Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Spaghetti with Chicken, Spinach, Blue Cheese and Beans

Yesterday was my first day at college, I'm doing a Masters in Library and Information Studies, one day a week whilst working full time as well. It went really well, I met lots of people and the course looks really interesting. I just have to decide on my optional modules now. I'm trying to choose between Manuscript Studies and Cataloguing and Classification 2, and I have to decide by the end of next week.

This dish is one that I haven't eaten in a little while, I never seemed to have all the ingredients in at once. It is a really simple and quick pasta dish to make and really flavourful. I did however have a little accident with it, I made the dish fine and then whilst I was eating I managed to tip an entire glass of red wine into my plate. I poured most of it out but it still tasted slightly weird!

I am sending this into Presto Pasta Nights, this week back being hosted by Ruth.

Spaghetti with Chicken, Spinach, Blue Cheese and Beans
(Serves 2)

enough pasta for two
1 chicken breast
1 tin of canellini beans
couple of handfuls of spinach
small piece of Stilton, crumbled
tiny bit of double cream

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.

Cut the chicken breast into cubes. Heat oil in a frying pan over a medium high heat, add the chicken and fry until golden brown.

Add the spinach and the beans and stir until the spinach has wilted and the beans are heated through.

Add the cooked pasta to the pan, and add the blue cheese and a tiny bit of the cream, heat on a low heat until the cheese melts a bit. Serve.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009


I am on such a Mexican kick at the moment, and it is almost impossible to get decent Mexican food anywhere in London. I love the burritos I get from Upper Street in Islington, but everything else is pretty rubbish, so I thought I'd have a go at making one of the easiest Mexican dishes possible, fajitas. I also cheated slightly and used a pre-prepared spice mix, but it tasted really good, and had just the right amount of heat.

I added salsa, sour cream and grated cheese on top, which I'm pretty sure is not how its normally made, but it was really tasty and cured my Mexican craving, all be it briefly!

(Serves 4)

8 Soft Flour Tortillas
500g chicken breast
1 onion
2 peppers (red or green)
1 packet of fajita spice mix

Cut the chicken into thin strips. Slice peppers and onion into strips. Heat some oil in a frying pan and stir fry the chicken over a medium heat for about 4 mins. Add the fajita spice mix and vegetables and stir fry for another 3 mins until the seasoning mix coats the ingredients thoroughly.

Heat the tortillas following the instructions on the packet.

Put some of the chicken, pepper, onion mixture in the middle of a tortilla, pour on some salsa and sour cream, wrap the tortilla around the filling and serve. Alternatively you could just bring all the tortillas and chicken filling to the table and let everyone help themselves.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Wow, last week was manic. Work was crazy all week and then I made 50 bagels in 2 hours on Thursday for a Museum opening event, and went out every night! It was nice to have Saturday to myself. I went to Borough Market in the morning with a couple of friends and came back with a wild duck, a rabbit and a chicken as well as some veg. I also made some slow dried tomatoes in the oven and canned them, and then made my first crock-pot meal, vegetarian chilli, more on that later in the week.

Last Sunday I made these gorgeous little cheese and spinach mini fritattas from a recipe on and had a couple for breakfast. They were fantastically easy to make and really tasty. I have frozen the rest of them to enjoy at a later date and they will go really well in bento.

Last weeks Menu Plan went out the window towards the end of the week, so some of the things I didn't get to cook are on this weeks plan. We had loads of food left over from the event at work on Thursday evening, that we ate some more for lunch on Friday! The definite hits of last week were the Coriander Potatoes with Chickpeas and Tomatoes, they were absolutely delicious, and the bento from Tuesday, which was so tasty.

This week is bound to be busy as well, I start college on Tuesday, I'm going one day a week and working full time, so its gonna be hard! At the moment I'm half terrified and half excited and it will only be introductory stuff this week. So this weeks Menu Plan Monday meals are simple and mostly things I have tried before.

