- I have literally just decided to go to London. So after work I need to rush home, pack, get a train to Cardiff and wait for a train to London then idle away two hours before I arrive at Paddington where lovely N will be waiting for me to drive me to the flat.
- Tonight we are going to grab a really quick bite to eat before going to see a late showing of The Quantum of Solace.
- Saturday Morning I am going to check out the new Westfield shopping centre - it is the biggest shopping centre in Europe apparently with over 265 shops inside .... :o) N has to go back to Hertfordshire to pick up his new trendy glasses tomorrow morning so I shall while away an hour or two drooling at Tiffany's with one of my oldest friends S.
- Saturday night we need to wrap up warm as it is the early bonfire night fireworks extravaganza in Battersea Park which we will go to with a bunch of friends, sparklers at the ready!! The theme is Paint the Whole World with a Rainbow which seems a bit non specific to me...! That will be a fireworks theme then! (In previous years they have done aliens, sport, rock music etc. but we shall see I'm reserving judgement)
- On Sunday I need to get up REALLY early to get back to work!
Friday, 31 October 2008
Thursday, 30 October 2008
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
I love carving pumpkins for Halloween, there's just something wonderful about the whole process: standing outside the green-grocers stamping your feet in the cold whilst sizing up and selecting your pumpkins, the delicious woody autumn smell that fills the kitchen as you scoop out the bright orange flesh (and the promise of the delicious feasts that it will create later), carefully carving your pattern and of course the sense of creative satisfaction when the candle or fairy lights are placed inside. Once on the doorstep they sit there, lovely orange glowing beacons to welcome happy trick or treaters as they patter around in the dark. These pumpkins from Martha Stewart Living are quite special.
*All images Martha Stewart Living*
Friday, 24 October 2008
This time last year I exhibited at my local food festival to test the market with my idea for a cake and cookie company. A year on and this weekend the local food festival is taking place again. Last year I spent days and days preparing, nervously wondering if anyone would buy these cakes which I had spent so much time on. With more than a little fear, I wondered if anyone would linger at the tables, (which the very kind Sarah from Xantippe had given me) to take a look at and, most importantly, buy my cakes. I needn't have worried. Over the two days I sold almost everything I had made (I'd made a lot!!), received some wonderful feedback and had taken my first orders for Christmas cakes. N spent the two days running back and forth, handing out flyers and cutting up cakes for samples - what a star!
This year I am not exhibiting. This year I can wander around the stalls, grab a glass of bubbly from the champagne tent, enjoy looking around me and celebrate how far I have come in a year. As over the last year I have set up iced and just yesterday made my first deal with a shop to sell my cakes for retail!
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
Friday, 17 October 2008
- Going to London tonight to see N - yay!
- On Saturday morning, after breakfast - which we will probably buy around the corner at this fabulous but kooky deli (the staff wear 1920's vintage clothing!) - we will drive to Hertfordshire - N needs to get a new pair of glasses as his broke when we were on holiday (how rubbish!) so we are taking a trip to his opticians and will go and see his parents for a spot of lunch at their house.
- On Saturday afternoon we need to drive back into London as it's a good friend's birthday dinner in Battersea in the evening - said friend has just landed a new job as a fabric designer for a very well known company so it's a double celebration - yay! Well done Mrs M!
- On Sunday ... well on Sunday we have no plans, which is lovely. N and I spend every weekend together but we are normally so busy rushing around catching up with friends and family that it will be very nice indeed just to have the day to ourselves!
- On Sunday evening I will wind my merry way back to Wales ...
Thursday, 16 October 2008
225g Self raising flour and ½ teaspoon of baking powder
125g of butter chilled and cubed (or margarine can be substituted)
75g of sugar
75g of currants or raisins
1 large egg and a little milk
a good big pinch of mixed spice
- Sift the flour and baking powder and mixed spice together into a nice big bowl.
- Rub in the butter / margarine until the mix looks like breadcrumbs, then mix in the sugar and fruit.
- Crack open the egg into another bowl and lightly beat, then add it to the flour mixture and combine. Add a little milk until the mixture has a dough like consistency (a bit like shortcrust pastry).
- Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least two hours.
