Thursday 29 March 2018

11 year old muppet

It is Smallest’s 11th birthday tomorrow and for weeks I have been asking him what type of cake would he like.  Last week he suddenly decided he wanted a Muppet Cake.  Not much time to prepare or plan but I had one evening of looking at Muppet cakes and Muppet images.

Today I had a feee day and just got on with it.  Using a new recipe (OMG soooo good and very easy), I made a chocolate sandwich cake, some little teeny tiny muffins and a random pie mould with the leftovers (you never know when you need that extra bit of cake, even if it’s only to have with your tea!).

I then set about making Muppet faces which I planned to put on the mini muffins.  My first one was Animal as I had plenty of red and pushed the fondant through a garlic grater.

Next I tried Miss Piggy, Beaker and Kermit.  I wasn’t completely happy with Kermit and sent photos through to Huffle, working upstairs who gave me constructive critism.  I made an extra Kermit and made the original one a bit slimmer and gave him a collar.

My two favourite muppets to make were the old men.  There was so much detail fit in such a little
space but I loved it.

I made the science man but didn’t have any black so the glassses were a bit rough.  Huffle made me a quick sandwich while I made a scrummy chocolate fudge butter icing for the main cake and then I went out to find black fondant and candles.

The Muppet Smallest likes most is Rowlf so I tried to make the big cake look like him.  It’s not perfect but I think he’ll be happy.  I used my extra bit of cake for the floppy ears and drizzled dark chocolate over it to make it look more scraggy.

The little cakes were added with the candles.  Ta daaaa.


Thursday 22 February 2018

So many makes to show for this week.

Small was off from school on Friday and I made chocolate chip cookies from my new Canadian Baking Book from Christmas.  They were a success.

Small decided to have a go at making something from the book too.  His was a chocolate Genoise.  Very good.

I made two Rye and Spelt breads and both didn’t rise in the oven despite following the instructions perfectly.  To be completely honest I did poke one before it went into the oven and it deflated slightly, but the second one came out no different.  They tasted good but just didn’t look like the photo.  I have sent a message to Paul Hollywood but as yet I haven’t had a response.

Tonight I finished my Sheep.  He has turned out so much bigger than I originally wanted and I have no idea what to do with him now.  MissHorse (my knitting lesson girl) should finish hers next week
as she was starting to se it up on Wednesday.

Little one on the right is the size it should be.

Also today I went to my 7th Pottery class.  I glazed two pots to see how the colours came out.  I waxed the bottom of nine others.  I made a funny little pot to put Smallests Moontorch in and threw two pots on the wheel.  I will have so many pots at the end!!!!!  I’m already starting to think about registering for the next course.

Thursday 15 February 2018

Pots for berries and a pot for the Moon

Another day spent pottering in the Pottery studio.  Absolutely love this course.  I went expecting to glaze my pots and have another few goes on the wheel and ended up making pinch pots.  Something I have done a lot of but I really enjoyed the calmness of it today.  We slowly played with the clay, chatted, laughed and helped each other for three hours.

I made a berry bowl for Huffle and three other smaller bowls and then trimmed last week’s pot on the wheel.

I used my new stamps to put my initials on the bottom which are working really well.  Four pots are going into the kiln this week so next week I will have seven pots to glaze.  Smallest has requested that I make him a Moon holder.  For Christmas we bought him a fabulous Moon Torch which projects a Moon onto his ceiling.  At the moment he uses a beaker to hold it so it would be nice to make him something special.

As it was Valentines Day yesterday, I made us a special cake.  Victoria Sponge (Great British Bake Off recipe), vanilla butter cream and homemade strawberry jam.  It’s all gone which tells you how yummy it was.  Smallest helped me to make the buttercream and decorate the top.

Saturday 10 February 2018

Knit witting

I recently started teaching Knitting to a ten year old girl who is just lovely.  She listens, she very quickly learns and it’s a real pleasure seeing her grow into a proficient knitter.

We started with a blanket and some basic stitches and quickly went on to making a chicken from a Rowan pattern I have.  This was one of the first things I knitted by myself so I knew it was achievable and I knitted alongside of her at the same speed.  She finished it the week before Christmas and I know she is as proud of it as I am of her.

After Christmas we began a Sheep. A bit more complicated with shaping and picking up stitches but so far she is doing wonderfully well and takes each new instruction very well.  The finished project looks similar to this but hers is done with bigger needles and chunky wool.

Can’t wait to see what hers look like.  I estimate a couple of weeks and it will be finished.

Friday 9 February 2018

A spot of pottering

Five weeks ago, I started a new course for wheel Pottery.  I have spent many a week hand building, which I love, but throwing pots on the wheel is something I only tried briefly about twenty years ago and I wasn’t very good at it.

So I joined a new class which has many wheels and a fabulous teacher and last week I think it all clicked into place.  I can now throw a pot, not the exact shape or size I want, but throw it I can.  So far in my five weeks (which totals fifteen hours) I have thrown six pots.  Three of which have been fired and are awaiting glazing, two I trimmed today and one is hardening.  I have also made several stamps for my initials on the bottom of the hand building pieces that I haven’t created yet.

