Since moving into The Glen House, Dr Doolittle and I have started to grow our own vegetables. The first few crops we planted are safely tucked up in the freezer to see us through the winter.
Researching what sort of vegetables we should be planting and how we should look after them introduced me to GIY. ‘Grow It Yourself’ is a global community of people like us, that want to grow their own food.
Irish man Michael Kelly, founder of GIY has just published an amazing book called ‘Grow Cook Eat’, which is a guide to growing and cooking your own food. It is a month by month guide of things you should be doing, tips on how and recipes based on that months produce. Thanks to this book I think Dr Doolittle and I will be able to do a lot more with our little beds and also make better use of the wonderful wild produce growing around us.
One of November’s recipes is by Irish cook Clodagh McKenna. Her carrot cake, is taken from her book Clodagh’s Kitchen Diaries. Michael mentions in his book that he’s not completely self sufficient, either are we…. I’m using shop bought carrots! Shock horror! There was no way I was grating the miniture variety that we’ve grown…
140 ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
220 g light brown sugar
350 g grated carrots, (grated weight)
100 g golden raisins
200 g self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
For the orange cream cheese icing:
300 g cream cheese, chilled
70 g butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
300 g icing sugar, sifted
1 orange, zest only
Preheat the oven to 180oC, line a 13x23cm loaf tin.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl, then add the oil, brown sugar, grated carrot and raisins. Sift in the rest of the dry ingredients and bring the mixture together using a wooden spoon until well combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
For the icing: beat the cream cheese and butter together in a bowl until well combined. Add the vanilla extract, icing sugar and finely grated orange zest and mix until the icing is smooth and thick.
Using a palette knife, spread the icing evenly over the cooled cake, dipping the knife into a bowl of hot water if the icing is hard to spread out. Decorate the top of the cake with walnuts.
Oh, I should point out that I bought my copy of this book- this post isn’t an advertisement. I’m just extremely passionate about it! It’s definitely one of my favourite foodie books of 2014!