Saturday, 30 April 2011

Fashionista I ain't

My friend, who's handy with a sewing machine, is going to make me a skirt (or two if I'm lucky). All I have to do is find a pattern. So in an effort to work out roughly what I want, before going to the shop and bugging some nice lady with my complete lack of knowledge, I have been googling pencil skirts. And bloody hell. There are no two the same. I can't decide how high I want the waist (I love the high waist look on others but for some reason I've got it into my head that it makes me look fatter), how long I want it to be (anything shorter than mid-thigh and I constantly think my knickers are showing, but too long and we're into "hey, I think I know what I'm doing when it comes to fashion" territory and that's not me so we're left with middle-of-the road vanilla?!), how tight I'm comfortable with, panels etc... This was harder than I thought!
She's going to make it form an old pair of my mum's trousers. They are black and blue striped. I think the stripes are quite wide and how I remember the fabric, I think it will look great. The thing is I don't really remember exactly what it looks like.
You see the fabric (and the friend) is in Sweden and I'm in London. So we'll obviously have to wait 'til July to finish the skirt (fitting etc) but I'm thinking she could start the process with my measurements etc.

The other skirt I want is some kind of swing skirt. This will (I think but then I don't sew) be easier as it won't be fitted and stuff. I'm still trawling the interwebs trying to find a nice style. The waist is again a problem, as is the length and I'm also not sure how long I want it.

Oh, it's so hard being me.

In other news, I'm absolutely skint at the mo'. Which is the reason I haven't gotten inked yet. Actually I'm not, I have money but it's not for spending. It's for investing in my future!

So here's what we've learnt today:
  • I can't decide on anything.
  • I'm saving my money
  • I like using brackets in blog posts (and often long ones)

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Birthday cake (recipe)

This is a cake I made for my mum's birthday in March. It came out really well so I thought I'd share the recipe with you! 

We'll start with the base which is just a plain sponge. It's made with different eggs to flour ratio, to make it high and light, and potato flour* to stabilise all the eggs.


5 eggs
300 ml sugar
150 ml plain flour
150 ml potato flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Here's how you do it:

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Line, grease and flour a 25cm spring form tin. Make a collar for the tin and grease and flour this as well. The cake will rise quite a bit and the collar will stop it spilling over the edge (which would be a terrible waste of good cake batter and also a pain to clean).
Using an electric whisk, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until pale and very fluffy. Its important to beat for a long time as you want as much air as possible in the mixture.
Sieve the flour, potato flour and baking powder and carefully fold in to the egg mixture.
Bake on the bottom oven shelf for 40-50 minutes, checking with a skewer towards the end of the cooking time. You might like to cover the top with a sheet of greaseproof paper for the last 5 minutes or so to stop it getting to crispy.
Leave to cool in the tin, covered with a clean towel.
If possible, make the cake a few days in advance and freeze it. Take it out, in the morning, the day you want to serve it and divide it before it's completely defrosted as that makes it easier to cut.

I divided mine into three layers but you should be able to get four 9maybe more if you're handy with a knife).

Traditional Swedish birthday/celebration usually have a layer with vanilla custard and are covered with whipped cream and fresh fruit and/or berries. I decided to go for a raspberry theme so for the non-custard layer I made a raspberry mousse.

For the mousse you need:

200 g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
100 ml icing sugar
100 g cream cheese
4 leaves of gelatin
200 ml whipping cream

Bring the raspberries to a boil (if using fresh, add a splash of water) and heat for a couple of minutes.
Whip the cream.
Pass the strawberries through a sieve to make a puree.
Place the gelatin leaves in cold water to soak for a few minutes.
Mix about half of the raspberry puree with the cream cheese along with the icing sugar.
Squeeze the water from the gelatin leaves and dissolve in the other half of the raspberry puree.
(You may need to reheat it quickly and if it's quite thick, adding a splash of boiling water will help to dissolve the gelatin.)
Leave to cool for a few minutes then stir into the cream cheese mixture.
Finally, fold in the whipped cream.
Let the mousse set in the fridge for a while before using it to fill you cake.

For my cake I used the mousse for the bottom layer and custard for the second layer. I then covered the cake (just a thin layer on the sides) with whipped cream and decorated it with piped whipped cream, fresh raspberries and heart-shaped sugar sprinkles. The writing says Happy Birthday (actually congratulations because that's what we say in Sweden) in case you were wondering! It was done by my sister using some writing gel I bought because I couldn't be arsed to make anything...

So there, go forth and bake! And remember to beat those eggs...

This is where I found the original recipes: cake and mousse. They are in Swedish and all I've done is translate them and possibly re-write them slightly to make more sense in English

* Whilst browsing the amazing Internet I have found several forums/websites/blogs/people who say there is a difference between potato flour and potato starch. Same as there is apparently a difference between corn flour and corn starch. I call it potato flour because that's what it's called in Sweden and that's the only kind I've ever come across. It's white, "dry" and makes a squeaky, crunching sound like walking on fresh snow. That's the kind you want. In England you can buy it in health food shops (Holland & Barret and suchlike) and they also call it potato flour. I guess if there is a choice between -flour and -starch, buy starch. My sister's bf made it with corn flour/starch (same thing again!) I hear, and that worked fine as far as I know. I can't tell you to do that since I've never tried it and don't feel comfortable recommending ti.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Domestic goddess!

