Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It has been far toooo long...

Great Scott, it has been such an embarrassingly long time since I blogged.
I do apologise:( I've been so busy though, things just sort of all kicked off in the space of a week for me at the end of the summer, so I'm now living with my best pal and her family in their garden room til I move into my own place.
Life is absolutely wonderful.

Loads of things have been happening since I last posted and I really miss crafty nights/ baking days.
Must soon get back into the swing of things!
Also, my laptop has decided to no longer recognise my camera's memory card, so until I get that sorted, I'm afraid grainy photos from my phone will have to suffice!
I had a lovely little bake sale in my old (*sniff) college back in September which earned me some extra monies. I sort of took over the O'Mahony's kitchen (not randomly, I am living with them) and baked for a day with the help of Luke who ended up making Cat's birthday cake!:) I'll make a baker out of him yet!

Some of the cakes for iadt

I've been gathering loads of lovely things that I will soon document, like the teapot Grainne got me for my birthday, some fabulous charity shop bargains and the exciting fact that I am moving into my own place the day after our college graduation.
It's all go!
I can now use the wall stickers Griffin got me months back and I can't wait to put my stamp on my new room. The house is beautiful and I'm so excited to create a space for all my wonderful chums to come chill in.
Oh, and after a wonderful day of shopping with Cat, I finally got a travel mug I have been wanting for about 2 years since I first spotted them in Urban Outfitters. I can now go back to my eco tea ways when I'm on the move!:D
It's like this, only with red flowers:)

My new love

Also today I nabbed Jamie Oliver's new cookbook which I can't wait to dive into! Full meals in 30 minutes you say? I'll be testing that one!:)

And I'm currently reading Stephen Fry's wife's diary.
Very entertaining altogther! Nearly finished, so I can get stuck into the many luscious books I've been gathering from charity shops and the like. Oh it's wonderful (at times) to be finished college and to be able to read for fun!:)

I'm thinking I might start book reviews on this too...

I'm so very busy, but I shall try my utmost to update more frequently! I hope all is equally as lovely in your life!

...Cat just brought me in tea and an ice cream. Win.

Love love love to you all,
L xx

Thursday, August 12, 2010

50th post with cake to celebrate!

I'm really quite proud to be on my 50th post! Wowee! And to celebrate here is a most fabulous cake that is quickly becoming my new favorite.
I made it yesterday for tea with my Lovely Auntie Kathleen and quilting mad cousin Cathy! I made two loaf shaped ones today for my stupendous Caitlin who is back from Belarus with her lovely boyfriend Luke, so I'm bringing that down to them tomorrow! Yay!

It's called a Hummingbird Cake; 'interesting', I hear you say. It is! It's in that Women's Weekly 100 Classic Cakes book I got a few weeks back.
Now, it really doesn't look very nice in the tin:

but that's mostly due to using oil rather than butter I think.

The icing you make for it is like the icing for a carrot cake, and so is DELISH. Icing is a problem for me... I think my teeth are starting to tell me to go easy...

It turned out very well, I must say! I was a bit cautious making it cos the ingredients seemed a bit strange to me- pineapple, banana, ginger, cinnamon, coconut (which I didn't have, so it's not in this version) etc! But it's soooo good. A tad crumbly, but fabulous.

nom nom nom...

Another perk of it is that you only need like 2 bowls to make it- so minimal clean up! I've made a few little changes that I did while making it.
Give it a go- it's incredibly yummy and we'll say sorta healthy with all the fruit in it;)

Hummingbird Cake
serves 12

450g can crushed pineapple in syrup
150g plain flour
75g self raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
220g firmly packed brown sugar
40g desiccated coconut
1 cup mashed banana (about 2 large ones)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
180ml sunflower oil

cream cheese frosting
30g butter, softened
60g cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
240g icing sugar

(I also added about 2 tbsp of milk just to make it easier to spread)

- Preheat the oven to 180C fan assisted. Grease a deep 23cm square tin. Line the base.
- Cut up the pineapple rings and smush them for juice.
Or just make sure you save 60ml from the tin.
- Sift flours, soda, spices and sugar into a large bowl. Stir in the pineapple, reserved syrup, coconut, banana, egg and oil.
- Pour mixture into tin; bake for 40 minutes.
- Stand cake for 5 minutes in tin before turning, top-side up, onto wire rack to cool.
- While it's cooling, make the frosting: Beat the butter, cream cheese and vanilla in a small bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually add in the sifted icing sugar.
- Smear the cake with frosting and tuck in.

When Mom and I returned home from our tea date, we were excitedly brainstorming a few ideas for a crafts/ baking charity fundraiser... I'll keep you posted!
I'm tres excited to say the very least!

