Thursday, 27 May 2010

Tropical Lemon Drizzle Loaf

My friend H mentioned making a lemon drizzle cake last weekend, and since I was feeling in need of comfort baking, and also feeling like a bit of a copycat, I went ahead and bake myself one too. Since I had all* the ingredients on hand, it was an easy job, and all I had to do was combine the ingredients together. 

*Sorry, I lied a little there. I didn't have enough almond meal and was too lazy to go to the shops, so I simply made up the rest of it with grated coconut. Hence the 'tropical'. 

Tropical Lemon Drizzle Loaf (adapted from Baking Mad)

For loaf
200gm self-raising flour
120gm butter, melted
120gm caster sugar
4 eggs, beaten
50ml fresh lemon juice
1 lemon rind, grated
1 tsp naking powder
1 tbsp cornflour
25gm ground almonds
25gm grated coconut

For glaze
100ml fresh lemon juice
150ml icing sugar

- Lightly grease a loaf tin, and preheat oven to 180c.

- Beat together the eggs, lemon juice, butter and grated lemon rind.

- In a separate bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder and cornflour together. Stir in almonds and coconut. Make a well in the centre and pour in the wet mixture, then stir well till combined.

- Bake for 45 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. In the meantime, prepare your glaze by combining the lemon juice and sugar.

- Remove the cake from the oven, and while it is still warm, use a skewer to prick it all over. Slowly drizzle the glaze over the cake, letting it all sink in.

- Let it cool, and enjoy!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Great (Beef) Balls of Fire!

The Mancreature has been a little obsessed with Asian-style beef balls since we bought some for a hotpot meal about a month or so ago. I've had them quite a few times, but always shop-bought, so it never occurred to me that you could make them at home. Which - when you think about it - is really stupid, because of course you can make them at home. Someone had to make all those balls I've eaten so far. Yet, it still seemed like such an epiphany to me when The Mancreature innocently asked 'How are they made?' I had no idea, of course, and set off on the old Google, which led me to this recipe.

Simple enough, and we had 500 grams of minced beef sitting in the freezer, so we gave it a try this past weekend. The only thing we tweaked was to leave out the alkaline water, because it made us think of eating batteries, and we also added four cloves of garlic, for extra-fragrant balls. 
You've got to add them to simmering water, until they float up to the surface. Leave them for a few more seconds, and they're cooked and ready to enjoy.

We had them in a huge bowl of tom yum soup with udon noodles. Great for two sniffly sickies. 
I don't know why I never thought of making my own beef balls before. Sure, they're relatively easy to find in shops, but the ingredients can be pretty scary. MSG plays a huge role in most of the shop-bought ones, which undoubted accounts for their flavour, but also often leaves me feeling very, very thirsty.

These homemade ones, on the other hand, took hardly any time to whip up at all. In fact, it probably took longer freezing and cooking them, since all you have to do is throw the stuff into the food proccessor. You can be sure I'll be making more of them in future!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010


For my next holiday, I want to go to Engelbert, hang out with Engelbert Humperdinck, see some furry critters, admire a boat and get my holiday snaps back from Boots in nice paper packaging. 
Anyone know where I can get my hands on some white ink and a fountain pen?

Edit (27/05/10) - I've put the rest of the photos from this set up on my Flickr, so pop over there if you'd like to peruse them.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Freshwater Brambles

Here are a few more scans from that pile of photos I picked up at a car boot sale a while back. These were all kept in individual, embossed little folders, like the one shown above. I wonder if they were extra copies and given as gifts? The folders are awesome, why don't we store photos this way anymore?
What do you think - are they family holiday snaps? I'm very certain that it's the same young lady in most of these photos, and I love that floral, full-skirted dress she has on. I'll have to keep an eye out for similar fabric to make myself one, I'm pretty sure I have that dress pattern in my stash already.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Slashing The Grey

Oh, how I love thee, op-shop £1 rails! I found my new favourite dress on one such rail just last week, and even though the tag actually said £2, the lovely old lady gave it to me for a £1. I think they like me in there. The dress itself wasn't perfect though, but all it needed was a simple alteration. 

Now, in the style of New Dress A Day, I present you with the before picture -
Yep, waaaayyyyy too long on my short frame. Good points: pockets, and those fantastic wing-like sleeves. 

And now, after slashing off a bit of the skirt and hemming it, I present a slightly dressed up After photo -
Black beret - op-shop, black jacket - Primark, grey dress - op-shop, bag - DIY, black tights -I don't remember, black shoes - op-shop

I was on my way to meet with my lawyers (yes, I have lawyers, people! Two of them!) and had to try to dress 'business casual' so they wouldn't get grossed out by my usual holey jeans. Despite the sunshine, it's actually been pretty chilly lately, so I had a jacket on which obscured those cool wing-sleeves. But never mind, because I know they're there! The dress is cotton, and very comfortable. In fact, I'm already thinking of copying the pattern and making more version in the floral fabrics from my stash. And maybe a wool version for winter...would that work? 

Dyeing With Spring

Finally got around to take some photos of the fabric and threads that I was experimenting with in this post, and here are the results. 
These are all mercerised cotton thread, like the kind used used for crocheting. They were soaked with (from left to right) daffodils, dandelion stems, dandelion flowers, and fennel leaves.

As you can see, the daffodils gave a really vibrant yellow, I'm completely in love with that colour!

The fabric I used here is a very luxurious silk-linen blend, from a pair of trousers in my scrap fabric pile. From left to right: dandelion stems, dandelion flowers, and fennel leaves.

