Thursday, 6 December 2012

Carrot Cake Muffins And A New Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Source for this image here.

It is so good to feel better!  I have a lot more energy today, and have been able to do all my chores very enthusiastically.  We woke today to our first proper snowfall of the winter.  It was lovely to walk through the park this morning and look at the crisp winter scenery.  Papa Bear has taken the rest of the week off because of the weather, so we took our walk a little later than usual, and were able to linger and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.  It was so lovely.  Afterwards we went back home to warm carrot cake muffins and a pot of hot tea.  I was so thankful to be able to enjoy my muffin with everyone else instead of having to sip Lucozade as I have been doing recently.  Our home has been full of good scents today, as I have been cooking nice things to warm us up - and everyone is so happy to see me back and busy in the kitchen!
I made the muffins using a recipe I adapted slightly from a Gooseberry Patch cookbook.  I wanted to change it so that the birds could also enjoy some!  This is what I did ...

You will need ...

1 1/2 cups caster sugar (I used golden)
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup oil
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups grated carrot
1 cup finely chopped apple
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda (not bicarbonate of soda) 
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1.  Begin by preparing a 12 hole muffin pan - I use paper cases though I know this is not the traditional way to bake muffins.  Set your oven to 180 degrees/gas mark 5.

2.  In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs and oil.   

3.  Add the flour, grated carrot and finely chopped apple, then the cinnamon, salt, baking soda and walnuts.  Fold the ingredients together gently to combine, but don't overmix.

4.  Distribute the mixture evenly between the 12 muffin cases and place in the centre of the oven.  In our fan assisted oven they took 30 minutes to bake.  You could also make one large loaf with this recipe, in which case you would need to adjust the cooking time - probably for another 10 minutes or so.  Test with a knife inserted into the centre to check for doneness.

5.  The recipe I used included the traditional frosting for a carrot cake - cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla.  I always add grated orange or lemon to my carrot cake frosting.  However as I wanted to share our muffins with the birds I did not frost them when we had them this morning.  There are a few left though so I may frost them for tea!

We are having a new pumpkin soup for tea that I found on the Taste of Home.   Again I have slightly adapted this recipe, to make it quicker to prepare.  It would of course be delicious cooked the way it is here, but instead of preparing the fresh pumpkin before cooking it, I always chop it into thick slices and bake it in the oven.  It makes preparation much easier, and only takes about 45 minutes - I don't add any oil or seasonings, and that way the cooked pumpkin can be used for any dish, once baked.  The skin gets soft enough to peel gently away from the flesh once cooked and it is ever so much easier than preparing it raw.  If you use a big "Halloween" style pumpkin like I did it is not difficult to cut.  I even saved the pumpkin seeds as described, and will roast them in the oven with some garlic bread for the garlic lovers in our family.  Cubby Bear is especially looking forwards to this meal!  

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