January 30, 2010

24 Carrot Gold Cake

Carrot Cake is one of those things that you feel good eating. If ever I want to do some 'healthy' baking I make a carrot cake. I actually made this recipe using beetroot instead of carrots before and the raw mixture was dramatically pink, it looked amazing. A rich magenta flecked with vermilion, I loved it. But after half an hour grating beetroot my hands were blushing for a week and the colour did fade once the cake was cooked. So I'll stick with carrots for now.

I love cakes that don't require half an hour of beating butter and sugar till light & fluffy, give me an oil based recipe any day! The cream cheese frosting is gorgeous and cool with the dense moist cake. Perfect with a cup of tea, or for a rabbits' birthday party of course!

8oz plain flour
6oz wholemeal flour
2 tsp bread soda
pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
13fl oz sunflower oil
9oz caster sugar
4 free range eggs
3 medium carrots, grated
A handful of chopped walnut pieces


  • Preheat your oven to 180C. Line two 2lb loaf tins.
  • Mix the oil, sugar, eggs, salt and cinnamon together in a large bowl.
  • Fold in the flours, along with the sifted baking powder and bread soda.
  • Add all of the coarsely grated carrots and the walnut pieces.
    Bake for about an hour or until a skewer comes out clean.
For the icing you can mix a little tub of cream cheese with a dash of vanilla and a shake of icing sugar. Press walnut halves onto the top just like I did in the picture. Gorgeous!
Lilly x

January 24, 2010

Take a seat...

I’ve been obsessed since I was about fourteen about getting a telephone seat. A small table to rest your phone and a cup of tea on and a little seat so you can sit down and chat. I’ve come close to buying a few over the years but then on 16th January at 3.23pm I found this in my local second hand furniture place. Horrible looking but so practical. You can lift up the seat and there’s a load of storage in the base of it. The basic shape of it is cute, its sturdy and it has loads of potential. My golden rule with all bargain hunting is: Show no emotion. Act as if you are doing the seller a favour by taking this piece of junk off their hands. After a bit of coy haggling I payed €30 for it.
Also I dated it, I pulled out the drawer and found a stamp saying 13th February 1978. A little trick I learnt on The Antiques Roadshow.

January 20, 2010

Old School Coffee Cake

There's nothing like coffee cake. A slice of this with a cup of coffee is absolutely gorgeous and inexplicably nostalgic (I never ate it as a child!). It's very easy and if you are going to bake a cake for someone as a present then this is the one to make!

225g (8oz) butter
225g (8oz) caster sugar
4 free range eggs
200g (7oz) self raising flour
1 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
5tsp instant coffee granules
dissolved in 5tbsp water

225g (8oz) soft butter
450g (16oz) icing sugar
4tsp instant coffee dissolved in 4tbsp water
toasted almond flakes
walnut halves

Serves 10-12

  • Method
    Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
    Alot of people just throw the butter and sugar into the bowl and beat like mad. The key to this cake is to have the butter so soft it's almost melting.
    If you’re using a mixer then mix the butter for a while on its own just to soften it up. Then gradually add your sugar. Once beaten with the caster sugar the mixture becomes incredibly light.

  • Next add your eggs one by one. Mix it really well after each addition.

  • Then fold in the sifted flour and cocoa powder. When its half mixed add the coffee and then continue folding the flour and egg mix together gently. A flexible spatula is good for this.

  • Put this glorious smelling mix into two well greased and floured 8 inch sandwich cake tins. Bake until you press the top with your finger and its springs up to say "I’m done!". Usually around 30 minutes.

  • Cool on a wire tray. When cold cut in half through the centre, horizontally.

  • Beat the butter, sugar and coffee together till thick and creamy.

  • Sandwich the 4 layers together with half the butter icing. Spread some icing on the sides of the cake. Layer the almonds around the sides. Spread a thin layer of icing on top and then place the remaining icing into a piping bag and pipe a lattice design across the top of the cake. Decorate with walnuts.

Lilly x

January 19, 2010

It's cheesy but I love it

It's my first blog and I'm as nervous as you are. Welcome! Lets make ourselves at home! My granny always said put butter on the paws of a nervous kitten and by the time he has licked off the butter he'll have calmed down. My dairy sedative of choice is Cheese!

I've always liked a strong cheddar and never strayed from that path. But in 2007 and I did the 3 month Ballymaloe cookery course (it was amazing) and fuelled my passion for food. To cut a long story short I learnt about cheese and now appreciate how gorgeous it is. I can now genuinely taste grass from a young raw cheese!

Anyway a few months ago I got membership to Sheridans Cheese club as a birthday present for my lovely boy,Colm. Well its the gift that just keeps giving, every month we get a sizable box with four precious cheeses nestled in straw. And they also supply tasting notes, excellent!

Sheridans Cheesemongers is a brilliant company and I could blab away about how they started at a stall in the Galway market in 1995, out selling cheese in the lashing rain but you can read about them here.

This month we got:

Persille Du Marais: A goats milk blue cheese from Bordeaux.A finely balanced flavour between sharp and sweet.

Shandrum: A young cows milk cheese with a black rind and delicate flavour from Charleville in Cork.

Explorateur: A luxurious triple cream cheese from France. It has a salty mushroomy tang and is creamy and indulgent.

Mont D'or: A raw cows milk cheese from Franche-Comte.

We did just what Sheridans suggested with the Mont D'or. I made a little slit in the rind and pushed in a few cloves of garlic, a splash of white wine and a sprig of thyme. Then baked it with the lid on for15 minutes in an moderate oven. It was unbelievable with crusty white bread and it made the realisation that Christmas is over a little easier to handle.

The beautiful cheese dome is from Kiltrea Pottery in Enniscorthy, Co.Wexford. It's made using native Irish clay and stays brilliantly cool. The wooden base is such lovely quality and the dome sits perfectly on top. It's such a gorgeous piece of pottery yet it's still so functional, I love it!

You can read all about the talented Michael Roche of Kiltrea Pottery here.

So i guess that's my first post. I feel more at home already, I hope you do too!

Lilly x