Category: Baking

A very, very late Christmas knitting post

by Sophie

Hi guys,

So I did a lot of knitting over Christmas to make presents for my friends and family. I ended up starting all of my knitting in October so I would be able to get it all done in time. I was still stuck for time close to the end but everyone who got presents seemed to be really happy with them.

So here’s what I made!


I made this cowl for my granny. Lany made a similar one for a friend of hers. It came out really nice and I think my Granny liked it.

The pattern is here


I made the Dudester scarf. One for my Dad and one for my brother. I liked how these came out because they’re not very girly scarves. I used Malabrigo Yarn Rios for this one.

The pattern is here


This is Oscar. I made him for Lany. He came out about 3 times bigger then the original pattern said he would however I really like how he came out. He also looks like he’s blazed 100% of the time. I made a mini Oscar for another friend of mine but I forgot to take a picture of him =(

Pattern is here


I made these gloves for my mum. I had never made gloves before nor had I used double pointed needles before. It took quite some time to get used to but it was worth it in the end. I’m really happy with how they came out.

Pattern is here


This was the Dudester scarf I made for my Dad. I made his one in grey because I felt he wouldn’t be able to wear the bright red one to work. The grey wool was super soft and I was really happy with how it came out.


Gin sat with me while I knit quite a lot.


Here’s a picture of the Dudester scarf when it was finally finished it. I finished it at lany’s house, thus the fab table cloth!


I also made Chutney for my Dad, my aunt and Sachas parents. It was apple and cranberry and was very tasty. It was really easy to make as well.

I painted a watercolour of the Ha’penny bridge for my mother as well. It didn’t come out quite how I wanted it to but I still was quite happy with it, especially as I hadn’t painted in quite some time.


My SO’s family had a tradition of making homemade mince pies so I made my own for my SO as a surprise. There was enough that there were plenty to go around to my family as well. They had quite a lot of cranberries in then and they came out really tasty!


I crocheted a Lobsty for Selene. Lobsty has been a character of ours since we were 14 so he’s quite special to us. I had never made a plush toy before so I think he came out pretty cute.


This is a picture of all of the presents wrapped up. As with every year I think I may have gone a bit overboard on the present giving.


Gin was exhaused after all the help he gave me.

So those were my handmade Christmas presents to people. I’ll no doubt be making birthday presents soon enough so I’m enjoying my knitting time to myself.

Lots of love,




Lanys Linkage: Mothers Day Ideas 2013

by Lany

Mothers day is around the corner (10th March 2013 FYI) I decided I’d do a round up of some great gift ideas!

  • Get together with some siblings, friends etc, and create a craft gift basket for you mum(/aunt/grandmum etc!) you could get her more supplies (a stash boost is ALWAYS appreciated!). Or increase her library of patterns? You could get together some patterns you’d think she’d love on Ravelry (you have to join to view, but a lot of patterns are free, and those that are there to be bought are at very reasonable prices!) and print them off and present them in a pretty folder! 🙂
  • Charitable donation to a cause close to your mothers heart, some great suggestions include Cancer Research Society, Bernardos, ISCPA, Trocaire, Irish guide Dog Association…the list is as endless as the causes these charities help.
  • You could get the book loving lady in your life a set of new books, an ereader or even a voucher (for when you’re unsure of what books she has bought recently!) to further her bookophile ways! Historical, biographies, fiction, thriller, crime, travel books, craft books, the list is endless!
  • Tickets to a play or concert! Always a nice gift idea, just make sure to subtly hint before hand to see if she’s busy that date!
  • A playlist! Making her a playlist of your/her favourite songs or even just a mix of music that reminds you of her is a great idea and would make a lovely thoughtful present!
  • Doing something for her, if its something small like doing the chore she hates doing the most, or helping with the weekly shopping, just doing something to show that you know how much she does and how much you appreciate it will mean a lot.
  • Make a card! Store bought cards are all well and good, but the effort of making a card will not go unnoticed 🙂 (this applies for all occasions!)