Lunch: Out at my sisters
Dinner: Daring Cooks

Lunch: Spanish Rice, Salad
Dinner: Yakisoba Noodles with Bean Sprouts and Veal (from Japan Centre Card)

Lunch: Japanese Wasabi Potato Salad, Chicken Tenders, Bean sprouts

Lunch: Sorrel Omelette, Salad
Dinner: Lightly Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese and Pesto, Lemon Linguine, Veg

Lunch: Macaroni Cheese, Salad
Dinner: Pasta with Snails in a Tomato Sauce

Lunch: Quiche, Salad
Dinner: Chinese Take away and Dirty Dancing on DVD

Lunch: Greek Pasta Salad
Dinner: Out at the Real Greek

Friday, 25 September 2009


Kedgeree is one of those dishes that reminds of childhood and my mum's cooking. It was one of the meals that we had regularly, that I absolutely love, but that I don't have all that often anymore. I'm not very good with chilli, all I taste is the heat, but this only has curry powder in it, and tastes spicy but without too much heat.

I made this one quite a while ago, and I added peas as well, which added a different texture to the dish. It worked really well.

(Serves 4)

150g long-grain rice
400g smoked haddock
100ml milk
100ml water
50g butter
1 dessertspoon curry powder
2 hard boiled egg

Boil the rice for 12 mins and drain thoroughly. keep warm.

Poach the haddock in equal quantities of milk and water in a covered pan for 4 mins, or in the microwave for 5 mins. Remove from the pan and drain. Remove the skin and tail, and break up the fish into fairly large flakes.

Melt half the butter in a saucepan. Blend in the curry powder and add the flaked fish. Warm the mixture through.

Warm the rice in the rest of the butter. Season bother the fish mixture and rice with salt, pepper and a few grains of cayenne pepper. Chop the hard boiled eggs coarsely. Add them to the fish and combine the mixture with the rice.

Pile on a heated dish and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Dot with butter and serve immediately.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Mustard Pork Loin Steak

I have spent today cleaning up my flat, although its not a very big flat and I'm the only person living here, its amazing how quickly it gets filthy, and I know that in a couple of weeks I'll have to do it all over again! I have also done some useful prep work, like blanching green beans and preparing lunch for tomorrow. But I have something nice to look forward to tonight, my sister had moved into a new flat and is having house warming drinks this evening, so I get to dress up a bit and meet lots of new people, which is scary but fun at the same time.

Whilst doing the ironing, I watched Jamie's American Road Trip on 4OD. I haven't watched any of the series on TV, so I watched the first four today. It might just be because I watched them all together, but his incessant use of the word "brother" really started to grate and it seemed like he's used the trip as a really good excuse to go out, get drunk and do a little cooking. That said, I actually really enjoyed watching them, they are fun to watch, but with a serious element to each of them, and some of the food he tastes and makes looks fantastic. I am fascinated with the US , so its a really good insight into variety of the cultures and food available, which you don't get to see as a tourist. I'm hoping to return to the States for a week or so next year.

I also love trying out new recipes, this is inspired by the mustard pork chops recipe in Nigella Express, with a few adaptations of my own, as I didn't have all of the ingredients. It was really tasty, although I left the cream sauce on the hob a little too long, waiting for the gnocchi to cook, so it was a bit thicker than I would have liked.

Mustard Pork Loin Steaks (adapted from Nigella Express)
(Serves 2)

2 pork loin steaks
2 tsp oil
Glug of calvados
1 tbsp grainy mustard
75 ml double cream

Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan and cook the steaks over a moderately high heat for about 5 mins a side. Remove to a warmed plate.

Pour the calvados into the pan, still over the heat, to deglaze the pan. Let it bubble away for a minute or so, then add the mustard and stir in the cream.

Let the sauce continue cooking for a few mins before pouring over each plated chop.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Last weeks Menu Plan Monday went really well. The highlights of the week were definitely the Japanese Beef Curry and the Macaroni Cheese. I used some lovely Stilton in the macaroni cheese, which really gave it some flavour. I had prawn cocktail yesterday for lunch, which I haven't had for quite a while and it was just as delicious as I remember it. There are hundreds of recipes for prawn cocktail, but I use my Mum's very basic recipe. It has 6 ingredients mayonnaise, tomato ketchup, lemon juice, Tabasco and salt and pepper and I just add each until I like the taste of it!

This week's Menu Plan Monday is a saving money week, as I get paid on Friday and can't buy any more groceries until then. I have all of the ingredients either in the fridge, freezer, or the cupboard. I am particularly looking forward to the Coriander Potatoes with Chickpeas and Tomatoes, from my Lebanese Cook Book, and I'm adding an egg on top to give it some more protein. I am also still battling with portion sizes, but I am definitely getting better at stopping when I'm full. I am also looking forward to a trip to Borough Market next Saturday as well, as I want to buy some Poussin for one person roasts and a rabbit to make stew from for the winter.

