Lentil and Nut Stuffed Roasted Peppers

Look I just added a liittttle cheese !!! We had such an onslaught of cheese the other week (which of course was divine), so I thought today I would just keep it simple, with a minimal amount of cheese.

These little guys are so awesome and really is such a versatile meal.  For as long as I can remember I have LOVED roasted peppers.  Hey, I am not even picky about which colour pepper I have.  I know some people do have their preferences, but not me…. So, I know stuffed peppers is not a new thing….but then it is all about the filling.  So if you want to go the ‘veggie way’ these I think will impress you !  These Lentil and Nut Stuffed Peppers can easily just be eaten as is. Don’t be shy, be like me and try all the colours and make it a meal. I served these little babies with a ton of roasted veggies…(yes, that is how I like them) but knock yourself out and serve them pretty much how ever you would like to serve them.  No matter what….I know you’ll enjoy  🙂 !

Lentil and Nut Stuffed Roasted Peppers

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 – 30 minutes

Total time:  35 – 45 minutes

Makes 8 – 9 whole peppers, depending on the size

Ingredients:

8 – 9 whole peppers

1 cup cooked lentils (I used brown)

1 cup grated carrots

approximately 3/4 cup diced white onion

1 clove garlic crushed and diced

a handful of grated matured cheddar cheese  – optional (for the cheese lovers, you can add one cup)

1/2 cup dry toasted nuts, slightly chopped (I used walnuts)

1/2 cup dry toasted sunflower seeds

100 grams tomato paste

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried parsley

2 teaspoons dried basil

Salt and Pepper

For the topping:  extra matured cheddar cheese – optional

extra dry toasted nuts (I used walnuts)

Instructions:

In a large bowl add all the above ingredients except for the extra cheese and nuts.

Cut the top off each pepper (so it acts like a lid or hat for the pepper LOL)

With a tablespoon generously fill each pepper.

Top with extra cheese and nuts.

Place in the oven (place some aluminium foil/tin foil over ovenproof dish) and allow to roast. Check peppers after 20 minutes.  Roast in oven until the cheese is bubbling. You may want to take the foil off from the ovenproof dish nearing the end of roasting time.

Remove from the oven.

Serve hot either with roasted vegetables or with a salad.

Enjoy 🙂

NB*

1)  To make it vegan,  omit the cheese.

2)  Preparation time can literally be cut in half with this meal if the cheese is already grated, and the nuts and seeds are already dry toasted.

3)  This recipe can easily be cut in half if wanted, as it does make a fair amount.  Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge and utilized again, even making alternative meals.

 

 

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Pineapple, Carrot and Walnut Smoothie

This IS seriously happening….brace yourself, this is a salad smoothie !!!

I had bought this pineapple on the hopes of making a pineapple smoothie of sorts. My original idea was to concoct a smoothie from a salad my mom used to make with pineapple.  (Does that sound weird or what?….salad….and smoothie) So anyway, I hack this pineapple up into chunks,  and bomb it into the blender, add the frozen banana, then realise, I didn’t have lactose free yoghurt…… bummer,  but carried on thinking now of the salad ingredients……added the carrot, and then……..drum roll please……….

WALNUTS

……but me being me, ended up not thinking with all my excitement and landed up emptying the entire bowl of walnuts into my previously perfect smoothie….

Result?   Full Blown Walnut Smoothie !!!!  Not good, well, not the way I wanted it to go. So, hubby had Full Blown Walnut Smoothie for breakie today. You talk about a nut boost !

But, now for the real deal…..and if I say so myself, this was Deeliciousssss.  

Pineapple, Carrot and Walnut Smoothie

Total time:  10 minutes

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped pineapple

1 cup grated carrot

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (if possible)

1oo millilitres milk of your choice (I used Rice Milk)

Instructions:

Bomb all the above ingredients into a blender and blend away till everything is combined nicely and is a smooth consistency.

Enjoy 🙂

 

 

Carrot and Nut Cake

 

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Yay ! 🙂 Happy Happy Anniversary to my Blog 🙂  Yip, one year ago, on this day, I pressed that ‘publish’ button, and I am so pleased I did. It has been a year where I have connected with so many wonderful, amazing bloggers which I consider friends.  It has been a year where I have had to overcome my fear of all the techno stuff on WordPress and just figure it out and just do it !