In other news- my darling Sarah Griffin (last seen here making Rainbow Cakes) has joined the blogging world ahead of her Masters adventure! Catch her here: Write the Title Last
Milk and Cookies Round Nine is also on tomorrow night! Goooooo to it!

I have a few more things to put up, but I am rather tired and have buses ahead of me tomorrow, so I'll post them after my exciting weekend!


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Peanut Butter and Fudge Cookies. Nom.

The other day Siob came home from our cousin's and with her she had 3 boxes with fudge white chocolate and milk chocolate. Yum! These came in handy as I wanted to bake cookies and found a recipe for the above mentioned!

We always have peanut butter here in the house, and just so happened to have the fudge, so all systems were go!

They were quite yummy and not as heavy or sweet as you might expect. Mom was a bit wary when she heard what was in them, but she agreed that they're pretty good!
It's an American recipe, but the quantities aren't very big, so you should be okay! Let me know if you need a hand!

Peanut Butter and Fudge Cookies
makes about 16 nice size ones

4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth is best)
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 large egg
3/4 plain flour
a handful of diced fudge

Oven to 180C/ 350F

-Cream the butter and sugar.
-Add the peanut butter and vanilla. I recommend you have a sneaky taste right about now...
-Add the baking soda and salt, and then whip in the egg.
-Add the flour and then the fudge pieces.
-Drop the mixture onto a piece of baking parchment on a tray. They don't spread too much, so you should be able to fit at least 12 on a tray.
-Bake for 15 minutes and cool on a wire rack.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Competition Coffee Cake

Today is the judging for the Virginia Show, so Mom, Siob and I are going down to drop our things in. I made the coffee cake earlier and realised I never put up the recipe for it!
It's really nice (well, the last time I made it it was, I can't cut this one and taste it!), and pretty simple, so you should give it a go!
They want it undecorated sadly, so that's why mine is lacking some nice coffee cream, but I'll add the recipe here:)

Mocha Cake
(serves 10-12)

175g self-raising flour
50g cocoa powder
225g soft light brown sugar
175g butter, melted
4 medium eggs, separated
60ml very strong coffee, cooled
3 tbsp water

Coffee Butter Icing
100g butter, softened
200g icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp milk/water
3-4 tbsp cooled very strong coffee

- Preheat the oven to 190C/ 375F/ Gas Mark 5. Oil and line a 13 x 23cm loaf tin with parchment paper so that it comes over the sides of the tin.
- Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a large bowl, add the sugar and stir to combine.
- Using a wooden spoon or whisk, beat in the melted butter, egg yolks, coffee and water until smooth.
- Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until fairly stiff peaks form, then gently fold into the cake mixture in 3 batches. Make sure there are no white lumps left!
- Turn the mixture into the loaf tin and smooth the surface. Make a small well in the center so that the cake bakes level and doesn't crack! (You'll see from my photo I forgot to do this!)
- Bake in the oven for 35 mins, then reduce the temperature to 160C/ 325F/ Gas mark 3 for the last 20 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool for 10mins then lift out by the parchment paper and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Make the icing. Beat the butter until very soft and paling. Add the sugar, then milk/water, and then add the coffee.
- When the cake is cold, remove the paper and cut the cake horizontally and spread about a third of the icing on the lower half with a palette knife. Place the other half of the cake on top and put the remainder of the icing on it. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings or chocolate sprinkles, which I like to use!
- Leave it to stand for about 30mins before cutting. If you can wait that long.

(This also makes 12 cupcakes at 190C/ 375F/ Gas Mark 5 for 15mins.)

Yum! x

Cross Stitched Apron Cupcakes!

I wanted to put this in a separate post, though while I said goodnight in the last one, I'm seriously going after this one!
My Mom is quite the wizard at cross stitching and is even entering her cross stitched Zac Efron cushion she made Siob for, as you might guess, best cross stitched item at the Virginia Show. Seeing as I am incredibly slow on the crochet/ knitting uptake, I have decided that the next few presents I have lined up to make are going to be cross stitched.
Cos I can do that. I just need Mom to help me start it (all that finding the midpoint etc).
Recently she cross stitched cupcakes onto a plain white apron for her friend's daughter Maeve who would always be baking something in preparation for her Junior Cert Home Ec practical when Mom was over. I think it's really pretty, so took a photo of it to post here! I just made her a little card too to go with it.

Next stop: a cross stitched bookmark for a darling dear.

Sidenote: I am more than delighted that my laptop is now completely fixed and I can work so much faster on it!
Thank you Mr. Doug Computer Man for fixing it, you lovely man you.

I hope your day was nothing short of lovely, my dears.
And now I must sleep. x

Thursday, July 29, 2010

LJ's bag- at long last!

