Carrot Cake


I am a lover of tea but again serious critic of what goes down my throat. Why? Foodies understand this struggle. It is not that easy to explain. It is just how some of us are wired. So, I do plain water at 10am while my colleagues do tea and herbal tea at 4pm instead. Just… #MyPreference.

The strangest thing is I have been craving crunchy or sweet food at 4pm on the dot for the last 2 weeks and have been secretly giving in. So yesterday, I decided, why should I be eating processed versions of what my kitchen can produce without the stabilizers and sodium nitrate preservatives.

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Hence, the carrot cake with 100% natural ingredients i.e. Vegetable oil, carrots, eggs, cinnamon, sugar, flour and sugar.

Yes, the craving knocked at my office door at the expected time and the carrot cake answered.

#FoodieStruggles #FoodieLife

Ingredients

1 cup sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs ½ tsp vanilla essence or extract

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

11/2 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups grated carrot

 

Combine sugar and vegetable oil in a mixing bowl and add in one egg at time, folding it in well.

Add vanilla.

In another bowl, sieve together the dry ingredients i.e. flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

Add the oil and sugar mixture to the dry ingredients and gently fold in together until it is well mixed.

Add in the grated carrot & mix well.

Pour into a greased pan and bake at 175C for approximately 35 minutes or when a toothpick comes out clean. Practically, my cake took an hour to cook. My oven may be old or faulty but that is just my experience with this part of the recipe.

 Let it cool before removing from the pan because it is delicate i.e. very soft and moist even after it has cooled down. You would not want a large chunk of your cake remaining in your baking pan because of the steam generated while the cake is still hot.

 

How to ice…the original recipe indicated cream cheese icing which is just…ahem…..cream cheese is expensive and not a guarantee that it will be a hit with my toddlers so I flew past that section and I will quote my dear son, like a Subaro (as my son pronounces it)…..

Either way, the original recipe used to be here but the page is unresponsive.

The cake is slightly over 1kg when it has cooled down. This rich, soft, moist and flavorful cake is just the one.

Maybe i should baptize it a new name……(drum rolls)….Delilah cake. A real temptation it is. In fact, I am tempted to head back to the kitchen right now and make another one.

The other challenge of the #FoodieLife is that the same recipe does not give you the same results the second time round i.e. the cake will still be superb but something will just be different.

Anyone who understands this will surely relate to my #FoodieStruggles.

 

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Movie night snacks


We have a tradition in our house to do movies every Friday night with the kids…even if we are repeating the same movie for the umpteenth time. This is purely time exclusively set aside for the kids with no rules about sleep time or who should give us the memory verse for the evening.

During such nights we get to learn who got involved in a fight & why, latest Swahili vocabulary that our kids have learned, the new kids on the block & general stuff that we have failed to notice in the course of the week. Dinner is served 30 minutes early i.e. at 5.30 pm, homework follows shortly after & then movies start at 7.30pm after the last parent has checked in.

The movie has to be either a cartoon or simple comedy so that we can be able to find a quick answer when the sing along  tune of ‘why?’ questions. To accompany these answers everyone has their own bowl of popcorns which is sometimes accompanied by home-made fried ground nuts. Yes…sometimes coz nuts are pretty costly. On that note, if you happen to know where to get good quality nuts at a pocket friendly rate in Mombasa…let me know because consumers in the house are breathing fire up my neck with the latest reason being ‘ lakini mum si ulisema niko na apetite’ ( but mum you said that i have an apetite!).

For the popcorns you need;

a handful of popcorns

1/4 cup oil

2 tablespoons butters

salt

 

Heat up your pan at high heat and add the oil

Add you popcorns only after the oil starts smoking. Ensure the popcorns are covered with the oil.

Add salt & butter then cover. They should start popping almost immediately.

After 30 seconds, turn down the heat to medium and let it pop for a 1-2 minutes.

Shake the pan & remove from heat after 30 seconds.

Let it sit for 2 minutes before serving.

 

Groundnuts

groundsnut-before (www.peanut-machine.com)

Using a wide pan, add some oil & let it smoke.

Add your nuts and continually stir.

When they start making a crackling noise, turn down the heat & continue stirring.

Remove from the heat once they become a shade darker.

This is a very quick process & does not take more than 3 minutes.

Be careful not to burn them …..lol!

Immediately remove from the pan and onto a flat tray or wide plate covered with a serviette or kitchen towel to drain the oil.

sprinkle with salt & let it cool down before serving.

 groundnuts-after(http://www.peanut-machine.com)

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‘Aha’ chicken


Picture this…….

 

You are a corporate foodie like me. You have a corporate career in the pipeline and you love to cook but you are having one of those low kitchen moments where you don’t want to cook and neither are your taste buds tempting you to try out something new. You are glad that for once in a long time you left the office before 6pm and you deliberately switch off your phone so that you can catch up with your books, Bible & family within the 5 or so hours deadline to sleep. So, you knock off your heels, throw your handbag to the corner and you sleep on the bed facing the fan and it feels good….no, it feels awesome. You get carried away and for a moment, you close your eyes to savor the moment & drift off to a blank, happy box at the back of your mind.

When you open your eyes, it is quarter to seven. Your appetite & all desire to cook is still amiss but the hunger pangs are still present.

 

Begrudgingly, you pick yourself up and head to the kitchen. When you open the fridge, the fridge light reminds you of a deadline that you missed that very day & all joy is somehow short lived. What next? Drive back to the office and hit the deadline so as to fit in your corporate definition of under-promise and over-deliver or should you let it slide?.….’I am human at the end of the day’….you console yourself. The cold air from the fridge feels so refreshing with this equinox drama that is making Mombasa heat feel as if you are wearing a suit in a sauna & this thought brings you back to the reality that your tummy still needs something for the night. All that is present in the fridge is uncooked whole chicken, leftover rice, milk, butter and bread.

 

An ‘aha’ moment kicks in. A new quick fix recipe has been born………………..….

 

Ingredients (cook time 1hr)

Whole chicken

Rice boiled with clove & cardamom (leftovers from the fridge)

Raisins, a handful

1-2 cardamom pieces

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon mixed herbs

3- 4 large potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 medium sized beetroot, diced

3 tomatoes, whole

2 onions, quartered

Salt

 

Preheat the oven to 200C.

As the oven heats up, rub the paprika, salt (a pinch), herbs, black pepper and butter mix inside & out of the chicken evenly.

Mix the raisins & cardamom with the leftover rice and stuff it inside the chicken.

Line a baking tray with foil and place the tomatoes, beetroot, onion and potatoes to make a bed for the chicken to rest upon.

Lightly spread a pinch of salt and pepper over the potato bed, place the chicken on top & put it in the oven.

After 15 mins, reduce the temperature to 175C & let it bake for the remaining 45 mins.

After 50 mins of the total baking time, pierce the thigh, wing or somewhere next to the bone. If the juices run clear, your bird is ready.

Remove the chicken, place on a dish & cover with foil for 15-20 minutes to finish off the baking.

Serve the potato bed mix with the rice stuffing, and use the chicken juices as soup with the chicken.

Any leftover chicken can be shredded & used for salad or reheated for a repeat meal.

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