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Carrot And Coconut Halwa...

Carrot and Coconut Halwa

Halwa is a popular sweet across India, the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe. There are different types of halwa. Some use flour or nut butters as a base but my all time favourite are the halwa that use carrots, pumpkins or yams (sweet potato).

Over the weekend I was looking for something to accompany my large mug of tea and decided it was time to try Gordon Ramsay’s recipe for carrot and coconut halwa.

It ended up being a bit more labour intensive for me then I would have liked for a Sunday afternoon but as I sit here tucking into my 3rd halwa of the day I am delighted I made the effort.

The main work is grating all the carrots. After working my way through 1kg of carrots I made the decision to halve the recipe. I was seriously in danger of never wanting to see another carrot again. (I halved everything but the toasted pistachios and almonds but strangely I still ended up with 20 halwa)

Once the grating is done the recipe is easy but you do need time to let everything cook down. My timing was off somewhere as it took me almost triple the amount of time and still the liquid hadn’t completely evaporated. It hasn’t affected the taste or texture of the halwa though so I must have done something right.

If you have never tried halwa please do give it a try. It really is a wonderful delicacy and with all those carrots it has to be good for you!

Here is Gordon Ramsay’s recipe from his book World Kitchen

Carrot and Coconut Halwa (makes 18-20)


2kg carrot, peeled

500ml evaporated milk

500g granulated sugar

50g unsalted butter

2 cardamom pods, seeds extracted and finely crushed

25g toasted pistachio nuts, finely chopped

25g toasted almonds, finely chopped

50g desiccated coconut, lightly toasted


Coarsely grate the carrots and put them into a large heavy-based sauce pan with the evaporated milk and granulated sugar

Bring to the boil and then lower the heat to a simmer

Cook for 35-45 minutes, stirring frequently, until all the milk has evaporated and the carrot is quite dry (This didn’t happen for me)

Add the butter to the sauce pan and increase the heat slightly to roast the grated carrots (my carrots ended up being stewed rather than roasted)

Cook for a further 25-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture is dry

When it leaves the sides of the pan clean, take off the heat and stir in the crushed cardamom seeds and chopped nuts

Transfer the mixture to a wide dish and leave to cool completely, then chill for at least an hour to allow it to firm up more

With wet hands, roll the mixture into neat round balls, then roll each ball in the toasted coconut to coat all over

The halwa are now ready to serve

They will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week


If you don’t have a copy of Gordon Ramsay’s World Kitchen I highly recommend it. There are a wide variety of inspirational dishes from around the world. The photos by Chris Terry are stunning and the recipes are easy to follow.

Please Sir, I Want Some More……..Porridge....

This past summer my husband and I had the pleasure of taking my sister on holiday to Edinburgh for a few days. It is a city we have been visiting for many years (usually for the famous fringe festival in August). I adore Scotland and for me, Edinburgh really is one of the most magical and beautiful cities in the world – yes even in the rain, although my sister might disagree with the rain part.

We stayed in a well located hostel and to our delight we noticed a small café just opposite. It looked relatively new and we didn’t remember it from any of our previous trips. For the life of me I can’t remember the name of the café but we could see it through the window of our room. In the mornings we would hover by the window watching eagerly for signs of the café opening its doors.

So what exactly made this café so special? Well aside from a cosy and friendly atmosphere, they served porridge. Now there are many restaurants and cafes serving porridge in Edinburgh but this was by far the best any of us had ever tasted. The consistency was perfectly smooth, rich and creamy. But the real crowning glory of this porridge was the addition of crème fraiche and fruit jam on top. It was absolutely amazing and we couldn’t get enough of it. We ate there everyday and always had the porridge. Not only was it delicious but it prepared us for a full day of drizzly weather conditions and fringe theatre.

I had always loved porridge as a child and I confess to actually eating Quaker Porridge Oats straight out of the little packets my mom used to buy. Maple and brown sugar being my all time favourite flavour! My great grandmother also used to make me porridge and I loved the way she prepared it. She would let it simmer away on the hob and as she served it up she would put some buttered saltine crackers on top with a little splash of milk. It was always a perfect bowl of comforting goodness.

Porridge is a funny thing and people can be very particular about how it’s made. I prefer mine to be made with full fat milk and no water. This makes for a very smooth rich creamy porridge, similar to the café’s. For some though it can be a little too intense so using half milk and half water is better. Of course there is nothing wrong with just using water, but the consistency is much thinner. Personally I feel the addition of milk makes the porridge a real treat and find it help keeps me fuller for longer.

There are all sorts of wonderful ingredients you can add to porridge to make it a healthy but decadent breakfast.

• Buttered and crumbled saltine crackers (my great grandmother’s way).
• Maple syrup with chopped nuts (walnuts and pecans are delicious).
• Brown sugar with cinnamon (you can also add raisins or dried apples and apricots).
• Assorted fresh fruit and berries (bananas, blueberries, strawberries, peach and apple. You can get a little more exotic and add mango or papaya and some desiccated coconut)
• Crème fraiche with a fruit jam (raspberry is especially tasty).

I won’t go on about the many health benefits of oats but they really are one of the best foods you can eat to start your day. They are good for your digestive health, they can help prevent heart disease and lower cholesterol levels, their slow release in the body can help control blood sugar levels and keep you feeling fuller for longer. You can use oats in many different ways but having porridge is one of the most delicious and magical!

Porridge with Creme Fraiche and Raspberry Jam