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Monday, 4 April 2011

Carrot + Orange

Helping my Pa move into his new house I thought I would take advantage of his new and never been used before kitchen and cook up a couple of treats for him to enjoy in his new home. My Pa doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, but enjoys a good carrot cake. Never having made carrot cake before, I came across this recipe on the Channel 4 Food website I thought sounded perfect.

Carrot Cake With Pecans And Orange Butter Cream

What You Need
  • 175ml sunflower oil, plus more for greasing
  • 60g pecan nuts, chopped
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 175g light muscovado sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 250g carrot, finely grated
  • Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
  • 50g unsweetened desiccated coconut

For the buttercream

  • 40g pecan nuts, chopped
  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 60g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 150g unsalted cream cheese
  • Juice of 1 orange
  1. Preheat the oven to 160ÂșC/gas mark 3. Oil a 23cm diameter, 7.5cm deep, round tin and line the base with non-stick baking parchment.
  2. Scatter the pecans - both for cake and buttercream - on to a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 5–10 minutes, shaking once and watching carefully so they don’t burn, then measure out, separate and set aside the amounts needed for the cake and buttercream.
  3. Sieve together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl. In an electric mixer - or in another large mixing bowl with a handheld electric whisk – slowly beat together the oil and sugar for a minute or so until smooth, then gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Using a large spoon, gently fold in the carrot, zest, pecan nuts and coconut then, finally, the flour mixture.
  4. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to become completely cold.
  5. Meanwhile, make the buttercream. Beat the butter, icing sugar and maple syrup until really light and fluffy (this could take 5 minutes). In another bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth, then fold it into the butter mixture. Finally, add the orange juice. Spread over the top of the cake and scatter with the pecan nuts.

Next up I made a batch of my Morrocan Chicken. I first made this recipe to get rid of a bag of dried apricots in the cupboard. It's an easy one pot dish that can keep for a couple of days.

1 x pack of chicken legs and thighs
1 x tin of chopped tomatoes
75g semi dried apricots

1 x tin chickpeas
1 x red onion
Moroccan spice paste
Flaked almonds

(This time I added carrots left over from the carrot cake)


1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon paprika
3 whole cloves
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
glug of olive oil

Firstly, score the chicken and rub the paste in well. Cover and marinade in the fridge for as long as you have, even overnight

Dice the onion and cook slowly in the pan so they caramelize slightly and add the chicken on a high heat to brown.

Add the chopped tomatoes, apricots, chickpeas and cover. Simmer on a low heat for about an hour.

Serve with sweet potatoes or cous cous and sprinkle on some flaked almonds.

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