Tag Archives: cake

…to try new ambitions and learn new friends’ names/authority via the medium of cake

Things I have learned this week: class is a super struggle after your work Christmas lunch. Pre-class I was unattractively draped over the barre having hit that ‘too full’ wall of sheer exhaustion. To be quite honest, I’m surprised I managed to haul myself into the air for any of allegro. But I survived (just). Unfortunately there were no pirouettes in that class so I couldn’t test out the assertion that drinking wouldn’t help with them – not, mind you. that I’m wholly convinced the tiny glass of fizz I’d had six hours and three courses previously would have made much difference. Anyway, that’s by the by and not really the point of this post – I was merely on an anecdotal tangent as is oft my wont.

Over the summer I accidentally got promoted at work (long story, very dull) but in the immediate aftermath of this I brought ‘brownie buns’ (boring story involving a tragic lack of greaseproof paper in my kitchen) into the office to have at tea break time and declared I was ‘asserting my authority via the medium of cake’. Seriously, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to get some respect around here… So as I had a couple of days off after I got back from Paree I thought I’d have a baking day and take the spoils in to work in lieu of writing Christmas cards (frankly I’d far rather make pastry any day than sit and write Christmas cards, surely that’s not just me?). I baked for about four hours solid, realised my kitchen is poorly designed to deal with the quantity of baking I was doing and lived in mortal fear of putting my foot in a mince pie running up the stairs to the loo…

The spoils resulted in being: Christmas cake muffins (whip up a fruit cake mix and put it in muffin cases rather than one giant cake, cunning), apple & cinnamon muffins, gingerbread stars, mince pies and a couple of stray jam tarts to use up the last of the pastry (yes, okay, I’ve got a bit of an obsession with jam tarts, what of it? :P).

There was probably just the tiniest fraction too much for work so that means my housemate gets me leaving her such lovely notes as this:

Also over the weekend I cooked a roast dinner AND it all came together at the right time. I was properly impressed with myself. Particularly because I have a real thing about meat, and raw meat in particular. But I roasted a whole chicken ALL BY MYSELF. Well I had to get my housemate to carve it but I’d done everything up to that point. Proudest of all though I was of my apple sauce, it was seriously good and just worked to perfection. Usually I don’t put enough water in to stew the apples and it never works quite right but this was nomnomnom… There’s still a wee bit left so I’ve stuck it in the freezer and at some juncture am going to make myself a tiny crumble. Mmmmmm.

Oh yes, remember in my last post I said go and get the Puppini Sisters in your ears? Well, whilst I’m doing a ‘show and tell’ I’m just going to kind of force them on your ears. This number is brilliant, largely because of Queen Mullins’ imaginary trumpet, but mostly because it just highlights how awesomely talented these ladies are (Steph and Marcella are doing a sterling job in making the ukelele sexy):

You know what, you should totally also checkout Marcella and the Forget-me-nots. So yeah that’s Marcella Puppini of Puppini Sisters fame in her ‘other’ band but they’re equally awesome. This song is probably my second favourite of theirs (YouTube seems to be sadly lacking in ‘Born Beautiful’ though):

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Filed under baking and mixing and kitchen stuff, I dance (not by Toyota), random stuff and nonsense

…I’m too busy holding up the world/cardigan and cake: redux

For a Saturday, I appear to have been somewhat productive. Remember my warm up cardigan I’ve been going on about foreverfor a while? Well I have FINALLY got my Fair Isle chart sorted, I’ve busted out a couple of tensions squares and just as soon as I’ve finished this entry I’m going to cast it on… eep!

 

 

 

The one on the left is the final chart, the middle one is a wildly doodled one I did last night (completely shattered). From these I knitted a sample of the pattern to check for tension (it doesn’t really lose any, woo!) – I was idly theorising on the side of the chart about what roles I really want to dance in ballet (that’s a whole other post I’m building up to incidentally).

Feeling virtuous knitting-wise, I made a shopping list and headed off in a supermarketly direction to invest in such everyday mundane things as cereal and mushrooms and some vastly more interesting things with which I planned on doing a lot of baking.