I've spent the better part of the last two days either baking or running around getting supplies for the baking and planning for the baking.
Also making fruit infused vodka/liqueur.
I generally go mad like this when I have the house to myself for a few day. Unlimited kitchen use, yay!

I've invited my sister round tomorrow because I need someone to help me eat it all. And also 'cause I'd like to see her of course!
She'll get to see The Monster TV in the top room (aka The Media Room) and we might even watch a movie!
No full frontal though. As I found out when watching Jackass 3, a penis in HD on a 5000 inch telly is quite an unsettling experience... What has been seen can never be unseen!

Time for a late evening snack of cheese on home baked bread now methinks!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Her powers of deduction were mind boggling

I have noticed something.
When I actually post something new on my blog, a lot more people read it.
It's true! The stats tell me so.

I know, wow huh?!

Anyway, I have a couple of cake/baking/recipe posts in the pipeline. I'm not turning this blog into a cake blog, it just so happens I've baked a few things lately and I'd like to share them with you. Sharing is caring, you know!
It's just that the recipes are Swedish and it takes some time translating them and writing them out and all that. So I've taken a break from doing that and am currently crocheting granny squares. Again. Maybe by the time I'm all grown up I'll have enough for an afghan or something!

Oh, I've also been creating. Getting busy with the pretty papers and the paints and the inks. But I can't show you that quite yet.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Visual stimulation

From blog to blog I go hopping and on one of them 
I stumbled upon this guy and his awesome double exposures.

Found through this blog.
I really should have more of these kinds of blogs in my blog list.
I don't look at them often enough but when I come across one
I can spend ages looking at the pictures.
I find it both relaxing and inspiring.

Also, I really should take more photos.
Practise and learn.
It's on my to do list.

All this technology

We have a thing that we do in this household when G misbehaves. We take away his computer/xbox/whatever privileges. It's not so much a punishment, it's more that being allowed these things is a reward for behaving. Also, being on them too much does absolutely nothing for his mood and energy levels which is often what leads to the bad behaviour in the first place.

The problem now is that there are so many gadgets in this house. If I tell him he's been on the xbox long enough he simply moves to the computer. And when I tell him to get off the computer because he's not listening to me and being rude he just goes and gets the ipad. I tell him he's not allowed it and he starts playing on his mum's itouch. And so it goes.
I keep finding him in various rooms on different gadgets that I have to take off him. I can never remember all of them (Nintendo ds, psp, xbox, computer, ipad, etc, etc) and if I miss one out when telling him he's not allowed he will see it as a loophole which means he can go on it. He's not stupid this boy...

What I need is some kind of comprehensive list so I can just rattle them off and be done with it.

Or this family needs to be stricter with how much time you're allowed to spend in front of a screen in a day.

I don't know.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Limoncello Jelly

Limoncello Jelly is a favourite dinner party dessert with my boss.
Whenever she has people over she makes it.
Or rather, being the resident pastry chef, I do.
In fact, it was the first thing I did this morning (well not quite but you get what I mean).
As I've become quite the pro at this I thought I'd share the recipe with you!
You need:
200 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 5-6 lemons)
300 ml Limoncello
100 grams caster sugar
6 gelatine leaves (or vegetarian alternative)
6-8 cocktail, or other nice, glasses.

 To make:
Place the gelatine leaves in 200 ml of cold water to soften.
(for veggie alternative follow instructions on packet)
Strain the lemon juice into a pan and place over a gentle heat.
Stir in the sugar and continue to heat until dissolved.
Add the gelatine leaves to the hot lemon juice and stir until completely dissolved 
and then add the water it was soaking in.
Lastly add the Limoncello and transfer to a measuring jug
to pour into the glasses.

Let the jelly set in the fridge for at least four hours but
ideally overnight.

Et voila!

This picture was taken before they went in the fridge, any foam on the top should disappear as they set.

Serve with lightly whipped cream, sweetened with a bit of sugar
and mixed with chopped fresh mint.


Friday, 8 April 2011

Spring has sprung

And I have spent most of the day outside.
Being a nanny really rocks in spring/summer, I can just take the kids outside and give them a ball and they'll happily run around while I chill in the sunshine with a cuppa.

Of course this is also when my hay-fever nightmare begins, but I'm ignoring that for the time being.
There is something special about the first really warm days of the year.
I'm overwhelmed by a constant need to be outside.
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Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Hey mister Taliban tally me bananas

This is about a third of everything I've ironed today. Normally I just do the shirts and sheets but my employer has hurt her back so this week I'm doing her share as well.
Which is fine by me, she's paying me extra for it. And the kids have been busy elsewhere so I've had a couple of uninterrupted hours to get through it.
Now I'm going to go out and enjoy this glorious sunshine. Sit with a book while the kids have a runaround.
My job is the best sometimes!

*edited 12/4 to change title to what it was meant to be rather than what my HTC thought it should be.

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