Carrot and Walnut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

My Mum, Kim and sisters Camilla, Kimberley and Shanna came over for dinner on Tuesday night and we made this carrot and walnut cake. Craig is not a big desert eater and earlier that night as I was thinking about what to make for desert I had asked him if he wanted me to make carrot cake. He said only if it had walnuts in it. So, we made a carrot and walnut cake, and Craig pretty much ate all that was left for dinner the night after!

I had heaps of carrots and luckily Shan was able to stop by Aldi and pick up some cream cheese (which I pretty much never have) which turns out to be quite a bit cheaper than the other supermarkets (along with icing sugar, eggs, and brown sugar which I had run out of, hahaha)!

This is a good recipe I think. Its nice and soft, moist and the prefect sweetness with the cream cheese frosting. Also I think you feel a little better eating it because it has carrot in it……

Carrot and Walnut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

(Prep and cooking time 60mins, serves 8)

Ingredients

2 cups self-raising flour

1 teaspoon mixed spice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 cups grated carrot (approx two large carrots)

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs, lightly beaten

Cream Cheese Frosting

125g cream cheese, softened

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind

1 1/2 cups icing sugar

Walnuts to decorate

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease a 6cm-deep, 21cm round cake pan. Line base and sides with baking paper.

Sift flour, spice and cinnamon into a bowl. Add sugar, carrot, chopped walnuts, oil and eggs. Stir to combine. Spread into prepared pan.

Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean (cover loosely with foil if over-browning). Stand in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and lemon rind until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar until smooth.

Spread frosting over cake. Decorate with walnuts. Serve.

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Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

For my birthday I received the Jamie Oliver 30 minute meals book. It is unlikely that I will ever actually do one of the complete meals, but there are plenty of great recipes to try. One of the first ones that stood out to me was the Cauliflower macaroni. It looked tasty and had very cheap ingredients. Considering it was part of a 30minute meal I’d say it takes about 25minutes to prepare and cook, with plenty of time for some chatting (or desert making) in the process. It tasted great, and I’d say its  good way to hide vegetables. Who doesn’t love Mac and Cheese!? The crunchy was my favourite and you could do it with or without the bacon. The original recipe had pancetta instead of the bacon, I didn’t have any and I have a freezer full of bacon which worked great instead. Also, I swapped creme fraiche for sour cream, which is pretty similar. It is so easy to buy sour cream here, and not so easy or cheap to buy creme fraiche.

I hope you try this one. Its super easy, delicious, and cheap. Oh and it makes enough to feed about 5,000 people (…8)

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

(time: 25mins, feeds: 8)

Ingredients

6 rashers of bacon

1 large head of cauliflower

500g dried macaroni

250g cheddar cheese grated

4 thick slices of old bread

a few sprigs of fresh rosemary

2 cloves of garlic crushed

250g sour cream

Salt and Pepper and olive oil

Method

Preheat oven to 220c

Place a large pot of salted water onto the stove and bring to the boil.

Place the rashers of bacon in a large baking dish (big enough for the finished mac and cheese) and place in the hot oven. Allow to crisp up.

While the bacon is cooking, trim the cauliflower of the leaves and stalk and roughly chop into medium sized florets. Add the pasta and cauliflower to the pot of boiling water. Return to the boil and cook until the pasta is cooked but  still a  little on the firm side. Drain the pasta and cauliflower and keep a few cups of the pasta water for later.

By this stage the bacon should be done. Remove the bacon from the oven and then the baking dish and set aside. Keep the oven on. Put the cauliflower and macaroni into the baking dish.

In a food processor combine the bread, rosemary, garlic, cooked bacon and a little olive oil. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

Add the cheese and the sour cream to the pasta with about a cup of the pasta water and mix through with some salt and pepper to taste. Add a little more pasta water if you think you need to cook your pasta a little more, or add less water if you pasta is fully cooked. Once combined, pour the breadcrumbs over the top and spread evenly.

Put the cauliflower mac and cheese in the oven and bake for 8-10minutes or until the breadcrumbs on top are nicley browned and crispy and the macaroni and cheese is bubbling.

Serve while still hot!

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

 

I got the idea for this from Kat Brown on Pinterest of course! There is something about being exhausted during a week of night shifts that makes me want to bake. Probably because i’m always baking comfort food. I went to the IGA down the street today and got some old bananas from the boys to make some banana bread. It was DIVINE. The cinnamon makes a beautiful difference to the original.

I did alter the original recipe slightly to suit my pan and my tastes. I prefer my banana bread not too sweet.

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

(Prep time 10mins, cooking time 40mins)

 

Ingredients:

 

For the bread

3 over-ripe bananas, smashed up

1/3 cup melted butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

dash of salt

1 1/2 cups flour

 

For the swirl

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180. Butter a loaf pan. Mine was 12 x 22cm, but you could use any sort. Just keep a close eye on it in the oven, and adjust the time as needed
  2. Mix bananas, butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla together. sprinkle baking soda and salt around on top of the banana mixture. Then gently stir in flour. Be careful not to over-mix!
  3. In a small dish, mix together the sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Add half of the batter to the loaf pan and then sprinkle half, or a little more than half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture all over the batter in the pan. Add the rest of the batter, and then sprinkle the leftover cinnamon-sugar on top.
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Remember, if you’re using a different-sized loaf pan, be careful and keep a close eye on it.
I ate mine still warm, and walked down the street to share it with the boys from the IGA. According to them I’m an ‘absolute legend’!
Notice the steam coming off the bread in the photo!
 
However, I think It will still be delicious cold!

Leek and Zucchini Slice

Sometimes you just feel like something simple and healthy and thats how I was feeling today. I wanted lots of flavour without all the carbs, and I wanted some vegetables.

This recipe has been altered to fit leek into it and it came from an ancient recipe book I found at my mums house. Both my mum and mother in law make a great Zucchini slice, so hopefully this one is up to their level!

Leek and Zucchini Slice

(Prep time 15mins, cooking time 45mins, serves 6)

Ingredients

2 medium sized zucchinis grated

1 medium leek finely sliced

3 rashers of bacon finely diced

1 large brown onion finely diced

1 lightly packed cup of tasty (cheddar) cheese grated

3/4 cup self raising flour

4 medium eggs, lightly beaten

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C

Add the onion leek and bacon to a lightly oiled frying pan on medium heat and cook until the onion and leek are soft but not browned, about 5-7minutes. Once soft, remove from the heat and allow a few minutes for t to cool.

In a bowl combine the grated zucchini (squeeze some of the excess liquid from the zucchini with your hands first), cheese, flour, onion, leek and bacon mixture and salt and pepper. Once combined, add the egg and oil and mix well.

Line a 18x28cm oven proof dish with baking paper and pour the mixture into the dish. Spread evenly and put into the hot oven.

Bake for 45minutes or until nicely browned on top.

Serve hot or cold!