Besides all the presents you can buy or make, I really think the most important thing you can do on Mothers Day is spend some time with your mum, it could be a video call if you’re living abroad (and many are in these days of emigration), a long phone conversation if you’re unable to take time off work, or just calling round for a cup of tea and a chat!

I hope you all have a good mothers day, if that’s visiting or remembering your mum/aunt/grandmother/whomever you want to honour, til the next post, stay safe and take care.

Simple, Easy, Healthy Vegetarian/Vegan Bean Burgers

by Lany

Hi there!

Before getting into the nitty gritty of this chickpea, butter bean and kidney bean burger I want to explain my background!

I’ve been a vegetarian for the past nine year and a bit years, and recently tried a stint as a vegan (as I’ve always been allergic to dairy). I went back to being a vegetarian for simplicity when eating out with family and friends, but I enjoyed the vegan diet, and didn’t really have to change much, just cutting out eggs really…I digress!

Anyways, I never really had burgers when I wasn’t vegetarian (I didn’t really like meat and the main meat I would have consumed would have been chicken), but since I made this a few years ago  I have them at least once a month! These were made one day when I was hungry and I wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted! I really love these bean burgers, and especially how flexible and adaptable the recipe is to what you have available in the press.

You can bake them or fry them or even eat the mix raw, it’s up to you! It freezes well when I wrap them in baking parchment and then in a zip lock freezer bag. They can be cooked straight from frozen, which is super handy!

I don’t always have all the vegetables mentioned on hand when I want to make these burgers  so I just use what I have and use less binding agents (the tomatoe puree), sometimes I add about 100g breadcrumbs to stiffen the mix, sometimes if I feel like it I could add maybe 50g cheese to mix things up a bit! Anything goes! Add different veg! Squash might be amazing in this mix! Sunflower seeds! This is just a basic recipe that’s so adaptable, the possibilities are endless!!
Whatever spices you use completely change the flavour also, sometimes I add cumin and some tumeric for a really spicy burger!

Basic Veggie Bean Burger Recipe

210g (a drained tin of) chickpeas
210g butter beans
210g kidney beans
1 large onion/2 smaller onions*
2 cloves garlic*
2 carrots*
1 or 2 pepper(s)*
few drops tabasco sauce
1tbsp tomato puree (prehaps less, judge while mixing)
squirt tomato ketchup
squirt sweet chili sauce
spices and herbs to flavour (options:  basil, oregano, black pepper, chili flakes, cayenne pepper, paprika, corriander, white pepper, the choices are endless!!)

* cut into whatever size you prefer, my mum prefers finely diced veg, whereas I prefer really chunky burgers!


To Make Burgers

  1.  Add the beans to the mixing bowl, and mash them roughly together with a fork, if preferred place them in a food processor and blitz for a few seconds, depending on your choice. (I prefer to leave the beans slightly roughened as I dislike the “baby food” texture of completely blitzed bean burgers!)
  2. Add the cut up veg! Use whatever veg you have on hand (except starchy veg like potatoes, if you reaaaaally want to add potatoes first cook them through in a wok and allow to cool before adding to the mix, but I really don’t recommend it). It should look something like below! If you’re adding the breadcrumbs and/or cheese you can add these now.DSCN0677
  3. Now add several drops of tabasco sauce (varies with your taste in spiciness), and as little or as much seasoning as you like. Taste test!! I cannot emphasise taste testing enough, if you don’t think its flavourful enough now, you won’t like them when they’re done!DSCN0678
  4. Now combine your “dry” ingredients first with a squirt of sweet chili sauce and tomato ketchup and then add the tomato puree,  be judicious you may not need all of it just until the ingredients are combined and sticking together nicely, like below.DSCN0679
  5. Now it’s time to get messy! Stick your (clean!!) hand in there and make some patties. It’s easier if you have a light coating of plain flour on your hand before each burger. If you cannot stand to plunge your hand into the sticky mess you can use a small plastic bag over you hand/plastic glove to help shape the burgers! (I forgot to take a photo of the patties, but its up to you what size you want to make these, you could make them small for kids, or larger for adults or depending on your appetite/what meal you have these for!)
  6. Cooking! I usually fry these in a very small amount of oil that I let heat up before placing them into the frying pan! They can just as easily be baked in an oven (just keep an eye on them, they should take about 10-15 mins at 200deg C).DSCN0684
  7. When they are cooked they should look and smell delicious! 😀DSCN0688

