As mentioned previously we are not long back from a 2 week break in Casteldeffels near Barcelona. I was in Barcelona for the first time last Sepetember and was absolutely entranced by this fabulous city that really has something for everyone. I arrived on my own last September and met friends there, the first of whom introduced me to Pimientos del Padron which are delicious, wee green peppers, roasted and sprinkled liberally with salt. The perfect accompaniment to a few glasses of beer. If anyone has a line on where I can buy weenchy green peppers in Dublin please share.
The same friend was recently on a trip that included two nights with us in Dublin. Ever the perfect guest, KS presented me with a lovely book entitled Real Tapas by Fiona Dunlop which while it includes some traditional enough recipes is self-confessedly beholden to the nueva cocina movement. So with guests arriving for lunch we decided to try out this recipe with its intriguing use of that Irish breakfast staple, black pudding.
Himself rustled this up so hopefully he might add any comments below about changes he made. It was delicious but definitely not an everyday dish!
Half a large onion, thinly slice
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
25g sultanas, soaked in hot water for 15 mins, drained.
10g pine nuts
150g black pudding, fried and coarsely chopped
1 x 400g cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Put sultanas in a heatproof bowl and cover in hot water and soak for 15 minutes. Slice black pudding, fry til cooked and crumble.
Heat olive oil in a solid frying pan over a low heat. Sauté onion until it is tender then add garlic, parsley, sultanas and pine nuts.
Finally add cooked and crumbled black pudding and chickpeas to heat through, stirring all the time.
I did it. I made a perfect looking carrot cake for my mum’s Knighthood Party tonight. I know the old adage that the proof of the pudding is in the eating but there’s a new adage that says 50% of appetite is in the eyes (or something…?!). This may not seem like such a feat but I did not recount the carrot cake making shenanigans of a fortnight ago. We were expecting a number of lunch guests over the weekend and I had obtained the best carrot cake recipe from Mileelers. It all started after I had shredded the carrots in the food processor. I could not get the jug off the machine, no matter what I did. So I had a good strong hold of the jug handle and I was straining it upwards. Suddenly it became detached from the processor. The shredded carrots flew up in the air. I swear this happened in slow motion. The shredded carrots landed on my shoulder and then slithered on to the floor. Luckily I had more carrots. That was the first thing that went wrong. I will not catalogue the rest. Suffice it to say that I swore a lot but thankfully ended up with a delicious one tiered cake. Anyway here is the recipe for the amazing cake.
Must be prepared 24 hours in advance in case everything goes wrong and you have to fall back on Chocolate Fudge Cake, always a winner. A food processor is invaluable for this recipe: it can be done without it but make sure you have an afternoon free to grate all those carrots! Also it is worth investing in a decent set of cup measures: one of ours has snapped and it is a royal pain in the ass.
1 1/4 cups of salad oil
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup of all purpose/ plain flour
1 cup less 1 tbsp of wholewheat flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups finely shredded raw carrots, packed
8 1/2 oz of crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting – the best bit!
8 oz cream cheese, softened (a large packet of Philadelphia)
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups icing sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp grated lemon rind (or just grate the rind of a lemon…)
Grease and line two 9 inch cake tins. It is just really the bases of the tins that need to be lined with greasproof paper. Heat the oven to 350C/ 180F/ GM 4.
In a large bowl blend together the salad oil and brown and granulated sugars. Add eggs one at at tine, beating well until blended.
In another bowl sift together(if you could be bothered…) both flours, salt, soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Add the flour mixture, about 1/3 at a time, to the oil mixture, beating just enough to blend. Fold the carrots and then the pineapple into the batter. Add nuts if desired.
Pour the batter into the 2 tins that you prepared earlier. Bake for 35 – 40 mins or until a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. If they are on 2 different shelves in oven swap them over after 20 mins.
Cool the cakes on a rack for 10 minutes and then turn onto rack and allow to cool completely.
Frost with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting and allow to rest for a day, if not previously stored, to improve flavour.
To prepare frosting put all the ingredients into a bowl and beat with an electric beater. You can do this in three stages but it works just as well this way with an electric beater!
Unfrosted the cakes may be wrapped in clingfilm and refigerated for 5- 6 days or forzen for 2 -3 months. If frosted the cakes can be stored in the fridge up to a week.