Having done some rather scary maths the other day whilst standing in the rain waiting for my train I discovered that despite now technically working two jobs, I am worse off financially than I have ever been. Argh! Which isn't helped of course by that pesky VAT hike. Ho hum.
As a result it's belt tightening all round this end. And so I've made a pact with myself. No more yarn (or fabric). This year, like many others around the blogging world, I am going to knit and sew from stash. I don't have a huge stash, but then I'm not the fastest crafter. I've always been someone who is conscious about the chest of yarn and the knowledge that I don't want it to get to the point where I have more than I could knit in my lifetime. I have no problem with hording for the frugal times, it just so happens that the frugal time has come around rather more quickly than expected.
But that's alright. I have at least two jumper quantities hiding out in there, and plenty of sock and lace to keep me going. The fabric stash can produce a fair few dresses and perhaps a couple of quilts. I think that's going to be plenty.
The only time I will break this rule is if we're on holiday and I see something that I absolutely cannot get anywhere else. Then again, since we don't tend to holiday in the yarn capitols of anywhere that shouldn't be too much of a problem!
Having smugly and righteously made this decision I decided there was only one course of action: a celebratory cake! A frugal one of course, using up some carrots that were loitering in the fridge, the leftover mascarpone from the tiramisu and some old oranges. I've been in the mood for a good old fashioned carrot cake for a little while, and so it seemed just the thing.
Carrot and orange cake - serves 8-10 (depending on how selfish you are with slices!)
2 eggs, separated
125g self-raising flour
1/4 tsp bicarb
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
100ml oil (something light like vegetable or sunflower)
125g light muscovado sugar
100g finely grated carrot
dash of lemon juice
zest of two oranges
45g pecans, chopped
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 20" round, deep cake pan.
Beat together the oil and sugar in a large bowl or electric mixer, then add the zest, finally beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Add the carrots and lemon juice and mix to blend. Whisk together the dry ingredients, and beat the egg whites in a clean bowl until soft peaks form.
Gently add the flour mixture and nuts and combine. Then gently but quickly fold in the egg whites with a metal spoon. Pour into the lined tin and place in the oven for 45min, or until a toothpick comes out moist, but not covered in batter.
I iced mine with a buttercream with a hint of cream cheese:
100G soft butter
200g icing sugar,
zest of two tangerines
Beat the mascarpone and butter together until smooth, add the zest and then icing sugar and beat until combined. Spread over the cake when completely cool.