Friday, 10 February 2017

Carrot cake done right

What do you do when it's not mandarin season but it's definitely Chinese New Year visitation time??

Substitute the mandarins for another orange thing - carrots!

Of course you can't have just one carrot, that would be rather rude, so I made two. These carrots also doubled (ha!) as a birthday cake for a new friend I made in Connect Group!

So here, I present my carrot cake, in the shape of - carrots!

I followed this carrot cake recipe:

I baked the cake in a heart-shaped springform pan, and cut the finished cake in half. I then had to do a bit of carving to taper the sides like a carrot. Note: I found that I had to bake mine for 80 minutes (at 160 Celsius) all up because that's when the toothpick I inserted came out clean.

I also added some orange gel colouring to the cream cheese mixture, and tripled the cream cheese recipe in the link because I wanted to cover the entire cake - and I mean slather it - in cream cheese frosting. Yum.

I added some homegrown organic parsley to "top" it off!


The cake went down really well. Everyone at the dinner gathering loved it! It was moist and not too sweet, in fact, you really needed the cream cheese frosting to sweeten it up! The cake had a cinnamon-y, spice-like taste. And I couldn't taste the carrots, but I could certainly taste the texture of the grated carrots.

Someone commented - I thought I wasn't going to be able to finish this piece but I'm going to need another piece!  The birthday girl was more than happy to take home the remaining cake! (So thank you happyhooligans for the recipe!)

The recipe is definitely a goer for the next carrot cake craving I have!

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Dancing the night away

Today my Fiance and I had our 12th dance lesson, but our 7th one on the Waltz. Both of us don't dance (don't know how to) and we wanted to get some professional help for our first dance. Because otherwise we'll just be staring at each other and moving in circles awkwardly on the wedding night. Not good.

I gave him the job of looking for and booking a dance studio (best idea ever - because now he thinks it's his idea and is committed). Initially we started off learning the foxtrot - which was a lot of fun and pretty easy to master - but then I decided that I wanted something more romantic, more spin-y, more graceful. And then we decided on the Waltz. Well, I did anyway. The guy just had to listen.

Our dance instructor just said yep, no problem and just like that we switched from the basics of a Foxtrot into a Waltz. I have to say, learning the Waltz was a lot harder than the Foxtrot. Simply because it's all about positioning and spins (to me anyway). As a beginner, I got pretty confused with where we were supposed to end up after a turn, and the first 10 lessons were really all about placements and where we are supposed to end up.  I heard a lot of "walk through him!" Uh ok, I may often joke that he walks through walks because he's so quiet, but walking through him is a different story altogether!!

So anyway, 12th lesson in, here we are dancing and I might say we're coming along beautifully, when there it goes again "push through him!". So then I give him the littlest (just an eensy, teensy little) shove. And yay, the instructor's happy, everyone's happy, except the shoves keep getting bigger and bigger and suddenly he's flung me way beyond my dangerously tottery high heels can handle and I go flying. *cue: A Whole New World and a glare at him*

I also get the idea of getting our instructor to teach us a new step - something to break up the routine of basic, whisk and shassay (however it's spelt), spin turn, outside change, spin turn and repeat. So we  learnt to do a dip and a super cool move called the impetus. I already like the move just from its name. It sounds so... impetuous.

Anyway my Fiance here is complaining about having to learn hard moves when it's hard enough walking across the dance floor. I think each time the instructor tries to demonstrate the step, I can see his face grow correspondingly paler. But it's okay. We try and we try and eventually it's not halfway bad. Not too shabby at all for our 12th lesson of dance ever.

All this effort for one dance of the most important night to come. I hope it pays off.