Serve them however you want! I like them in tortillas with rocket and spinach! My sister likes them in burger buns with sweet chili sauce and a small sprinkle of salt!

I hope you try these, they are so easy to make and taste really good (in my opinion anyway!).
If you DO try these PLEASE let me know in a comment! It’d be great to know if you find/make similar ones 😀

Happy cooking!
Love and carrots!

Inspiring Blogger Award!

by Lany

Hello! Apologies for the prolonged absence, we’ve all been super busy at work with hardly any time to ourselves!

We do have some posts planned though for the coming weeks anyways! 🙂 Stay tuned for those; recipes, sewing projects and viewpoints are promised!

Wanted to start blogging again with a mention of a blog to blog award called “Very Inspiring Blogger Award” that we were nominated for by the lovely and awe-inspiring blogger Avis over on her blog Oh Sew Tempting! You should definitely check out two of my favourites (of her most recent posts) here and here!

Since the award is blog-along I’ll copy the rules here:

1. Thank the person who nominated you.
2. Add The Very Inspiring Blogger Award to your post.
3. Share 7 things about yourself.
4. Pass the award on to 10 nominees.
5. Include this set of rules.
6. Inform your nominees by posting a comment on their blog.
Hmm well 1, 2, 5 and 6 are already done! 😀

Seven Things About Us

(i) Well Sophie and myself are both science graduates who have a passion for arts and crafts.
(ii) I like to talk… A LOT. I mean a serious amount beyond what most people consider chatty.
(iii) We love food, it’s the best thing ever, in particular baked goods….and delicious meals….actually any food
at all ever, except avacados, Dana loves avacados though!
(iv) Prints are my biggest weakness when it comes to fabric choices, cannot resist a cute print, which means I
always have problems when I go lookng for a matching block colour…
(v) I didn’t like dark chocolate until Sophie and myself tried out “vegan January” now I love the stuff!
(vi) I can’t knit very well (like not at all really), but I plan on rectifying this situation in the coming months!
(vii) We both eat icing from the bowl when decorating cakes….. ;-; it’s just too tempting!!
Extra Special bonus number (viii) Sophie has two adorable cats, Gin and Tonic whom I looove!! 😀

Our nominees for this award in no particular order!!

I love her quilt here in particular, although her blog covers many topics! I may not be religious but I do enjoy seeing how spiritual she is in her everyday life, and the amazing art (and food) she creates!

Magatha May
Amazing taste in shoes, clothes, quotes and images, cannot get enough of this blog! In total agrement with this post and am lusting over many of the items mentioned in this one!


She has a beautiful family and a pretty home which she posts the most envy inspiring pictures of! I like this “tutorial” she posted on how to make a giant chalkboard at an affordable price!

Random Descent
An up and coming Irish journalist/editor and a great writer to boot! I am looking forward to amazing things from this blogger, whom is penning her first book at the moment! Here is a review she wrote recently that makes me desperate to get stuck into that particular tome! Oh and did I mention she also has her own radio show called Reverb? She uploads the playlists onto MixCloud too for your listening pleasure!

can be bitter
While I sometimes think the intelligent lady behind this blog can over read into some situations I do enjoy this feminist blog, I also like her taste in music!

The Misfortune of Knowing
I like this womans reviews of books, her take on life and her stance on childrens literature! Almost all of her good reviews make me want to go out and buy the book immediately, and one of the more recent posts like that is this one about Richard III.

