Thursday, 10 November 2011

carrot fudge and red bean paste pancakes

so, i guess you are looking at the title of this post and thinking that i've completely lost it! well, i have and i haven't. one of these recipes was delicious, and one was a disaster... and both of these have happened because of my new experiments with cheap, thrifty recipes.

let's start with the epic fail, that i like to call carrot smoosh:

this is otherwise known as world war two carrot 'fudge'

and yes, it really was bad. i used this recipe from the frugal wartime recipes of great britain. and i don't know if it's a genuine recipe (my grandma had never heard of the concept) or it was made up for the article out of some piece of hearsay, but i don't think even in wartime you'd be convinced this was either a) fudge or b) tasty. imagine grated carrots mixed with orange juice and set into a jelly, and that's exactly what you get, hence the bright colour.

suffice it to say, i won't be making this recipe again. but i will try my hand a carrot halwa one day.

i even tried to turn the copious amounts of this carrot fudge (that i was going to take to the allotment bonfire party, but would've been too embarrassed) into cupcakes - my mum dared me to turn it into something edible, but the cupcakes still had a dodgy jelly texture that was just quite wrong.

needless to say it provided a lot of laughter, if not sustenance.

but, one disaster that ended up turning into an amazing discovery, occurred when a vegan red bean cupcake recipe decided not to cook.

i experiment all the time, and putting beans into cakes wasn't exactly new for me (my chocolate black bean cake is a greatly requested recipe amongst family and friends). but it turns out that eggs are pretty important, and flax seeds won't cut it when beans are involved.

so after these 'cupcakes' being in the oven for 40 mins without any change in texture or colour, besides becoming a little darker and probably enriching the flavours, i removed them and smooshed them all up in a bowl into a very delicious paste, that reminded me of sweets my dad used to bring back from work trips to Tokyo.

so, i googled what to do with red bean paste.

and since i am a pancake fanatic, i decided upon this shanghai red bean crepe recipe, but exchanged the regular flour for buckwheat (of course)...

these were yummy with a drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkle of sesame seeds!

sweet red bean paste might be an acquired taste, but it's one that i love :)

and you know what, we polished off the lot!

and i'll be making them again for sure! i'll be experimenting with my red bean paste recipe a little before i give it to you, because i'm not sure whether it's best to cook it on the stove, or bake it like before to get the same depth of flavour. it's sugar free and vegan, and i know that the more experimentive of you out there will adore it! the paste keeps for ages in the fridge, and it's lovely in or on pancakes, or in your morning oatmeal (seriously good).

so, moving on to less weird things... the latest update from the big budget challenge:

this week we've done pretty well - the days have completely flown past since my last budget update post, and
  • there's £37.74 in the bank and £5 cash in my purse. i spent £7 at the market on Tuesday, £5.01 in Waitrose, £6.12 in Lidl and £8.51 in Tesco. that brings me in under budget this week!! instead of being seduced by what looks good, i bought only things we needed to get us through the week.
  • did you know that a tin of baked beans from Lidl's cost 26p, and it's got the simplest ingredients list i've ever seen, and the smallest amount of carbs?! awesome. i got 4 tins.
  • the allotment is looking really beautiful - we had a big load of woodchip delivered to do even more ground covering for the winter, and i've been trying to weed the pathways before putting it down. it takes a long time to weed properly, but all the rain we've had has helped soften the earth a little. plus, we've discovered the joy of a thermos full of hot water to make tea whilst we're up there!
  • last week's apples from this obliging tree are still going well - they are so yummy and crisp, and there's loads left in the fruit bowl, despite my eating one every day.
  • i picked up a couple of Christmas presents from an antique's market this week - i've been making lots of gifts, like i do every year, but i saw a couple of things that were perfect, and at a very good price, so i bought them - but i only spent £3 in total, so that wasn't bad!
  • i almost bought a coat from a charity shop for £7.50. it was a Topshop green jacket, in great condition, and at a tenth of it's original price it was an absolute bargain. but the thought of my already crammed wardrobe deterred me from purchasing it.
  • we've been experimenting with pinhead oatmeal and medium oatmeal to make a delicious hot morning breakfast. i actually prefer the pinhead, because after a good nighttime soak, it cooks quickly and has a very sweet flavour.
  • i discovered massive pots of herbs and spices at the market for only £2, but resisted buying any until i actually need some, and picked up a tiny sachet of rosemary for just 60p that will fill up a standard herb jar twice. our market is the best. 
what's you worst or best kitchen disaster? do you visit your local market?

currently anticipating reading: the help by kathryn stockett - i'm waiting for it to come into the local library (i'm loving my weekly trips to the library!) as it's the first book that will be discussed at the new book club - we had a great first meeting, and it was a lovely venue, and a fab cheap/free social thing to do.

ps. i'm currently doing a giveaway on my AlissaEvelyn youtube channel - check it out if you want to win prizes all the way from Australia!


  1. Those pancakes look amazing! I have never heard of red bean paste before, but it can make deliciousness like that I'm all for it! :) I try and visit the market when I have the time as they have my favourite pink lady apples and persimmons way cheaper than the supermarket.

  2. I LOVE red bean paste... steamed chinese red bean buns and stuffed mochi are two of my favorite things!

  3. I think my worst kitchen disaster was a couple of years ago when I tried steaming some white fish it was rank! I'd love to know more about the Christmas gifts you make - although I guess you may not be able to say too much!

  4. My mum swears by Lidl, I may have to pay it a visit. My kitchen disaster was recently when I made beetroot cake. If you read my post you will know how vile I thought it was. I also steamed some fish once which was fine until I found a little worm in it - think that can be blamed more on the worm than me and yes, I use my local market all the time. Great post.

  5. I got all excited about carrot fudge for a minute then! The bean pancakes sound great though.
    I love markets; I got a bowl of mushrooms the size of my head for £1 on Thursday and a huge butternut for next to nothing; might have to find the Lidl near work too.
    I love that apple tree picture, it's stunning :-)

  6. The bean paste sounds good and looks very pretty x


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