This birthday present for Lovely LJ took me far too long- again with the fear of cutting the material and then ruining the whole project before it has even begun! I had never made a bag before in any shape or size, so to be honest, it was a guessing game the whole way!
I had an idea of the shape and style I wanted it to be, so started there. I also had the problem of deciding on a fastener for the bag... I was perplexed as to how I would put a zip on it properly, so I thought I'd cheat a little...
I put velcro on the inside and a big button on the front.

Okay, so you can clearly tell the button is just for decoration, but it was the best I could do!
I lined the bag with a black shirt I don't wear (don't worry LJ, it was freshly laundered!) and made a pretty sizable attempt at a gusset for the bag to give it some dimension.

To me it was still too plain and needed something else, so I got some black felt for it and embroidered a rather stumpy looking bird.

By the way- embroidering on felt is very sore on the fingers. Beware!
But it looks cool. I added some buttons for 'food' for the bird, but also cos buttons look groovy.
I sewed three sides of the felt, so it serves as a phone pocket.
Or whatever LJ wants to put in it.
When I eventually got down to it and made the bag, it was relatively quick and easy to make!
Watch out you lot- it could be bags for everyone this Christmas.

Oh- and before I go, you may know my love of polar bears, so here is my new (still nameless) friend. He's been keeping me company:

And now I must retreat to my bed and read the Gary Lightbody interview in HotPress.
Sweet dreams!x

Friday, July 23, 2010

Little snippets of various things!

Hey there! The 69th annual Virginia Show is coming up, and with prizes for some of my favorite things to do, I'm entering some photos and a coffee cake! I'm really hoping I win with at least one photo, I'm entering five, though I've to wittle them down cos I'm finding it difficult to choose the entry ones!
I went up to the attic to get my very first camera to show you- I got it when I was about 5 years old and it has a two eyes visor which is strange! I could always use it properly, but it confused my Mom. Maybe it has something to do with how kids use their brain...I have no idea.

My how my cameras have advanced!:P

Also up in the attic is my first computer/laptop!
I must ask my parents what age I was when I got it, I really am not sure, possibly 7. If I stuck batteries in it it would probably work better than my one now...really should send that into the computer doc...It's so funny looking, but brilliant to still have I think, so I thought I'd stick it up here too!

But until July 31st which is when the Virginia Show is on, I thought I'd post this up! Hopefully with happy results:)

Tomorrow night I will be at Sarah Griffin and Lisa Keegan's round two of
Scarleh Fer Yer Mah Fer Havin' Ya in Ormond Studios for a night of mortification a la teenage diary entries! The first night was a fantastic success and tomorrow should be even better! I think I'm going to be reading, so we'll see how that goes! I recently rounded up all my diaries from their various spots around the house and they're quite the stack!

The Book Thief, that's clearly not one of my diaries...

And also a taster of the birthday present I've been working on for LJ...please ignore the stumpy-ness of the bird...


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Devil's Food Cake! Ooooh!

A few posts ago I made Angel Food Cake for my Mom, and today I whipped out the cookbook again to make its counterpart for me! It really is just a chocolate cake with a few extra additions, such as my new friend food dye! It has a little bit of red dye in it which I know is in a red velvet cake that I really want to make soon!

It called for whipped cream, but my little country shop only had fresh cream, so I had to make do with that! I also added a little bit of strawberry jam between the layers and some chopped nuts to the top. Yum! Mary G called over to have some with tea and she enjoyed a big wedge and brought some home too:)

The birthday present I've been working on can finally be posted after the weekend as I'll have given it to a lovely friend at long last!
I've been scouring crafty blogs for ideas for my sewing box bits and listening to Tired Pony. It's quite a wonderful way to spend your time.
I've spotted a pair of beautiful key earrings on Etsy that I want, so I might purchase them tomorrow! I believe you should always get yourself little treats;)

Devil's Food Cake!
180g butter
385g caster sugar
3 eggs
225g self-raising flour
75g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
70g cocoa powder
3 teaspoons instant coffee granules
125ml water
125ml milk
1/2 tsp red food coloring
300ml whipping cream, whipped

rich chocolate frosting
60g dark eating chocolate. chopped
60g butter, chopped

-Pre-heat the oven to 170C. Grease and line bases of two 20cm round cake tins.
-Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs, one at a time.
-Fold in sifted flours, soda and cocoa powder with combined ocffee, the water, milk and coloring, in two batches.
-Pour mixture into tins; bake for 40 minutes. Stand for 5 minutes before turning cakes onto wire racks to cool.
-Make the frosting!
-Sandwich the cold cakes with whipped cream, then top with frosting:)

For the frosting:
Combine the chocolate and butter in a small heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water, stir until smooth, then remove from the heat.
Cool at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until frosting is spreadable.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

2am Rainbow Cakes!

