Monday, January 22, 2007

Best whole baked carrots (and a chocolate cake)

Anyone with a good memory (and nothing better to fill it with...) might remember that I made these carrots last Sunday night but the photo was deleted before I had a chance to upload it onto the PC. I don't want to blog without images because a) it might make people think I am hallucinating all these lovely meals while living on beans on toast and b) I can witter happily about how good food tasted but it is much easier to imagine it when you see it and c) I like the visual record that helps me to remember dishes when I look back. Yesterday I made the baked carrots again, only with orange carrots this time, not purple; this inevitably means that they look a bit less exciting (mind you, I am pushing it to put carrots and exciting in the same sentence in any case).

These carrots are a doddle to make: buy some young, bunched carrots, scrub them, toss them with olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, crushed garlic and thyme leaves, put in an oven dish, cover with foil, bake for 30-40 minutes, remove foil, and put back in oven for 10 minutes. Simplicity itself.

They looked better when they were purple, but the orange variety tasted just as good. Funny to think that once upon a time purple was a standard carrot colour...

We ate the carrots as part of a roast pork dinner, photographed below (before I poured gravy over - my favourite bit).

I know that food bloggers the world over participate in SugarHigh Friday. I never seem to be sufficiently awake on Fridays to join in! Instead, I have my own, Kathryn-shaped Cake Sunday, when I bake for us and for the week ahead (random colleagues get to benefit from the results). Yesterday I joined in another cookalong from an MSN group I am part of; we are cooking from Nigella's How to Eat and I leapt on the chance to make her chocolate birthday cake. It wasn't anyone's birthday, but that cake is too divine to save for special occasions - it has proper chocolate in as well as cocoa powder, and condensed milk (spooky but good) and is covered in chocolate ganache. It was, incidentally, the first cake I ever made, back in the days when I didn't bake cakes. I was incredibly proud of it and I partially blame that cake for my eventual conversion to cooking. So yesterday, I made it again. This time, I wanted to play a bit, so we made some butter icing and piped white smears over the dark ganache - we need to practise our piping skills but it looked quite pretty with the contrasting dark and white.

I like cakes that are resolutely cakey, rather than too wet, but they run the risk of being dry; this one is both cakey and moist (the condensed milk factor?).

It strikes me as amusing that I began this post with carrots and ended with chocolate cake. I think that sums up my eating habits quite well, though, on reflection; I do eat a lot of vegetables, but I also - ahem - eat cake.


Writing At The Kitchen Table said...

What a yummy looking cake (and the carrots look good too!). Please send me some right now!!
Actually, you could take part in SHF, you have until this Friday to email your picture over and it's as good as anything else over there ('cept maybe some cowhide turnovers I've seen.....)!
I like the idea of evaporated milk in the cake, very interesting!

Gemma said...

That's one of the first Nigella cakes I made - for Chris's 21st birthday. The carrots look yummy too. I had the purple carrots once and can't quite imagine that it is orange that used to be strange!

Gemma x

Kathryn said...

Thanks for the comments, both of you! Freya - the cake is seriously good. Gemma, I know what you mean about the carrots. The purple ones look mad, somehow. Nice to see a variety, though.

Kathryn x

annauk said...

I haven't tried this cake yet Kathryn, but it does look fantastic!!