Scientific Femanomaly
This blog is by a fellow scientist (I’m a physicist! >.<), she’s got an amazing blog, and she tackles what I think are interesting issues with a strong voice and solid opinions she also posts interesting posts about recent scientific studies etc, I like her anyways!

Aurora La Petite
A truly inspiring blog, with to-die-for photos and great book reviews, recipes and interesting content! I am loving these photos and this recipe at the moment 🙂

Doodle Mum
Sophie showed me this blog about a year ago, and now the author has just released a book! So excited! Her relatable stories and engaging artwork make this blog just so endearing to me, it really brightens up my day when I see it in my reader!

Irish Election Literature
Various election literature spanning many different years, political viewpoints and topics, truly fascinating slices of Irish history (past and present!)! I may like it because I have a very strong interest in politics and in Irish history, just look at this post, it even casts a light on socio-economic conditions at the time!

I hope you find a new blog to follow, if not two or three!
Let me know of other blogs you think are worthy of an inspirational blogging award! 😀

Have fun and take care,

Lanys Linkage: Cookbook and Cooking Blog Love!

by Lany

I love cookbooks, really love looking at the fabulous pictures and reading the mouthwatering descriptions….

I’m lucky that I have kept home economics books from school and have been given and inherited  quite a few cookbooks from my family….but you really can’t have TOO MANY cookbooks……

Recently been lusting after these fabulous additions to any cookbook library!

  • Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook ~ Really have been lusting after this one, as I am a vegetarian (I’ve tried kicking cheese and eggs and butter but they’re just SO DELICIOUS) and I have heard really great things about this book! Would love to try out the recipes in this!
  • Fifty Shade of Chicken: A Parody in a Cookbook ~ I don’t eat meat but my other half more than makes up for me in that regard, he really loves chicken, so being the sort of vegetarian that doesn’t mind cooking meat for others, I think this book would be a great addition to our collection (also, the title and the pun titles of some of the recipes- I am so easily amused).
  • River Cottage Veg Every Day! ~ I really like the River Cottage series and the fact that the recipes focus around vegetables in season is a big plus for me.
  • Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant ~ This isn’t really a recipe book more a collection of essays with some recipes strewn in amongst the prose. I love these sorts of books, a favourite cookbook of mine was given to me by my friend over on AuroraLaPetite it’s called The Flavour Thesaurus and is a strange mix of recipe book, food pairing directory/reference and anecdotal knowledge of food…I recommend it most heartily!
  • Pastry ~ The title says it all really, pastry to me is perfection, and this book is apparently the holy grail of pastry…
  • Gratins and Bakes ~ A womans weekly mini series book, it captured me with my fondness for comforting mammy food and all  of the safety, warmth and happiness that comes with well loved recipes!
  • The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook ~ Baking is a passion of mine and I already own many baking books, but this one has scrumptious photography and promises many amazing recipes….nom nom nom….
  • New Larousse Gastronomique ~ This book has haunted me for a long time, I saw it in a small bookshop years ago, started reading the first page and realised it was the best guide to cooking I would be able to find….now I don’t know if it’s the best, but after reading up on it it does come highly lauded as one of the best out there, and the basis of many a cooks (or wannabe cooks) library!
  • The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet! ~ I love veggie burgers, they’re great to make ahead when you have company over as they don’t take you away from your guests for long and the food is still nutritious and delicious..anyway in my opinion you can never have too many options for veggie burgers!
  • Laurels Kitchen Bread Book ~ I am a sucker for fresh delicious bread, and am currently debating with myself about splashing out on a bread machine next year sometime! This book is meant to be a handy collection of great recipes that work, and taste amazing!
  • Ace of Cakes ~ Sophie got me hooked on the television series when I had a tv, and this book looks like a part biography of the owner of Ace of Cakes part inspirational cake art book….

