Monday, 16 March 2009

stripey iceberg flavoured cupcakes
    Stripey Iceberg Flavoured Cup cakes

I baked these stripey iceberg flavoured cupcakes as my contribution to a Gingerbeer cake carousal that took place this past weekend. Where, thirty-odd cake fiends gathered to unabashedly partake of a smorgasbord of homebaked confections. The Magic Faraway Tree, Land of Goodies does indeed exist as a demographic reality, its exact location secreted away in the hearts of twenty-five to thirty-five year olds up and down the country; manifest in threads on forum boards and the message inboxes on flash mobbers’ mobile phones.

The cupcakes were inspired by a picture of a stripey iceberg sent to me by a friend and our subsequent discussion about what it would taste like? We decided that, ignoring the danger of your tongue immediately sticking to the iceberg, freezing in an instant and consequently snapping off as you attempt to yell for help, the giant ice lolly would probably taste of a subtle layering of liquorice, meringue, caramel, green tea and salty, smooth peanut butter flavours.

stripey iceberg flavoured cupcakes

I marbled the cupcakes with a two part vanilla and liquorice cake batter (I got the liquorice flavouring by steeping a couple of sticks of Panda in a leetle boiling water, overnight and some mashing with a fork to get it to completely dissolve into a thick, homogenous, velvety goo. After allowing the cakes to cool I dabbed a third of a teaspoon smooth peanut butter and a half teaspoon dulce de leche on each. I added a little extra salt to the peanut butter to take the edge off the sweetness of the dulce de leche. Then I piped on butter frosting flavoured and coloured with matcha (green tea powder) and garnished each with a meringue.

lemon tarts
lemon tarts

I also made these sweet shortcrust lemon tartlets to use up the egg yolks left over from whipping up the meringues.


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Sunday, 18 January 2009

    Biggin' It Up For Betty

Betty has signed up to enter the unsigned thingy they are doing for Glastonbury (Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition) in a bid for a chance to play a slot at the festival (!!). In Betty's own words "go to this website qthemusic.com look us [Betty Woz Ere] up under B and visit us play our entries once, then visit over and over again, then turn your speakers off and visit it some more until you are tired of it..then visit it again until we make it into the "most visited" category..."
GOOD LUCK BETTY!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

cowboy pendant   Bang Bang (my Baby Shot Me Down)

I made these themed pendants for a Gingerbeer Christmas Party, Secret Santa present. It wasn't easy putting together a present for some grrrl I didn't know and to the agreed budget of £5! So I decided to make something homemade. The pistol is cut from a recycled powdered drink container lid, the "bang"s are bubble jet print laminated behind recycled takeaway container box plastic, the sherrif's star and jumprings are made from offcuts of sterling silver I found in my a bag of lemel from past projects. The plastic cowboy and waxed cotton thong had to be purchased.

I packed it up with a lucky bag selection of girly pick and mix sweeties: peaches, fried eggs, lips, rainbow laces, and a cherry and tied it all with a rainbow ribbon. Yeeha!!

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Friday, 5 December 2008

   Calling all E17 Bread Bakers: (organic) Fresh Yeast    Supply

By sponges and leavens, I have finally sourced a couple of cubes of this Bakers' gold: organic fresh yeast. These little cubes of Rapunzel in their jaunty golden yellow wrappers aren't actually labelled organic as yeast isn't presently on the EU list of organic ingredients. However, the yeast is produced by the German company BioReal using organic ingredients and processes.

A BIG thank you to the lads at Second Nature Wholefoods for going out on a limb and ordering some in for me. Frustratingly, I cannot use enough yeast in my own baking to sustain the quantities (12x42g cubes every 2 weeks) Second Nature needs to shift to make it feasible to order on a regular basis . The wholesale quantity however, is not a totally unrealistic amount if there are three or four other ardent bread bakers in the E17 area who wish to share an order. So, contact Second Nature Wholefoods, 78 Wood St, Walthamstow, London, E17 3HX Tel: 020 8520 7995. Let them know you are interested in purchasing Rapunzel yeast on a regular basis. Perhaps you could email me too so that we could co ordinate a shared order.

Monday, 10 November 2008

apple juice
  Biggin' it up in E17 for Organiclea's Scrumping Project.

This year I wasn't able to go to the Apple Day celebrations at the Vestry House but, I was able to purchase a bottle of Organiclea's scrummpy apple juice from their Saturday stall in support of their truly inspirational Scrumping Project

A surprising number of gardens, in E17, have established fruit trees and many of these trees, for one reason or another, are neglected, the crop underutilised or left to rot on the trees. Organiclea offers a scrumping service whereby residents can register their fruit trees and for a part share of the crop an organised group of scrumpers will pick the fruit. This surplus fruit is distributed amongst community groups, at the local Apple Day Festival and is also pressed and bottled, the proceeds of which feed back into funding Organiclea's varied projects. Respek!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Soda Bread   Organiclea Bread Bake

I have just got back from another inspirational Organiclea bread baking day at the Hornbeam Centre where the ardent bread bakers who attended passionately discussed their national breads for 5 hours nonstop. There was also a kitchen demonstration on how to make Chapatis over the hob and Peta Bread which billowed delightfully, hot out of the oven.

