Carrot and Walnut Cake of Joy

This is the finest cake I’ve made to date, I think so anyway. Photographs to follow when I make it again, which will have to be soon!
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For the cake

Ingredients
250g flour
75g applesauce (I used home made)
125g coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
200g sugar
250-300g soya milk
200g walnuts
200g peeled carrots (approximately 2 medium sized)

Method
Preheat the oven to 180c.
Sift the flour into a bowl and add everything else except the carrot and walnuts. Mix well.

The batter shouldn’t be too dry- start with 250g soy milk and add the extra if the walnuts and carrot are hard to incorporate.

Grate the carrots and roughly chop the walnuts, then mix them into the batter.

Grease a small baking tin with coconut oil and pour in the batter.

Bake for about an hour, until a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean.

Allow to cool and then ice with the recipe below.

For the icing
Ingredients
150g icing sugar
150g coconut oil, softened
A tiny splash of orange juice

Method
Cream the juice, oil and sugar together until smooth, then spread over the cold cake. Allow to set.

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Sesame Balls and Dipping Sauce

These are for using up leftovers.

To feed a family – 2 adults, 2 kids- you’ll need.
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Roughly
1/2 cup of cooked pulses (probably white beans of some sort)
1/2 cup cooked rice
1/2 onion
1/2 cup vegetable (yup that vague- carrot or courgette are good)
1/4 cup uncooked polenta
1/2 cup sesame seeds
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

You could also add:
Red chilli
Lemongrass
Corriander

Blend everything except the sesame seeds together into something the texture of Humous. Add extra polenta if it’s really sloppy.

Using one hand for wet (the mixture) and one for dry (the seeds) make little balls and roll them in sesame seeds. This is messy.

Bake at 150c for an hour and then allow to cool.

Then either fry in a generous amount of oil or spray with oil and bake for 20 minutes.

Make dipping sauces to your taste- the kids have plain soy sauce, we have sirracha, sweet chilli sauce and this:

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon tahini
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 inch lemongrass
1 red chilli
Small handful corriander
1 clove garlic
All blended up.

Baked Beet Bourgignon and Homemade Sourdough Baguette

A long slow recipe, not that much effort if you’re around the house all day. Inspired by this recipe.
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Start the bread the day before. My starting point was this recipe, adapted for my starter and the bread machine.

The recipe will serve 6-8 but I make it for two and have lots of leftovers.

Sourdough Baguette
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My timeline
Night before -at 9pm (ish) – mix levain rest 12 hours (ish)
9am – into machine – 3.5 hour cycle
12:30- rest 3 hours
3:30 – shape, rest 1 hour
4:30 – bake
5:00 – cool 1 hour
6:00 – eat

The night before- mix:

20g white flour
20g rye flour
40g water
20g starter (no need to refresh as long as you baked in the last week)

Leave it tightly covered, out of the fridge, overnight.

In the morning:

Put the above mix (levain) in the bread machine and add…

500g white flour
200g water
Pinch of salt

Set the machine to a French bread cycle if you have it- or a standard dough cycle of at least 2 hours.

(Now start your Bourgignon…)

Allow the resulting dough to rest 6 hours or as long as you can. 3 hours on a warm day worked fine.

Then divide the dough into four. Shape each piece into a baguette using plenty of flour. Rest for another hour, while the oven heats to 250c.
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Slash the tops and brush with a little water before putting them in the oven for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 200c for a further 10.
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Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 1 hour on a rack.

Beet Bourgignon

Ingredients
10 medium beets (I make this when I have a glut, you can reduce the beetroot and up the carrot if necessary), scrubbed and peeled
3 medium carrots, peeled
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
15g (half a pack) of dried mixed mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes or more (keep the soaking water)
2 medium onions
4 cloves of garlic
4 fresh or smoked tomatoes, or 1/2 tin or chopped tomatoes
250ml red wine (vegan)
3 fresh bay leaves
150g puy or green lentils
10 pearl onions (if you can get them)
Sea salt
1 teaspoon arrowroot or cornflour
Salt and pepper

Method
Start this in the morning, the longer the flavours have together the better it will taste. You can pull it out of the oven at any time and do something else, or do everything first thing, and then leave it to rest. Use a timer to keep track of how long things have been in the oven and you won’t have to think at all.

Preheat the oven to 200c.

Cut the beetroot into large chunk,- probably quarters, and the carrot into chunky sticks.
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Toss in 3 tablespoons of olive oil and add the thyme leaves, in an oven-safe pan that has a lid.

Roast for 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180c.
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Finely chop the onion and garlic. Roughly chop the tomatoes and mix it all in, then return to the oven with 1 more tablespoon of oil, for 20 minutes. If you are using tinned tomatoes then add them at the next stage.

Then drain and chop the mushrooms and add to the pot with the bay leaves, wine, tinned tomatoes and pearl onions (if you are using them), the soaking liquid from the mushrooms and a little water if necessary to cover everything.
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Return to the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Put the lid on and give it a further 20…

Then switch it off with the pan inside.

Boil the puy lentils in vegetable stock until just tender.

When you want to eat in an hour…

Add the puy lentils and heat gently on the stove.

Serve with your baguettes, a salad and sunshine.

Roasty Toasty Noodles

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To serve 2 adults…

Grate:
1 large courgette
1 carrot
1 onion
(In the food processor)

Chop:
1 red pepper
2 cloves of garlic

Roast for 45 minutes at 200c, in some vegetable oil with a little sesame oil. Stir occasionally.

Stir in plenty of curry powder and return to the oven while you cook noodles.

Now mix in the vegetables and top with:

Chopped salted peanuts
Chopped coriander
Lime juice
Soy sauce