Carrot Cake

I found this recipe on the Food Network. I changed a couple of things and added a cream cheese icing. For surely, a carrot cake without cream cheese icing isn’t a carrot cake..

Carrot Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups grated carrot
  • 1 1/2 cups walnut pieces
  • 1 cup chopped pineapple, fresh or canned
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

In a large mixing bowl, toss together the carrots, walnuts, pineapple and raisins with 1/2 cup of the flour to coat them and keep them from sinking to the bottom of the cake batter.

Sift together the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.

In a mixer with a whip attachment, mix the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy (the “ribbon” stage) then drizzle in the vegetable oil. Fold in the dry ingredients and pour over the carrot mixture. Fold carefully to blend, then pour the batter into a buttered, floured 10 by 3-inch cake pan containing a circle of parchment paper in the bottom. Bake until firm to the touch in the center, about 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Let cool on a rack and then turn out. Dust the top with powdered sugar and cut into wedges to serve. (or use Cream Cheese Icing).

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 2 pkg. (3 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tbsp. cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp.salt
  • 1 lb. confectioners sugar
  • Lemon (optional)

Beat together cream cheese and cream; stir in vanilla. Beat 5 to 7 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add salt and sugar, one cup at a time, blending well after each addition

Chocolate Cake

This is an excellent chocolate cake recipe when you want a tasty chocolate cake that doesn’t go overboard with sweetness++

Mrs Doran’s Chocolate Cake

  • 100gm butter
  • 2 dessert spoons of golden syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 2 table spoons of Cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Melt: 100gm butter, 2 dsp golden syrup, 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup milk.

Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add 1+1/2 cups flour, 2 tbsp cocoa and vanilla essence.
Dissolve 1 tsp baking soda in 1/2 cup warm milk. Add to the rest of the ingredients. Pour into tin.

Bake for 30mins (maybe more) at 180deg.

Ice with chocolate icing.

Sticky Date Pudding

I discovered Sticky Date Puddings while living in Australia. The Aussies are mad on them, I can see/taste why!

Sticky Date Pudding

  • Ingredients (10 servings)
  • 125 g butter
  • 225 g stoned dates
  • 1 tbs baking soda
  • 5 tbs sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 ts salt
  • 1 ts vanilla
  • 1 ts baking powder
  • butter for painting
  • caramel sauce:
  • 1 cup cream
  • 125 g butter
  • 115 g brown sugar
  • 1 ts vanilla

whipped cream:
1/2 liter whipping cream


Chop dates, put in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and leave at low heat for 3 minutes.

Keep date water for use soon. Remove dates from water and add baking soda to them.

Whip 125g of butter with sugar, and add the eggs one at a time.

Gently mix in flour, salt and vanilla. Add baking powder and some of the water from the dates until it resembles pancake dough. Add dates.

Bake at 200° C for about 40 minutes – or until finished.


Meanwhile mix the rest of the butter, cream, sugar and vanilla in a pot. Bring to a boil and leave for low heat for 3 minutes. Pour some of the sauce over the cake while it is cooling. Serve the rest of the sauce with the cake.

You can put whipped cream on the cake.

Warning, small servings!

chocolate a l’ancienne (old-fashioned hot chocolate)

I may have gone on about how nice the hot chocolate that thomas made the other night was…

chocolate a l’ancienne

  • 6 ounces of real dark chocolate
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons creme fraiche
  • 2 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon superfine sugar (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum (Thomas used Brandy)
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons cold espresso coffee
  • pinch of salt

To make the grated chocolate decoration, put the chocolate in the freezer for 2 hours to harden. Grate about 3/4 ounce with a sharp knife or a potato peeler.

Beat the creme fraiche with an electric mixer, until stiff but not butter! Chill until you are ready to serve the chocolate.