Buttermilk Plant

For my contribution I tried out this Brown Soda Bread from Tim Allen's The Ballymaloe Bread Book. The attraction of the recipe was to start a buttermilk plant to produce the buttermilk required and the decorative form of the bread. The buttermilk and soda made the crumb soft, dense and scone-like. My verdict: the wholewheat flour doesn't so much as disguise the taste of the soda (which I think is an acquired taste) as transmute it into something a bit more palatable. However, this may be an aftertaste of the fairies baked inside as I forgot to prick the segments to let them out!

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Sunday, 26 October 2008

knitted arm warmers

    Hands Up!

The Voodoo put in a request for arm warmers and since I’d said out aloud, many times, how much I’d enjoyed knitting in the round I couldn’t say "no". So I knitted her these.

I have posted the pattern I devised to knit them as my small contribution to the generous community of knitters out there who, are committed to the free-for-all digital dissemination of their craft and genius. Long may their ideas be woven in hyperlinks, mirrored and archived in the continuum that is the internet.

knitted arm warmers

Materials (to fit UK size8):

  • 3 balls Jaeger Matchmaker Merino 4ply, shade 639 (actually 2 and ever such a little bit of the third)

  • 1 set 2.5mm double pointed knitting needles
Cast on 78 stitches. Divide the stitches equally on three needles (26 stitches per needle).
Mark first stitch by knotting through a scrap of different coloured yarn. Knit 1, purl 1 for 8"
Next round: *k1, p1, rep from * for 14 stitches, k2tog, p2tog, *k1, pl, rep from * for 36 stitches, ssk, ssk (if you can figure it out, purl these stitches together through the back loops, if not just knit them),*k1, p1, rep from * for 14 stitches
Then knit 1, purl 1 for 1"
Next round: *k1, p1, rep from * for 12 stitches, k2tog, p2tog, *k1, pl, rep from * for 36 stitches, ssk, ssk ,*k1, p1, rep from * for 12 stitches
Then knit 1, purl 1 for 1"
Next round: *k1, p1, rep from * for 12 stitches, k2tog, p2tog, *k1, pl, rep from * for 32 stitches, ssk, ssk ,*k1, p1, rep from * for 12 stitches
Then knit 1, purl 1 for 1"
Next round: *k1, p1, rep from * for 10 stitches, k2tog, p2tog, *k1, pl, rep from * for 32 stitches, ssk, ssk ,*k1, p1, rep from * for 10 stitches
Then knit 1, purl 1 for 1"
Next round: *k1, p1, rep from * for 10 stitches, k2tog, p2tog, *k1, pl, rep from * for 28 stitches, ssk, ssk ,*k1, p1, rep from * for 10 stitches
Then knit 1, purl 1 for 1"
Next round: *k1, p1, rep from * for 8 stitches, k2tog, p2tog, *k1, pl, rep from * for 28 stitches, ssk, ssk ,*k1, p1, rep from * for 8 stitches
Then knit 1, purl 1 for 2"
At this point the ribbed cuff should measure 15” Make sure the stitches are arranged as follows: from start stitch needle1 = 14 stitches; needle2 = 14 stitches; needle3 = 24stiches
Knit 1 round
Then k8, k2tog, k8, k2tog, k8, k24
Knit 1 row
Then k8, k2tog, k6, k2tog, k8, k24
Then knit until stocking stitch fabric measures 1" from ribbed cuff

For Right Hand
To start to shape the thumb, knit round to end of needle2 then increase 1.Continue working in rounds but between the end stitch on needle3 and the start stitch on needle1 increase 1 stitch on the first and last stitch, on alternate rows until there are 16 new stitches between the end and start stitches. Transfer these 16 stitches plus the end and start stitches onto a stitch holder.
Then beginning on needle1 cast on 1(site of thumb opening),knit to end of needle3 and increase 1.
Knit for 1”
Then knit 1, purl 1 for 1" and cast off loosely.
To finish thumb: carefully transfer stitches from stitch holder to needles. Divide the stitches equally on three needles (6 stitches per needle).
Knit to end of needle3 then pick up 4 stiches at site of thumb opening on the palm of the glove ensuring that there are no holes at this point.
Continue in rounds for ¾”
Then knit 1, purl 1 for 1/2" and cast off loosely.

For Left Hand
To start to shape the thumb, knit round to end of needle3 then increase 1.Continue working in rounds but between the end stitch on needle2 and the start stitch on needle3 increase 1 stitch on the first and last stitch, on alternate rows until there are 16 new stitches between the end and start stitches having knitted to the end of needle3. Transfer these 16 stitches plus the end and start stitches onto a stitch holder.
Then beginning on needle1 knit to end of needle2 increase 2 stitches (site of thumb opening), knit to end of needle3.
Knit for 1”
Then knit 1, purl 1 for 1" and cast off loosely.
To finish thumb: carefully transfer stitches from stitch holder to needles. Divide the stitches equally on three needles (6 stitches per needle).
Knit to end of needle3 then pick up 4 stiches at site of thumb opening on the palm of the glove ensuring that there are no holes at this point.
Continue in rounds for ¾”
Then knit 1, purl 1 for 1/2" and cast off loosely.


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