Lunch: Prawn Cocktail with Salad
Dinner: Out at Wagamama

Lunch: Potato Gratin, Salad
Dinner: Fajitas

Lunch: Somen Noodles with Fish Pasta sauce, Gyoza, Runner Beans with Oyster Sauce, Hard boiled egg (Bento)
Dinner: Spaghetti with Spinach, Blue Cheese, Chicken and Canellini Beans

Dinner: Coriander Potatoes with Chickpeas and Tomatoes (Lebanese Cookbook), with an Egg

Lunch: Leftover Bean Stew with Bacon
Dinner: Yakisoba Noodles (leaflet from Japan Centre)

Lunch: Greek Pasta Salad
Dinner: Baked Sausage Parcels

Lunch: Out?
Dinner: Daring Cooks

Friday, 18 September 2009

Japanese Beef Curry

Japanese Beef Curry recipe as promised! This is the first time I have made this from the curry sauce mix, I usually just use the ready made pouches that you stick in the microwave and then pour over meat of your choice, but this was just as easy. I used S&B Golden Curry Medium Hot Mix, it was just the right level of hotness for me, and was ready in about half an hour.

I served the curry with egg fried rice and it was delicious.

Japanese Beef Curry
(Serves 6)

450-700g beef, cut into cubes
2 onions, chopped finely
Any other veg you want, carrots, celery, red or green pepper etc
700ml water
quarter of a pack of curry sauce mix

In a large frying pan, heat some oil or butter. Add the beef, onions and cook until the beef and onions are lightly browned, approx 3 mins. Add the other veg, I used carrots, potato and leek, and cook for a couple of minutes

Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the meat is tender, about 15 mins.

Break the curry sauce mix into pieces and add it to the mixture, stir until completely dissolved. Simmer for 5 mins, stirring constantly. If it doesn't look thick enough, add some cornflour dissolved in a little water and stir to thicken.

Serve over hot rice or noodles.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Marinated Sea Bass with Green Vegetables and Ramen Noodles

So this was supposed to be a post about Japanese Beef Curry. I was all set, I had emailed the recipe to myself at work, but I completely forgot to even get the photos of the curry off the camera. This is what happens when you lie down to read for a bit at about 3pm and don't wake up again until 6pm! So I promise I will do the Japanese Curry in the next couple of days.

In the mean time, last week I made an awesome noodle soup. I love noodle soup, it is one of my favourite comfort foods, along with many other foods of the oriental persuasion. I spent yesterday morning in China Town again, hanging around waiting for the steamed bun stall to open up just so that I could have my fix. Seriously those things are so good.

Anyway back to noodle soup. There is nothing better than coming home after a ten and half hour day at work and making a lovely bowl of noodle soup, and this one was no exception. It was so tasty and warming, and although I'm usually really funny about eating fish skin, it didn't seem so bad in this, and it was made all in about 20 minutes. What could be better?

Marinated Sea Bass with Green Vegetables and Ramen Noodles (from Wagamama's Ways with Noodles)
(Serves 4)

for the marinade
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp mirin
2 tsp cornflour

200g sea bass fillets, skin on, cut into 3cm pieces salt and white pepper 100g ramen noodles
1 ltr chicken stock
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3 cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
juice of 1 lime
handful of french beans, trimmed
2 tbsp frozen peas, defrosted
handful of spinach
handful of coriander leaves

To make the marinade, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, fish sauce and mirin. Stir in the cornflour to dissolve. Combine the fish with the marinade ingredients, season with salt and pepper and set aside for an hour or overnight in the fridge.

Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions, drain and refresh under water.

Combine the chicken stock, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, rice vinegar and lime juice in a pan and bring to the boil. Blanch the beans in the mixture for 4-5 mins, until just tender. Remove with a sieve or tongs and refresh under cold water.

Add the fish pieces and marinade to the simmering stock, bring to the boil for 2 mins then add the beans, the peas and spinach to the pan with the noodles and simmer for a further minute. Check the seasoning.