Recently I have also found myself reading some really inspiring and great food blogs, some I have followed for years and other have been more recent acquisitions to my blog roll! I’m going to make this a short list of the top ten I have been visiting recently because if I made a record of all the food related blogs I follow I think I would both shame and shock myself….

  • Cooking Comically ~ Definitely one of my favourite recipe blogs, adore the comic style, the delivery and the recipes are great too! Check out the blog post Sexy Pancakes if you need to be convinced further! Cannot wait for the cookbook that’s scheduled for release in autumn of next year!!
  • Seasalt with Food ~ This is a blog filled with amazing photos of delicious looking food, and the recipe list is a really great addition/resource, one recipe I can recommend without hesitation is the Hasselback Potato recipe- so goooood.
  • Oh She Glows ~ Vegan blog, but her recipes allow for plenty of experimentation and she talks her readers through her trials and errors as well as alternatives that she has tried! Big fan in particular of Strawberry Cheesecake Bites!
  • The Girl Who Ate Everything ~ Really enjoy her conversational style of writing and her recipes are really great! The recipe index is great too, and has all sorts of food to tempt you! Particular mention to Broccoli Cheese Soup and Spinach Lasagna Rolls!
  • Healthy Happy Life ~ Vegan blog again, has fabulous recipes, a lot of smoothie ones too, and advice along with little stories about how the blog post came into being etc, especially recommend the sweet potato burgers  (without avacado- ick! I really reaaaaaallly dislike avacado!) and her recent addition of apple citrus cinnamon salad– so good!
  • {farmette} ~ This is the most recent blog I have started following, I cannot believe it took me so long to find it! PAcked with amazing recipes and an engaging attitude, she’s won me over! Cannot wait to try Bramley Apple Dumplins’!
  • Vegan Yum Yum ~ This blog is back after a two year hiatus, and the recipe that caught my eye had some of my favourite ingredients in it, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, sourdough bread and basil….Blackened Tomato Canapes. I’ve had variation on this theme but the photos and the instructions on this are so straight forward that it’s a relief and a joy to read.
  • Nessas Family Kitchen  ~ Only started following this blog earlier this year but I cannot wait for her book Apron Strings to be released in April of 2013! One recipe that I have ear marked for simply ages now is the Lemon Curd Raspberry Meringue Roulade, it looks divine…….
  • Veggie Belly ~ Great vegetarian blog, however a lot of the ingredients are unavailable in Ireland so I usually substitute with something more widely available or omit the ingredient and make up the mass with other stuff in the recipe! Standout recipe is her falafel, just so delicious. 
  • Baking Obsession ~ Beautifully photographed food, and makes me absolutely  supremely jealous of her cake decorating skills! Seriously look at this and this!! Cannot wait to try the recent update of carrot orange muffins!

Sorry for the super link heavy post today, it’s a cliche but ~I really enjoy being in the kitchen and messing about with ingredients and tastes! 😀

Happy cooking!

Professor Layton Cake!

by Lany

My sister is a huge fan of Professor Layton, so for her birthday (Happy Birthday!!) I preordered her the new game Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, and I decided not to stop there but to also make her a cake of the man himself!

So here is the product of this weekends work in the kitchen!

I know he’s not perfect, but she still loved him and that’s all the matters!
The cake was a chocolate cake and everyone enjoyed it! Woo!

Hopefully more regular updates from next week on!

Cookie Mania!

by Lany

Well maybe not mania, but I certainly did bake three batches of cookies the other day! Recipes below!

I began baking cookies as little thank you for a friend who invited us over for dinner.
She has her own awesome blog AuroraLaPetite and she has been rightly nominated for Best Lifestyle Blog in the Blog Awards Ireland this year! Go click! Her photos are amazing and her blog is really well written. Plus her dinner was SUPER delicious, for sure going to steal her “green rice” recipe!

I made chocolate chip cookies for the visit, and then got into a baking groove and decided to make smarties cookies and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies!
They turned out pretty well I think…well I hope!

