Day to Day Stuff

In My Kitchen – March 2015

Welcome to my kitchen for the month of March.

I’ve been quite good this month and haven’t spent too much of my time buying things for my kitchen, more so being gifted fresh produce and baking like a champion. It seems like February/March is a time for figs and carrots. I know carrots aren’t in season, but when one is gifted 3 bags of carrots you do not look the gift horse in the mouth, nor do you feed the gift horse carrots. In fact, one makes carrot cakes. And I’ve made 9 carrot cakes in 4 weeks.

So, let’s see what’s in my kitchen (or was before they were eaten) for the month of March.

Carrot cake number 1.

Was perhaps the most simplest of all the carrot cakes I made, yet seemed to get the most rave reviews. I chose the recipe from BBCGoodFood, but didn’t bother with the nutmeg, raisins or orange zest, and substituted brown sugar for the muscovado. I also made a simple lemon icing sugar mixture so my boss who is allergic to dairy, could eat it. I poked holes in the cake with a skewer and poured the runny icing over the top and it managed to seep into the cake. This made the cake so damn moist it was ridiculous. Lemony sweet sticky goodness. Topped with port cinnamon roasted figs (more on these below). Twas a truly simple but delicious treat. I made two and SO had one for his birthday cake. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

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Carrot cake number 2

Was a half arsed attempt at Not Quite Nigella’s stunning fig love cake with a Gorgonzola cream cheese icing. I didn’t have the ingredients for her gluten free orange cake, and thought that the carrot cake base would suit the blue cheese earthiness of the icing. And while it was all eaten and declared to be delicious, by my friend The Chef, the consensus was that I’d gone a little heavy handed with the Gorgonzola. Or maybe the carrot cake was too light for such a seriously decadent icing? It’s neither here nor there, but I loved making it and will probably try the legit recipe of Lorraine’s again.

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Topped with the tangy earthy blue cheese icing (I keep typing blue cheese dressing), and more of my dad’s stunning port roasted figs, and some Canberra Essential Ingredients Fleur de Salade I received last year. It made a beautiful spectacle and I loved how it looked together. Wow, even I, my own worst critic, thought it quite spectacular.

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Carrot cake numbers 3 and 4

Were a Carrot Cakeoff. Two different recipes, same icing, so the taste test was on the recipes. And I’m glad to say neither of them won. It was split evenly 5 to 5 votes. Everyone in my team got to try both cakes (poor them) and I could not make anyone change their minds so there was a clear winner. If I was going to vote, I’d go with the lighter spiced cake from Claire K’s Creations Best Ever Carrot Cake as I liked the freshness of the ground cardamom, and lightness of the cake crumb.

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Number 3 I followed the recipe pretty much to a T except I replaced the cardamom with freshly ground pods and only used 1/2 tsp, adding plenty of spice to the cake, and subbed the castor sugar for brown sugar, as I never seem to replace castor sugar when I shop? It’s made the cake a little darker, more caramel, but I like that. A standard cream cheese frosting on top, with lime zest sprinkled for a little zing. How pretty is this cake?

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A light cake, perfectly spiced and what all voted would be perfect for morning tea with a nice cup of tea.

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Cake number 4 has been deemed a special occasion, festive cake. I used the BBC recipe above but added a cup of currants soaked in 1/4c spiced Rum (Yum), subbed sugar for dark muscovado sugar and 2Tb of treacle to up up the dark pirateyness of the cake. The spiced rum could definitely be tasted, just the right amount of alcohol, well done me.

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Carrot cake number 5

Cupcakes. Flat carrot cupcakes. Didn’t matter, because with a sprinkling of icing sugar, these simple cupcakes were demolished by the kids and SO within 2 days.
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And with those 5, and some non-photographed carrot cakes, 3 bags of carrots were finished. Did I tell you why I was given 3 bags of carrots? My work colleague ordered 3 carrots online with Woolies, not realising she’d ordered 3 bags, and Voila, carrots coming out her you-know-whatsit.

