Sleeping angels and carrot cake


All the grandkids were here on Saturday and stayed for a sleepover. They ran around like headless chooks in the afternoon, Eve watched a little bit of Peppa Pig, the boys watched Dan TDM, they had a drawing competition and played with Gracie and the Lego. I made lasagne for dinner but only three of us ate it. Eve filled up on avocado and bananas and Alex had grilled cheese on toast and some milk. They all slept in the same queen sized bed and when I went in to check on them at 11, all I could see were three tiny angels resting their sweet heads in a bed way too big for them.  😇😇😇 They slept soundly until 7am.


It was easy childminding - no one in nappies, everyone had fun and there were no quarrels. Shane arrived at 8.30 on Sunday morning and took them to a pre-screening of the new Lego movie.  Hanno and I waved as they drove down the driveway, then we were in the recovery ward for the next few hours.  Hats off to all the parents out there. Kids take a lot of energy.

This was the making of turmeric salad.

As you know I cook most of what we eat here from scratch. Over the past few days I made lasagne, a chicken and mushroom casserole with herb dumplings, turmeric rice salad with salmon and avocado and yesterday morning I made an old favourite - carrot cake.

To make turmeric rice salad I boiled rice with ½ teaspoon of turmeric and some salt. When it was cooked and cooled, red onions, red capsicums, corn, bread and butter cucumbers, salmon chunks, avocado and green onions were added. The dressing was ¼ cup of pickling liquid from the cucumbers. This salad is delicious and easy and you can use whatever vegetables are in the fridge.


Chicken and mushroom casserole with herb dumplings.

Beautifully moist and slightly spicy carrot cake.

I made most of the carrot cake in the food processor. It's one of those add all dry ingredients to all the wet ingredients cakes and it was in the oven in about 10 minutes. I even grated the carrots in the processor and, without washing the bowl, processed the wet ingredients. Then I transferred it all to a large bowl, added the dry ingredients and gently mixed them in.  Here is the recipe.

I usually make these flat cakes now.  They're much easier to store in the fridge than a layer cake.

Apart from a short period in the late 1960s, I've never been a follower of fashion. I wear what I like and if it's in fashion, fine, if it's not, fine. I think carrot cake has been placed in the ridiculous position of being out of fashion so people don't bake it anymore. New bakers don't know about it, except if they see it on a cafe menu. Black forest cake, prawn cocktail, lemon meringue pie, chicken Kiev and many other excellent family meals, are now seen as being too old and daggy to be worthy of a place on the kitchen table.  We're still eating all these meals here and they still taste as good as they used to in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.  You're missing out if you've never tried any of them.

Of course we also eat sushi, kale, smashed avocado, sour dough, spelt, nut milks, vegetarian and vegan food and many other "modern" dishes but they're all old too, they're just considered fashionable. I don't know why the cost of eating "modern" food is to leave the old ones behind. It can't be that young cooks don't know how to cook them, you can Google any recipe on the planet and have it before your eyes in a flash.  Hopefully it's not a fashion thing.  Whatever it is, if you haven't eaten any of the popular foods your parents and grandparents used to eat when they were young adults, ask them for recipes and have a go.  You might be surprised at how tasty it is.

This might be a good idea for a retro food blog - "what my parents ate". I wouldn't want to write it but I'd certainly read it. 🙂🥧🥘🎂😋

35 comments

  1. Good morning! Yum! I will make apple cake from windfalls from my columnar apple trees today. Recipe from my mum at least from 1940. The trees are small and narrow against the side fence but the apples are large and delicious

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  2. I still make all of my mom's old recipes. She was big on casseroles. They always made the house smell so delicious. My father would walk in the front door from work and say, "Mmmm...something sure smells good." I love carrot cake, too.

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  3. I think you are a dumpling queen; that looks extremely good. :)

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  4. Give me a good old fashion carrot cake or black forest. Yummo!!

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  5. Oh Rhonda, everything looks absolutely delicious.

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  6. My oldest son's favorite cake is carrot cake and he requests it for his birthday every year. I love the "old" recipes too. You are right that children take a lot of energy. I love when our grands come for sleepovers, but I crash when they head for home!

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  7. Rhonda add to the food list, Apricot Chicken, Beef Stroganoff, and good old Sheperds Pie, the younger generation are missing out, cheers Kat

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    1. Hi Elizabeth, we have all of those meals at our house - Shepherd's Pie was dinner tonight! I agree though that there are lots of dishes that just aren't being made any more.

