Carrot cake!

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Ingredients:

225 gr wholemeal self-rising flour

2 level teaspoons baking powder

150 gr muscovado sugar

50 gr chopped walnuts

100 gr grated carrots

2 ripe bananas, mashed

2 large eggs, at room temperature

150 ml sunflower oil

Frosting:

175 gr full-fat soft cheese

50 gr softened butter

100 gr sifted icing sugar

1 tsp of vanilla extract

 

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Pre-heat the oven to 180 ° C/ Fan 160 ° C/ Gas 4. Use a 20 cm round cake tin and line it with baking parchment. Measure all the ingredients for the cake into a large bowl and beat well until thoroughly blended and smooth. Turn into the prepared tin and level the surface. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 55 minutes until the cake is well risen. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes then remove from tin and peel off the parchment.  Finish cooling on a wire rack. For the frosting add all the ingredients into the mixer and combine until smooth. Spread over the top of the cake. Chill in the fridge as the topping is soft. I usually use a little green coloring for the topping, to stay true to the carrots growing upside down in nature. 🙂

Spinach and feta cheese pie

Mama’s recipe of the classic Greek pie. Definitely one of my favourites. Hope it will be one of yours as well.

spinach cheese pie

1kgr of frozen spinach

1 cup of butter

½ cup of thinly sliced parsley

½ cup of thinly sliced dill

½ cup of thinly sliced spring onions

½ cup of evaporated milk

1 large red onion

250gr of feta cheese

4 eggs

1 pack of filo pastry

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Because I am using frozen spinach I want to get rid of the excess moisture. So I immerse the spinach in boiling water and let it stand for 5 min. Then using a colander I drain all the excess water by getting a handful every time and squeezing very well.

Heat half of the butter in a deep sauce pan. Sauté the onion and spring onions until translucent and tender. Add the spinach, parsley, dill, salt and pepper then cook for 5 to 10 minutes until the spinach is heated through. Remove from the heat and place the mixture in a bowl then add the milk and the let the mixture cool down.

In a large mixing bowl beat the eggs and combine the feta sliced coarsely. Add the cooled down spinach mixture and mix until combined.

Melt the rest of the butter, and butter a non-stick spring form cake tin, about 20-22cm. Put the first sheet of filo in the tin and brush with butter, letting the excess hang over the sides. Keep going with the rest of the sheets, turning a little before adding each additional pastry sheet and brushing all over with butter. When all the filo sheets are used but one, tip in the spinach mixture. Place the last filo sheet in the middle of the dish and fold over the excess pastry to cover.  Butter the top and score in diamond shape very lightly, spray with water and bake in the oven for about 30 to 45 minutes until the filo is crisp and golden. Leave for 15 minutes before serving. Yummy; for vegetarians or otherwise. 🙂

 slice of spinach pie

 

 

And for my Vegetarian family: Walnut Mushroom & Gorgonzola Tart!

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Pastry:

200g plain flour

pinch of salt

50g walnut

120g butter

1 large egg yolk

3 tablespoons icy water

Filling:

25g dried porcini mushrooms

3 tablespoons white wine

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 red onions, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, crushed

10 sprigs of fresh thyme

200g of mushrooms of your choose, i use portobello

2 large eggs

150ml single cream

60g Gorgonzola thinly sliced

50g walnut pieces

black pepper

1 × 23cm deep loose-based flan tin; a baking sheet

Preheat the oven to 190 ° C/ 375 ° F/ gas 5.

Dice the butter and put it in the freezer for 10 min. Bring the pastry together in a food-processor by putting the flour, salt and walnuts into the processor bowl and run until the nuts are finely chopped and the mixture looks sandy.

Add the chilled butter and process until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. Mix the egg yolk with the icy water then add to the mixture. It will come together to form a ball of dough. Flatten the dough to a thick disc, then wrap with Clingfilm and chill for about 20 minutes.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured worktop to a circle larger than the tin. Roll up the pastry around the rolling pin and lift it over the tin, then unroll the pastry slowly so it gently drapes over the tin. With your fingers gently press the pastry onto the base and sides of the tin, pressing out any pockets of air. Roll the pin over the top of the tin to cut off the excess pastry. Use your thumbs to ease the pastry just slightly higher than the rim of the tin, to allow for shrinkage. Prick the base well with a fork and chill the case for another 20 minutes.

To ‘blind’ bake the pastry line the pastry case with a sheet of crumpled greaseproof paper and fill with pennies (they are made from copper and they conduct the heat fabulously well). Bake for 12– 15 minutes until the pastry is firm. Carefully remove the paper and pennies, then return the tin to the oven and bake for a further 5– 7 minutes until the pastry is thoroughly cooked and starting to colour.

Remove it from the oven and set aside on a wire rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 180 ° C/ 350 ° F/ gas 4.

While the pastry case is chilling, make the filling. Bring the wine and 2 tablespoons of water to the boil in a small pan, remove from heat and add the dried mushrooms; leave them to soak while you get on with the rest.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the sliced onions, garlic and thyme and stir well. Cover with a dampened disc of greaseproof paper, pressed directly onto the surface of the onions and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes. Remove the paper and add the fresh mushrooms together with the dried mushrooms and their soaking liquid. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 3 to 5 minutes until the mushrooms are softened. Remove from the heat and season with plenty of pepper. Leave to cool.

Beat the eggs into the cream then stir into the cooled mushroom mixture. Spoon the mixture into the pastry case. Scatter the cheese over the top followed by the walnuts.

Bake for about 35 minutes until the filling is set in the middle. Leave the tart to settle for about 5 minutes before carefully removing the pastry case. Yam yam!