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
225g butter
175g castor sugar
1 egg yolk (separate the egg. keep the white aside for an egg white omelette!)
1 tsp vanilla extract
180g plain flour
60g cocoa powder
tsp baking powder
2 regular Dairy Milk Bars* chopped up into small pieces
3 packets White Chocolate Buttons*chopped up into small pieces
~approx 230-250g of chocolate~

*substitute in your own favouites** here as long as you make up the weight somehow!
**I’m now wondering how a mars bar cookie, or a peanut butter and triple chocolate cookie will turn out! Stay tuned!

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 6/180deg c/ 375 deg F

To Make Cookies:
1. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl
2. Beat the yolk lightly and add the vanilla essence. Then add this mix to the creamed butter and sugar
3. Sift in the plain flour, cocoa and baking powder, and fold into mixture until dough is made
4. Mix in the chopped up chocolate pieces, ensuring they are well “stuck” in the dough!
5. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and place on baking parchment on baking trays, flattening the rounds slightly
6. Place in oven for 16-20 mins, until the edges are fully cooked but the middle is still slightly soft (if you like crunchier cookies leave them in for longer!)

Really thick giant cookies-I stacked them up too soon after baking and when we go to the house for dinner the bottom ones had stuck together in a big chocolate cookie mess! I hope they were still nice though despite the mishap!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
60g peanut butter
40g butter
70g castor sugar
50g demera (or brown) sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
100g plain flour
10g baking powder
1 bar Dairy Milk chopped up into small pieces
~approx 50g of chocolate~

Preheat oven to gas Mark 5/170deg C/350 deg F

to make cookies:
1. Cream the peanut butter, butter and sugar together
2. Add the beaten egg and vanilla essence, whip up into a smooth mixture
3. Add the flour and baking powder and beat the dough together
4. Add the chocolate chips
5. Scoop out spoonfuls (or if you’re like me and cannot find a spoon- a fork will do!) and place 10-12 cookie mounds well spaced out on baking trays
6. Place in oven for 20-25 minutes, until the edges are fully cooked but the middle is still slightly chewy

They were quite nice I will admit- had one straight away…it was totally for quality assurance…..

Smarties Cookies
60g butter
60g castor sugar
50g demera (or brown) sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
100g plain flour
10g baking powder
3 packets Smarties
~80g chocolate~

Preheat oven to gas Mark 5/170deg C/350 deg F

to make cookies:
1. Cream together the butter and sugar
2. Add the egg and vanilla to the mix and beat well
3. Add the flour and baking powder and mix thoroughly
4. Add the smarties and ensure they all get coated
5. Divide out mixture onto baking trays well spaced approx 10-12 cookies can be made
6. Place in oven and wait 20-25 minutes, until the outsides are fully cooked but the middle is still slightly soft and chewy

( you can’t see the smarties in the photo as they were on the base of the cookies! And now they’re all gone so there’s no more photo ops!)

Normally I put chocolate chips into cookies but on this occasion I had none in the cupboards and I was baking at like 7am so the only place open nearby was a small shop- where I went and bought all the dairy milk, smarties and white buttons- I felt REALLY embarrassed buying a tenners worth of chocolate bars at that time of the morning…was worth it though!!!

Sweet love!


Baking Goodies

by Lany

I got into a baking mood, as you do, and decided that I had to bake ALL OF THE THINGS!

I made some “eton mess” cupcakes and some “chocoholic” cupcakes and an apple pie.

I fell in love with Eton Mess when I had it in a restaurant in Dublin last year, and when I spotted meringues at the local shop I knew what had to be done!