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  8. You have inspired me to make a casserole with dumplings. I haven't done it in ages, but my kids seriously love it and I'd forgotten about it over the summer.
    My favourite cookbooks are the old ones. The ones they used to sell to raise money for the church. All done on a typewriter and stapled together. I found one in the bargain bin at a second-hand shop years ago and it has the best recipes in it. REAL food, things everybody eats, that I don't need to buy special ingredients for that i never use again. My 9yr olds favourite from that book is 'Frankfurts in Nightgowns' silly name for a very simple recipe.
    Cassandra xx

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    1. Dumplings are wonderful little creations. Jamie said they tasted like puff clouds, so I think he liked how light and fluffy they were. I'm sure you'll all enjoy it.

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  9. I can just picture the little ones asleep after an active day, so sweet 😊, nowonder you were tired. Mine are 23, 17, 16 and 10 now, so things are less hectic and no grankids yet 😊. My 16 yearold makes a delicious carrot cake. Agree about the older recipies, well worth a go. Blessings, Pam in Norway

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  10. I agree about the foods and meals which seem to have been left behind- although it's good sometimes to discover new ingredients we shouldn't abandon all that has gone before. It makes me laugh that everything seems to have chorizo in it theses days - how long till that disappears and some new fad takes its place.
    Lemon meringue pie is another traditional dish you rarely see these days.

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  11. I love carrot cake and actually baked one last weekend for visitors. Will try this recipe next time as mine only takes cinnamon as a spice.

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  12. All of your dishes look absolutely scrumptious! I agree with food going in and out of style. Eat what you like and what likes you!
    Sounds like the grands had a rip-roaring time. What a blessing for them to have you so near.
    Have a brilliant day!

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  13. What my parents ate (or rather 'what my mother cooked' ) ........ Birds Eye boil in the bag chicken casserole, Findus crispy pancakes, Cadbury Smash and Surprise dried peas! Funnily enough I just mentioned those very things on my own blog yesterday. I make carrot cake.

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    1. We all have our own unique paths, Eloise. It sounds like your mum was a busy working woman.

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  14. Rhonda, just about every time I look at your blog I get the urge to bake. I´ve been feeling nostalgic about food from "way back when" recently, not least some of my heritage Scottish recipes. I´ll put these on "hold" just now. Carrot cake goes to the top of the list. Love your description of "active grandparent duty". Is there any time more precious? Things change so quickly. Our granddaughters are 13 and 15. Soon I will be "babysitting" them at their home since they have to go to school. What a doodle! They are so self-sufficient that there is really hardly anything for me to do...Oh yes, I think I´ll bake them a carrot cake.
    Greetings from Sweden/Ramona

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    1. Hello Ramona, lovely to see you again. When you get around to your Scottish recipes, I'd love for you to email me a recipe to try. The grandgirls are growing up fast. xx

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  15. Yum, my nearly 12 year old daughter loves carrot cake. I’ll be making this recipe this week! We still have chicken kievs for dinner sometimes and lots of old recipes my grandmother and mother used to make. I hope my daughter continues to make them too.

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  16. Hi Rhonda...loved this post as usual...and " the recovery ward" part...so true...
    Grandparenting is such a joy ...would love to see a picture of little Eve...or perhaps her parents don't want her shared on blog which I understand....❤️

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    1. Hi Barbara. Alex and Eve's parents don't want their photos online and we understand and respect that. Eve is a gorgeous little girl, she's nearly four years old with long blonde hair and blue eyes. Like many girls, she likes playing with mermaid and unicorn toys but because she grew up playing with Alex and Jamie, she also loves Lego and loud trucks. 🙂

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  17. I love that Jamie calls your dumplings puff clouds Rhonda. I have noticed Carrot cake has made a comeback since Annabel Crabb spoke about baking one on her podcast with Leigh Sales. The recipe has been floating around on cyberspace and contains crushed pineapple as well as carrot. I feel the urge to bake one again now that two of my fave writers has spoken of them. Our wood stove is going to day as it's cool enough here, and a bread and butter baked egg custard is in the oven at present. The thought of those little angels all asleep in the big bed is heartwarming. I'm so pleased the sleepover went well for you all. Special times and memories for them and you.

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  18. Fashion has always had its influence on what people cook, though today there is so much international exposure, it seems to have taken over and drowned out many of the old dishes.

