Looks can be Deceiving

While I enjoy cooking immensely, I am a messy cook at best. My food presentation skill has been a working progress for a while now. In terms of my cooking, looks are deceiving (or, at least I hope so!). My foods usually look pretty sad but they are somewhat edible.

I had mixed feelings when I was asked to bring in a healthy morning tea treat for primary school charity. I felt excited because I would love to try a carrot and sultana slice/square recipe. The slice is perfect for morning tea and is a great way to sneak in carrot which is rich in vitamin A (retinol equivalent) and high in fibre, and sultana which is a good source of iron and fibre, to a child’s diet. At the same time, I also expected that my ‘healthy food’ would be sent home from school, largely untouched, as usual.

I woke up early on the D-day to bake the carrot and sultana slice. The end result appeared edible but uninspiring, not helped by blunt knives and mediocre cutting skills. The slice very delicious and light, though. While it was obvious that the slice would not be the best seller of the day, I was taken aback when I was told that none of the students, ate the squares. Apparently the kids gravitated towards  chocolate cakes, brownies and sweet biscuits. I would have done the same too!

Determined to make a better version of the carrot and sultana slice, I baked another batch as little muffins the next weekend. They tasted exactly the same as before, if not a little drier. It did look better and was received more enthusiastically by kids. It might have been partly due to the appetite they had worked up from running around the park. But, it did prove that even though they may taste the same, cute little muffins are more enticing than some uninspiring, badly cut slices.

Carrot and Sultana Squares

Adapted from Di Whittaker’s recipe
Makes about 16 slices or 30 mini muffins

  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • 2 cups (heaped) grated sweet carrots
  • ½ cup sultana
  • 2/3 cup golden syrup (slightly warmed)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil (rice bran or canola)
  • 3 eggs
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line an 18 x 28cm baking tray or 2 mini muffin trays.
  2. Sift the flours into a large mixing bowl. Stir in carrots and sultana. Make well in the centre.
  3. Combine golden syrup, oil, eggs and zest in a medium mixing bowl. Fold these into the flour mixture. Do not over mix.
  4. Place in the oven and bake for 24-30 minutes (20-24 minutes if baked in mini muffin trays) or until cooked. Cool in pan for 5 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately or store in air-tight containers for 3 days or freeze in portions.
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