oil
175g Flour
2 tsp baking powder (if using SR flour leave out the BP)
1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
1tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
3 Large eggs whisked with a fork
140g Grated carrots
100g Walnuts chopped
Grated zest of Orange
175g Icing sugar
1 - 2 tbls orange juice from fresh orange

Heat oven to 180c or 160c fan oven
Line the base of a cake tin
Put sugar, oil & eggs into a mixing bowl.
Lightly beat with a wooden spoon.
Stir in the carrots, walnuts & orange zest.
Sift flour, baking powder, soda, & spices into the bowl. Do this from above the bowl to get air in.
Lightly combine all ingredients.
Pour into prepared cake tin & bake for 40 - 45 mins.
Cool on rack .
For the topping beat together the icing sugar & juice with a fork till smooth then spread on top of cooled cake.
Another topping is....
448g Cream cheese
115g butter
5ml Vanilla essence
Mix together till creamy then add icing sugar.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Low Fat Fresh Pumpkin Soup

Mmmm lovely on a chilly day, winters evening or as a light lunch. I freeze this to have all year round
Pumpkins are in abundance in my garden in the autumn & last for months kept in the cool. I use them for soup bahnitsa & muffins. Certainly worth cooking with & easy enough to just have baked with your sunday roast.
This is a simple & very tasty soup which can be served as a meal with bread or pumpkin scones or as a light lunch or starter, depending on size of serving. Be careful it is filling!
*******Add an onion to this recipe if you are not intolerant*******

5 cloves Garlic, crushed, chopped & crushed again
1 large Carrot, chopped
Large potato peeled & chopped
Medium Pumpkin, peeled & cut into cubes
1 1/2 pints of Water
Fresh ground Blk Pepper
Bay leaves
1 large tsp Bovril chicken stock (or stock cube)
2 tsp Curry or Balti powder
1 tsp Sage (or rosemary)
Half cup of milk, optional

Spray a large stock pan with frylight & saute garlic & onion, if you are using, until it softens & starts to brown. Add carrot, pumpkin, potato & water. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer.
Add chicken stock, curry powder to taste, bay leaf & sage.
Simmer soup for roughly 45 mins, allow to cool slightly then blitz it too get a smooth soup. You can leave some chunky bits if you like.
if you want a creamy soup add the milk season with pepper & serve.
You can freeze this soup but do not put the milk in!

Low Fat Spicy Pumpkin & Apple Chutney (No Onion)

This recipe is without onion for those who are intolerant, but you can add 1lb Onions chopped small to the recipe & omit the garlic!
I love this recipe as without onion  it needs something to give it a kick & make that ham sandwich memorable!
I make large batches of this, just add more of the ingredients. Remember though to use a large pan as the chutney will bubble & spit a lot as you are stirring it.
Basic recipe......
3 lb Pumpkin skin removed & chopped
3 lb Apples peeled & chopped
2 heads of Garlic peeled crushed & chopped
1 1/2 pints of apple vinegar
1 lb sugar
2tsp ground Ginger
1 tsp fresh ground Pepper
1tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Cayenne pepper
Finely chop all the main ingredients & put in a large stock pan. Add the vinegar & spices. Bring to the boil & then simmer till softened, then add the sugar.
Continue cooking till the chutney thickens & you can create a channel when drawing a spoon through it. Press the pumpkin on the sides of the pan with a spoon, as it cooks,  to get a smoother texture chutney.
Spoon the hot chutney into sterilised jars seal & store for 2 - 3 months so the flavours blend together & the vinegar taste sweetens.
Enjoy in sandwiches or with salads & cold meats.


Friday, 1 April 2011

Low Fat, Pumpkin Breakfast Muffins

I grow my own Pumpkins from seeds from the previous year, have a huge stock of them now. Some I start in pots others I just throw in the ground & see what happens! I have been making Pumpkin scones for two years but now I have created my own low fat muffin recipe & they are delicious!!!!!!
You must try these, even if only at Halloween as throwing away the Pumpkin flesh is a waste when you can make something this good!!!!!
20 oz Flour
2 1/2 tsp Baking powder
4 oz Sugar
1 tbsp Butter or marg
8 oz cooked Pumpkin mashed (don't over cook the pumpkin)
1 Egg beaten with 50 ml Semi or Skimmed Milk
Pinch of Salt
1/4 tsp Ginger
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
Butter Frylight
Pre heat oven 200c fan or 220c
Boil pumpkin till just soft.
Drain well, you don't want it to be too soggy
Mash lightly with a fork
Cream together sugar & Butter, add flour, salt, baking powder, spices, pumpkin, egg & milk & combine together with a wooden spoon. Add more milk if needed to combine (little by little). Spray muffin tins with frylight & spoon mixture in them. Bake in middle of oven for 10 minuets.
Cool on a wire rack till warm, if you are eating now or till cold, then you can freeze in an airtight container.
Serve warm with butter. Lovely as a breakfast muffin, or as a snack with coffee/tea.