“Eton Mess” cupcakes

for cupcakes:
2 eggs
125g golden brown sugar
125g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
125g butter (room temperature)
1/2tsp vanilla essence
1/2tsp starwberry essence (if you can’t get it just use 1tsp vanilla)

for icing:
1 tin of strawberries or 14-16 fresh strawberries
2tsp golden brown sugar
100g butter
250g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla essence
1-2 meringues

Preheat oven to: 180deg C for an electric oven/170deg C for a fan oven/350deg F/ gas mark 3

Place cupcake cases into a bun tin, or use silicon cupcake cases.

To make cupcakes:
1. Whisk eggs and sugar together until slightly frothy
2. Gradually beat in the flour, baking powder and butter.
3. Beat in the essence(s). (You can also add food colouring here if you like, if you want to create a very “eton mess” look you could split the batter in half and add red colouring to one half and keep the other plain)
4. Divide mixture into the cases, filling each case to about 2/3 full, this should make about twelve cupcakes. (If you’ve split the mixture into half, add a spoon or so from each mixture)
5.  Place cupcakes into the oven and wait for 15-20 minutes. (Mins usually takes 16 minutes)
6. Cupcakes are done when the top of the sponge is springy and not soggy.

To make icing:
1. Drain tinned strawberries/chop fresh strawberries.
2. Place these into a pot with the sugar, melt over the lowest heat setting, be careful as it burns quickly.
3. Mash or puree the strawberries when they’ve “melted” into the sugar, creating a strawberry sauce.
4. In a separate bowl cream the butter and sugar together, add the sauce and blend all together well.
5. When the cupcakes are cool spread the mixture on top (or pipe it on if you’re fancy!).
6. Sprinkle crushed meringue on top of the strawberry icing.

et voila, “eton mess” cupcakes!
If I do say so myself…they turned out quite well for an experimental recipe! xD

I also have a terrible sweet tooth, in particular I’m a chocolate fiend….so when I was messing around waiting for the cupcakes to cool for the icing to be made I decided to have a root around in the press and see what else I could make….found some cocoa powder and I was off!

“chocoholic” cupcake

for cupcakes:
100g self raising flour
150g golden brown sugar
40g butter (room temperature)
30g cocoa powder (I use Bournville powder)
120ml milk (whole milk)
1 egg
1/2tsp vanilla essence
1tsp instant coffee in 1tsp hot water (I used caffeinated hot chocolate in water)
100g plain chocolate chips

for icing:
350g icing sugar
225g butter
50g cocoa powder
splash of milk (whole milk)

Peheat oven to: 180deg C/170degC fan oven/350deg F/gas mark 3.
Place cupcake cases into a bun tin/use silicon cupcake cases.

To make cupcakes:
1. Mix the flour, sugar, butter and cocoa powder together.
2. Gradually add half of the milk to the mix from step 1.
3. In a separate container combine the rest of the milk, the egg, the instant coffee mix/caffienated hot chocolate mix, and the vanilla essence.
4. Combine the two until smooth.
5. Fold in with a spoon the chocolate chips and make sure they are distributed evenly.
6. Divide mixture into the cupcake cases, filling each case 2/3 full, this should make about 12 cupcakes.
7. Place cupcakes in oven and wait for 15-20 minutes until the top is springy and not soggy.

for the icing:
1. Beat the icing sugar the butter and the cocoa together.
2. Add a small bit of milk, not too much or it’ll get too sloppy. Just enough to make the mixture lighter and fluffier.
3. Spread generously onto the cooled cupcakes.

Enjoy your chocoholic treat 😀

I decided to make apple pie which is super easy and really quick to make.

for apple pie:
4 cooking apples (large) or 6 medium cooking apples
225g plain flour
125g butter (room temperature)
100ml water
Caster sugar

Preheat oven to 180deg C/170deg C/350 deg F/gas mark 3
Grease the pie tin/pyrex plate that you’re using.

to make the pastry:
1. Combine the flour and the butter, they make a crumbly mixture.
2. Gradually add some water, be careful as its really easy to add too much (If you do add too much even it out with flour) until the pastry comes together in a dryish ball. (You can place it in cling film in the fridge at this stage if you want to)
3. Split pastry into two and on a floured surface roll and flatten one part with a rolling pin until it is large enough to cover the bottom of your pie tin/pyrex plate.
4. Cut up and slice (thinly) the cooking apples and place them into the centre of the pie.
5. Cover the apple slices in caster sugar, quite a generous amount is needed as cooking apples are not sweet.
6. On the floured surface roll out the second half of the pastry to the right size, and gently drape it across the top of the pie.
7. Trim the excess pastry and press the pie together around the edges using your thumbs.
8. Place into the oven for 30-45 mins until baked through.

