The magnolia will always stick in my mind.
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22.
Ladies and gentlemen – I, Rachel Southwood, have cold hands.
Early this year I journeyed back to my home and I realised something. I had a terrible, and boring diet.
My love of food started when I arrived on this dry, red soil; of course there are many people to thank for this. But I’m unsure whether I could ever just pinpoint it to one person. Continue reading
Me and chilli have only just become friends.
Maybe friends is a stretch, acquaintances. I have an awfully low tolerance to chilli, and my boyfriends dad puts it on EVERYTHING. So I’m attempting to increase my chilli tolerance by adding it to lots of things; my favourite is super easy pasta in a lemon and chilli oil with rocket and this obviously.
Carrot cakes were one of the first cakes I ever learnt to make, I remember my mum making them when I was a child, my reaction to carrot in cake was only superseded by cream cheese in an icing. My first mouthful changed everything, it was love at first bite, carrot cake has so many perfect layers to it, the crunch of nuts, the spice and the moist cake from the juicy carrots. These cupcakes are super moist but with the wholemeal they are awesome as a standalone cupcake, it’s not as wet as your usual carrot cake.
Plus wholemeal equals healthy yeah?
Also, and I feel like this is the most important part of my blog post; please read this article on Cracked (not funny). The shooting in America is insane; like, I cannot wrap my head around it, I cannot wrap my head around America, or pro gun people, it hurts that such stupidity exists, nobody needs an assault rifle to protect themselves unless they are going into combat (whole other kettle of fish). This article sums up my feelings on this and this post by Pancakes and French Fries is also excellent further reading.
Carrot and Chilli Cupcakes – adapted from BraveTart
230 grams unsalted butter
195 grams sugar
100 grams brown sugar
½ tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon, freshly ground if you’ve got it
1 teaspoon ginger
½ chilli minced
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon cloves ground
227 grams whole wheat flour, sifted
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
450 grams carrots, peeled, trimmed, and shredded
Giant handful of pecan pieces or shelled pistachios, lightly toasted
Vanilla Buttercream with 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, cinnamon and ground ginger combined.
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180° and line 2 cupcake pans.
2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat, it will start to bubble and spit, endure this. Once the butter has stopped spitting and bubbling, it’s ready. Add the minced chilli to the hot mixture.
3. Combine the sugars, baking powder and soda, salt, spices and eggs. Whip on a medium speed until full combined, light brown and fluffy.
4. Keeping the mixer running on a low-speed drizzle in the browned butter with chilli mixture, get all the browned bits in there. That’s deliciousness! Add the flour in parts; otherwise the flour will go evveerrrywhere.
5. Shut off the mixer and use a rubber spatula to fold in the nuts and shredded carrots.
6. Use an ice cream scoop to equally distribute the batter between the patty pans, bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, or until fully risen and springs back when touched.
Lately I’ve been feeling uneasy and less assured. Like life is hanging in the balance, a constant see-saw of pleasing everyone; am I fun enough, do I work enough, is this too much pasta, do I have enough friends, am I smart enough?
I’m not entirely sure when this began. As a teenager I never felt like this. I had boyfriends that maybe elicited this kind of reaction, but I always had people to fall on. It was always ‘everything is perfect…but X’ now it’s more ‘what the ‘eff is going on?’. When did everything get so complicated? Continue reading
My life is currently 100% consumed by 30 Rock, I’ve watched 3 and a half seasons in just over a week. I’m denying to the death an addiction but I’m pretty sure I’ve become Liz Lemon. Continue reading
Strawberries and champagne scream early British summer to me. Wimbledon, the early sun, 99’s, the softest grass you ever did lay your head upon and bright, long days filled with the scent of ripe strawberries are constantly in my dreams; not that I like Wimbledon. Things just always seemed a tad more civilised whilst it was on. The grunting annoys me. Continue reading
Could we for one second forget that when I saved all the photos in a folder (my computer filing system makes me want to cry) that I saved the folder as Polenta Pankcakes? Can we forget that no, I haven’t changed that yet, and yes there are at least 30 photos without a home. Yes my laptop tells me that I’m running out of space. Yes I solve that by deleting Kardashian episodes.
