Orange Glazed Carrots with Toasted Pecans and Coriander

Orange Glazed Carrots with Pecans and Coriander-8579

It’s probably safe to assume that carrots are a popular vegetable in most households. Not only are carrots good for you, they are so versatile when to comes to using them with recipes. Apart from snacking, juicing, roasting and baking with carrots, you can never go wrong serving them as a side dish, like these Orange Glazed Carrots with Toasted Pecans and Coriander. As much as we enjoy carrots simply steamed, on occasions it’s nice to posh up these brightly coloured root vegetable and combine them with other flavors and ingredients.

Fresh Garden CarrotsWhen I visit my sister in Ireland I always love to have a wander around their garden, take a few photographs and admire the vegetable and fruits they grow. This time I had the opportunity (also hubby) of pulling carrots from the ground, it was a wonderful veggie moment… well at least for me. You can’t help but marvel at mother nature, seeing that first glimpse of vibrant orange emerge as you pull a perfectly formed carrot from the ground. Growing your own produce seems like an awful lot of hard work, but you can see how proud my sister and her husband are of what they have achieved and learned over the past couple of years. That veggie moment has made me think about trying my hand at growing carrots in a container, but if I never get past the thinking stage… at least I have the local farmers market to fall back on.

Glazed CarrotsThe carrots are gently simmered in fresh orange juice and a little butter, then afterwards the cooking liquid is reduced to intensify the flavors. This thickened citrus orange glaze complements the flavor of the carrots, also the toasted pecans and garnish of coriander. I do not add sugar to this recipe as I rely on the sweetness of the carrots and the orange. If I find blood oranges (which are sweeter) in the market, I also like to use them with this recipe. A side dish elegant enough to grace your table on special occasions or if you fancy treating the family to something a little different.

Orange Glazed Carrots with Toasted Pecans and Coriander

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
450g of carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch batons or you could use baby carrots
300ml of fresh orange juice
50g un-salted butter
sea salt, for seasoning
2 tablespoon for toasted chopped pecans or walnuts
for garnish
2 tablespoon of freshly chopped coriander or parsley

How to cook:
Put the carrots, orange juice and butter into a saucepan. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and simmer over a gentle heat until carrots are tender. With a slotted spoon, remove the carrots from the cooking liquid, set carrots aside and keep warm. Gently simmer (uncovered) the remaining liquid until reduced to about 1/4 cup. Add some sea salt, to taste. Add the carrots back into the saucepan with the toasted pecans, gently mix to coat the carrots with the orange glaze. Transfer the carrots to a warmed serving dish, scatter with coriander and serve at once.

Shortbread Biscuits Sprinkled with Vanilla Infused Sugar

Shortbread sprinkled with Vanilla SugarWhen it comes to making buttery shortbread biscuits we all have our favorite recipes and we love shortbread that’s light, crumbly and has a slight crunch. Over a cup of tea when visiting my sister-in-law, she took out a box of shortbread biscuits a client had given her. Knowing how much she loves the shortbread, gave her the ingredients list and a brief summary of the method… which my sister-in-law has passed to me. You know you are munching on a good shortbread when it ticks all the boxes.

Shortbread on a wire cooling rackShortbread dough is so versatile, you can change the texture and flavor by adding different ingredients to a basic shortbread recipe, which consists of butter, sugar and flour. Unlike many shortbread recipes, this one uses melted butter instead of softened butter and uses both rice flour and cornflour. Rice flour gives shortbread a slight sandy texture while cornflour gives a delicate crumb. Chilling the dough was not mentioned but I decide to rest the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes before baking,  so the flours could absorb the oiliness of the melted butter. I prefer baking shortbread at lower temperatures for longer, keeping their customary pale color. Once baked, remove the shortbread from the oven and let it rest for a minute before cutting into fingers or squares with a sharp knife. Or, you could use a small square cutter like I did. Always cut shortbread when it’s hot and leave in the baking tin to further cool and firm up before removing and transferring to a wire cooling rack.

Vanilla Sugared Shortbread-8451Shortbread can happily hang around in a biscuit tin for a week, but they rarely ever do… especially when home-made. Share these butter delights with friends and coworkers or take to school bake sales. Biscuits make delicious edible gifts and always look special when placed in pretty packaging.

Shortbread with Vanilla Sugar

Ingredients:

  • 225g butter, melted and cooled
  • 250g plain or all-purpose flour
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 50g cornflour
  • 25g rice flour
  • vanilla infused sugar or caster sugar, for sprinkling

You will need a 12inch (30cm) by 9inch (22cm) Swiss Roll tin, lined with aluminum foil or non-stick baking parchment.

How to make:
Sieve the flour, caster sugar, cornflour and rice flour into a medium bowl, stir together. Pour over the melted butter and mix all the ingredients together until thoroughly combined. With the back of a dessert spoon, push and spread the dough evenly into a swiss roll tin, smoothing over the top. Rest the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes before baking. Pre-heat the oven to Pre-heat the oven to 140ºC/275°F/Fan 120ºC/Gas Mark 1 and bake 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Once baked, cool for about a minute before cutting into desired shape. While hot sprinkle the short bread with a light coating of vanilla sugar or plain caster sugar. Leave the shortbread for a further 10 minutes to firm up before removing and transferring to a wire cooling rack. Store shortbread cookies in an airtight container.

Makes 35 shortbread when cut with a 1 and 1/2 inch cookie cutter.

Do you have a special ingredient that you like to add to your shortbread?

You also might like:

Rocky Road Chocolate Slices

Cookies from a Jar

Orange and Rose Petal Madeleines

 

Lemon Yogurt Muffins with Poppy Seeds and Dried Cranberries

Muffins-8385After being away on vacation for some weeks, one of my favorite things to do on returning home is to bake. It’s been awhile since I used the tall muffin tin from Ikea and had stocked up on the custom baking wrappers to use with this baking tin… just in case I couldn’t find any in stock. Quick to make, these Lemon Yogurt Muffins with Poppy Seeds and Dried Cranberries are not overly sweet, especially if you omit the lemon glaze. When eating you will notice a subtle crunch with each bite, the poppy seeds give these muffins an interesting texture. I also think poppy seeds look attractive when added or sprinkled on top of baked goods. On the odd occasion I managed to find poppy seeds in the supermarkets here, but as they are not always available I tend to bring some back when I travel. Continue reading