Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Rhubarb Snacking Cake

So after liberating a huge pile of rhubarb from my boyfriend's brother's garden this weekend, I finally had a chance to make this delicious Rhubarb Snacking Cake that was published on Smitten Kitchen a few weeks ago.  A plus side to the recipe is the enormous amount of rhubarb it requires - over 500g!

Although I've never heard of a snacking cake before - the title fits the description perfectly - it has a sponge base, a layer of rhubarb and a crumble top.  The sponge is flavoured with lemon zest and ginger; my sponge had a bit more of a 'lemon drizzle cake quality' to it as the lemon I squeezed had rather more than the recommended tablespoon to soak the rhubarb in.  Although this made the cake slightly on the soggy side - it was a yummy addition.  I think next time I would add more ginger, as I couldn't taste it - or maybe even some crystallised ginger in within the rhubarb.  On top of the sponge layer was the layer of rhubarb coated in sugar and lemon juice.  Topping everything was the crumble mixture - which I thought wasn't going to be enough to cover the rhubarb, but it was fine and I'm glad I didn't make some more, as the balance was perfect.

The plus side to the recipe is that it is included within the recipe to try a piece :-) so I didn't feel too bad for tucking into a piece this morning, need to follow every step of the recipe to the letter!!  This will definitely be going on the make-again-rhubarb list. See what else I have made with rhubarb . . . rhubarb and ginger cake and rhubarb and vanilla jam.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Morning Owl Tea Cosy number 2

Not much to add, as my last post about this knitting pattern says everything really! Although I have learnt one thing - I'm not very good at knitting whilst trying to watch television - came to sew the two main bits of the body together and found they were completely different sizes! That frustrating feeling when you know that the only thing to do is unravel and start again - thankfully tea cosies are not that big. Going to be popping this owl in the post tomorrow to send off to my grandma, so she can give it as a birthday present to her friend. Just been looking up new tea cosy patterns - lots added to my eBay wish list.

UPDATE 21 June 2012
Just had a card from my Grandma thanking me for the Owl Tea Cosy - she loves it so much that she is keeping it for herself! She doesn't even really drink tea!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes

I've just spent the past few days staying with my best friend in Amersham.  However, after a very busy working weekend getting a chapter finalised I hadn't had time to bake any cakes to take with me.  Although I took some flowers, I felt that I should have cakes as well/instead - I'd been thinking about what I going to bake all week and decided on some Red Velvet ones with a chocolate and vanilla swirl icing - these will have to wait for another time!

So whilst she was out at work yesterday, I decided to whip up a batch of chocolate cupcakes - perfect excuse to try out a recipe from 'The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook' I'd spied on the bookshelf.  I have been looking at this recipe book FOR AGES and keep telling myself that I do not need yet another cake recipe book - this has now been revised and I shall be keeping my eyes peeled for a copy!

I made the basic Chocolate cupcakes, however, by following the recipe - whisk the butter into the dry ingredients until it looks like bread crumbs - meant that I covered every surface with a fine layer of cococa powder. I gave up in the end and added the milk and egg mixture, as I felt I was losing half my mixture to the kitchen! The mixture was very runny and didn't rise as much as I though it would - it was a good job that I was icing the cakes, as some didn't even get to the top of their case. I iced with a chocolate icing and then went crazy with the chocolate sprinkles.

Then it was time to wash up and tidy the kitchen with the cakes hidden under a tea towel until my friend arrived back from work - safe to say, the surprise cupcakes went down a treat and they were rather yummy too!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Pin Cushion Swap

After having my blog for about a week, I stumbled upon a 'Pin Cushion Swap' (via Mollie Makes) being run by House of Pinheiro and Sew Far Sew Good. As I don't own a pin cushion this seemed like a perfect swap to be my first crafty-internet-blog-swap.  So I submitted a bit about myself and my address and awaited news of my buddy I was to be paired with.  I was paired with the lovely Katy, she was also new to blogging, check out her blog here.  Katy was the more organised of the two of us and got in contact with me first, asking if there were any colours to avoid/choose - at the end of her email she mentioned that she liked peacock colours.  I had already been researching pin cushions to make and had found a really cute toadstool one, that I had set my heart on making.  However, as soon as I read 'peacock colours' I knew that I had to find and make a peacock pin cushion!

