An education on food

Last week I was lucky enough to spend some time with the lovely Lyndey Milan.  Lyndey is a well-known food and wine person and has a wealth of knowledge on all foodie topics. I not only got to help her prepare for her weekly food segment on a daily morning show but also got to join her when she spoke to kids about food as part of the 'week of tastes' campaign.
The 'week of tastes' is an interesting program dedicated to changing the way children relate to food. As part of the larger Sydney International Food Festival, and amidst growing concerns about obesity and poor nutrition, it tries to raise awareness about the diverse and exciting world of food. I feel quite strongly about food education and think it’s vital for a society to know where its food comes from (not the grocery store!), whose labour goes into growing it and how it makes its way to kitchens.
As part of the program Lyndey did a demonstration on the versatility of carrots, showing them that this vegetable could be used in a variety of ways. Changing taste and texture allows you to create new foods. We started with (grated) carrots with a little freshly squeezed orange juice, and then moved onto a (purée of) cumin carrot dip, (creamed) carrot soup, and we finished with a (baked) carrot cake.
While the kids tried everything (with Lyndey’s encouragement) they couldn’t get enough of the cake! So I thought I would make one myself. This cake was full of carrots, sooo moist and had the perfect cream cheese icing. Try it out for yourself.

carrot cake with cream cheese icing

serves 10-12 large slices or if cut into bars makes 24 pieces
adapted from Lyndey Milan’s recipe

3 eggs
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/3 cup flour ( I mixed plain and wholemeal)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla bean/extract
2 cups (3-4 carrots) grated raw carrots
1/2 cup walnuts

cream cheese icing

150g cream cheese
100g icing sugar
lemon zest and 1 tbsp juice (1/2 lemon)
1 tsp vanilla extract/vanilla bean seeds

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C (150 for fan forced)
Grease and line cake tin (I used a round one)

For batter: beat eggs and sugar until fluffy and then add in oil and vanilla. In a separate bowl mix flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices. Add dry ingredients to wet and fold in carrots and nuts. Pour batter into prepared tin and bake approx. 40 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on rack.

To make icing: beat together cream cheese, icing sugar, lemon juice/zest and vanilla until light and fluffy. Ice cake when cooled down. The cake should keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.

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