My teacher wearing my newly sewn potters apron (from my lovely friend) and some of my pots and stamps

During my first week, my husband sent me a photo of KeithBrymerJones crying (from the GreatPotteryThrowdown)

Anyway, I’m having a ball at Pottery.  Next weeek I will be glazing and trimming and throwing more pots hopefully.  

Thursday 8 February 2018

Football Blanket/Afghan

When I was pregnant with my now 14 year old, my MIL tried to teach me to crochet.  I did okay but whenever I tried to crochet by myself much later, I found it really difficult.  So I watched video after video on YouTube until I finally got it.  Then I just crocheted and crocheted and am even now giving lessons.

Recently I saw some c2c (corner to corner) Afghans and thought they looked wonderfully complicated.  Well the c2c is incredibly satisfying and I made lots of cowls for Christmas gifts.

Then I discovered Graphgans.  Wow! Some of the gorgeous stuff people create using graph paper and bobbins.  Well I decided to get in on the graphgan sensation and create my own.  

My Smallest is a Stoke fan (ridiculous seeing as he comes from Leicester but it’s the team his Dad supports, who incidentally is also from Leicester) and I thought it  would be nice (and easyish) to make a blanket with the team badge.  It took a lot of work to get it on graph paper and a few amendments here and there but eventually we did it.  I have been working on the Blanket for about a month all in and I still need to sew in all hundreds of ends and finish a border but it’s done!

He loves it.

Wednesday 7 February 2018

Bloomin, good bread

It’s been a while since I posted on here and not because I haven’t been creating.

So.... to catch up a bit.

For Christmas I had a bread book.  Paul Hollywood’s Bread Book.  Love it.  Every recipe I have tried has been delicious and has worked perfectly.  Unfortunately bread doesn’t last five minutes in this house.  But you do have to eat it fresh don’t you?

I would definitely recommend this book to any new bread makers plus there are some lovely recipes to go with the breads.

Today I made a start on a Ciabatta but I didn’t read it through properly which is why I ended up with two mistakes as above.  Ciabatta dough needs to rest for 6 hours so I have to remember that for next time.

Monday 1 February 2016

Sheepishly warm

On Friday I went to my knitting group and because I had lost my knitting on route in a freak windy moment, I bought some new wool and started a new project.
Now I am not a big hat wearer. Not to say I don't wear hats or big hats, I do, I live in Canada for goodness sake where the Winter is six months long. However when I saw this delightful sheepy (now I do like sheep) hat, I just had to make it. So I started it on Friday .........
.......and after sitting through an hour of football practice (whilst knitting of course), I did quite a bit more.......
.....and then by Sunday evening, it was done.


I love it and it's so warm because of all the wool being carried across inside. Typical though that the temperatures have suddenly gone from -23* up to +8* in a matter of days. Oh well, I'm sure I'll get to wear it soon enough.  

Thursday 1 October 2015

Gravity Defying Cake

Today was Small's 12th birthday and I decided I was making him an M&M Gravity Defying cake.

It's actually a lot easier than it looks.

First I made my chocolate cake mixture (all recipes on request, I've probably already put it on here ages ago), which made two sandwich cakes plus seven cup cakes (not sure why it didn't make six or eight!!). This recipe uses egg yolks mixed in and egg whites folded in after (makes it much lighter).

Sandwiched together with chocolate butter icing (I use melted chocolate instead of coca powder as it makes it more fudgey and it sets better).

I decided on M&M's because of their colour which looks fabulous on a chocolate cake. On a white cake I think maltesers or aero bubbles would look extra good.

I covered the sides and top with more butter icing and inserted a skewer into the cake towards one side. I made a small diagonal cut in a packet of M&M's and puffed it up (after emptying it) and secured it on the top of the skewer using a bit of melted chocolate. Using a few M&M's at a time and being very patient, I stuck the sweets onto the skewer starting at the base near the cake. It takes a lot of time and I found using chocolate that had cooled slightly stuck the sweets better, otherwise they just slide down the skewer.

Grandma was my assistant chef today and she used a bowl covered with a tea towel and then gently threw M&M's at the bowl to see how they fell (just to help construct the falling sweets).

The sides of the cake were covered with Kit Kat bars all the way round.

The M&M's were stuck to the skewer using melted chocolate all the way up and when completely set (and after walking away and coming back) more added to give it a bit more bulk. Sticking them out at odd angles looked better than just sticking on flat.

Making them look as if they were spilling out over the top of the cake and partly down the sides. We had a lot of fun playing really and it's really hard to stop.

I piped white chocolate for his name onto pachment paper and peeled it off when cool and stuck it to the kit kats. It wasn't perfect but it worked.

The look on the boys faces when they saw the finished cake was priceless - HOW DID YOU DO THAT? Thay asked.

Because I bought special candles (and because I didn't want to set the sweet packet on fire) I added them to the cup cakes instead of the main cake.

It tasted good but it's very difficult to fit in a box or cake tin. This cake was a success.


Saturday 16 May 2015

Pottery II

I have started my Pottery again and have been going for three weeks (half way through). The first week I made a bird house/feeder and a tea bag holder..............

The second/third week my friend was visiting from London UK, so I took her along with me. We both made Fish Dishes......

Last week we made Spring Roll Plates.......

Two more weeks to go and then I get to glaze them before their final firing.