carrots

carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting (vegan)

9th June 2021

I had my sights on a go-to celebration carrot cake that is walnut-studded and carrot-flecked, fragrant, moist and lavish with a decadent frosting.  So I revisited and reposted a recipe that was created a few years back and made a few adjustments. 

This cake uses walnuts for crunch and flavour, with a lovely warmth coming through in the cardamom and cinnamon. The cake itself is deliciously moist and it is topped with a vegan cream cheese frosting and decorated with edible flowers. 

carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting

Inspired by the much-loved Spice Cake from The Voluptuous Vegan by Myra Kornfeld.

The cardamom adds a rich warmth, so it is important to grind your own as the taste is much more fragrant, fresher and more flavour intense. 

ingredients 

1 cup/100g walnuts – divided

1 cup/120g whole-wheat flour

1 cup/120g unbleached white flour

2 tsp baking powder

1½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp fine rock salt

2 tsp cardamom powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon powder 

½ cup/110g neutral-tasting oil or mild-tasting olive oil

cup/190g maple syrup (can replace with cup/100g brown sugar)

¼ cup/45g brown sugar or coconut sugar

cup/160g almond/oat milk

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

¼ cup/50g golden raisins/dates, roughly chopped

2 cups/210g grated carrots (approx 2 medium)

cream cheese frosting

cup/60g vegan/regular butter (softened to room temperature)

1 tub (200g) Vegan Violife Cream Cheese, (available from Celeiro – out of the fridge for an hour)

cup/40g icing sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract or scrape 1 vanilla bean (halved lengthways and seeds scraped out)

prepare the cake 

1.  Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Oil a 9-inch springform pan with oil.

2.  Toast the walnuts: place them on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove half of the whole walnuts for garnishing on top (approx 23 pieces) and roughly chop the remaining (50g) to add to the cake batter – set aside.

3.  Make the cake: In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients –  flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Whisk to combine.

4.  In another medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients – oil, maple syrup, sugar, almond milk and vinegar. Whisk until the wet ingredients are emulsified. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry, whisking together just until all the dry ingredients are absorbed. Stir in the walnuts, sultanas, grated carrot- fold gently with a spatula to combine.

5.  Pour the batter into the oiled pan and bake for about 45 – 55 minutes, or until the cake is springy to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean. If the top looks like it’s getting dark, but the inside needs more time, cover loosely with aluminium foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.

6.  Prepare the frosting: Beat together the butter with a hand mixer until really soft. Add the cream cheese and beat again until well mixed. Sift over icing sugar and add the vanilla extract – beat again until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

7.  When the cake is completely cool, flip the cake over so that the top is now the bottom and spread the frosting evenly over the cake. Decorate the cake with the remaining walnuts and edible flowers.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Variation

  • Sprinkle the sides and bottom of the greased cake tin with 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds before baking.
  • If wanting to avoid the frosting, sprinkle the top with 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds and extra chopped raw walnuts before baking.

warm salad of roasted carrot, cauliflower, dal & mustard

10th January 2017

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So good to have my site back.  It had disappeared for 10 days – having it back was like having the comfort of an old friend.

We just came back from a holiday with my husband’s family travelling through parts of Kerala in the South of India.  We started in Cochin, staying in a lovely place called The Eight Bastion in Fort Kochi, where the food was exceptional and prepared by a wonderful chef who catered for all our odd dietary needs, taking such pride, care and enthusiasm in everything he prepared.  We saw the Chinese fishing nets and visited a few local churches and a Synagogue – in the heart of Fort Kochi. We then travelled high up into the hill stations of Munnar staying at a lovely resort called ‘The Spice Tree”, where we were literally up in the clouds.

We went on hikes through the plantations and saw all sorts of spices grown – peppercorns, cardamom, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and even had a go at cutting and harvesting rice. The evening sunset walks were particularly special, enjoying the breath-taking views down into the valley.  The last part of our trip was exploring the backwaters. We spent a day on one of the typical house-boats made of teak and bamboo – observing how the local people lived on the water, using the river to bathe, to wash their clothes and dishes, as a source of food and transport and everything in between.  We watched palm tree after palm tree pass us by, paddy fields and colourful houses and a romantic way of life that seems unchanged for centuries.  This is the beauty of Kerala.

For the last 25 years, we have been travelling to India, and this was the first time as a tourist, rather than a budding yoga practitioner.  India as always, presented her magic and opened all our hearts – it was a truly memorable and magical trip.

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~ Chinese fishing nets in a bright sky at Fort Cochin

~ Tea Plantations taken from the bus window at the end of a winding, five-hour journey, Munnar

~ Domestic chores along the river, Kumarakom

~ Water, vegetation and sky all become one, Backwaters

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a warm salad of roasted carrot cauliflower, dal & mustard

Recipe slightly adapted from Grown and Gathered.

Don’t be shy with the kale greens, just make it green and lots of it.  I love how the carrot adds a splash of colour; roasted beets would also work.  I serve it with a whole avocado, sliced and spread into a fan, and slices of grilled halloumi. It is also great with a bowl of hummus.  A welcomed dish to take along to a lunch or dinner.

Serves 4, as a side dish or 2 as a main.

ingredients 

400g carrots or Baby (Dutch) tops trimmed to 2cm

½ head/400g cauliflower

½ cup/100g whole moong dal (mung beans)

3 cups water

120g kale, mustard greens, chard, spinach, coarsely chopped

mustard dressing 

1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp brown sugar/jaggery/honey

zest from two lemons

vinaigrette 

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

4 Tbsp lemon juice (1 large lemon)

½ tsp fine rock salt

⅛ tsp ground black pepper

1 Tbsp honey/sugar (optional)

preparation 

1.  Preheat the oven to 190 C/ 375F.

2.  Cut the cauliflower into rough 4 cm florets, and peel the carrots and cut into matchsticks, about 5 cm in length and place in a large bowl – set aside.