- Once the dough has chilled, put your bakestone onto a very low heat on the hob and rub with the tinest bit of butter - this should be all you need for the whole cooking process (you are not frying them!), leave the bake stone to heat up.
- Dust your work surface with flour, roll out the dough to about a 1/4 inch thick and use cutters to cut into rounds, hearts, stars ... what ever you fancy.
- Place on the bakestone a few at a time and cook, flipping them over once you can move them around the pan without them sticking, keep flipping them until they are cooked through and nice and brown on both sides.
- While they are still warm dust with caster sugar, then alow to cool on a rack or plate, whatever you have to hand.
- If you want to make cranberry and white chocolate flavoured welsh cakes - simply substitute the cranberries for the currants / mixed spice and add chopped up white chocolate.
Rules of the Welsh Cake
- Welsh cakes must be eaten sprinkled with caster sugar.
- Welsh cakes must be eaten with a pot of tea
- Never ever split them and fill them with jam or put jam on top of them ... what you are after is a scone ... go and buy one.
- The first welsh cake of a batch never comes out quite right (a bit like pancakes) do not panic the rest will be perfect.
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Posted Friday, October 10, 2008 by sofia barão at Aller-Retour
Friday, 10 October 2008
*Musician in the Rain*
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
- Made a wedding cake
- Eaten two sneaky mint chocolate truffles mmmmmmm!
- started designing a gingerbread Ty Hafan (a local children's hospice) for a fundraising Christmas Fair in November.
- washed and dried my bedding ... yawn
- Spoken to N on the phone for 59 minutes (60 minutes and you have to pay for the call-don't tell me romance is dead!)
- Nothing today ... it's time for bed ... hooray!
- reading in the bath this morning when I should have been rushing to work
- eating an extremely un-nutritionally balanced breakfast of a welsh cake and a cup of tea (I was rushing after spending too long in the bath, but oh what a nice way to start the day!)
- looking up swanky hotels, which we could never afford, on Mr & Mrs Smith for N and I's 7 year anniversary weekend away in January.
- and I can't think of a fourth - that's bad ... I must do better on the guilty pleasures front - tomorrow I will make a concerted effort!
- When I'm old I'd like to be like Miss Marple ... live in a thatched cottage, have afternoon tea in the garden, go on lots of holidays to exotic locations and solve dastardly crime
- I like cold weather but I hate to be cold and so I love my hot water bottle
- My favorite alcoholic drink is a Dark and Stormy. It's a cocktail of black rum and fiery ginger beer. N introduced me to it, it is one of the national drinks of Bermuda, which is where he was born and brought up (his family moved back to the UK when he was a teenager). N first made me a dark and stormy when we were university students and I was visiting him at his family home in Hertfordshire during the winter break. I was really cold so he ran me a hot bath and made me a dark and stormy with a scoop of ice-cream in it, to drink as I soaked ... what a fella and oh my goodness, what a drink!
- I love cake.
- Buy a few balls of DK 50g wool. I am using RY Classic Yarns Cashsoft DK yarn because it is 57% extra fine merino, 33% acrylic microfibre and 10% cashmere and it is the loveliest, softest most snuggly wool ever. At the same time buy some 4mm knitting needles. In the UK you can buy all of these things here.
- Twist a hair bobble onto one of the needles and push it down to the end, this will help you remember which needle you are knitting which pattern onto later.
- Make a slip knot (here's how). Then cast on 63 stitches onto the needle with no hair bobble. This is easy, for instructions see here.
- take the needle with the hair bobble and knit 3 stitches, purl one stitch, then repeat (knit 3, purl 1) all the way along the row until you get to the end.
- turn the needle around and then knit one stitch, purl one stitch onto the needle with no hair bobble, then knit 3, purl 1 and repeat knit 3, purl one, knit 3 purl one to the end. The first two stitches have the effect of staggering the pattern which makes the scarf ribbed.
- Repeat steps 4 and 5 over and over again and just keep going until it's the length you like, then cast (or bind) off. Really easy.
- Needle with bobble: knit 3, purl 1.
- Needle with no bobble: knit 1, purl 1, (knit 3, purl 1) then repeat the stitches in brackets to the end of the row.