Never the less, I have survived, and here’s to another good year and many more.

So, I decided to celebrate with my favourite Carrot and Nut Cake which I have not baked in quite a while. This has been adapted slightly from the original recipe which was published in a 2004 Your Family Magazine. The icing I do, is really quite special.  It is known as the Boiled Milk Frosting or Ermine Frosting.  This I found on the internet many years ago, and does not disappoint.  I find it a lovely change to the normal cream cheese frosting.

(Sorry about the pic’s, seriously…but that is another whole long story….and the semi decent pics were only from a half eaten cake…..).

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Carrot and Nut Cake

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Cooking time:  40 – 50 minutes

Total time:  55 – 65 minutes

Ingredients:

300 grams  (635 millilitres) cake wheat flour

2 teaspoons (10 millilitres) baking powder

1 teaspoon (5 millilitres) bicarbonate of soda

1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 millilitres) ground cinnamon

1/2  teaspoon (2.5 millilitres) ground nutmeg

a pinch of  ground cloves

zest of one medium to large orange

325 millilitres sunflower oil

320 grams (400 millilitres) white sugar

4 free-range jumbo sized eggs, beaten

300 grams grated carrot

150 grams chopped mixed nuts (I used walnuts, pecans and almonds)

Instructions:

Grease and line two spring-form cake tins.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/170 degrees Celsius (thermo fan) / 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium-sized bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg together and set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric beater, beat together the oil and sugar for about 5 minutes.  Whilst beating continuously, add the beaten eggs slowly to the oil and sugar mixture.

Add the grated carrots and the nuts to the egg mixture, and stir with a metal tablespoon or a wooden spoon.

Fold in the sifted dry ingredients, including the zest, and mix well.

Pour the mixture equally into the two prepared tins and place in the oven for 40 – 50 minutes.

(If you are not using a thermo fan oven, you can check at 40 minutes, and if the skewer comes out clean, the cake is done.  I use a thermo fan oven, so mine needed to cook for 50 minutes)

Once cakes are done, let them sit in the cake tins for at least ten minutes, before releasing them and putting them on a cooling rack.

The cakes must be completely cold before icing.

For the Icing:

Ingredients:

5 Tablespoons cake wheat flour

1 cup full-cream milk

225 grams salted butter

1 cup (250 millilitres) castor sugar

1 teaspoon (5 millilitres) vanilla extract

Instructions:

Using a small saucepan and a whisk, mix the flour and milk together. Place the saucepan over a medium heat, and while stirring continuously with the whisk, bring the flour and milk mixture to a very slow boil. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens.  This can take at least 5 minutes. Then place the saucepan directly into the fridge.

While the heated flour and milk mixture is cooling in the fridge, use an electric beater and cream the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until light and creamy. This literally takes a a couple minutes.

When the heated flour and milk mixture is completely cool, take it out of the fridge and add the creamed butter mixture to it. Beat with an electric beater until the mixture is fluffy and thick.

Then apply to the cold cakes.

Decorate with chopped nuts.  (I dry toasted mine – optional)

Enjoy 🙂

 

 

 

Apple, Pear and Nut Cake

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Many years ago, a friend of mine raved about a particular Pear Cake she had tasted.  Not long afterwards, I discovered amongst my recipes, that I too, had that particular recipe.  Now, for me then, cake was either vanilla or chocolate, a fruit cake, just did not cut it for me.  I really was on the fence about baking it for years, but eventually, my curiosity got the better of me.  Well, I was super impressed, to the point I could not believe I had denied myself the deliciousness of this cake.  It probably was the most moist cake I had ever tasted and the actual pears in the cake were superb.

The first time I made the cake I was slightly worried as the recipe stipulated that the cake would take 1 hour ten minutes to cook, mine took 2 hours and fifteen minutes!  I was stressing thinking the cake would be all dry, (quite the opposite) I then wondered if it was because I had used a silicone bundt cake pan, not that, that would make the difference….but I questioned myself anyway…..So when I made the cake the second time, used a normal bundt cake pan, and the cake still took 2 hours and fifteen minutes!  Again, a perfectly lovely moist cake…

Anyway, I was totally inspired, and from that cake, have created my own version.  Using fresh apples and pears, and poaching them, a bunch of nuts, this cake has become a family favourite.

