Carrot, Pistachio & Coconut Cake

22 May 2014

A while ago now I decided to dispose of my towering pile of cookery magazine. It was getting out of hand. I did however go through them before putting them out for recycling to tear out any recipe that were favourites or ones I had never made, yet still wanted to. I now have a small box of these random recipes of which this one falls into the category of 'never made but wanted to'. 

On Sunday we had a family lunch to celebrate Arthur's birthday and I made this cake for pudding. In fact I made it last week and popped it in the freezer, defrosting it the day before I needed it. It was delicious and I will be making it again very soon. It lends itself to summer really well and it light, tasty and with the specks of pistachio, carrot and dried rose petals, very pretty too. 

Carrot, Pistachio & Coconut Cake

Serves 8 - 10

3 large eggs
200g golden caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
200g ground almonds
100g desiccated coconut
2 tsp ground cinnamon
140g unsalted butter, melted
2 large carrots, coarsely grated
100g pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
icing sugar, for dusting
dried rose petals and ground pistachios (optional)
To Serve:
300ml double cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
a few drops of rose water

Heat oven to 160C / 140C fan / gas 3. Line the base and sides of a 24cm springform cake tin with baking parchment.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract together. Add the ground almonds, coconut and cinnamon, and stir before adding the butter. Mix throughly, add the grated carrots and pistachios, then mix again until all ingredients are evenly combined. Pour the mixture into your cake tin and bake for 1 hr, checking at 40 mins to ensure it's cooking evenly.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 4 hrs (or overnight) before turning out the cake onto a plate. 

Dust with a little icing sugar, then scatter with dried rose petals and pistachios, if desired. Just before serving, tip the cream, icing sugar and rose water into a bowl and whisk to soft peaks. Serve a dollop of cream alongside each slice of cake.

This cake will keep for up to one week, if covered with cling film - though the chances of it still being around for that long are slim.

Arthur's 5th Birthday {Kite} Party

21 May 2014

This weekend we threw a kite themed party to celebrate Arthur's 5th Birthday. We pitched up at the beautiful Stanmer Park and the sun shone down on us (how lucky were we?). We sent out d-i-y kite kits as invites so the kids could bring them along with any other kites that they may already own. We had 15 children with seven extra siblings and 20 adults: quite a party.

I made individual picnic lunchboxes for the kids (cheese roll, mini cheddars, mini raisin box, apple juice and a tunnocks teacake) and, for the adults, two big batches of pasties (swede & potato and spinach & ricotta). I also filled a big wicker basket with pea pods and provided brown paper bags (greengrocer style) for kids and adults alike to put their peas into. We stole the idea from all those aperitivo bars we saw in Milan last month.

As well as flying kites, trees were climbed and chocolate birthday cake was consumed. Finally we sent everyone off with a bag of sweets and a CD that we compiled especially for the occasion. Here's the track listing:

Come Fly With Me Frank Sinatra
(Fly High and) Let Me Go Gary Barlow
Up, Up & Away The 5th Dimension
Flying The Beatles
Let's Fly A Kite Mary Poppins
Little Fluffy Clouds The Orb
Up Where We Belong Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes
Move On Up Curtis Mayfield
Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite The Beatles
Eye In The Sky The Alan Parsons Project
Eight Miles High The Byrds
Higher Than The Sun Keane
Learning To Fly Pink Floyd
Fly Me To The Moon Julie London
Mr Blue Sky Electric Light Orchestra

We love playing our CD at home and I heard reports today that some of the pint-sized party-goers are forgoing CBebbies, preferring to play their CD and dancing around to Frank Sinatra at full volume! You've got to love that!

Over On Heart Home ...

20 May 2014

I am delighted to announce that I am going to be making some regular appearances over on the lovely Heart Home blog. I am combining my passion for food with my love for design to produce a series of product focused posts. Alongside my selected products I'm sharing some of my favourite food photography and recipe links. My first post is up today and you can see it here, if you fancy a peep. I hope you'll enjoy it. 

Individual Soured Cream Cakes with Butter Glaze

6 May 2014

We had an old friend to come to visit and stay over night on Saturday. We had a blast: catching up on the last few years, laughing (he's a seriously funny guy) and generally relaxing in the early summer sun that graced our weekend. For supper that evening I cooked pizzas: tomato, chilli and sweet potato; asparagus, feta and pistachio and kale, onion and parmesan, which I served with a big green salad. For pudding, I made these individual soured cream cakes with butter glaze and served them alongside berries and mascarpone. I followed this recipe from BBC Good Food.

For a while I had been wanting to create some pretty little cakes. I bought a dainty tin mould for the purpose, but no matter how much I buttered and floured the tin, the cakes would get stuck and break when I attempted to ease them out. Needless to say I gave up with that tin. It was while in Milan last month that I came across a rather pretty silicone version of the original tin. I decided to try my luck and bought it. This recipe was its big moment - would the baked cakes come out effortlessly or would they become trifle sponges? I'm pleased to say that they popped out with no effort required. I think they are really pretty. No doubt there will be other versions of these appearing on the blog in time.

On the subject of pretty things, I just had to share these photographs of my gorgeous Hydrangea. It was my impulse purchase from my local florist last week. I simply adore its colour. It's in my kitchen and every time I see it, it makes me smile. That's 'flower power' for you.