Sunday, March 27, 2011

Kitchen Basics - Basil Pesto

Basil pesto is easy. Really, really easy. You don't have to cook it, just throw everything into a small food processor and blitz it - it's easy to increase the amount (if you're having a dinner party) or make a very small amount of you're cooking for just yourself.

Basil Pesto
Serves 2

1 garlic clove
40g pine nuts
50g basil leaves
3 tbsp parmesan, grated
1/4 cup olive oil
1-2 tbsp lemon juice

Literally just put all these ingredients in a food processor and turn it on. You can blitz it until it's completely smooth, or leave it slightly chunky - it's entirely up to you.

Spoon the pesto over 200g of cooked pasta and mix it in well then serve with a big glass of chilled white wine (or a ginger ale if wine isn't your thing. ;p )

Friday, March 18, 2011

Childhood Birthday Cakes

I recently heard the news that the Australian Women's Weekly is reprinting their Children's Birthday Cake Book - this book was a staple in our house and every year I would eagerly flick through the book and choose the birthday cake I wanted Mum to make for me.

This post is a nostalgic trip down memory lane for me and I wanted to share the cakes the Mum made for her children during the 1980s.

Did your Mum use the AWW Childrens Birthday Cake Book?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Carrot Cake

Apologies for the prolonged break in recipe blogging - we were busy moving house but we've now settled into our new place and regular programming shall now continue.

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I've always been a big fan of carrot cake ever since I was a kid (although Mum was more into making melting moments and jam tarts) and I've finally found the ultimate recipe. It's moist, packed with flavour and contains a vegetable (always a bonus, it helps to cancel out all the sugar. ;p )

Carrot Cake

1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups soft brown sugar
3 eggs
3 cups grated carrot
1 cup chopped walnuts
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
2 1/4 cups self-raising flour
1 1/2 tspn bi-carb soda
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin.

In a large bowl beat together the vegetable oil, brown sugar and eggs for 5 minutes or until the mixture looks creamy.

With a wooden spoon stir in the grated carrot, walnuts and fruit zest then stir in flour, bi-carb and cinnamon.

Tip the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 30 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the tin then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely before icing it.

Cream Cheese Icing

40g butter
120g soft cream cheese
1/2 tspn vanilla extract
2 cups icing sugar

Cream the butter for a minute then add the cream cheese, vanilla and 1 cup of icing sugar. Beat the icing with an electric mixer for 4 minutes then add the second cup of icing sugar and beat for a further 4 minutes. Spread the icing over the cake then sprinkle with some brown sugar or a little more cinnamon.

Enjoy a really big slice of this cake with a cup of tea or coffee. :)