Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Postcards and Petticoats

The observant amongst you may have noticed that my blogging has been less than prolific recently (my last post being about 18 months ago) this is for the most part because I have been travelling the world and doing so without access to an oven, let alone my baking supplies. As such I felt like there were other things, crafty and adventurous, that I enjoyed doing and wanted to blog about but didn't really feel like they fitted the bill for Bake Love Not War seeing as they were un-baking related.

Alas, a new blog was born Postcards and Petticoats because I like doing things like this (see above) but I still like doing things like this (see below). Hope to catch you over on the new site sometime, I promise to be a more reliable blogster!

Friday, 10 June 2011


We've had the sushi rice and nori in the cupboard for literally months but this week a sense of adventure and experimentation struck me and I returned home armed with rice wine, mirin, reduced vegetables and no idea what to do with it all. We often eat veggie sushi at the local tea house and we have learnt that the sushi is only as good as the rice and that can be quite tricky to perfect.

So I googled. I amalgamated a number of tips from different websites (stirring the rice wine mixture into the rice in front of an electric fan seemed like a good one) and we began. I had planned to make it all before Tom got home and surprise him with a Sushi picnic or a Sushicnic even but he finished work early and got home before me which foiled that plan. But I'm pleased because it was such a giggle utterly winging it and eating as we went along. It tasted good and the rice was definitely sticky, hoping it wasn't just a fluke.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Rachel's Birthday Cake

Tom's little sister was 17 a few weeks back and I got asked to make the cake! It was a simple sponge but strictly without jam, so there was no buttercream spare this time. I had an absolute nightmare with the black icing; I attempted to persevere with the first tar-like batch but it resisted and managed to kill 2 of my mixers! I don't really know what went wrong with it but it looked like it belonged on the pavement more than on a cake... cue a very stressful last minute trip to the supermarket (3.45pm on a Sunday!) enabling me to start again. 17 on one-side and an R on the other and lots of random swirly bits in between! It tasted good too!

This was my first real venture into birthday cake style icing but I'm signed up to take on his other sister's 21st cake, I'm feeling adventurous so watch this space...

Thursday, 26 May 2011

The Taste of Freedom

This note was the positive reinforcement I had pinned to my fridge to keep me sane through the last week of my degree. I think just about everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong but nevertheless I got it all done and handed in - yay for me!

I expected to feel different as a free-woman, my first time out of education for something like 17 years -  only freedom didn't taste as sweet as I'd expected. Although slogging away at my dissertation and portfolio sucked, it appears to have been a distraction from thinking about what I would do once it was over. Now it's over and I don't know what to do. I had a revelation this year that the old "what do you want to be when you grow up..." is a load of baloney. Because your career isn't who you are, it shouldn't define you, it's just what you have to do in order to be the person you want to be. So I have a degree in Film (hopefully) but I don't want to make gasquillions of money as a hot shot director, maybe I'll use my degree to make some expose documentary about human rights, or maybe I won't use it at all.

So now I'm learning to just be. Whatever that is. Considering doing my yoga teacher training course next year, trying to think of some way I can relate that to my Film degree. Any ideas?

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Sweetpea and Betty Sweetness

So I got a dream job working part-time in a shop that's just like girly, vintage, interior design eye candy. Seriously it just makes me happy being in there, that might have something to do with the fact that it is resident to the most loved little dog in Falmouth, Maisie. Check out their website here. Anyway, I was going to one of the upcycling paint techniques workshops for training and I thought that it was the perfect excuse to bake something Sweetpea and Betty-esque. I got a bit carried away trying to fit-in and bought some gorgeous floral napkins that I don't actually want to use, I'd rather just look at them. So floral napkins, pretty basket, it just had to be rose flavoured macaroons really didn't it. I don't think I had a choice in the matter, simply nothing else would have done.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The Great Wall of Buttercream

Buttercream spaghetti anyone? Well, I am Italian.

I have a slight issue with anything that requires waiting. Macaroons. You pipe out your little rounds on a baking sheet, put them in the oven, liberate them from the oven in due course and then you have to wait. Wait for them to cool before you the buttercream-sandwiching process can begin to complete the macaroon as we know it.

It's just that I have a definite weakness for the warm, straight out of the oven goods, and naturally you need to try them (even if they are an un-sandwiched macaroon half) to make sure they taste good. So while waiting for my macaroons to cool, I may have eaten a couple, perhaps a few. Alas, I am an idiot. I haven't taken the butter out of the fridge to get to room temperature! (No, crazy though it sounds, I don't have a microwave) Thus, the waiting for the macaroons to cool has evolved into waiting for the butter to warm yet the outcome is the same. Many un-sandwiched macaroon troops were lost in the waiting game, consumed for no purpose other than impatience.

When I finally did get round to making the buttercream and sandwiching the little beauties together, I had way too much buttercream! Oh no! So obviously, I put a cool looking piping nozzle in and squeezed it all out onto a piece of baking parchment. Refrigerate and reserve for sweet cravings. I wish I was kidding; Tom and I demolished this little wall in a day.

Dissertation Distraction Part 1

Okay, so my final hand-in of my dissertation is due in about 3 weeks. I feel slightly unnerved however, because I'm not stressed. Don't get me wrong, it isn't that I'm so amazing and have worked super hard all year so that I can chill-out now, quite the contrary, I still have loads of work to do but for some reason I'm just not quite stressed-out enough yet to motivate me to do it! I'll put it down to my frequent yoga practise and peaceful mind/body relationship...

...Or, it could be that I fell in love with a cute little book on macaroons and decided to set myself a challenge - make every recipe from the book! Dissertation smissertation.

So first stop was wintery spiced macaroons, with cinnamon and ginger and nutmeg, but seeing as they tasted a little bit too Christmasey and we are now in March (Hurray!) I thought I'd colour them lilac to hint at the coming spring! Filled with classic buttercream. What else?