>Carrot Cake Muffins and Warm Lamb and Feta Pasta Salad

>I don’t know why, but I prefer muffins to cakes, that is when I make them myself. Think it’s because I don’t have a proper round cake tin so my cakes are in a pyrex square bowl and they never come out right because they get stuck on either the baking paper or the bowl. Muffins bake quicker too and they look nice when they’re done.

I made muffins out of a carrot cake recipe, so that it’s easier to pop one in the lunch box for my husband to snack on and easy storage. The only thing missing from this recipe is the walnuts which are quite expensive but I love my carrot cake/muffins with walnuts, it just adds the best taste to the muffin. I LOVE my carrot cake/muffins!

The recipe is as follow:
2cups flour (I used a mixture of wholemeal, oatbran and bran)
1cup sugar (I used 1/2cup agave nectar)
4 eggs
2tsp cinnamon
1tsp salt
2tsp vanilla essence
2cups grated carrot
1cup raisins
1cup oil (I used 1cup olive oil, don’t use extra virgin because the olive taste is stronger)
1 can pineapple, crushed
1cup crushed walnuts (optional)

It’s so simple to make, this is Nicky’s recipe that I was talking about in the previous blog, the best carrot cake recipe in the world! Even better than cafe carrot cakes. Trust me, this is a very delicious carrot cake, the best you’ll ever eat! Just put all the ingredients together and combine until all mixed in together. Put in a pre-heated 180deg C oven for about 40min or till the tester comes out clean.

We enjoyed it for the weekend, I made them on Thursday so we could enjoy it for weekend breakfasts rather than going out and spending money in a cafe somewhere. There are 4 more muffins left in the fridge, but as you can see, my husband loves his muffins “drenched” with devon custard… (he added more after I took this shot).

And for the most delicious meal last night, I made warm lamb and feta pasta salad. The easiest, quickest and most convenient but classy meal I’ve ever made. When I looked at the recipe picture, it looked cafe-like and classy but when I read the recipe, it was too simple to be true. All you have to do is…

Pan fry 500g of lamb, saute it with very little salt and pepper. Once cooked, leave it to rest for a while. In the meantime, in a salad bowl, cut up:
1 red capsicum, sliced
1 yellow capsicum, sliced
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
10 mint leaves, minced
10 basil leaves, minced
5 parsley stalks, minced
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 lemon, juiced and zest
2-3 swirls of extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
250g feta, cubed

Once the vegetables are cut, add everything together including the lamb and toss lightly till combined. Careful not to break the feta too much, otherwise you can use hard feta which you can crumb on top. Add the extra virgin olive oil to finish off the salad and add a little glisten to the dish. In addition to that, on the side, boil as much pasta as you wish, about 1 cup of penne pasta per person. Dish out and enjoy!

As you can see, the meal looks so delicious (but bit messy from the tossing), but still yummy. My husband enjoyed it with pasta and I had a bed of torn lettuce. It was delicious but we finished it all off at one go, it was too good to resist. But do try out this recipe, I’m going to try this dish again but with a different meat because I have feta left over. I’m going to make it with chicken, mushrooms, carrot, broccoli, kind of like au gratin style but with feta cheese.

But anywho, abit off the topic of cooking, this weekend we had such a great time. We went out on Friday to have buffet at Royal Thai, where they were having the yum char deal, 2 for 1 deal. It took us 1hr to find the place because we’ve never been to the Marina Walk before but having not given up, we found a whole new little nook, lined with cafes and restaurants – with a massive view of all the boats in the harbour and the beach. It’s a lovely place to hang out, unfortunately it was abit too hot. We walked along the harbour, then came home and had a rest from the heat. We then went out when the sun went down to Oasis Mall, a quaint little mall along Sheik Zayed Road where they were having a huge sale at Home Centre. We (meaning I), stopped by Dumond and Kurt Geiger was having a warehouse sale!!!! Lets just say, my husband walked out with strained arms and I had a huge smile on my face. We stopped by Gourmet Kitchen to enjoy some cold iced mocha and I had Columbian decaf coffee, but I have to say that the coffees there are quite affordable and the shop’s really charming. The Oasis Mall has some cute little treasures which you cannot find anywhere else, it’s a good stop for a few hours relaxation.

On Saturday, we went food shopping at the Mall of Emirates, had some lunch at the Fresh Deli, I had grilled vegetables with sliced turkey and orange juice and my husband had a meatball sandwich and mint lime juice. We then came home and spent the rest of the day relaxing in front of the tv with An American Haunting and The Hand That Rocks The Cradle… just lovely.