One of my favourite events is just around the corner so I’ve been trying to cram in as many nutrients as possible so that I do not get sick in anyway shape or form; Halloween is just the most fun, it’s light hearted and involves lots of lollies and dress up – what more could you possibly want?
I haven’t yet locked in my Halloween costume but I’ve got a lot of ideas floating around, I’d love to know what everyone else is going to be doing.
When I was in primary school we had to bring in a strange fruit and do a class presentation on it, I chose a kumquat. Kumquats are about the size of an olive and completely edible; with the inside being quite sour in flavour and the peel being sweet. They are in season beginning of spring, which is now! These were gifted from a neighbour and aren’t as oval as a normal kumquat.I cannot for the life of me figure out how I researched for my presentation, did Wikipedia exist in 1999? Maybe I looked in the dictionary? How on earth did people function without the internet? How did people complete degrees without the internet?
This is hurting my head, I want to cry. I love you internet.
Sorry, that got a bit heavy. This cookie is pretty heavy, it’s pretty major. It’s delicious. Usually you would pair orange with dark chocolate, to balance out the sweetness. However kumquats already bring the bitterness so this time we are going to pair it with milk chocolate.
Kumquat and Chocolate Cookies –
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
1 cup brown sugar
5 Kumquats, zest and juice (keep half of the juice)
2 tablespoons Nutella
2 teaspoons vanilla
100g Milk Chocolate chopped into pieces
In a small bowl, mix flour, soda and salt using a whisk and set aside.
In another bowl, cream butter and dark brown sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the zest and nutella, then slowly add the remaining juice. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and mix until combined.
Roll dough onto baking paper into a log shape and freeze. Leave to freeze for at least 2 hours. Once dough is frozen slice and bake the dough at 180C for 10 minutes.
Bake until still soft, and slightly browned. Remove and scatter chocolate pieces onto the
still warm cookies.
My favourite thing to do in the warmer months is eat breakfast outside, and I know right now you are thinking “Why are you telling me this?” or “How did I get here?”, but it makes a difference!
It makes eating an event, and less of a rush to getting out of the door. Hanging with the birds and rays of sun on the back of my neck is what blue skies are all about. Plus you get all of the scents of summer; hazy breezes, floral scents and my fruit is always somewhat amplified by the warmth.Eating with your nose is important, it aids with the getting-full-feeling, makes you more aware of what you are eating and it makes you happy. Some of my best memories are those of eating fruits in summer (If I could marry fruit I really would, for real). Holidays in Cyprus eating the best fresh cherries, seeing how far we could spit the pits, fresh strawberries from my grandparents back-garden (my love of strawberries is well documented on my recipes page) and my gorgeous friend Abby’s blood orange tree at her parents house (with the cutest dog ever; love you Snowy!). That last memory holds so true in my head whenever I eat Blood oranges (pretty much constantly for the three or four weeks they in season). This cake is warmth, remnants of winter and spring all in one.
Blood Orange and Almond Upside-Down Cake
Adapted from Joy the Baker
Makes one 9 inch cake
For the Topping:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 blood oranges thinly sliced
For the Cake:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
130gr Plain Flour
30gr Almond Meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground ginger
2/3 cup plain yoghurt
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Place butter in the cake pan and place in the oven. When butter is melted, remove pan from the oven. Tilt the pan around and around, coating the sides of the pan with butter. Once sides are coated, sprinkle the sugar over the melted butter and lay the oranges flat in the still warm pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar on medium speed. Cream until slightly pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop mixer, scrape down the bowl with a spatula, and add egg, vanilla extract and ginger. Beat for 1 minute.
Turn the mixer off, scrape the bowl, and add the dry ingredients. Beat on low speed while adding the yoghurt. Beat until the batter just comes together. Batter will be pretty thick. Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish incorporating ingredients with a spatula.
Spoon batter over the oranges and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.