World of Carrot: Carrot Cakes, Carrot Soup and Carrot Slices
The carrot: much loved snack of Bugs Bunny and ever-present vegetable of childhood has gotten all grown up, now parading in a procession of delicious dishes.
Whether its soup, cake, slices or other sumptuous creation, the carrot takes centre stage.
But quite apart from getting your taste buds tingling, there are a whole host of benefits to eating carrots, even as part of a tasty treat, including helping to improve your vision it seems your granny was right after all!
Carrots contain powerful antioxidants and unlike many other vegetables, cooking them actually increases the amount. Therefore, whilst both raw and cooked carrots have a whole host of benefits, the cooked variety are actually slightly better for you.
As well as helping your eyesight by converting the beta-carotene to Vitamin A, carrots also help to regulate your blood sugar, thereby helping to guard against diabetes whilst also playing a part in protecting against heart disease and even some types of cancer.
With such a long list of health benefits, there has never been a better reason to indulge in some yummy food; here are some recipes to get you started.
Although many think of it as a thoroughly modern piece of cuisine, carrot cake has been around since medieval days and has risen in popularity to become one of the nation’s favourite sweet treats. This simple recipe is easy to make but doesn’t compromise on taste; if you prefer your carrot cake a little sweet, simply reduce the amount of sugar.
Enjoy a piece of the increasingly popular Carrot Cake.
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
250g self-raising flour
350ml vegetable oil
400g caster sugar
120g chopped walnuts
350g grated carrots
Cream cheese icing:
225g cream cheese
450g icing sugar
110g margarine (softened)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
120g chopped walnuts
1). Start by greasing two 23 cm circular cake tins and preheating the oven to gas mark 4 or 190°C.
2). In a medium sized bowl, mix together the cinnamon, flour and sugar.
3). Once combined, slowly add in both the oil and the eggs and stir well until completely blended.
4). Add in the nuts and the carrot, stirring well so the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout.
5). Pour half the mixture into each tin and then pop into the oven for 25-30 minutes.
6). Once cooked, turn the two halves of the cake into a wire rack to cool
7). To make the icing, take a clean bowl of similar size and fold together the cream cheese and butter.
8). Then cream in the sugar until you have a smooth and silky paste.
9). Finally add in the vanilla and nuts and then spread between the cake layers and on top.
This cake is delicious but for extra luxury, you could add chopped pineapple and raisins.
There are not many people who don’t enjoy a hearty bowl of steaming soup, especially accompanied by a couple of hunks of warm buttered bread. Carrot soup delivers a powerful punch of Vitamin A but doesn’t fall short on flavour, especially when combined with some other classic ingredients. Coriander works beautifully with carrot, the two flavours perfectly balancing each other. This recipe is a doddle to make but provides a creamy bowl of wholesome soup. For a vegetarian option, simply switch the chicken stock for vegetable stock.
A bowl of roaster carrot soup
500g carrots, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
75g plain yoghurt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
600ml chicken stock
25g plain flour
1). Using a small amount of oil, gently fry the onions until soft.
2). Place the carrots, coriander, yoghurt and flour in a blender; pour over the chicken (or vegetable) stock and then blitz until it’s smooth. This will take several minutes.
3). Adding the onions to the mixture, heat it all slowly in a large saucepan until it boils, and then gently simmer for 30 minutes. You will need to stir it frequently.
4). Serve with warm bread or croutons for a crunchy texture.
If you love the rich flavour of carrot cake but despair that it’s simply too messy to eat on the move, a carrot slice might provide the answer. Delighting the senses with its dense tang, a carrot slice is the perfect bite-sized treat to add to any lunchbox. These are also suitable for freezing and can be kept in an airtight container for up to three days.
1 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups grated carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
1/3 cup dried apples, chopped
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup light olive oil
1). Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 or 180°C, then grease and line a 28cm by 18cm rectangular tin (often known as a slice pan)
2). Sift both types of flour and the cinnamon. This is an essential step to produce a cake with a fine texture so don’t be tempted to skip it.
3). Stir the dried fruit, carrot and sugar into the flour and cinnamon mix.
4). After making a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, beat together the eggs and the oil and then pour into the hollow.
5). Gently fold the wet ingredients into the rest of the mixture until just about combined.
6). Spoon or pour the finished batter into the cake tin and bake for 25 minutes. The slice should be golden in color and firm to the touch.
7). Leave in tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
You have the option of either simply cutting the above cake into slices or alternatively, using some of the cream cheese icing from the carrot cake recipe to add a thin coating, or criss-cross drizzle to the top. If adding a topping, do not cut into squares until the icing is dry.
The above three recipes should hopefully have your mouth watering and your taste buds twitching. Not only are all three very simple to make, they deliver intense bursts of flavour designed to leave you quivering with delight and begging for more. But of course, the good news is that with all the health benefits that carrots bring, you can simply say that you are having a second helping to boost your health….
Source: Luxury Kitchens