When I was a teenager my mother would occasionally have a day off work in the middle of term just to do her baking without me, my brother and my father getting under her feet. I always thought it was such a glorious concept. Admittedly I couldn’t bake until I went to uni and I learned the essentials over the phone to my mother… like pastry. My mother has taught me to make pastry three times: the first over the phone in my first year at university, the second last Christmas and the third when she came to stay a couple of weeks ago. I think I’ve got the hang of it now so I decided to fly solo this afternoon.

Jam and marmalade tarts. 6oz self raising flour, 3oz butter, beaten egg and milk, jam/marmalade, 15 minutes(ish) at gas mark 6. Pastry, says my mother, is a very forgiving thing to bake. She has a point. She said the same about knitting. She has a point there too. I think from now on I should only take up forgiving hobbies, it might make my life considerably easier… or possibly I should just make more pastry. It is very forgiving: it falls apart, you stick it back together again. Waddya know?

Treacle toffee flapjack. I kid you not, this is possibly the best thing in the world I have made. Ever. I used this recipe and I think it might be the best recipe ever. Well flapjackwise anyway. I’d never made flapjack until earlier this year I thought I’d give it a whirl to take to work for my birthday and I couldn’t believe I’d never done it before it was so easy!  Well if we gloss over the bit where I decided it couldn’t possibly be baked and nearly burnt my tongue off trying it to make sure… I’ve not done that since 😉

Raspberry fairy cakes with white chocolate icing. Raspberry and white chocolate chip cakes. Omnomnom. When I had my first job after uni, living in a houseshare I hated and avoided as much as possible – I discovered the raspberry/white choc combination on the occasional evening I spent in Caffé Nero to avoid going home. White choc/raspberry muffin and a gigantic cup of tea made the concept of going back not as terrible as it had been beforehand…

I’m going to cast on my cardigan now, watch some more Bones and try not to think about how many pliés are in that flapjack…

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Filed under knitting on pointe, random stuff and nonsense

…I made my plans on solid rock/”It smells like the weekend” (a post about cake)

I was in bed by half past seven last night, cwtshed up in my PJs and watching Bones. About an hour and a half later I was overcome by the need for cake. That all consuming MUST HAVE NOW need. So I got up again and schlepped downstairs to the kitchen for a quick emergency baking session. Not quite as glorious as the one I had in my final year at uni which involved having to raid ALL my housemates’ cupboards to get enough ingredients together, but still pretty nifty. I admit freely that I am no LondonBakes in the kitchen (luckily she is one of my favouritest people) but I can cobble a thing or two together when I have to…

Nellie’s emergency cake recipe (variation on a theme of my mother, grandmother, your average Vicky sponge)

4oz self raising flour

4oz caster sugar

2oz butter

2 eggs (do not forget to add these)

Splash of milk

Dash of vanilla essence

Dollop of cocoa powder (optional to make it chocolatey)

The crucial thing to remember here is that I have no real technique for baking a bog standard sponge-esque cake. Life is too short to be creaming butter and sugar and all that jazz. So my dead simple recipe is: dump all ingredients in bowl.

Do not forget the eggs, gets messy if you do... lalala (the pen is not in the mix! It was under the bowl! I promise!)

Get out the trusty electric whisk and blitz the lot together until all the lumps are gone. Sample to check it tastes like cake (add anything you feel it’s lacking.)

Spoon out into baking tray/fairy cake cases/whatever. If you’re doing it in a cake tin don’t forget to grease it beforehand! This amount of mixture makes 12 fairy cakes and one small star mould (or approx 16 fairy cakes).

Plonk in oven on gas mark 6/200C for around 10-15 minutes. Check, poke with a skewer – if it comes out clean you’re good.

And eat… (do not consider how many pliés it will take to burn off the cake because CAKE IS GOOD.)

Fairy cake = HOW MANY pliés?!

It’s all vaguely more appealing than my dinner tonight…

Quorn pieces, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, green beans, tin of tomatoes, sweet chilli sauce, garlic, rosemary... ooh and CHEESE, because everything can be improved by cheese

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Filed under random stuff and nonsense