3. In a mortar and pestle, grind the mustard seeds until about half are ground and half are cracked; add the remaining dressing ingredients and continue to grind gently until combined.

4.  Pour the dressing over the cauliflower and carrot and toss, using your hands until thoroughly combined.

5. Spread the vegetables out on a baking tray in a single layer and roast for 45min – 1 hour, or until the vegetables are just beginning to blacken around the edges.

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6.  Wash the dal and place in a saucepan with the water, bring to a rapid simmer and leave, uncovered until they are tender – about 20 – 30 minutes. Just keep in mind you may have to add more water when cooking – depending on the quality of your dal. You really need to keep an eye on them and judge so that you are not left with mush. You want the dal firm, but cooked. When ready, pour into a strainer to drain off any excess water – leave for a few minutes.

7.  Prepare the vinaigrette – place the oil, lemon juice, zest, honey, salt and pepper in a jar. Seal with a lid and shake well.  Set aside.

8.  Remove the stem from the kale, mustard and chard, and roughly chop, then lightly saute in a skillet, turn off the heat and cover for a few minutes until just wilted.

9.  Place in a large salad bowl, pour over the vinaigrette, add the cooked dal and toss gently.  The heat from the dal will help soften the leaves even more – set aside for the flavours to come together while the vegetables are still roasting.

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10.  When the vegetables are ready, add them to the marinated greens and dal and gently combine. Garnish the top with a large avocado, sliced and spread out into a fan, then add a few good rounds of freshly ground pepper and serve immediately.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

carrot moong dal soup – a winter warming soup

6th December 2015

I thought I would re-visit this soup, as it is one I make most often in the colder months and a particular favourite of Donna’s.  It is also very quick and easy to prepare and has such simple flavours and warmth due to the pepper and ginger, keeping us nourished and grounded in these colder months.  Dry roasting and roughly grinding your own spices make all the difference to bring out the flavours, don’t be tempted to skip this process.

Out of all the pulses, moong dal (green gram) is one I use most often; as it has a calming, cooling and balancing effect on all dosha’s.  It is also very cleansing and medicinal.  The tomatoes can easily be omitted if desired; as the lemon juice adds the acidity that this soup requires.

A few memorable images from our recent retreat in India.

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– Sri Ramana Maharshi Ashram

– Banyan Tree, Firefly Resort

– Illuminating cloudscape

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carrot moong dal soup

The original recipe is from Yamuna Devi’s, The Vegetable Table.  It is a little worn and splotched on most pages from over-enthusiastic use.  A great book to start with when wanting to cook good, wholesome Indian meals without the addition of onion or garlic.  There is also a sense of devotional cooking in all the recipes which I really like.

This is my version of her soup with a few changes.  The original recipe uses split moong dal (yellow) which results in a lighter soup. I particularly prefer using the whole moong for a heartier Winter soup.

Serves 4

Preparation – 45 mins

ingredients 

1 cup whole moong dal

8 cups water

4 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

3 whole cardamom pods (peeled and seeds crushed)

1-inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp whole coriander seeds

1 small plum tomato, finely chopped

¼ cup coriander leaves, finely chopped

2 Tbsp lemon juice, or more to taste

1 tsp fine rock salt

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

voggarane

1 – 2 Tbsp ghee

 tsp asafoetida powder

1 dried chilli, torn in half

6 fresh curry leaves

⅛ tsp turmeric powder

preparation

1.  In a medium pot, wash the dal until it runs clear, drain, refill with water, add the carrots, ginger, and cardamom pods and bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer, partly cover and cook until the dal is soft – 30 – 40 minutes.

2.  In a small pan over moderate heat, dry roast the cumin and coriander seeds until golden and deeply fragrant, allow to cool, then place in a mortar and pestle, and grind into a rough powder.

3.  Add to the dal with the tomatoes, coriander, lemon juice, salt and pepper – turn off the heat.

prepare the voggarane

4.  In a small pan over medium heat, add the ghee, asafoetida powder and chilli – fry for a few seconds, then add the curry leaves and turmeric powder, fry for a few more seconds, remove from heat and pour into the soup.  

5. Taste, adding more salt or lemon if needed.  I find the lemon juice and freshly ground pepper bring this soup together, so you may want to add more.  Drizzle with a spoon of melted ghee when serving.

Serve with your favourite bread toasted and a bowl of guacamole, or if trying to avoid bread make a pot of red rice or quinoa and serve a spoon in each bowl of soup.

Goodness shared from Stacey

green split pea & carrot soup

24th April 2011

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green split pea & carrot soup

Inspired by warm days and chilly evenings.

Sometimes I add ½ tablespoon curry powder and ½ cup coconut milk and replace the dill with fresh coriander – this is also a really nice combination.

ingredients 

1 cup dried green split pea, soaked overnight

3 medium carrots, roughly chopped

4 cups water

½ cup frozen green peas

handful fresh dill and parsley

salt and pepper

drizzling of olive oil/ghee

preparation 

1.  In a soup pot, place the rinsed green split peas, carrots and 4 cups of water/stock, bring to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1 hour, or until the peas are soft.

2.  If you have freshly picked peas or frozen add these to the soup and simmer for 5 minutes – turn off the heat and add the fresh herbs.

3.  With a hand blender, roughly puree the soup until the desired texture is achieved.  At this stage, I tend to add a little more water, but be careful as you don’t want the soup to be too watery.

4.  Taste the soup, and add salt and freshly ground pepper as needed.

When serving, drizzle a little olive oil/ghee over the soup.

Goodness inspired from Stacey

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