Gluten, Dairy & Nut Free Carrot Cake

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The dreadful winter we had here in the UK has a lot to answer for including a distinct lack of springtime veg. However the seemly never ever ending cold snap also meant an endless supply of fab root veg. Carrots have made an almost weekly appearance in our veg box since way before Christmas, and after playing around with my trusty Vitamix I have finally conjured up a suitably tasty carrot cake.

I have a good friend who has a nut allergy, and this was inspired by having her over for tea last week. She loved it, and my hubby was so impressed I’ve had to make two more cakes since!

Ingredients (for 8 decent slices):
400g peeled and finely grated carrots
4 free range eggs
240ml coconut oil and extra for greasing
100g dried apricots – the dark brown organic ones are best as they will be sulphite free
100g raisins
50g desiccated coconut
Tsp cinnamon
Tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp honey

Method:
– preheat your oven to 170C fan/180C non-fan/350F/GM4 and grease a 20cm cake tin or silicone mould with coconut oil

– whisk your eggs and oil by hand or in your blender until really creamy, then add the cinnamon and vanilla incorporating well

– finely chop the apricots and place in a large bowl, add the raisins, coconut and grated carrot. Mix well

– pour your wet mixture over the top and give it all one last big stir

– pour into the prepared tin and bake for an hour

– remove from the oven, and prick all over lightly with a fork then drizzle over the honey

– leave to cool before serving with cream, ice-cream or yoghurt

– keep leftovers in the fridge

Korean Style Pork

20120708-183508.jpg

Cooking day #2 – cue kids kicking off left right and centre, baby unwell and it pouring with rain (even though it’s now July). Amid the chaos however, something wonderful was created in the kitchen…

Ingredients (8-12 servings):
2kg of pork shoulder or leg
750ml stock
4 carrots
Small swede
Handful of fresh coriander
6 shallots
6 cloves of garlic
50ml tamari
2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 tbsp fish sauce
Tbsp sesame oil
Tbsp lime juice
Star anise

Method:
– preheat the oven to 160 degrees

– peel the carrots and swede and chop into bite size chunks, chuck into a large ovenproof pot, along with the star anise. Cube the meat and place on top of the veg

– put all the other ingredients except the stock into your blender and whizz to a paste, add a touch of stock if the blender is resisting

– pour the paste over the meat and veg and give it a good coat with your hands, then pour over the stock

– cook in the oven with the lid on for three hours, and a further hour with the lid off. The meat will literally fall apart at this stage and the veggies will be super tender

– this dish freezes well so put some away for a super quick meal another time. The pic below was the meal I made with leftovers (served with spinach and roasted aubergine & broccoli)