Carrot Cake – Best Ever

Here’s a recipe for an excellent carrot cake. ‘Mega good and keeps for ages’ I have scrawled next to the blotchy ‘typed on a typewriter’ (how quaint) recipe.

It can’t be that old it comes with metric measurements as well

9 0z/250g wholemeal flour

60z/175g raw brown sugar (dark)

3 size 3 eggs (I just use 3 whatever size eggs I’ve got)

6 fl oz or 175ml sunflower oil

2 fl oz or 55ml soured cream or plain yoghurt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla essence

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2 level teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

11oz/300g grated carrots

30z/75g desiccated coconut

Pre-heat oven to gas mark 2/ 300 degree F /150 degrees C

You will need one 8 inch round tin or square or rectangular equivalent, lined with greaseproof paper, and two mixing bowls.

In the first bowl place the eggs, oil, vanilla essence and soured cream or yoghurt, then sieve the sugars into to avoid lumps (I never bother – yes the brown sugars do tend to lumps but I just stir vigourously, sifting sugar is really dull, there are better thing to do with time)

Into the other bowl you sift the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, soda and salt.

Now beat the wet ingredients and sugars together, then fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the carrots and then the coconut. Mix well to distribute everything evenly and spoon into cake tin (lined) back in centre shelf for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (I’ve never left it that long but then I have a fan oven – it’s usually done in an hour but stick a dry spagetti stick in and if it comes out clean, it’s cooked)

For the topping

40z/110g unsalted butter

1 x 300g tub of cream cheese

5oz/150g of icing sugar sieved

Walnut halves to decorate

I find this makes way too much so I slice the cake in half and put it in the middle of the cake as well as on top which is very indulgent. You could just make less topping.

Enjoy! It’s not a cake, it’s one of your ‘five a day’.

Chocolate Brownies by Nigella, slightly rewritten

This version of Nigella’s recipe came to me from my friend Edwina. I laughed till I cried. Enjoy.

225g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), 225g butter (just wipe the other 25g left in the packet straight onto your hips), 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 200g caster sugar, 3 eggs, 150g ground almonds, 100g chopped walnuts.  Oven 170 degrees C.
1. Melt choc and butter over low heat in a heavy based saucepan.  Toss hair and simper sexily whilst poking with a wooden spoon.  Envisage oneself as true domestic goddess.  Help children to practice their mandarin or quadratic equations.
2. Take pan off heat, try to mix in vanilla and sugar.  Realise that your pan is too small and transfer mixture to large bowl.  Spill half of mixture randomly.  Answer the door and the phone.  ensure chocolatey goo is transferred equally between door handles, phone and your hair.  Clean up slimy sugary, mess over kitchen surface.  Lick fingers then realise that you are eating pure fat. Swear to become a vegan and live an aesthetic life.  Let mixture cool.  Slip on buttery choc mix on floor.  Swear at the dog who is trying to lick it up.  Mop up dog wee (because you shouted at her).  Wash hands.
3. Beat in the eggs, ground almonds and chopped walnuts.  Turn into 24cm square baking tin.  Hand bowl to ravenous children to lick out.  Mop brow and make large gin and tonic.  Have a cigarette on the back door step. 
4. Bake for 25 minutes.  Go to the loo ensuring you transfer chocolatey gooey mess from your slippers to stair carpet and leave ominous looking lumps of brownie mixture and skidmarks round toilet.  Have intelligent conversation about stocks and shares with rich advertising executive husband.   Middle should still be gooey (middle of brownie, not husband)
5. Cut into squares.
6. Tell children that they are only allowed penguin biscuits made from floor sweepings and e numbers and this is far too good for them.
7. Apply dressings to wounds inflicted on you by starving children.
Well, some of the above happened to me whilst I was making them!  (But not the rich advertising exec husband….)

P.S The recipe does work, really rich brownies

An easy way to healthy snacking

An article in this week’s Guardian was brought to my attention by The Sophia Network saying that teenage girls have the worst diets in the country. Apparently the more time you spend reading diet magazines about taking care of your body the more likely you are to be drinking sweet fizzy drink and eating high fat snacks.
What a stark example of the gap between aspiration and reality.
When my kids were teenagers I had a list inside the kitchen cupboard, the one they were most likely to open when they went to ‘graze’ for food. It said ‘Things you can eat when you are hungry’ and it included all the healthy things they could find in the kitchen to satisfy the ‘munchies’. Of course, the tricky bit was that you had to actually have those things in the cupboard and not have all the high-fat, high-sugar stuff. I never quite managed that!
Now my kids have grown up they don’t seem to have suffered that badly from an inconsistent mother but I have found a new way of ensuring that there are healthy snacks in my own cupboard for me. I have started having weekly boxes delivered from Each one costs £3 and contains four self contained snacks which I can choose from a huge selection. I loathe olives so I immediately took all of their olive snacks off my personal list. You can have dried fruit or fresh, lots of varieties of nuts and crackers and at 75p a snack it’s not much more than a chocolate bar and whole lot better for you. It’s fun not knowing what they might send and trying new things. You can rate each snack on how much you like or you can say the equivalent of ‘yuck, don’t send me this again!’.
If you’d like to try you can use this code and you’ll get your first box free and your second one half price. You can tell them to stop sending them any time
The code is: D4TMRPY

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

No eggs? No margarine? No problem. Make a ‘chocolate mayonnaise cake’. You do need mayonnaise mind you (the clue is in the title).
Is this good for you? No but it’s fun and it definetely has a ‘feel good factor’

You need
10 oz self raising flour (yes, I know really old recipe with imperial measurements, go figure it out on the internet if you’re too young to know)
8 oz sugar
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
7 oz mayonnaise
4 tbsps cocoa
8 fluid oz boiling water
1 tsp vanilla essence

For icing: 2 tsp coffee
2 tsp cocoa
2 tbsp hot water ( I used more)
3oz marg (oops I said you didn’t needn’t need marg)
8oz icing sugar

Make a 7″ cake.
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and mayo. Dissolve the cocoa in boiling water, gently stir into mix with vanilla essence till blended. Turn into greased tin (good idea to line it as well) bake at 180 degrees C for about 1 hr (ish). Cool before removing. For icing: dissolve coffee and cocoa in hot water, cream together with the marg and icing sugar and beat in cocoa liquid. Spread over top and sides. Lick bowl, feel delightfully self-indulgent. Clean up mess.
Share with friends. Forget about calories.