I found this great tutorial for a crochet peacock pin cushion.  I'm not really a big fan of crochet, never manage to get the right number of stitches, so I decided to make the body by blending two turquoise bluey-green fluffs together and needle felt the body.  I then attached wings and tail cut from felt with gold ric rac trimming.  The tail was made with two pieces of felt and some wadding to give it extra squidgyness to stick pins in, just in case sticking pins into the peacock body felt cruel! The main body was glued on to a cotton reel that had been encased in yellow felt - I didn't quite get the balance right, so a blue tack base was needed (sorry Katy!).  I thought he still needed some decoration, so I pinned a tummy of pearly sequins to give him extra flamboyance.  The final touches were to include some pearl headed pins to create the 'feathers' on the top of his head and then the others were added to the tail - ready for use.  I almost couldn't bring myself to parcel him up and send him on his postal adventure . . .

But the promise of being sent my own surprise pin cushion in the post helped me send him on his way.  A few days later I also received a parcel in the post from Katy. I wasn't not sure what to expect, although I did know that she had got her inspiration after reading my blog, opened the parcel to find a Blue Peter badge pin cushion - it is AMAZING and so very 'me'.

Such neat stitching and perfectly embroidered 'Here's one I made earlier' around the sides! I hope the pictures do the pin cushion justice. I look forward to taking part in my next crafty swap :)
Not sure sticking every-single-pin-I-could-possibly-find was the best idea, as it now looks some sort of strange Blue Peter hedgehog!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Felt Flower Brooch

So after a very busy day at university, trying to get another chapter finished, I wanted to do something crafty this evening. However, I also wanted to be able to have it completed before bed time - after a bit of blog perusing, I found these fabulous felt flowers on the wonderfully named blog 'craftiness is not optional'.

I dug out my felt collection and cut out the six circles required. One is the base and the other five are folded into quarters. Four are attached to the base, then the fifth on top to fill the gap. I decided to add a couple of leaves, which I decorated with beads and stitching. Then I attached the flower to a big blanket pin, as I have a big stash of these. Think I may have a go at making some smaller ones for hair slides!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Jubilee Cupcakes!

After spending the weekend in London with friends, seeing a very interesting exhibition 'The Queen in Art and Image' at the National Portrait Gallery on the Saturday. Then getting up super super early on the Sunday to get a good position on the bank of the River Thames, by 8am we had our spot and set in for waiting in the rain for the Jubilee River Pageant. A rather soggy day, but completely worth it - a spectacular day and one that I will remember for a long time.

With all these festivities I did wonder if I would manage to any baking for the jubilee. I'd seen a blog entry for some Olympic Torch cupcakes from the Blue Door Bakery and decided they could tweaked to become jubilee cupcakes. So a trip to purchase some red and blue food colouring and a batch of vanilla cupcakes baked, then I was ready to ice.

As I didn't have a pint glass to rest the empty icing bag in, I cut the top off a squash bottle to use instead. Then I carefully spooned in red, white and blue into one icing bag. Then I swirled the icing onto the cupcakes. Good training for when I make the olympi torch cupcakes for PB's Olympic Torch Party when it travels through the West Midalnds. The cupcakes were the best cakes to be eating whilst watching the Jubilee Concert on the BBC.

God Save The Queen!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Morning Owl Tea Cosy

So I've finished my latest tea cosy - one snoozy morning owl - he is rather cute and I've already had two requests! The pattern is created by Debi Birkin - if you've got a spare minute and need inspiration for your next knitting project, have a look. There is a whole range of tea cosies, will definitely be purchasing some more of her patterns. The Owl tea cosy is featured in the upcoming Cath Kidston catalogue, so if you're not into knitting, you can buy a ready made version for £20!

The pattern is one of the easiest knitting patterns I've ever knitted, even managed the knitting into different colours to knit the tummy. I decided against googley eyes, so cut out felt versions instead - but I don't think this makes too much of a difference.

So will be having jubilee tea and cakes with a snazzy new tea cosy! Rather excited!