This are my favourites, from the daffodil jar. Look how vivid the colours are! The fabric on the left is a polycotton blend, I think, and I folded it in accordion pleats to fit it into the jar, and it came out with this awesome stripey, tie-dye effect, I love it! The other piece of fabric is the same silk-linen blend as above, and I  simply crushed it up and pushed it into the jar, which may be why the colour is much more uniform.

I've also just started another jar two days ago, with more of that silk-linen blend, and a whole bunch of fennel leaves, so we'll see how that turns out in a week or so.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Summer Fun

I found these photos at a car boot sale a couple weeks ago, and finally got around to scanning most of them in. There's still a whole bunch of others, I'll upload them in bits and bobs, but I'll probably put them on Flickr as well, so you can always go over there to see the whole set. 

Someone wrote 'Pontins Brean Sands' on the back of these two photos up, so I'll assume that's where these were taken. Look, twinsies! They look like they work there, judging by those spiffy matching blazers. And I really like the dress that Blondie's sporting in the top photo, although it looks like the fabric might be really scratchy.

Look, she's been to Paignton! I'm fairly certain they're the same lady in both photos, and someone scribbled 'Paignton' on the back of the second photo, so...I guess they were probably taken during the same holiday? 

Wednesday, 12 May 2010


Am supposed to be writing a short article about Lausanne for work, but I don't really know anything about it, and I need to procrastinate, so I'm procrasti-blogging instead. For some reason, the word 'Lausanne' just makes me think of a cheesy country song or something...'Lou's Anne'....with a huge drawl. 
Anyway, I can post this now that the banner pictured above has arrived at its intended destination. I made it for Ari and her manfruit (and 'Hello' to Wally too!) as a housewarming gift...except I took so long to get around to making it that this gift was probably rather tepid when it arrived. Sorry, dudes. 

Why 'Hermitage'? Because that's what they call their place, dummy! Anyway...back to Lausanne...

Edit: Heehee, did you know there's a resort by Lausanne called 'Ouchy'? I know it's not really pronounced 'Ouch-eeeeee' like you're in pain, but I don't care. I'm gonna say it like that anyway. Don't destroy my dreams!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Sean Serenades

Two posts in one day, not bad, huh? 
Yes, yet another cat with laser-eyes. I could be turning into a crazy cat lady. I just keep finding pictures of cats whenever I buy frames from the op-shops, and I can't resist cutting them out. This collage is gonna be in the next issue of The Great Unwashed, the little zine that my ponies and I have been putting out for the past two/three/four (?) years now. 

By the way, if anyone reading this is from Sydney, Googy and Sunny will be hawking their delightful wares at the MCA Zine Fair on the 25th of May, so pop on over and grab yourself a copy, or just say hi to them. You know you wanna, baby!

Good Times

So, I was shivering and starving in my stall in Carnivale yesterday, where I had a stall at their monthly Tik Tac Toe event, when who should come by but Etsy UK blogger AmityUK. Who then proceeded to purchase one of my little Keeper necklaces! Arghhhh! She bought this little baby, right here!
And of course, since I was being geeky and generally stupid, I got all red and blushy, and then ended up giving her the wrong change! Which meant I had to run after her, tap her on the shoulder, and squeak ''I'm so sorry, I gave you the wrong change!'' and then dump another £3 in her hands. Before running away again. Yup, way to make an impression on Etsy staff.

But in case you're wondering, AmityUK is really as nice as she appears in her articles, and I also discovered that she has a lovely little shop on Etsy too, selling really pretty jewellery made from recycled silver. 

Oh, and in another bit of good news on the Etsy front, one of my aprons got featured on the Front Page yesterday too, although I didn't realise it till this morning. Here's a screenshot!
It's that little blue apron, second from the left, on the bottom row. I didn't sell that particular apron, but I did end up selling another one that last night. So, rather a good weekend where Etsy's concerned. Yay!

Friday, 7 May 2010

Blues and Pinks and Inbetweens

Got these back from the chemist last week. These are all from my Konica C35 EF-P, which is fast turning out to be my favourite point-and-shoot camera, for daylight hours at least. It's little, it takes no time at all to wind on a new frame, and it's fairly sturdy. 
More pictures on my Flickr page.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Hally Baby

Here's the first roll of photos from my new/old Halina 35x. I ended up having to rip out half the roll, since I was a technotard and loaded it wrongly the first time round.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Padded Camera Bag

Finally got off my arse and made myself a little padded bag so I can bring my cameras out and not worry too much about them getting knocked about. 'Professional' photogs will be aghast to find out that I've so far been carrying my 'gear' in filmsy little canvas totes bags, or perhaps even worse, stuffed into a pocket. Yes, even my SLR!

I did think about getting a camera bag/case a while back, but I simply could not grow to love those bulky, flashy 'look-at-me-indulging-in-gearfaggotry' type Crumpler bags. They're just so...acrylic! So I held off, searched around unsuccessfully in op-shops, and then finally said to myself: 'Hang on a minute, I have a sewing machine, I have piles of fabric, I can do this!' 

So I did, and I glad to say that it came out pretty much the way I envisioned it in my head. Which isn't always the case when you're working without a pattern, and adding details willy-nilly. Most of my materials came from my stash, except for the padding, which I spent all of £0.99 on. Extravagant, I know! It was a little pink fleece baby blanket from the 99p Shop down the hill, cut up into appropriate sizes than machine-quilted onto the green lining fabric to secure it. 
And...lots of pockets. Inside and out. I also added two strips of elastic, stitching them to the lining at  intervals of about 1 inch, to hold film, lipsticks and other essentials. The strap came from a huge roll of cotton webbing that I got from an op-shop ages ago for £1.
Here it in, in action, with my Halina 35x hanging round my neck on two strips of green cotton bias binding. So profesh...