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Oh, by the way, I found that each time I bake this cake it rises to the extent of being uneven once turned out of the tin.  Grab a sharp knife and trim the cake to make it even and have your own private taste testing… I mean, the baker has to taste the cake ! Its a moment you won’t regret, and no-one needs to know 🙂 🙂 :-).

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Apple, Pear and Nut Cake

Preparation time: 1 hour (including time to poach the apples and pears)

Cooking time: 2 1/4 hours

Total time: 3 hours 15 minutes (time can be reduced if poaching of the apples and pears are done beforehand and refrigerated)

Ingredients:

To poach the apples and pears:

400 grams peeled and cored fresh apples (I used Granny Smith Apples)

400 grams peeled and cored fresh pears

2 cups (500 millilitres) water

1 cup (250 millilitres) sugar

More ingredients for the cake:

300 grams mixed chopped nuts (I used a mixture of almond, pecans and walnuts)

3 cups (750 millilitres) Cake Wheat Flour

2 cups (500 millilitres) white sugar

2 teaspoon (10 millilitres) cinnamon

1 teaspoon (5 millilitres) bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teaspoon (2.5 millilitres) salt

1 1/2 cups (375 millilitres) vegetable oil

3 free-range jumbo eggs

1/2 teaspoon (2.5 millilitres) vanilla extract

Icing Ingredients:

4 teaspoons (20 millilitres) butter

1 cup (250 millilires) icing sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons reserved apple and pear juice

1 tablespoon boiling water

Instructions:

To poach the apples and pears:  In a medium-sized pot, place the chopped apples with two cups of water and a cup of sugar and poach till tender (but not too soft they are falling apart). Once the apples are done, take them out of the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool.

Then add the chopped pears to the reserved water in the medium-sized pot and poach till tender as well.  Once done, remove  the pears with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Do not throw out this water as some of it will be used for the icing of the cake later on.

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C/325 degrees F.

Take out a large-sized mixing bowl, and sieve the flour,  2 cups sugar, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and salt together into this bowl.

Then, add the wet ingredients (oil, eggs and extract) to the dry ingredients.

With an electric hand beater, beat all the ingredients for about 4 minutes.  The mixture becomes extremely thick.  I found that the mixture literally was just hugging the hand beater blades, to the point I had to get a knife and ease the mixture off the blades in order for the blades to actually work properly. But it was fine, par for the course….

Then, once the ingredients are nicely combined, its time for ‘the arm workout’.

Fold in the apples, pears and nuts.    This needs to be done well.  The mixture is very stiff, so dig down deep with that metal tablespoon and fold.  Some of the apples and pears will break automatically, but try not mash the apples and pears.

Seriously when you make this cake you can definitely skip going to the gym that day to do arm exercise!

Spoon the mixture into the greased 26 centimeter bundt cake tin.

Place onto a baking tray, just in case the mixture topples over with the rising and put in the preheated oven and enjoy the aroma of the cinnamon filtering through the kitchen.

Bake in the oven for 2 1/4 hours.  (Check with a skewer after 1 hour and 10 minutes and see….I checked every 15 minutes thereafter with the skewer until the cake was done)

Once the cake is done, take it out of the oven and allow it to cool in the cake tin for 5 to 10 minutes. Then release onto a cooling rack.

Whilst the cake is cooling, prepare the icing.

Cream the butter and icing sugar together adding the icing sugar in small batches.  When the mixture gets too dry and the icing sugar is flying around, add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the reserved apple and pear juices and the tablespoon of water.

This does not make a large amount of icing, basically just enough to cover the top.

Scatter some nuts on the top of the icing for decoration.

Enjoy 🙂

NB*  Use a digital scale if possible for accurate measurements.

NB*  If using a silicone bundt cake pan, the cake must cool completely (literally be cold) before it is released from the silicone cake pan, otherwise the cake will fall to pieces.

 

 

 

Gluten-Free Orange and Nut Cake

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This recipe literally haunted me from the day I set eyes on it in the Your Family magazine.  I do not know what it was, but I knew, I just had to make it. It practically became like an obsession.  It was a bit weird as I’ve always been a kind of person that would not really go for a citrus cake, not that I don’t love fruits, it’s just that cake for me always has been chocolate or vanilla.  Fruit is fruit.  Maybe I am maturing haha, and becoming more adventurous …not that, that is a bad thing, I suppose…well, whatever sparked my brain, I am grateful as this recipe is a definite keeper and I know I will be making this often.

