Choc Orange Cake Test 1

Greetings All!

Another day off and another day of baking in the kitchen.  Today I decided to test run a cake I want to make for a friend, and what a good job I did!  The idea was to make a cake that tasted like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, (a Christmas favourite in our house). The cake was to be a marbled sponge cake made up of chocolate and orange flavours and colours, covered with a meringue butter cream, also flavoured with chocolate.  Here’s the finished cake:

Test Cake 1

it blends a bit into the table and the photo’s not great because today is very dark and dreary and not too helpful for photos.  Having said that though, the buttercream is way too pale, so next time I shall use dark chocolate to colour the meringue.

Fancy a slice and a cup of tea?  Here you go:

Test Cake 2

Hmmn, the marbling didn’t work too well either.  Where’s the orange colour? I used an orange gel, which called itself neon orange and I was too cautious with it, fearing it would exude an unearthly glow. Apparently, this was a completely ungrounded fear as the orange colour is invisible.  The chocolate is very pale too – like the buttercream I shall adjust next time.

What does it taste like though?  Success!  It is very yummy and does indeed taste like a chocolate orange.

So, for next time, a few lessons learned.  I shall also decorate it a bit more and will probably use chocolate buttons and/or strands.

This one was made with gluten free self raising and I would be willing to bet that no one could tell the difference from usual flour, I was very pleased with it.

So practice is a great teacher and I shall enjoy making it for real in a couple of weeks.

Thanks for dropping by.

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Thumbprint Cookies

Hello Everyone!

I have just got back from a few days in the Lake District, (where I was part of a training team delivering training on Assessment*), and have arrived back to find that I have no hot water or heating, brrr!  So, attempting to rise above it, I’ve been in the kitchen making cookies to say a big, ‘thank you,’ to my lovely neighbour who has been looking after my post whilst I’ve been away.

2014-11-14 08.29.01The recipe comes from the Food Network and if you want to make your own you can find it HERE.

I am off now to deal with my ‘first world problem’ thanks for dropping by!

* Assessment is part of the process by which our church strives to discern, with candidates, their sense of call to mininstry.

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Dressing for the Bazaar

Hi There!

Just popping in with a quick update on the smaller Christmas Cakes, (from a couple of posts ago).  The Church Bazaar is swiftly approaching – it’s this Saturday, gulp!  So I realised I had to get on and finish the cakes so’s they can dry in time.  I must admit that they didn’t turn out as well as I hoped they would, but here they are:

Bazaar Cakes 1

and here’s another view showing slightly more top:

Bazaar Cakes 2and yet another now they’re all dressed up and ready to go…packaged cakes

Post script:  the Bazaar went really well, despite the rain.  We had a large turn out and the above cakes sold pretty quickly.

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Coconut Cake

Hello Again!

If you’ve seen the previous post, you will know that I have been busy baking Christmas Cakes.  Today though, I thought I’d make a cake for my lovely Father-in-Law.  Now, he’s quite particular when it comes to cake and as he doesn’t like coffee cake, he didn’t get a slice of the last one I made for their household, however he does like coconut, so here’s hoping.

coconut cake 1




The recipe comes from the BBC Good Food website and you can find the recipe here.

My version doesn’t have lime, I used oranges instead, (as that’s what I already had in the house), but I’ve tasted the frosting and I think it works well.

Thanks for stopping by!

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And so it begins…..

Hello All!

We’re at the end of October and today I have seen several small people dressed up in all their finery, charging about as Batman, various Princessess, a skeleton and a witch. Halloween is here and I dare say I will be called to the door for Trick or Treaters several times this evening.  I am not going to lament the commercialisation of yet another holiday, let’s just say it’s not my kind of thing.  So, instead, I’ve been trying to get ahead with plans for Christmas – yes, I said it, Christmas!

My favourite part of Christmas is actually the time I spend working.  For me, church is my favourite place to be and to celebrate.  This means, of course that Christmas is a busy time so I am trying to prepare stuff in advance.  Today I are been mostly putting the marzipan on some of the Christmas Cakes I’ve made.  The three bigger ones are earmarked for family members and the small ones are to sell at the Church Bazaar next week.  I’ll let you know what the finished cakes look like, but here’s the story so far:

christmas cake 1Naked cakes waiting for their underwear and….

Marzipanned CakesThe cakes in their undies.  I bought the marzipan from different shops, hence the different colours.  Sorry the photos aren’t better, but my kitchen, lovely as it is, doesn’t have much light in the afternoon, but you get the picture.

Blessings all!  And go easy on the sweet stuff if you’re out and about tonight.

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Stash Busting

Hello you lovely people!  Hope all is well with you.  If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere you may well be experiencing a sudden drop in temperature.  We’ve had a wonderful summer, very mild and delicious beginning of Autumn, but now it seems, normal service has resumed and it’s getting chilly ’round here. Chilly, for me means a return to fingerless mittens as they really help keep the Reynaud’s at bay.  I have several pairs, but a girl can’t have too many and, upon finding some wonderful Rowan Felted Tweed DK in the stash, (given to me a couple of birthdays ago), I thought I’d add to the collection.

Rowan Felted Tweed Mitts Rowan MittsThe mitts took slightly less than 1 ball of 50grms, so you can see that it goes a long way, even though it’s fairly expensive.  It is lovely and warm though, due to the merino wool/alpaca and viscose mix.  This is a very easy and quick project, suitable for a beginner or any other interested knitter. If you’d like to make your own, here’s the pattern:

Fingerless Mitts

You will need, approx 50 grms of any double knit yarn, but please make sure you test your gauge for best results.

