This Afternoon


A Festive Carrot Cake

I made this enormous cake to be shared between my colleagues on the last few days of work before Christmas.  But, as I mentioned before, the weather turned bitterly cold that week and the snow came down so heavily that we got not one, not two but three whole days off school.   That left just me and the carrot cake snowed in and staring at each other.  Only one of us came out of it alive. 🙂

My version of  carrot is adapted from Nigel Slater’s ever popular recipe (most recently published in Tender).  I’ve given it a creamier frosting though and some Christmassy twists.  Think the ruby cranberrys and green pisachios make it look as lovely as it tastes.

Festive Carrot Cake

(serves 12)

200ml ground nut oil

250g musavado sugar

150g finely grated carrots

Juice of half a lemon

100g shelled, unsalted pisachio nuts

100g dried cranberries

250g self raising flour

1/2 tspn bicarbonate of soda

1 tspn baking soda

Pinch of salt

1/2 tspn ground nutmeg

1 tspn ground cinnamon

3 egg yolks

3 egg whites

  • In a large bowl, beat the oil and sugar until well combined.  Add the egg yolks gradually followed by the carrot, pistachios (reserve a few for the top of cake), cranberries (reserve a few of these too) and lemon juice.  Ensure these ingredients are well combined.
  • Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff.  Set aside.
  • Sift the flour, bicarb, baking powder and salt into the wet mixture.  Mix until the flour is no longer visible.
  • Use a metal spoon to fold the egg whites into the mixture gently.
  • Divide the mixture between two buttered 22cm cake tins lined with baking paper.
  • Bake in a 180 oC oven for 40 minutes. 
  • Remove from oven and leave to cool slightly before removing from tins and cooling completely.  While waiting, make the frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

400g cream cheese

200g mascapone cheese

Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon

150g icing sugar

  • Combine all the ingredients until smooth. 
  • Use 1/4 of the frosting between the two cake layers and roughly splat the rest all over the outside of the cake.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining pistachios and cranberries.

Merry Christmas

It’s Christmas Eve and I’m sitting at my kitchen table.  My holidays should officially have started only just today but there’s been so much snow and ice around that school’s been closed all week.  As much as I love the excitement of the last week of the winter term, I’m not complaining.  Had a great few days playing with Marco in the snow (he loves it!) and preparing food for my family arriving. 

In the next hour or so they will all arrive and my peace will be pleasantly shatttered.  Shall use these these last quiet moments to share with you some photos from the last few days and to wish you all a very merry Christmas.  Hope Santa’s good to you.  🙂

Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookie


With fun stuff though.

Made biscuits.

Crap photo.

Great cookies.

Trust me.

White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies (adapted from Ottolenghi)

100g salted butter, room temperature

1 tspn vanilla essence

60g caster sugar

60g soft brown sugar

1 egg, beaten slightly

80g plain flour

1/2 tpsn baking powder

1/2 tspn bicarbonate of soda

100g finely ground oatmeal

75g white chocolate, chopped into small pieces

100g dried cranberries

  • Cream together the butter and sugars and vanilla.  Add the egg little by little and combine gently.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarb into the creamed sugar and butter.  Add the oatmeal and chocolate and cranberries and stir until just combined.
  • Chill the mixture in the fridge for at least 1 hour.  Pre-heat the oven to 170 oC
  • Roll into gobstopper sized balls and place onto baking paper lined trays at least 5 cm apart.
  • Bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes until golden.  Cool on a baking tray.

* This recipe makes at least 30 cookies.  Dough keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days.