The citrus flavour of the orange is so different.  Cakes usually are sweet, but this one is far from sweet, it leaves this addictive subtle flavour in your mouth, just craving for more.

By the way, this cake can be Gluten Free as I have made it, or not.  With only five ingredients, only the baking powder would make it either Gluten Free, or not.  There is no flour in this cake either, so the slight indentation in the middle of the cake once cooked is quite normal.

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Whilst reading though the method, I discovered that a food processor was needed, I was totally disappointed and thought I would have to put the recipe on hold until I had bought a food processor, but still going through my file, this recipe jumped out at me.  Then, over the weekend, I could not take the suspense any longer…food processor or not, this cake was being baked !!! And, oh my word, I am so pleased I did…there are no words to describe this cake…It probably is the most moist, light cake I have ever baked or tasted.  A good dollop of freshly whipped cream and a healthy fat slice and you’re good to go…It’s far from rich, and the combo of the citrus and the nuts, is just amazing.  Another good thing about this cake is that there are no preservatives, or colourants in it.  It is the perfect winner (except for the added cream if you want to be pedantic) but seriously the cream tops this cake.  It is a cake, and a dessert.  It is a cake that I would even have for breakfast.

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Gluten Free Orange and Nut Cake

Preparation time:  2 hours 5 minutes

Cooking time:  1 hour 15 minutes

Total time:  3 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients:

2 large oranges

6 free-range Jumbo eggs

3/4 cup (180 millilitres) castor sugar

300 grams mixed nuts, chopped*

1 teaspoon (5 millilitres) gluten-free baking powder

Zest of 1 orange, for garnishing

Icing sugar, for garnishing

Whipped cream or ice-cream for serving

Instructions:

In a medium-sized pot, place the oranges in, and cover with water. Put the pot lid on and cover.  Once the water reaches boiling point turn the heat down to simmer.  Check the water levels frequently every fifteen minutes, as the water levels drop quickly.  Add more water to keep the oranges covered, if and when necessary.

Once the 2 hours are up, the oranges will be hot and soft to the touch.  Drain the water out from the pot and then carefully take the oranges out without piercing the oranges.

Allow the oranges to cool slightly on the outside and then with a sharp knife carefully cut them into pieces (skins and pips included). The insides of the oranges will still be hot. Place the orange pieces on a plate and put them in the refrigerator  for about 5 minutes. Then, once the oranges pieces have cooled completely, put them in a food blender and blend.

Then, turn on the oven to 150 degrees C fan oven / 302 degrees F.

Grease and line a 22 centimeter/8.58 inches spring-form cake tin with baking paper, and grease again. (I use spray ‘n cook).  Make sure the lining exceeds the height of the baking tin, to allow for rising whilst baking.

In a large bowl, add the eggs and castor sugar.

With an electric hand beater, mix on the highest level, for ten minutes.  By this time the eggs and castor sugar will be of a light, soft, frothy consistency, and would have practically filled the mixing bowl.

Then, stir in the blended orange mixture.

Add the chopped and grounded nuts.

Add the gluten-free baking powder.

Give the mixture a good stir with either a metal tablespoon or a wooden spoon.

Pour into the greased and lined spring-form cake tin, and place on a baking tray (just for extra precaution) and put in the oven. *

Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes (check after an hour if you see the top of the cake is golden brown, with a cake testing skewer, it should come out clean, once done).

Once done, take out of the oven, allow to sit in the tin for about five minutes, then release the sides and allow to cool.

Place on serving plate, dust with extra icing sugar and garnish with grated orange zest.

Serve with either whipped cream or ice-cream.

Enjoy 🙂

  • I used a pestle and mortar for my nuts, and used a combination of almonds, pecans and walnuts.
  • You will notice that the entire spring-form cake tin will be filled to the brim, don’t be over alarmed as the increased lining will help with the rising and should not tip over whilst baking.  (When I baked mine I used a 20 centimeter spring-form tin, and I ended up having extra mixture. In desperation I put the extra mixture into 6 paper cup cake holders. When my cake was done I noticed it exceeded the brim slightly, but stayed within the lining.  That is why I have suggested a slightly larger spring-form cake tin.)