Archive | May, 2013

Lamb, roasted vegetable and couscous salad

27 May

Well B, your infamous carrot cake has been giving me cake cravings. All baked goods really. Yummo.

Whilst consuming said baked goods with a cup of tea on the verandah with the wonderful Beth, she started talking about her plans for dinner. Roasted carrots and parsnips, lamb from ‘the boys’ at the local kebab shop, couscous and an amazing dressing. Now, she HAD ME at the dressing. I promptly invited myself over, in the name of the blog of course. ALL FOR YOU, the things I do huh? It’s an iPhone photo filled post. Hope that’s OK.

plated1

Here is the finished product in all it’s glory. It is one of those, pretty easy to whip up if you have it all there, meals. Beth calls it a cheat meal, because she gets a foil container of delicious sliced lamb our much-loved Turkish Kebab House. But I call that resourceful.

I arrived to this array…

ingredients

… good A to B of Cooking reader, our Beth. She knows the drill.

To make this, you’ll need: parsnips, carrots, olive oil, onion, lemon, coriander, cumin, full cream yoghurt, honey, pistachios, couscous, and some lamb, cooked and sliced up – kebab style if you can get it. Beef would work too I reckon, but us Aussies, we love our lamb.

We peeled the parsnips and chopped them up in to a tail and a few halved sections. And the carrots in to about four pieces. A drizzle of olive oil and then a sprinkle of cumin seeds, a good pinch of salt and a grind of fresh pepper, and they were in to the oven. Toward the end we added pieces of onion, as they take less time to roast.

veggiesroast

While that was roasting, we made the dressing. Or Beth made the dressing and I watched on.

dressing1dressing2

She whisked together yoghurt, olive oil, lemon juice, ground cumin, and honey. We then tasted and added more of things to get it ‘right’. If it is too lemony, add more honey. Make sure you get a good taste of cumin too.

We prepared the couscous, which was a matter of following the pack and boiling the same volume of water as couscous, and then mixing it through and letting it sit a couple of minutes, then fluffing it with a fork.

When the veggies were nice and roasted, it was time to assemble. First the couscous, then the veggies, then some pistachios, the lamb, a generous handful of coriander, and then a smattering of the dressing.

plating1plating2plating4plating5

Put the platter in the middle of the table and serve yourself. Honestly… delicious.

plating3

Thanks Beth!

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Beth’s awesome dressing

ingredients
1 cup plain yoghurt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons honey

Whisk the ingredients together until thoroughly combined, and taste for balance.
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Roasted Veggies

ingredients
5 carrots, peeled and sliced in to four, lengthways and then across once
5 parsnips, peeled and chopped roughly to a similar size as the carrots
1 red onion, peeled and sliced in to quarters. Separate the layers

1 tablespoon (ish) oil
a good pinch of cumin seed
pinch of salt
grind of pepper

Put the carrots and parsnips in a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with the cumin, salt and pepper and bake in a 200C/390f oven until they are roasted through and just starting to brown. Add in the onion pieces and cook  for another 10 minutes or so.

Other elements —

Cook a cup of couscous
Wash a big handful of coriander
A pre-prepared serve of lamb kebab meat 

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To assemble
Start with cooked couscous, then pile on the roasted vegetables, sprinkle over the pistachios, then add the kebab meat and a good handful of washed coriander. Pour over the dressing.

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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

10 May

That sweet potato cake that Alice made looked so good. I love cakes and breads made with vegetables such as zucchini bread, pumpkin pie or carrot cake. It’s that interesting mix of the vegetables you are used to eating as a savory dish, but mixed with sugar, butter and flour they become a delicious sweet treat.

Carrot cake is my specialty. I make it quite often and as a three-layer cake, it’s quite a special and sophisticated treat with the great spices and the tender crumb.

Carrot Cake

Last weekend, I had my friend Brittany and her two girls, Cambria and June come by for a fun sleepover at my house. After a raucous time in the pool, then a good night’s sleep, the girls helped me make a carrot cake. Let me tell you, if you ever need some great entertainment, have two little girls help you bake.

Carrot Cake helpers

We trimmed and shredded the carrots. I don’t ever bother peeling the carrots I use for carrot cake. I just wash them, trim the ends off and shred them in my trusty old (emphasis on the old) food processor.

shredding carrots

We carefully measured our ingredients into the mixer

ingredients

…paying special attention to the sugar.

sugar

After all the cake ingredients were added, we scooped the shredded carrots into the mixer. As you can see, we were quite hands on with our baking.

hands on baking

I neglected to get a photo of the baking pans that Brittany very carefully greased and lined with rounds of parchment paper for me, but here’s what they looked like filled with the cake batter.

Carrot Cake in pans

While the cakes were in the oven, we mixed up everyone’s favorite part of the cake – the cream cheese icing! It’s hard to go wrong with a beautifully creamy sweet filling and topping for this moist layer cake. It’s made up of four ingredients that you cream together in a mixer.

the icing!

We just tossed all the ingredients into the mixing bowl and started mixing. As you can see below, we had quite the poof of powdered sugar that got all over the counter. If you aren’t interested in having your entire kitchen covered in a very fine layer of sugar, you may want to mix up the cream cheese, butter and vanilla FIRST, then add the powdered sugar very slowly.

creamy icing

The next step, of course, is to taste the icing. Which my helpers were VERY happy to take care of for me.

tasters

helper!

In the meantime, the cakes were finished. They made my house smelled SO GOOD!!

cooling rack

After they cooled in the pans for about fifteen minutes, I turned them out onto a cooling rack until they were completely cool. Then began assembling the cake.

one...

As easily as…

one and done

one…

second layer

…two…

three layers

…three…

fully iced

…and voila!

carrot cake cut

cake!

Of course cake is always best shared with a friend. On the patio. On a nice day.

cake!

You can serve it immediately or put it together a day ahead of time and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight for maximum moistness.

It won’t stick around for long.

gone!

Alice?

TRIPLE-LAYER CARROT CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
From Bon Apetit

Cake
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups finely grated peeled carrots (about 1 pound)
(optional) 1/2 cup chopped pecans (about 1/2 ounce)
(optional) 1/2 cup raisins

Frosting
4 cups powdered sugar
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 teaspoons vanilla extract

For cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pans with waxed or parchment paper. Lightly grease waxed paper. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and vegetable oil in bowl until combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into sugar and oil mixture. Stir in carrots, chopped pecans and raisins, if using.

Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and cakes begin to pull away from sides of pans, about 45 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 10-15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks and cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic and store at room temperature.)

For frosting:
Using electric mixer, beat all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth and creamy.

Place 1 cake layer on platter. Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with another cake layer. Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Using icing spatula, spread remaining frosting in decorative swirls over sides and top of cake. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate.) Serve cake cold or at room temperature.

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