Divide between 4 bowls and serve scattered with coriander leaves.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Daring Cooks September 2009: Vegan Indian Dosa

This months Daring Cooks Challenge was Vegan Indian Dosa from Debyi at Health Vegan Kitchen. This was a challenge for me and I nearly backed out of doing this one so many times, I don't have a problem with veganism per se, but I find it difficult to understand. I also had to go out and buy rice milk and potentially spelt flour, but I have to say I cheated slightly and used regular plain flour, as I couldn't justify buying a whole bag of spelt flour I would never use again. But in the end I really loved doing this challenge, I have never made anything similar before but I loved the whole idea of the dish, and I found the making of the recipe really enjoyable. I also really enjoyed actually setting aside the time to do nothing but cook for a couple of hours.

I am usually absolutely rubbish at time management, and it was really nice to be able to practice this with all the different parts to this recipe, which could be made in their own time and let on the stove to keep warm. I made it just for myself so I halved all of the recipes, and ended up with a really thick dosa pancake, but I still have loads of leftovers of the curry filling and sauce. I served it with rice with cloves, cardamom and star anise, and some cucumber. It was delicious, so thank you to Debyi and Daring Cooks.

Indian Dosas
(Serves 4)

Coconut Curry Sauce

1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic
½ (2½ gm) tsp ground cumin
¾ (3¾ gm) tsp sea salt (coarse)
3 TBSP (30gm) curry powder
3 TBSP (30gm) spelt flour (or all-purpose GF flour)
3 cups (750ml/24oz) vegetable broth
2 cups (500ml/24oz) coconut milk
3 large tomatoes, diced

1. Heat a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic, cooking for 5 minutes, or until soft.

2. Add the spices, cooking for 1 minutes more. Add the flour and cook for 1 additional minute.

3. Gradually stir in the vegetable broth to prevent lumps. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the coconut milk and tomatoes, stirring occasionally.

4. Let it simmer for half an hour.

Curried Garbanzo Filling

5 cloves garlic
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 green pepper, finely diced (red, yellow or orange are fine too)
2 medium hot banana chilies, minced
2 tbsp (16gm) cumin, ground
1 tbsp (8gm) oregano
1 tbsp (8gm) sea salt (coarse)
1 tbsp (8gm) turmeric
4 cups (850gm/30oz) cooked or canned chick peas (about 2 cans)
½ cup (125gm/4oz) tomato paste

1. Heat a large saucepan over medium to low heat. Add the garlic, veggies, and spices, cooking until soft, stirring occasionally.

2. Mash the chickpeas by hand, or in a food processor. Add the chickpeas and tomato paste to the saucepan, stirring until heated through.

Dosa Pancakes
(Makes 8)

1 cup (120gm/8oz) spelt flour (or all-purpose, gluten free flour)
½ tsp (2½ gm) salt
½ tsp (2½ gm) baking powder
½ tsp (2½ gm) curry powder
½ cup (125ml/4oz) almond milk (or soy, or rice, etc.)
¾ cup (175ml/6oz) watercooking spray, if needed

1. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, slowly adding the almond milk and water, whisking until smooth.

2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray your pan with a thin layer of cooking spray, if needed.

3. Ladle 2 tablespoons of batter into the center of your pan in a circular motion until it is a thin, round pancake. When bubbles appear on the surface and it no longer looks wet, flip it over and cook for a few seconds. Remove from heat and repeat with remaining batter.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I had a really lovely day yesterday wandering around central London. My first stop was to a street vendor who sells Steamed Buns at the entrance to China Town, to grab a vegetable steamed bun for breakfast, delicious! I then went to the Wonderful Patisserie on Gerard Street in Chinatown, where I bought a selection of their savoury filled breads, bbq pork filled, ham and spring onion filled and a sausage bun. They truly were wonderful. I am looking for a Japanese bread recipe online so that I can try and recreate them at home, but with little success.

I then went to the Japan Centre and bought two new Bento boxes and some noodles. They are moving on October 17th to a new home just around the corner on Regent Street, which will have even more Japanese food. I finished off the trip with a stop at John Lewis' Cookware department in Oxford Street and bought a house warming gift for a friend. It was such a nice way to start the day before getting on with all the boring jobs I had to do at home! I ended the day with Japanese beef curry and I watched Amelie, which I love.