Also in my kitchen this March are more of my dad’s figs. This time they were roasted with a cup of port and a tsp of cinnamon and were eaten adorning cakes, as above… IMG_0149

…this little one was eaten warm out of the oven with some gorgonzola and a glass of Eden Road Shiraz (my absolute favourite local wine at the moment), whilst I waited for the above cakes to bake. Why not eh…

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…these were doused in Montrose Berry Farm boysenberry vinegar and a little black pepper, with a Rymill sauvignon blanc, being the first time I’ve enjoyed this sauv blanc, and it won’t be the last. I love finding new wines that then become firm favs. Afternoon tea…

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…and tonight’s fig, 30 minutes off the tree, balsamic glaze, cream and a Hardy’s Classic Tawny. This went down a real treat while I was writing this blog post.

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Not fig or carrot related, in my kitchen this March is a lovely hand glazed plate that I’ve “borrowed” from my mother. It will be returned to her one day, but whilst I “need” it for props, it stays. I’m sure she won’t mind as she’s usually a recipient of whatever food item will be posed on it.

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In my kitchen is a set of hand painted pottery mugs and matching plates, bought for a grand total of $10 from Vinnies. I gave the house an Autumn clean this weekend and took a whole lot of baby blankets and boys things to Vinnies and thought I’d trawl for vintage/retro cool props while I was there. I love them. I’ve not bought pottery before, and have always envied my mothers vast collection, so I couldn’t resist. Now I shall be obsessed with finding out who created these groovy retro items in the hopes that they’re actually hand made by some famous potter (not Harry) and are worth $50, at least! Anyway, they hold a great cup of coffee and I feel very bohemian drinking out of them.

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And last but not least in my kitchen this March is a bunch of bottles of Hardy’s wines that I purchased at the Hardy’s wine dinner at Peppercress in Tuggeranong. I totally forgot that I’d ordered them but was equally pleased that I had. The Oomoo Shiraz is lovely, and with 3 bottles of it, I’ll be drinking some very reasonably priced Shiraz for the whole month, maybe a little longer.

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That’s it for me and this month of March. Check out the lovely, friendly Celia, from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, who cordially hosts this linkup every month. Such fun checking out what all the other bloggers across the world get up to each month.

22 thoughts on “In My Kitchen – March 2015

  1. Lots of pretty and yummy goodies here Fran! Your carrot cakes sound good – especially the one with rum 🙂 This is the first year my fig tree has had a real crop, aren’t they an awesome fruit, especially with more booze! Xo

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  2. Fran, that is a fantastic amount of carrot cake baking! I quite fancy a slice now, having seen all those gorgeous pictures! I am a little jealous about those figs – well, it’s something to look forward to I guess and when we do have a glut, I shall be roasting them in cinnamon and port! Love the plate you have, ahem, borrowed from your mum! And who doesn’t like a boozy surprise in the way of wine ordered then forgotten?!

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    1. Selma, I’ve got a pumpkin cake in my pantry now, and it was as easy and simple as the carrot cake I’ve made, I’ll have to post a blog on this too one day. Cinnamon and port figs, are simply divine, I’d love to see what you’d do with them.

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    1. Thanks Dee, it was a pretty overwhelming time, with 3kgs of carrots to cook with! But, they’re pretty simple to make, and everyone loves a good moist carrot cake. I’m partial to anything with spiced rum in it!

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    1. Christine, I’ve been regularly begging my dad for his spare figs, and probably just need to go down when he isn’t there and poach a few! He’s always very happy to have the end result of the cooking process 🙂

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  3. Is it wrong that I have such fig envy? We have a tree grown from a cutting from a friend’s prolific tree, but in the ten years we’ve had it, it’s remained a tiny bush and managed to push forth one or two figs a year which never ever grow or ripen into proper sized fruit. Sad sad sad.
    Kavey (first time IMKer this month)

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    1. Kavey, my 5 figs on the tiniest fig tree you’ve ever seen, promptly dropped off before they were bigger than a marble. Devo’d I was 😦 I have fig envy of everyone else, so yes, it’s perfectly normal.

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    1. Kirsty, I literally forced a lady at work to eat one of my grilled figs the other day as she insisted she hates figs, and guess what? Oh, they’re actually quite nice…

      What’s next? Oh, soup, soup and pumpkin cake. And a bit of a rest.

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  4. that’s funny. i have done the same thing with groceries online, and ended up with multitudes of something due to not checking it was one bag not one item. so funny. figs everywhere in all the blogs lately. a shame we don’t like them in this house:(

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  5. mmm some of my favourite things! figs, smelly cheese, wine and cake: the good things in life 🙂 I love the op-shop pottery set… what a great find. And Tintara reminds me that I think I have a bottle of it… somewhere 🙂

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