This, my friends, is a rainbow cake.
I highly recommend you bake them at 2am with an incredible friend such as Griffin and eat them at a silly hour of the night with a decaf tea. You don't want to be kept up past your bedtime or anything like that...
It was Griffin's idea to make them rainbow and I can honestly say I will never make a plain bun again.
All you do is whizz up the normal cupcake/fairy cake recipe (I have a stupendous new one I'll add in at the end), divide it between as many bowls as you have food colors, and add a few drops of the color to each. Into each paper casing you place a little bit of each colored mixture.
Don't blend them!
Looks a bit like Playdoh here...
Then pop them in the oven to bake, allow to cool, then top with some vanilla buttercream.

Oh my oh my.
The inside of them resemble those gobstoppers you would suck on for weeks as a child, though these won't cut your tongue, simply give you the same sugar rush at the end of it.

New Cupcake Recipe!
(Makes 48 mini cupcakes, 24 bun sizes, or 12 muffins/cupcakes).

90g butter
175ml milk
tsp of vanilla essence
3 eggs
200g caster sugar
210g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

-Cream the butter (which I always warm gently in the microwave first) and sugar and vanilla.
-Then add the eggs, one at a time, and beat after each.
-Add the milk, then sieve in the dry ingredients.
-Bake in the oven at 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 13 minutes and allow to cool before icing. Use the vanilla buttercream from an earlier post and bam, rainbow cakes.

You will never look back.

The fun with food dye didn't end there!
Nope, at breakfast we made blue blueberry pancakes! Just add a few drops, swirl it gently and fry it up.

It doesn't add any taste, merely looks pretty. However, the new cupcake recipe is fantastic!
So go add some food dye to your food! Yay!

Monday, July 19, 2010

New life for an old skirt!

Hey there! Some late night sewing going on here! Just finished this, and now I'm off to make a birthday present!
I got this skirt from one of my cousins about five years ago and because I never throw away things for fear that I may one day need it, I decided I'd give it a facelift!

The skirt initially had a thin, hidden elasticated waistband with a teeny black bow and was below-knee in length. It was a bit frumpy and quite plain to be honest, so first of all, I took my scissors to it and made it to just above-knee.
I found the elastic in my sewing box that I'd forgotten Laura K gave me for my 21st (where would my crafting endeavours be without her?!) and decided I'd stick it on to the top after I chopped off the waistband.
It looked a bit 'blah' with just this, so I took out the olive green ribbon I had intended for another project (which I royally ruined tonight, so I'm currently trying to think of a crafty way to salvage it) and sewed it onto the bottom hem. While I was finishing things off, Siob was messing with the rest of it and made a lovely bow out of it, and so to bring in the green a bit more (there's only hints of it in the pattern) and more dimensions to the skirt, I stitched it onto the waistband with one stitch also on each loop to stop it from drooping forward.
I'm thinking about wearing it out Saturday with a black vest top for my birthday, but it's not what I had in mind (it was the currently stalled project), so I'll see how the mood takes me and if I get a source of divine craft inspiration by Friday night!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Angel Food Cake

Oh I'm seriously starting to neglect things these days! I made this cake about 2 weeks ago now and I'm only posting it now! Eep.
I was in the wonderful bookshop By The Book in Virginia with the Fam one day and got the Australian
Women's Weekly 100 Classic Cakes cookbook which was a steal at €8 and is full of cakes I didn't even know about, such as this one. Mom had a flick through in the car and when she saw it said "You're making this when we get home".
Which I did.
She had it years ago in NY and has dreamt about it since, apparently. It's a funny kind of cake- it has
12 egg whites (no joke) with pretty much a sprinkling of flour, cornflour, a good bit of sugar and some vanilla.
It's a bit sweet and sticky. It recommends having fresh berries with it, so i chopped some strawberries and blueberries to have with it. Some of the Fam found it too sweet which meant Mom had a cake for herself that lasted days in the house of locusts.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Guest Slot- my sis Siob!

My sis Siob has become quite the wizard in the world of baking and often easily whips up a batch of buns when the notion takes her. Last week she made delicious muffins, so I asked her would she like to write a post for me! So here's Siob!
I like baking cos it's fun. Laura had some apple pieces left from her apple streusel and I put them into some muffins and I still had some left after that so I made an apple sauce to go with them. I put lemon, sugar and apples into the blender then I whizzed them up and served it in egg cups with the muffins and voila!
They were perfectly moist and the apples were mushy. We ate them warm with some tea and the sauce was really nice with them, even if it was a bit lemony.
The end.


Whenever I give a present, I always make a card for the person! I just love personalising things like that:) I've been meaning to put these up for ages, so there are quite a few! They're for various friends and family. However, I'm running low in supplies which means one thing- a craft shopping trip must happen soon! It puts shopping for new stationary for school firmly in second position in the Best Kind Of Shopping Expedition!