This weeks Menu Plan Monday is lots of recipes I have tried before, mainly for ease and speed as I have a lot to get done this week. I am really looking forward to the Mustard Pork Chops with Gnocchi on Saturday, I am completely in the mood for some more comforting dishes now the weather has got colder.

Lunch: BBQ Pork Bun
Dinner: Japanese Beef Curry, Egg Fried Rice

Lunch: Fiorentina Pasta Bake, Salad
Dinner: Confit de Canard with Potatoes, Veg

Lunch: Hot Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad
Dinner: Out at a friend's new flat

Lunch: Bratwurst Sandwich
Dinner: Devilled Mackerel with Spinach and Potatoes

Lunch: Stir fry veg and noodles, Battered Prawns, Sweet Chilli Dip (Bento)
Dinner: Breaded Plaice, Veg

Lunch: Pesto Potato Salad, Mini Quiche, Salad (Bento)
Dinner: Macaroni Cheese, Salad

Lunch: Somen Noodles with Fish Pasta Sauce, Gyoza, Green beans with Soy Sauce (Bento)
Dinner: Mustard Pork Chops with Gnocchi (Nigella Express)

Sunday, 13 September 2009

A Family Lunch and Courgette and Cheddar Picnic Bread

Yesterday I went to my Dad's cousin's house for a big family lunch. There were 12 of us in total, and we had a lovely spread. It was a lovely lunch which went on into the afternoon and we didn't actually leave until 4pm! It was fantastic to see everyone and especially to meet my cousin from South Africa who I had never met before.

The main dishes were mushroom risotto and leek and blue cheese quiche, which were absolutely delicious, and then I made a couple of salads and some bread to go with it. The food in the picture is basically my handiwork for the day! I laid out the smoked salmon and helped with the green salad.

I made a multi bean and olive salad, it was supposed to be three bean but I ended up with loads of three bean salad mixes and mixed them altogether, using a recipe from epicurious. I also used olives stuffed with garlic instead of pimento as that's what I had in the cupboard and the flavours went really well together.

I also made a cherry tomato, mozzarella and basil salad with a balsamic and olive oil dressing. This was a real hit and there was only a tiny bit left at the end!

My last contribution was a loaf of courgette and cheddar picnic bread. This is made more like a cake than a bread, as there is no kneading or rising involved, but was really easy to make and came out lovely and moist. It went really well with a little bit of butter and a slice of smoked salmon. It also got rid of one more of my overgrown courgettes! I have just bought a book called What will I do with all those courgettes? by Elaine Borish,who my parents met on their recent holiday to Seattle, so hopefully that will give me some more ideas.

Courgette and Cheese Picnic Bread (adapted from Leith Baking Bible)
Makes 1 large loaf

225g/ 8oz self raising flour
pinch salt
pinch cayenne pepper
115g/4oz cheddar cheese
3 eggs, beaten
85g/3oz butter melted and cooled
55ml 2fl oz milk
225g / 8oz courgettes grated

Heat the oven to 180c , oil a 2lb loaf tin and line the base.

Sift the flour with the salt and cayenne into a large bowl. Stir in cheese. Make a well in centre add eggs butter and milk.

Mix in the courgettes to make a thick mixture. spoon into a loaf tin and spread flat. Bake for 45/50 mins or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Chocolate and Courgette Muffins

I still have loads of courgettes left and after making the courgette cake, I was intrigued by the mixture of courgette and chocolate, so I decided to make muffins. I used this recipe from the 21st Century House Wife , it can be used as a basic muffin recipe and you can add anything to it. It turned out yummy, they were lovely, moist and springy, and again you couldn't really taste the courgettes.

Unfortunately they went mouldy really quickly after only 3-4 days, even though I kept them in an airtight container. I wonder if it was the moisture from the courgettes that made them go mouldy so quickly.

Chocolate Courgette Muffins
(Makes 12)

10 oz self raising flour
3 oz sugar
2 medium eggs
8 fl oz milk
4 oz butter, melted
3tbsp good cocoa
1 medium or two small courgettes, grated

Sift flour and cocoa into large bowl, add sugar and stir well. Add grated courgettes. Beat eggs with milk and melted butter, pour on to dry ingredients and mix lightly. Keep turning and folding the mixture until everything is incorporated.

