Carrot Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing

It’s been awhile!!!  At my old residence the oven stopped working :-(.   Luckily we move out and now have a new place with a working oven :-).  This is the third time I have attempted Carrot Cake.  First time the recipe I used (from the Edmonds Cookbook) had too much baking soda & it was disgusting!!  The following recipe I have to say is the best Carrot Cake I have made to date.  The cake is moist, flavoursome and the lemon icing adds a slight tang to the sweetness of the cake.  The carrots are coarsely grated as I  like to taste & see the carrot.  I have tried this recipe with walnuts  (just as good).   I  put more nuts than the recipe states (about a cup & a half)  coarsely chopped. I like the chunkiness of the nuts in the cake.   I halved the icing sugar for the icing as I found it to was too sweet for my liking. This recipe is from the cookbook Commonsense Baking

Carrot Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing Recipe Here

Spinach & Feta Filo Pie

Ever tried a recipe once and found it to be so good it would be added to your usual dinner meals.?  That’s exactly what I experienced with this pie!!! The recipe is out of  Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals Cookbook. It helps to have a frying pan that can also go in the oven to save on dishes & messing about. I am sure transferring to a pie dish to bake in the oven will do just as well.  The pie is delicious!! I was afraid the pie would be too eggy.  But having the freshly grated nutmeg in the filling makes all the difference.  I used reduced-fat feta as I find the taste not as salty as regular feta.  I have tried using parmesan instead of the grated cheddar cheese.  Although there is not much taste difference I did notice the mixture to be less creamy, which is surprising since it’s only 50g grated cheddar!  I made this pie initially for a bake-off session in May & received rave reviews.

I recommend watching the below before assembling the pie, I wish I did !!!

Spinach & Feta Filo Pie Recipe Here

Peanut Butter & Choc Chip Cookies

What do you do when you have hardly any money & have friends birthdays coming up – make them cookies as a gift!!!!  That’s what I did for a close friend of mine (I have actually made these cookies as a gift twice now).  I am happy to report she loved them!!!  The drizzled choc topping hides the fact that they look pretty ordinary without it.  The choc bits inside I used dark chocolate ones as my friend loves dark chocolate. The time before I gifted these cookies I used half milk choc bits & half dark choc bits as the person receiving them likes a balance cookie (a cookie connoisseur).  Bite into these cookies & you can definitely taste the peanut butter & then the burst of chocolate inside make these cookies quite moorish. Yet another find  from the 2010 winter edition of  family circle  magazine.

Peanut Butter & Choc Chip Recipe Here

Cheese Scones

Scones are something that seems simple to make but has taken me nearly a year to get right.  To achieve  light & fluffy scones the trick I have found is to hardly knead the dough at all. I found I didn’t need to roll it out before cutting the dough into squares or rounds. Instead I pat the dough & have it quite thick as I find the dough does not rise like crazy in the oven anyway.  I discovered the below recipe from the 2010 winter edition of  family circle  magazine – which turns out to be where most my great baking treats came from.  I have added cheese at the first step but if your after plain scones you can leave the cheese out.  I found these cheese scones go great with my Roasted garlicky Tomato Soup.

Cheese scone recipe here

Sticky Date & Pear Pudding with Toffee Sauce

I do like to make pudding & with the weather cooling  down I decided to give this recipe ago.  This recipe is in The Annabel Langbein Cookbook, The Free Range Cook.  I have made sticky date before & liked the concept of using fresh pears. Making the date mixture was a breeze &  the test tasting of the date mixture confirmed the pudding was indeed delicious!!!  I checked the pudding after 30 minutes in the oven.  The knife came out clean from the centre but when I cut the pudding into slices the centre was quite gooey so I recommend stabbing it a few times just to make sure it’s cooked.  Toffee, caramel & I have not been the best of friends in the past, so attempting the sauce was daunting.  Disaster did strike when adding the cream to the sugar mixture – the toffee started to harden.  Annabel Langbein didn’t mention the cream to be at room temperature or warmer :-(.  Easily fixed (after I had yelled at it a fews time) I put the mixture back on the stove & stirred until it was a saucie consistency.  The pudding was moist, tasty & the pears added a nice freshness.  Topped with the sweet toffee sauce made the homey dessert seem a little bit flash & indulgent.  Would definitely make this pudding again.

Sticky Date & Pear Pudding Recipe here

Garlic & Chive Mash

Potato Mash is my favourite food.  Simple, I know but when you can’t help

yourself …you just can’t help yourself to loving potato mash.  The first time I tasted this recipe I could not go back to boring one dimensional potato mash.  This potato mash is so smooth & tasty I do not need to add any more margarine or salt & pepper.  The recipe below I change a bit from the original as I always have stock cubes on hand rather than liquid stock. The chives I have added as optional – I don’t always have fresh chives on hand & the mash still tastes just as good.  The original recipe I found in the Winter 2010 edition of Family Circle.

Garlic & Chive Mash Recipe Here

Cheese Tasting in the Yarra Valley

I first saw The Yarra Valley Dairy Farm featured on a recent “Postcards” episode & couldn’t believe it was in Victoria & only an hours drive from my home.  I  have been craving to go to a cheese anything for a long time!!!  The drive up was lovely, passing the Warrandyte Berry Farm vowing to stop on the way back.  We also saw a sign saying a bag of limes for $1.  I wanted those limes – not sure what I would do with them but they are a $1!!!  Unfortuntely we didn’t make it back to either as somehow we diverted to a different route home.  Next time.  The Yarra Valley Dairy is on an actual Dairy Farm with a foodstore & cafe.  The foodstore is chock full of regional foodstuff all gleaming in their simple packaging.  Also lots of kitchenware, chocolates, biscuits & because it was the Easter long weekend a 6 pack of  Hot Cross Buns cost $14.95.  I did not buy the buns as the price did not seem reasonable but they sure looked tasty.  I ordered the Cheese platter $25 which came with 4 soft cheeses (Goats milk cheese one extra aged & the other not,  cows milk cheese marinated with saffron, lemon zest, cumin seeds and garlic , creamy feta cheese they marinated in an extra-virgin olive oil blend with fresh sprigs of thyme and cloves of garlic & a caramelised onion relish served with a  towering plate of delicious breads) which I loved, don’t you hate it when you order dips & bread & run out of bread before the dip!!!  I am keen to go again to try/ buy the Hot Cow (the addition of a little chilli to give just a hint of heat) &  the Yering (white-mould Camembert style) cheese.

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