Finely chop the remaining chocolate and place in a saucepan with the salt and 3 1/2 tablespoons of water. Melt over low heat, stirring constantly; take great care that it does not burn or the flavour will be ruined. When the chocolate is smooth and shiny, stir in the milk and then the sugar, if using. Bring to a boil, then simmer 5 minutes: Be very careful, because the chocolate bubbles up and thickens rapidly. Stir in the rum and coffee, and boil 2 minutes longer. Beat the chocolate with a whisk to lighten.

When ready to serve, add a spoonful of the whipped creme fraiche and top with the grated chocolate. In the summer, this is delicious served chilled.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm! Try it, it’s worth it.

Big Soft Ginger Cookies

We made Ginger Cookies a few (well, quite a few) times while staying in an apartment near Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. Ginger cookies will forever remind me of our holiday there. Along with beans, eggs and rice and banana smoothies.

Ginger Cookies


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.


I could’t get molasses so I used brown sugar.
I added more ginger. I love ginger.

Chilli Bean Gratin

Chilli Bean Gratin

  • 2 Tbs oil
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped, or 2 dried bird’s eye chillies, crushed
  • 2 x 400g, cans white beans or chick peas, drained, rinsed and drained again (cannelloni beans are nice)
  • 440g can Italian tomatoes, mashed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • grated cheese to cover the top (firm mozzarella is good)
  1. Put oil in a medium saucepan and set it over a low heat. Add onion and Chilli, cover with a lid and cook until softened. Add remaining ingredients, except cheese.
  2. Increase heat and cook for about 10 minutes, until no longer watery.
  3. Transfer to a shallow ovenproof gratin dish and sprinkle over cheese. Put a lid on the dish and warm it through in a oven preheated to 180C (fan bake) for 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Alternatively cook it briefly under a hot grill until cheese is bubbling.


It’s quite nice if you fry potato and add to the bean mix. Serve with a egg on top. Baked beans and eggs for adults!

Black-eyed beans in slow cooker

I experimented on our dinner guests last night. I wanted to play with the slow cooker and I had black-eyed beans.

I used a recipe I got from a friend for black bean chili as a sanity checker but just added in other stuff I thought would be nice. It was very yummy!

Black Eyed Beans

  • Black-Eyed Beans soaked overnight (I probably used about 6 cups as I like making bulk).
    approx 2 cups of olive oil (covered about an inch of the bottom of the cooker)
  • 4 Bay Leaves.
  • Onions (lots)
  • Zucchini (4)
  • Chili flakes(to taste)
  • Sour cream (to serve)
  • 3 Jars of pasta sauce.
  • Salt (to taste)

Put everything except the sour cream in the slow cooker, cook on high for 8 hours.Remove bay leaves and add sourcream before serving. How easy is that?

Yum. I’m having some for breakfast.

What I Ate

What I ate

What I Ate - 8th June
The Food

  • Porridge made by Thomas with almonds, dried apricots, sunflower seeds and raisins.
  • Carrot, walnut and date snack.
  • Broccoli, Leek and Potato Soup made yesterday. Even better the second day.
  • Apple and mandarins.
  • Salmon, mashed potatoes and red cabbage.

The Calories

There is a total of 1347 calories in these photos which is 62% of the days calorie allowance (Allowance changes daily depending on amount of exercise).

What I Ate

I read a lot of food blogs and sadly most of them are northern hemisphere centric. This means that when my body is getting ready for winter, the internet is tempting me with pretty pictures of fresh spring/summer foods.

There were a lot of recipes last month with fresh asparagus. I love asparagus. I have to wait till October to satisfy that craving.

Here it is soup season, so soups it is!

What I ate

What I Ate - 7th June
The Food

  • Porridge made by Thomas with almonds, dried apricots, sunflower seeds and raisins.
  • Mandarins and pumpkin seeds.
  • Fried eggs served with mixed vegetables, feta and salsa. Thomas likes to add toast with his for the texture but I like it without.
  • Kiwifruit and walnuts.
  • Marinated mussels.
  • Broccoli, Leek and Potato soup made both of us chucking things in the pot. It’s simple but yummy.

The calories

There is a total of 1186 calories in these photos which is 55% of the days calorie allowance (Allowance changes daily depending on amount of exercise).