Spoon into muffin cases and bake in a hot oven for 25 - 30 minutes until well-risen and firm to the touch. Cool on wire rack.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Menu Plan Monday

A couple of weeks ago my sister made sushi for our Sunday evening get together. Now, I love sushi, and anything Japanese really, so this was fantastic for me. I have only attempted sushi once in my life and it wasn't a huge success, too much rice and not enough filling. She made two sorts of rolls, smoked salmon and cucumber, and prawn and red pepper. The prawn and red pepper ones didn't stay as a roll, we think because prawns are a funny shape, but the smoked salmon ones came out beautifully.

I made a soy sauce and wasabi sauce to go with them, and we also had prawn crackers and sweet chilli dip and I have to say they were really good. Much much better than the cheesecake I made for pudding which was just plain, and lacked any real flavour other than cream cheese. I will definitely have to try that one again, and she will definitely have to make me some sushi again ;)

I am definitely getting creative with my courgettes, not only did I make the courgette cake last week, but I also made courgette and chocolate muffins and courgette and feta mini quiches over the weekend. I will also be making courgette and cheddar picnic bread this week for a family party we are having on Saturday. It has been arranged by one of my relatives and is at her house but I have been asked to make some salads and extra things for the party as there will be 14 of us!

This weeks Menu Plan Monday is full of quick and easy to make food as I have a busy week ahead, with two theatre trips and hopefully I am going to see Julie and Julia on Friday. I am so excited! After listening to everyone in the States talking about it, or rather avoiding them talking about it, for a month, it finally gets released in the UK, so I can find out if it really lives up to the hype!

Lunch: Courgette and Feta Quiche, Salad
Dinner: Fillet Steak, Horseradish Mash, Veg

Lunch: Quiche, Salad
Dinner: Sea Bass with Green Veg and Ramen Noodles (Wagamama Ways with Noodles)

Lunch: Wild Rice, Feta, Courgette and Olive Salad
Dinner: Spaghetti Carbonara, Garlic Bread

Lunch: Twice Baked Jacket Potato, Salad
Dinner: Out?

Lunch: Kedgeree, Salad
Dinner: Duck in a Tin, Veg

Lunch: Hot Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad
Dinner: OUT? Tortelloni with a tomato sauce

Lunch: Out

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Courgette Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I still have more courgettes coming out my ears, I picked eight more today! So I've branched out into courgette cakes, which was a suggestion by Hope of Hopie's Kitchen, my adopter in adopt-a-blogger 3. I was really dubious about courgette cake, so I tried some in a cafe first and really enjoyed it. I found a really good recipe on just by doing a google search and made a monster of a cake!

It was really moist and had a beautiful texture, you couldn't really see or taste the courgette in the cake, probably because they were yellow courgette and I was thrilled at how well it turned out. I took it to Bath with me and we ate it as my sister's birthday cake. Even my 14 month old niece loved it! The cream cheese frosting turned out quite yellow and I'm, not sure why but my sister loved the frosting!

Courgette Cake

250g butter, broken up into pieces (at room temperature)
250g (1 cup) caster sugar or brown sugar
4 eggs
350g (3 cups) self raising flour
juice and zest of 1 an orange
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp mixed spice
350g (3 cups) courgette, grated
50g (1/2 cup) walnuts, roughly chopped
80g (1/2 cup) sultanas

Cream Cheese Icing
125g cream cheese
50g unsalted butter
300g icing sugar

Courgette Cake: Grease and line a 25cm deep cake tin with baking paper. Preheat an oven to 180°C.

Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time while mixing until the eggs are well incorporated.

Sieve the flour with the cinnamon and mixed spice. Fold in a 1/3 of the flour, followed by 1/2 of the orange juice and zest, repeat this using the remaining flour and orange, so that all the ingredients are well combined. Stir in the courgette, walnuts and sultanas and incorporate well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and place on the centre shelf of the preheated oven. Leave the cake to cook for around 1 hour or until the cake is firm to touch (if preparing 2x20cm cake tins, reduce the cooking time to 30-40 minutes). Turn the cake out on a rack and allow to cool.

Orange Cream Cheese Icing: Beat the cream cheese and butter together until creamy. Gradually beat in the icing sugar until you have a smooth creamy icing. Spread over the cooled cake. If you have prepared 2x20cm cakes, spread some lemon curd over the top of the one and sandwich the two cakes together and then cover the top and sides of the cake with the cream cheese frosting.