Two pairs of knitting needles in sizes 3.25 and 4mm

Measurements: S ( M, L) width around palm; 7 (8; 8 1/2) inches or 18 (19; 20 1/2) cm

Gauge: 22 sts and 28 rows to 4 inches or 10cm measured over ss, (stocking stitch= 1st row, knit,(K) second row, purl (P)).

Abbreviations:  K= knit; P= purl; sts = stitches; stocking stitch= st st; M 1 = Make 1.  To make 1, pick up stitch between and beneath the stitches on right and left needles and slip onto left needle, knit into the back of this stitch and you have made 1.  It can be a bit tricky to knit into the back, especially if you knit quite tightly.  It is possible to make 1 by knitting into the front of the stitch, but this will leave a small hole.  No problem if you don’t mind having a little holey pattern surrounding your thumb, but the neater way is to knit into the back of the stitch.

Make two the same.

Using size 3.25mm needles, cast on 40 (44; 48) stitches, (ss)

Row 1: *K1, p1 rep from * to end; repeat this row until rib measures 3 inches or 7cm

Change to no 4mm knitting needles and work four rows in ss, starting with a knit row.

Shape thumb gusset

Next row, (5th ss), K20 (22;24), Make 1, K2, M1, K18 (20;22)sts

work 3 rows in st st.

Next row, K20 (22;24) M1, K4, M1, K18 (20;22)sts

work 3 rows in st st.

Next row, K20 (22;24) M1, K6, M1, K18 (20;22)sts

work 3 rows in st st

Next row, K20 (22;24) M1, K8, M1, K18 (20;22)sts

work 3 rows in st st.

Next row, K20 (22;24) M1, K10, M1, K18 (20;22)sts

Purl 1 row.


Next row, K32 (34;36) turn, (for the next few rows you will be knitting only the thumb which starts with the twelve stitches you’ve made over the past few rows.

increase 12sts to 16 by casting on two stitches at either end of the next row.

Knitting on only these 16 stitches, knit st st for 8 rows, ( or however many rows suit your thumb length); then with right side facing, p 1 row and cast off.

You will now have 20 sts on right needle and 22 sts on left – you will now be joining these sts together behind the thumb you’ve just made. so,

with right side facing, pick up and m2 stitches, continue knitting all stitches on left needle, 42 (44; 46) sts.

Continue in sts until mitt measures approx 6 1/2 ins (16cm) from beginning, (1st cast on) or whichever length suits your hand.

With right side facing, P1 row and then cast off.

Fold mitt in half, sew side seam; sew thumb seam and work in ends. Voila! you have a mitt – now make another one and you’re good to go.

If you use this pattern, please let me know how you got on and feel free to post a photo of your own effort.

Happy knitting!

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Back Again

Hello there!

Woah, I can’t believe I haven’t been here since January!  So far, it has been a year of great change.  I moved house, (back in May), and started a new job and had to deal with a nasty bout of tendonitis and I guess that’s what’s put a kink in the makings department.  Now that’s gone though, it’s back to the usual click, clack of the knitting needles and the noiseless delights of the crochet hook.

First up is a little purse I made to send up birthday money to a lovely gal up in Scotland.

Steph's purse   I’m afraid I can’t share the pattern as I made it up as I went along and didn’t write it down, but if you are keen to make one, just let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.

Next up was the October knit-a-long from Craftsy, a lovely autumn cowl, called  Wishbone Rib.  It was a delight to knit, a very simple pattern that doesn’t look simple.   I signed up for the workshop and so got the yarn from them too. Details are on the site.

Wishbone Rib Cowl

The next thing on the list was for youngest edition to the family due in about 6 weeks.  We already know he’s a boy and his name is picked out, so this is a jumper and matching hat for little Andrew Aled.

New baby jumper and hatHere it is again on Baby Jesus…….

Doll in Andy togs

Well, I say Baby Jesus because this doll has played the part at many a Nativity Play, but the very pale skin and blue eyes….. what can I say?  The pattern comes from ‘Get Knitted’ in Brislington, Bristol – their website is here. The yarn is Opal sock yarn Sweet and Spicy  in shade 8617 and I am very impressed with it.  The jumper and hat came from just ONE ball of 100grms and there was still a little bit left and of course, it looks lovely.  One ball costs £7.99 and the buttons were 30p for all six.

I will leave you now to go and pick up the needles to get started on some more woolly projects.  Have a great day!

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More Knitting

Lucas' Christmas JumperJust dropping by quickly to put the latest knitting up.  This is my most recent, completed project.  It was made for my grandson for his 2nd birthday, just after Christmas and I’m pleased to know it does fit!  It’s always a challenge when the recipient lives so far away.

It’s on to the next one now, which is a cardigan for me and, (alternating with), some crochet cushions.

For those who would like to know the pattern is Sirdar and the wool, (from the local shop), is Sirdar Supersoft Aran – a joy to knit with.

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Yummy Bread

In my work I talk a lot about bread.  Aside from a definite professional interest, I am also a big fan.

Imagine then, my delight when I came across  a recipe for home made bread, (thanks to the wonderful people in blogland), that needs NO kneading – see what I did there? I had a go. This is my result:

BreadLooks a bit floury – hopefully that’ll brush off when it’s cooler.  I’m looking forward to trying some the moment it’s cool enough.

If you want to give it a go yourself, you can find all the details here. I can testify to it’s simplicity and it makes the kitchen smell wonderful!

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Dancing Stars

Christmas decos are underway chez moi and inspired by Lucy over at Attic 24 who in turn was inspired by The Royal Sisters I decided to have ago at making my own Dancing Stars garland to add to this year’s house decorations.

I haven’t finished yet – but here is the story so far:

2013-12-02 14.11.19

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