Tuesday, 28 September 2010


Finally completed my first pair of toe-up socks about 3 weeks ago. I will be sporting cosy toesies this winter!

Pattern from here.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Bread and Butter

Another awesome thing to make with brioche buns - bread and butter pudding, with layers of fresh fruits and lots of custard.

For this pudding, I simply sliced up my last four buns, buttered them (liberally) on both sides, added some frozen cherries and slices of a fresh nectarine, and layered everything into a loaf pan. I then beat up three eggs with about a cup of milk (I used rice milk because it was all I had that night), poured it all over the bread and fruit mixture, sprinkled more butter and some brown sugar on top of it all, and let it bake for 40 minutes. 

The resulting pudding is moist and slightly custardy, and is great on its own, but if you want to be really indulgent, a dollop of ice cream would make it even better. 

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Bake Club

Last week turned out to be a bit of a bake-athon. I whipped up some chocolate acorn caps and brioches on Thursday,  then hiked over to the East-side for Bake Club. The cake for this session was a moist, slightly savoury pistachio and fig cake, topped with a luscious layer of cream cheese frosting. I won't write too much about it, since Yusuf will do a write-up on our club blog soon enough. If you do want a go at it yourself though, click over to this DesignSponge page for the recipe. 

Bake Club was held in Yusuf's flat this time, and it is ridiculously PERFECT for food photography - clean white surfaces, lots of windows letting in natural sunlight! I'm gonna have to look for a flat like that the next time I move. Who cares if I have to sell a vital organ to pay the rent?

Monday, 20 September 2010

Mrs Beeton's Brioches

I felt like I needed something to keep my baking spirit aloft my after producing those rather 'interesting' looking macar-nots last week. Thankfully, help was at hand, in the form of Mrs. Beeton herself. I'd chanced upon a slim volume called Breakfast with Mrs Beeton - Hearty Fare the week before, when popping in to a local op-shop. The title was slightly misleading, as only a few of the recipes it in were hers, with the other recipes being more modern versions of what might have been found on Victorian breakfast table. But, it was only 50p, and you can never have too many books, right? So it came home with me.
This recipe came from one of the 'modern' recipes in that book. How do I know it's not one of Mrs Beeton's own? Because I'm fairly sure they didn't have polythene bags back in 1850. You're supposed to let the dough rise in a lightly oiled poly-bag, but lacking one, I simply stuck it into a lightly oiled glass bowl and popped a moist towel over it. 
The brioche turned out much better than my the chocolate macs, although slightly too dry for my liking. My bad, I should have taken it out of the oven sooner. 
They also make great bases for French toast, as I discovered a day later. Soak them in some eggs and milk, mix in some ground cinnamon and nutmeg, and fry them in lots of butter. Then, dollops of golden syrup over them, and brunch is served!

Sunday, 19 September 2010


It's been a while since my last (and first) attempt at making macarons, and I've been raring to have another go since I received a new set of piping tips off eBay. So, I aged the egg whites, decided on a recipe (chocolate macarons with chocolate ginger cream cheese filling) and set off on my new mac-adventure! 

Since it was only my second attempt, I thought I'd stick with what I used before, and only tweak it a bit, instead making it all up on the spot like I sometimes do. So, I dutifully followed the same Serious Eats recipe I used the first time, swapping out 50 grams of icing sugar for 50 grams of dark chocolate. That's when things went downhill. 

The mixture smelt great, but looked somewhat solid...In fact, the circles I'd piped out reminder me of another kind of solid...
This little guy was saved from the op-shop, only be to subjected to this indignity. I bet he wished he was in the sticky maw of some chubby little kid right now. 


Still, it was getting late, I was getting grumpy, so I set them aside to 'cure' for a couple of hours, all the time crossing my fingers and hoping they would somehow magically smooth out and turn into perfect little discs. My kitchen was starting to resemble a midden.

After curing, into the oven they went (without their equine companion), for 8 minutes.

And look, no FEET! Where are the bloody feet? They look more like little acorn caps! Cracked, ploppy acorn caps. Whatever! I needed some sugar anyway, so I charged ahead with the filling. If anyone is interested, it's 100 grams of cream cheese, 3 tablespoons cocoa, 75 grams icing sugar and a couple of teaspoons of ground ginger, all mixed together.

Look at them! Little chocolate acorn caps. They didn't actually taste as disgusting as they looked though, so I guess it was worth it after all. The heavy batter actually made them taste like little round brownies, while the ginger adds a bit of spice to even out the sweetness. 
I wonder if I can get away with describing them as 'rustic' or 'shabby-chic' macarons?

Monday, 13 September 2010

Test Pattern

Knitting weather has returned, so here are some sneak peaks at current projects I'm plugging away on. 
These little nubbins are a new sock pattern, being test knitted for the lovely Emma of Loumms. It's got gorgeous winding cables and a rather amazing heel. I'm still a notice at sock construction, so the first sock had a few mistakes, but the second one seems to be coming along rather nicely. And yes, I'm knitting them in two different yarns, because that's how I roll.
And I've also started working on a turban! The pattern comes from the V & A's knitting patterns archive, and seems a little scary at first because what you're knitting looks NOTHING like what's shown in the photo. But now that it's nearly half done, I think I have a vague idea how it's going to work out. I'm also very tempted to knit up some of the jumper patterns in that archive, but I have a sad, not-even-half-done vest stashed away in a cupboard, crying out for me to finish it. I'll post pictures if it ever gets finished. 

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Been Cooking...

Pierogi - with my op-shopped dumpling press for perfect pleats everytime. My stumpy fingers are just not dexterous enough to form pleasant-looking, evenly-spaced pleats.

Orange, candied ginger and dark chocolate loaf, with a toasted coconut topping. We had visitors over for dinner about 2 weeks ago, and this was a last-minute, throw-everything-together experiment that worked. 

Scrambled eggs with mushrooms. 

Mac and cheese with cauliflower and bit of salami thrown in. Can you believe the Manbeast has never had mac and cheese before this? Sacre bleu!

Tea eggs - Hard boil some eggs, lightly crack the shells all over, then pop them into a pot, add a tea bag, star anise, cinnamon, ginger and a couple of teaspoons of soy sauce (or salt).
Simmer on low heat for half an hour to an hour, then let it soak in the mixture. It keeps for a few days, and always tastes better if you let it sit for at least a day before peeling and eating. 
Peel them and marvel at the pretty patterns, then enjoy.

Lime meltaways, from Not So Humble Pie's recipe. I left out the salt and green colouring, and I didn't dust them with icing sugar either. Because I'm a badarse in the kitchen.