Carrot Cake and Homegrown Produce

Today I decided it was time to pull out all of our carrots, which as you can see really should of been pulled out a long time ago. I have more coming through in the garden, these ones were grown in the styrofoam boxes found in the fruit and vegetable section at the supermarket. They work well for carrots here in our hot climate, they are an ideal depth, you can keep them in a cool part of your yard or garden and give them all the water they need. I find I always leave them in the ground too long though. I think I just love to know I have carrots in my garden. This year I am making a promise to myself that I will pull them out while they are still young and sweet! It has to be one of the most satisfying vegetables to grow and harvest, my 10 year old loves to pull them out. This was one of his chores this morning. At first he didn’t because he thought surely he had heard wrong, I had to reassure him, yes we need to pull all of the carrots out.

With these ones I will grate some for quiches/baking and chop/blanch the rest for different dishes. One thing to remember when growing carrots is, they do not like too much nitrogen and I personally never fertilise mine while they are growing. I try to start of with a soil that is loose and friable and not too rich. The hardest part I find is getting the seed to germinate, they take longer than a lot of other seeds 14-21 days and you need to keep the soil moist this whole time. I like to grown mine in partial shade in the warmer months.

I have put some of those carrots to good use! This is such a delicious carrot cake. It’s an old recipe from a NZ cook Simon Holst the son of Alison Holst. I love the cream cheese icing it gives it that extra something special. I keep mine in the fridge and it just keeps getting better with age, I actually prefer it after a day or two. It will keep for a good two weeks, so if your worried that a whole cake will spoil in your home, that it won’t get eaten in time, you might like to try this one. And remember you can freeze individual portions.

I like to make as much as I can from scratch. It’s partly to do with the fact that my body just doesn’t like all those preservatives in the packaged food. But also it just tastes so much better in my opinion. And once again I am providing for myself and my family. My pantry always has the staples, so I know there will always be something that I can make. I have always loved to cook, ( I do still enjoy a night of now and then), however cooking to me goes hand in hand with gardening. You are creating, providing and always learning. Becoming self-reliant and ensuring both you and your loved ones are getting the best of what you can offer or provide. This can look different for each of us. But even if it’s something small like a cherry tomato plant on your balcony or lettuce in a pot. Herbs in your kitchen, I guarantee it will bring you a sense of satisfaction and enjoyment. These simple things can lead to making sauces and pesto. Fresh food from your home to your stomach!

Carrot Cake

  • 1/2 Cup Canola or Olive Oil
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 3 Cups Carrot (grated)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Cup Soft Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Ground Mixed Spice
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts (optional)

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1/2 Cup Cold Cream Cheese
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1-1 1/4 Cups Icing Sugar
  • Chopped Walnuts to decorate (optional)

Preheat Oven to 180 degrees celcius

Place the oil and eggs into a large bowl and whisk. Then add grated carrot and mix through. Sift the following into the wet mixture, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Stir until evenly combined. Line a 23cm tin, pour in the batter and bake 25-35 mins. My oven takes around 40-45 mins so check yours at the half hour mark to see how it’s coming along.

Once it’s cooled beat your cream cheese, vanilla and icing sugar with a hand mixer until it’s smooth. Ice your cake and if you like decorate with the chopped walnuts. Place it into the fridge in a sealed container and you will have something lovely to enjoy for the next few days or the next few weeks, depending on your home and schedule!

I hope you give it a try and enjoy it!

I am so grateful to Rhonda at the Down To Earth blog (down—to—earth.blogspot.com), I have followed and learnt so much from Rhonda over the years. I have all of her books, they are wonderful! To have Rhonda say she likes my blog and to share it on her latest blog post I would have to say has been so incredible for me. We all have people hopefully, who inspire, encourage and teach us different things in our lives. I am feeling very grateful to have someone who has inspired me in the different seasons of my life, encourage me in this way with my latest endeavour. To share a part of my story with you and what I have learnt, and to hopefully inspire or encourage others. Or perhaps help in some small way as we go about our days.

We have gone from 4 to 3 Guinea Fowl, but they are now happily scratching around in the chook run.

I hope you have a lovely weekend.

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