    Let's not forget the comfort food items from our childhoods. My husband calls one 'potatoes and buttermilk' (boiled potatoes with sauteed onions) but my family always ate it with sour cream. My family ate 'noodles and cheese' (egg noodles with cottage cheese) which my mother fixed up with sugar and cinnamon for us kids and herself, and my dad just ate with salt and pepper. Polish cabbage soup with mushrooms and fava beans or large limas. Split pea soup with sherry or sour cream.

    I love carrot cake, but prefer gingerbread, though by adjusting the spices on the first, you can make it more like the gingerbread.

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  19. Recovery ward... I laughed right out loud! I'm in my early 40s and have 2 boys ages 6 and 3. So, needless to say, my husband and I look for the recovery ward nightly around here ��
    I love carrot cake. Cooking the old fashion recipes is such a joy, bringing memories each time. I enjoy cooking up Amish recipes, as many of them are simple and old fashioned, using real food.
    Sending you much joy today from New Mexico.

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  20. I adore carrot cake!! I like that your recipe is not layers, I may give it a go.

    Sounds like you had a lovely time with the grandkids and had a well needed reprieve :)

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  21. Hi Rhonda
    Sounds like a great time was had by all at the sleepover. I had a laugh at your recovery ward statement too, so true! I would definitely love reading a retro food blog too, so many good old favourites. I don't care if it's not in fashion anymore either, I'm still going to eat what I like too! And anyway, like all fashion cycles, it probably won't be long and those old favourites will be back in fashion again!! Your cooking looks delicious and has made me hungry... off to the kitchen I go!

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  22. around here potato cakes are making a come back. or at least people are talking about them again, oh and salmon cakes too! I loved both of those as a kid and I still do now. I had to laugh when you talked about carrot cake. it's never been a big favorite of mine but I have so many friends that LOVE it. whenever we go out to eat and carrot cake is on the menu someone at the table just has to order it! enjoyed your post as I always do. thanks!

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  23. I cook many of the things my Mum used to cook for us when we were small, Rhonda, and they always taste the best! I think it's that sprinkling of nostalgia that goes in with all the other ingredients. And I adore carrot cake...in my opinion it will never go out of fashion. It most definitely must have cream cheese icing though! Meg:)

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  24. Thank you for the recipes, Rhonda. I love all the old recipes. When I want to try something "new", I go to my trusty old Women's Weekly cards! They are 1970's era and have some magical, easy recipes.
    I also make my own cards to add for favourite recipes and inspiration. On these cards, you will find many of the recipes Rhonda has shared over the years. In the event of a catastrophe where I had to evacuate my home, the trusty card box would be one of the first things I take!!

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  25. Rhonda, had to pop over here from IG to thank you for your latest posts. You’ve given us a gift by communicating with that level of honesty, because it sparks real thought about some of the questions that matter most in life. Because of my own age (63), my Mom’s death, and my impending retirement, the topics you raised are all meaningful to me, and ones that I have been thinking about. A key word you used is “accept.” Whether we accept that our time here is limited, or that if we are old, we can’t be young, acceptance is the path to joy. So that is what I need to do next - stop fighting what I need to accept and chart a new course. Looking forward to seeing how you decide to celebrate Rhonda 71.0! Beth in MN

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    1. Hi Beth, such acceptance can close the door on a lot of manipulation and needless stress. Good luck. xx

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  26. Retro food blog...perfect. I understand not wanting to take that on! Sharing the old recipes every once in awhile as you cook would be wonderful though. For example, I have baked carrot cake for years and years but the recipe you shared looks like a recipe I would prefer and your method was definitely easier than what i do. Sharing your recipes is encouraging and educational for your older readers as well as your younger ones. Thank you so much. I laughed so hard at your comment about going to the recovery ward. I even read it to my husband who also cracked up. Our children, with their youth and vitality, have no concept how hard babysitting (even though we love it) is on grandparents! One more thing, I have read your blog for literally years and there are no words to express how happy I am that you are blogging again.

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  27. Cakes look so yummy. I stopped baking regularly ever since today’sflour Is so much more glutinous. Seems all the foods these days are altered and we wonder why weight issues are happening more.



    re grow

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  28. If anyone starts the "Foods Our Parents Ate" blog, I'll be a faithful reader! I love the "old" recipes and, as someone above mentioned, the old church/fundraiser cookbooks are the best! I have one from the 1960s that contains a large section of Volga German recipes from the are in Eastern Washington State (US), where my father grew up. Also, the comment from Iris that mentioned potatoes and buttermilk reminded me of a childhood dish I haven't had in years--salted, boiled potatoes grated into buttermilk. SO GOOD.

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