Whats Up Doc?

Everyone always underestimates carrot cake. Even me. I hadn't even TRIED it till last year.

Turns out its one of my girlfriends favourites, and when I read THIS recipe I realised I like EVERYTHING IN IT (although, walnuts are iffy….so I've swapped them out PERMANENTLY for pecans).

So, I made it, and one loaf went to hubbys work and was demolished, and one loaf went to my work and I've never seen anything disappear so quickly, or have something asked for by hungry colleagues so often. My sister didn't believe it had a vegetable in it. Best compliment ever.

When a few weeks ago we decided to get serious about hubby having a packed lunch I pulled out this recipe again, and he loved it. Last week at my parents place (we had a two week break, but being poor people saving for a house deposit that means holidays are free trips to the parents up north) I made it for my Dads lunch box. And converted two more people who didn't think much of carrot cake until this recipe of awesomeness. Hubby requested it be made again yesterday. Four bakes, three different ovens, and I still haven't gone wrong with it.

Please, stop being disinterested in carrot cake, at least for the sake of this particular recipe. Its worth the hype.

And just to prove things go wrong…..I exploded custard all over my microwave this evening and sulked for half an hour while hubby fixed it.

 

4 and 20 Blackbirds

I don't know about you, but I have a terrible habit of buying food magazines (and yes, books, lets be honest) and after flicking through them, NOT MAKING A SINGLE RECIPE.

Its had gotten so bad that the second last Donna Hay magazine I bought, I made myself recreate at least six of the recipes. Some of them more than once.

In the spirit of making sure I cook at least one recipe from each magazine I buy, I made this Black-and-Blue Berry Pie from the Womens Weekly Food magazine. It was pretty straightforward, and I will admit I only used frozen fruit because ITS SO MUCH CHEAPER. Worked just fine, so don't feel guilty if you have to do the same.

The big win from the for me was the custard pastry. Its brilliant, and I can't wait to incorporate it into other pies and tarts. I raved about it so much, that WITHOUT EVER TRYING IT my sister used it to make an apple pie. Which we had to bake in the BBQ because of stupid broken oven (which is no longer broken because my husband is brilliant). Apple Pie with custard pastry? Total win. Get on board this pastry.

Black-and-Blue Berry Pie

From the Womens Weekly Food magazine, issue 6, page 75

Ingredients

  • 400g frozen blackberries
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 250g fresh (frozen) blueberries
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 egg white

Custard pastry

  • 225g plain flour
  • 35g cornflour
  • 30g custard powder
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 125g cold butter, chopped coarsely
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon iced water, approximately

Method

  1. Make the custard pastry. Process flours, custard powder, icing sugar and butter until crumbly. Add egg yolk (but keep the white for the filling!) and enough of the water so that ingredients just come together. Knead pastry on a floured surface until smooth. Enclose in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Combine 1 cup of the blackberries and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil. Blend cornflour with the water in a small jug. Sitr into berry mixture; stir over heat until mixture boils and thickens. Cool. Stir in remaining blackberries, blueberries, rind and spice.
  3. Roll two-thirds of the pastry between sheets of baking paper until large enough to line a 24cm round loose-based flan tin. Ease pastry into tin; trim edge. Reserve and refrigerate excess pastry. Refrigerate pastry case for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan.
  5. Spoon filling into pastry case. Brush edge with egg white. Roll reserved pastry between sheets of baking paper until large enough to cover pie. Cut into 10 x 1.5cm strips. Place strips over pie, weaving in and out to make a lattice pattern. Trim edges, pressing to seal; sprinkle with demerara sugar.
  6. Bake the pie for 50 minutes or until browned. Stand for 10 minutes before serving.