Tag Archives: healthy

#recipe: Purple carrot cake

purple carrots 2

I owe this recipe to my sister-in-law, Victoria. Thank you!

The cake was delicious as Victoria first baked it, but I think my small changes have made it a fraction healthier. But then, who cares about healthy?

Where I have strayed slightly from the ingredients or quantities, I have given the original ingredients or quantities in brackets afterwards.

Let’s do it!


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup raw or caster sugar
  • ½ cup oil* – peanut or olive is fine [1 cup]
  • 1 cup self raising flour plus 1/3 cup almond meal [1/3 cup wholemeal flour]
  • 1/2 teaspoon Bi-carbonate of soda [1 1/3 teaspoons]
  • 1 tablespoon plain yoghurt [optional in the original recipe]
  • 1 1/3 teaspoons cinnamon – i.e. LOTS!
  • 2 cups peeled and grated purple carrots – about 3 big ones [approx. 2 big orange carrots]
  • [optional] ½ cup sultanas tossed in flour
  • [optional] 1 cup chopped walnuts

* 1/2 a cup of oil will result in a lighter, drier, fluffier carrot cake. If you like yours more traditional, experiment with the amount of oil you add, bearing in mind that 1 cup is probably the maximum, while 1/2 a cup is the minimum.


  1. Preheat oven to 150 C [Fanbake] or 300 – 325 F
  2. Lightly grease and flour a 19 cm ringform cake tin
  3. Break whole eggs into the mixing bowl and beat until frothy
  4. Continue beating as you add 1 cup of sugar to the eggs, a bit at a time. Beat well between each addition. The egg mixture should become light in colour, thick and fluffy.
  5. Continue beating as you add the oil.
  6. Remove the bowl from the mixer and sift the flour, bi-carb and cinnamon onto the egg mix.
  7. Fold in.
  8. Peel and grate the carrots just before adding them to the cake to stop them from going ‘greenish’ during cooking.
  9. Fold in the grated carrots
  10. Fold in the yoghurt
  11. Pour the cake mix into the prepared tin and sprinkle with almond flakes.
  12. Place in the centre of the preheated oven and bake for approx.. 1 hour.
  13. At the end of the hour [and not before!] test the cake with a skewer. The skewer should be a little greasy but not wet or sticky.
  14. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to stand in the tin for about 5 minutes.
  15. Turn the cake out onto a wire cooling rack.

Serve at room temperature with cream, ice cream or just plain. Or if you’re like us, eat as soon as it comes out of the pan to enjoy the sweet, slightly toffee-like crunch of the outer ‘skin’. Once the cake cools, the skin loses it’s crunch.

The Offspring and I found no difference in taste using purple vs orange carrots, and as you can see from the photo, the purple carrots do not turn the whole cake purple so you can serve it without your guests ever knowing it’s a ‘healthy’ option. 😉

Bon appetit!


Toothpaste – the miracle cleaner!

toothpaste smallI was going to post the recipe for stuffed peppers today, but as I cleaned the pots and pans from last night’s dinner, I had a eureka moment : why not talk about my new favourite cleaner instead?

No! Don’t go! This is not going to be an infomercial! -shudder-

I promise no brand name will taint your screens from this post. My new, favourite cleaning product is no-name toothpaste. I could use a named brand, but why waste money?

Before I start singing the praises of toothpaste, let me assure you I love convenience as much as the next person. I hate cleaning, and have probably tried most of the cleaning products advertised on Australian TV, looking for that miracle product.  Hah…

So you see, I am a consumer, but… I also have this ‘thing’ about the food I eat and the air I breathe. I hate the smell of harsh chemicals, and I really worry about using products that have warnings on the label, especially the ones that advise you to seek medical attention if you breathe in the vapours. Excuse me? Where’s the gas mask that’s supposed to come with this product?Plus I have a septic tank which complicates matters a bit because harsh chemicals aren’t good for septic tanks, and no-one wants to smell a septic gone bad.

As a result of all these factors, I have slowly stopped using most of the advertised cleaning products on the market. But what do you use in their place? And is there anything safer that works just as well?

<<enter Toothpaste, stage right>>

Toothpaste cleans teeth, so I have to assume it is a little more human friendly than any other paste cleaner. After all, it’s hard not to swallow at least some toothpaste every day, right?

But did you know toothpaste will also clean silver? Yup, everything from rings and necklaces to those tarnished trays you inherited from your mother, and can’t bear to throw away. Just rub on the toothpaste, rinse and ta dah – bright shiny silver!

But wait, there’s more. Did you know toothpaste is the fastest, easiest and least harmful way of cleaning the kitchen sink? And the stainless steel cooktop? And your stainless steel pots, pans and baking dishes? Yes again. With pots and pans I rinse off the toothpaste and give them a quick wash with detergent just so we don’t get the flavour of mint in unexpected places.

Don’t go away yet! There is more! Toothpaste is also THE best way to keep glass shower screens free of that horrible soap scum that makes you wish you’d stuck to disposable shower curtains. Rub the toothpaste on, let it sit for 5 minutes [or more] and rinse off. Sparkly clean glass.

I also use toothpaste on the shower base and the tiles. If you want to get seriously technical, you can also rub a little lemon oil over the cleaned shower screens to keep them scum free for longer. Only a little though, okay?

And while I’m waxing lyrical about uber cheap cleaning, I should also mention sodium bicaronate [bi-carb] and vinegar. Both are dirt cheap, [excuse the pun] are natural, and have worked since the year dot without killing anyone.

Bi-carb can be used to get coffee stains out of cups and mugs. Simply pour about a teaspoon of bi-carb in each cup, top with boiling water and leave for an hour or so. The stains come off as if by magic. Bi-carb will also soak off burnt on rice and other cooking accidents.

Vinegar is one of the oldest and most amazing ‘products’ ever invented. Not only does it taste great in salad dressings, and on fish and chips, it can be used to :

–  to disinfect floors. [Add about a cup to a bucket of hot water and wash away].

–  to fizz away stains when added to bi-carb.

–  and it is the cheapest, most effective way of cleaning windows and mirrors. All you need is a bucket of hot water, some vinegar and some old newspapers. The vinegar goes in the hot water and cuts through dirt and smudges like magic. The newspaper is for wiping down the windows after the vinegar has done its job.

Believe me or not, but my house is healthier, and my wallet is fatter thanks to these three simple changes to my buying habits. And the best part is that I’m working no harder than I was before with the you-beaut, expensive cleaning products. In fact, I’m actually working less because most of those products really don’t work, and you end up having to scrub anyway.

So, dear friends, the moral of this odd little post is to love your toothpaste. 🙂



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