Monday, 25 July 2011

Big Fat Homemade Oreos

Wow, I love these! The recipe is at A Bitchin' Kitchen and as soon as I saw it I had to get in the kitchen and make a batch. It got messy but they were fun to make, especially this bit...
...which was very satisfying. The recipe made 12 large sandwiched biscuits. Deeply chocolaty biscuits with light vanilla buttercream - really, what more can you ask from life? The ingredients are measured in cups so below is the converted list of ingredients and the instructions are here.

For the biscuits:
125g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 salt
150g unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
1 large egg

For the filling:
56g unsalted butter
56g Stork or similar
250g icing sugar, sifted
2 tsps vanilla extract

Oven temperature is 190 degrees celcius.


Yum. Go make some.



Sunday, 24 July 2011

Nana's blanket - revived

Last year my dad found a blanket in his spare room that had been crocheted by my late Little Nana. For me it was like finding treasure; a complete piece of work she'd done and here it was unexpectedly in my hands.
The blanket is a giant granny square made out of all the odds and ends of yarn left over from Nana's other projects and it got me thinking about my extensive yarn stash and all the wasted odd balls and leftovers sitting in boxes in the spare room. I'd been meaning to learn how to crochet granny squares for awhile as I love the shape of them, their simplicity and their potential colour combinations and I was inspired to get out all the little bits of stash and have a go. However, on entering the yarn shop to get a ball of yarn for another project I was working on I saw a rainbow of acrylic yarns and knew I needed a rainbow blanket in my life - which led to this:


This led to the desturbing discovery that I couldn't bear to stop making squares. So I picked up my hook again and used the leftovers to make this rainbow baby blanket for a friend.


But that wasn't enough! Oh no, the granny square bug has bitten me good and proper but this time my Nana's blanket quite clearly said to me "Young lady, don't you dare waste money on new yarn when you've got a perfectly good box full you could use up!". I had no choice and set about gathering it all up. The result so far is this:



104 out squares done so far with no sign of slowing up. The blanket I have in mind will be 12 x 12 squares, which is a total of 144, then I'll be joining them with crochet and adding a wide border around the edge to make a blanket big enough for two. I've actually started to dream about these little three round squares and am getting a thrill out of combining so many contrasting, clashing colours that wouldn't make it into a planned project, but here they somehow just work.

So here goes: I'm addicted to granny squares and I'm proud!

P.S. - I made a batch of Fat Rascals and I was going to take a photo of the beauties and post the recipe today but they got eaten as soon as they were cool enough to pick up. Better luck next time, I'll be posting the recipe soon. (Oh goodie, that means I get to make another batch!)

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Girly to the max

I was in a baking mood again so I made some cupcakes flavoured and coloured pink with Grenadine, with vanilla icing, sprinkles and mini Loveheart sweets on top.

I didn't know they even made mini Lovehearts and was chuffed to see that despite their diminutive size they still contain those random little words.

Nothing says 'I wuv oo' like GRR, LOL and COOL
I used a recipe for Fluffy Buttercream Frosting from allrecipes.com and it's light compared to normal buttercream and tastes good, but it's very gooey and didn't hold it's shape. It would probably have been better if I'd added a little extra icing sugar to the mix early on, but I was timid and refused to disobey the recipe, persevering with it and ignoring the fact that it was a bowl of goo. My quest for the right cupcake frosting continues.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Simple Pleasure

It's been a crappy day at work, the weather is resisting the narrow classification of 'Summer' but on the plus side I'm under a crocheted blanket with a mug of hot chocolate (the first since Winter but comfort was needed) and working on granny squares, listening to Crafty Pod.

Comfy.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Stripes

I got an excellent charity shop bargain today (um, please excuse the stubbon paint stains on the mirror):
 A strippy, happy little Per Una cardie for £1! It' s shameless silliness make me think of a kids cardigan but bigger and the best bit is it's bright, mismatched buttons:
I really love the colours in the stripe pattern, it's a combination I've not considered before. It could be perfect for Attic24's Granny Stripe Blanket, which I've been admiring for some time now. Ooo, think of cuddling up under all those warm summer colours in the depths of winter, it could be the perfect tonic to wet, grey skies.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Garden being nice to me

Today I got home from work to my 'courtyard' (no grass - alas - just concrete but filled with pots of growing things) and there were several nice surprises waiting for me. The first was a big red poppy growing in the patch of wildflowers in the corner:


Then I saw that more of the sweet peas were blooming:


And that the first godetia had flowered, revealing stunning bright pink petals in a gorgeous pattern:


The best thing, though, was this:


A bunch (bouquet?) of freshly picked spring onions, which I quickly chopped up to go into egg fried rice for dinner. Spring onions are so stupidly easy to grow and they need hardly any space; my ana used to grow them in the tiny, narrow gap between their lawn and their flower beds and I can see how. I've got about 50 growing in one trough and and 20 ish in a medium sized pot. Plus the seeds are cheap (76p for around 450 seeds - what?!) and taste fantastic. 

Awww, I love my spring onions.


Sunday, 10 July 2011

Monday morning cheer

Hello and thanks for dropping by. I'm a knitting, crafting, veg growing, baking, thrifty sort of girl and I'd like to share my recipes, projects and whatnot with you. 


I was thinking Sunday night thoughts - you know, how suddenly Monday morning seems mere minutes away - and I realised only one thing could save me from moping about; a batch of cakes of course, to help me and my colleagues get through the inevitable mid afternoon Monday slump. My favorite ones right now are chocolate and orange - here's a picture of them wearing some rather fetching cases and sugar orange wedges:






And here's the recipe for 10 to 12 fairy cakes or 6 muffins.


100g self raising flour
100g caster sugar
100g Stork type spread (I use the Tesco Value version as it's very cheap and works well)
2 eggs
20g cocoa powder
2 tsp orange flavouring
50g dark chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 180C and line whichever type of cake tin you're using with cases.


Using a hand whisk beat together the sugar and spread. Add one of the eggs and a little of the flour and beat together. Add the second egg, the orange flavoring and a little more flour and beat again. Then add all the remaining flour and the cocoa powder and beat well. Stir through the chocolate chips then spoon into the cases. Place in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.


I decorated this batch by using melted chocolate to glue on little sugar wedges.


Don't forget to clean the bowl carefully by using a spatula to gobble up all the remaining cake goo, mmmmm.