We have really began to notice the change in seasons this week, Autumn came with days of grey skies and threatening clouds. Raining every evening and blustery at night. For some reason, I quite enjoy this kind of weather. I find comfort in the cool weather after the intense months of heat. Perth gets one of the hottest summers in Australia and being Irish, I definitely noticed it. My pale skin is over sensitive to the heat so I spent much of my time ducking into the shade and holding out for the Fremantle Doctor to come dancing breezily into town in the late afternoon. Now, however I wake up to grey skies and look forward to being greeted by a refreshing breeze when I step out of my front door.
Another bonus to Autumn is the abundant fruit and vegetables that are on offer. I noticed the markets were looking a little empty these past few weeks, the carts of stone fruit have diminished, those vibrant strawberries and blueberries are slowly beginning to disappear. The summer fruits are nearly gone. They have been replaced with sturdy root vegetables like odd looking pumpkins. The fruits of Autumn are some of my absolute favourite, dainty apples, feminine pears and figs and my new obsession, persimmons! I love them, their colour is amazing and they pack a bounty of taste. I recently put them into a fruit crumble and it blew me away how well they melted softly into the crumb still retaining their gorgeous sweet taste. These will definitely be featuring on the menu this Autumn.
Enough of the persimmon, he will get his day. Now, onto a more robust friend of mine. The purple carrot. Ever since my first sighting of these odd looking fellows at the markets, I bagged a load of them, brought them home and experimented. My dear, the colour they exude is phenomenal. We had purple tinted cottage pie last week, which was full of earthy, intense flavours. I was attending the recent TedxPerth event on Monday and the only criteria to gain entry was to bring some nibbles. I made up a batch of Purple Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. How Divine!!! At one stage when we were waiting to leave, I was perched by the entrance, basket in hand about to make my escape when a random guy came up with a mouthful of cupcake and said ‘You have amazing cupcake skills’ and happily tottered off back to his friends 🙂
For the recipe I followed Marian Keyes recipe for carrot cake cupcakes with a few minor alterations and a different topping.
50g hazelnuts, roasted and skin removed & chopped
150g purple carrot, grated
150g muscovado sugar
2 medium eggs
150ml olive oil
150g spelt flour
1 teaspoon bicarb of soda
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Line a 12 hole cupcake tin with cases. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
Beat the sugar, eggs and oil together until it is dark and resembles a rich caramel.
Sieve the flour and bicarbonate of soda twice and fold into the egg mixture.
Grate in fresh ginger and sprinkle in cinnamon and nutmeg.
Add in the chopped hazelnuts and grated carrots.
Divide the mixture between the 12 cupcake cases. These beauties will rise up quite high but still remain moist and springy to the touch.
Pop in the oven and bake for 22 minutes.
Place tray on a cooling rack and leave to cool for a few minutes then remove cupcakes.
Cream Cheese Frosting
330g cream cheese
2/3 cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Place all ingredients in the bowl of a mixer and mix until it appears silky and tastes divinely sweet.
Scoop mixture into piping bags and beginning at the outside, create decadent swirls of frosting goodness!
Enjoy these with friends if you can manage to share them 😉