It should turn out to be a delicious pie!!

I was all ready to post pictures of the goodies but when I got a chance to have my camera charged all the cupcakes were gone and nothing but crumbs remained of the tart!! I suppose it’s a good sign!
Hopefully next time I try these recipes I’ll take some photos!

I was at a training course last week and had limited internet access, so apologies for not thinking of that before annoucing the quiltalong!!
If you haven’t seen it, we’re planning a quiltalong!! 😀
The next update will be about the plans or it and how to join in 😀
Sound be good fun- I’m an absolute beginner so if you’re one like me don’t be afraid to join in!! 😀
(the same goes for the more experienced quilters out there!!)

Floury hugs and smiles all round!

P.S.  Meringues are easy to bake too:
3 egg whites
175g castor sugar

Preheat oven to 150degC/300degF/gas mark 2.
Baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.

1. Whisk the eggs, going from slowest setting, gradually getting faster so that air bubbles have time to form, don’t go too fast as this will collapse the air bubbles and the mixture will be overwhisked and be really grainy liquid-if this happens you have to start again.
2. Add the sguar spoonful by spoonful and as you do so whip the whites and the sugar until the mix becomes stiff and really shiny/glossy.
3. On the greaseproof paper place spoonfuls of the meringue mix(I think piping gives a better result but spoonfuls work just as well).
4. Place into oven and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 140degC/280degF/gas mark 1.
5. When the meringues look baked on the outside should take about 50mins to an hour; turn off the oven and let them in the oven until it’s cold(without opening the door moisture ruins meringues), this will take 2-3 hours but this makes the meringues set properly on the outside but chewy and soft (and cooked!!) in the middle.


Bank Holiday banking

by Sophie

I love baking for my family. It’s something that brings me a lot of joy. Baking is an activity which is very relaxing and it’s brilliant that others can enjoy the thing you created. As of late I haven’t had a huge amount of time to bake. My work has been busy and the kitchen in my current apartment is far to small to do any large amount of baking. So there’s very little I enjoy more than to go back to my family home and bake when I get there. It’s the place where I really found joy in baking. Also the kitchen is large and clean and there are always ingredients left over from the last time I was there. The most important thing though is that there are people around to eat the things I bake and enjoy them.

I went to visit my family with my boyfriend for the Easter bank holiday. Other members of my family were coming over for lunch on the Monday so I wanted to bake dessert. My grandma was over for dinner so I decided to bake something I wouldn’t normally make but something kind of traditional. I ended up making a peach and strawberry crumble, which I have to admit came out wonderfully. It wasn’t the most common of crumbles so it was interesting but the flavors worked really well together. I decided to give it a pie base so some of the juices in the fruit would soak into it. It seemed to be a big hit!


My younger cousins were also over for dinner and one of the things I remember as a child would be that when dessert was brought out at big family dinners it was often things like apple pie and crumbles and cheesecakes. All of these desserts I adore now but as a child I was always kind of disappointed that it wasn’t cake or cupcakes or something childish. So I decided to make butterfly cupcakes for my cousins. I made raspberry flavoured cupcakes and covered them in vanilla icing. I then sprinkled glitter on them as well. They were delightfully girly and rather delicious.

Happy hump day everyone! I hope the rest of your week goes well!




A Game of Thrones themed birthday!

by Sophie

Hey everyone! Sorry for being out of action last week. I got sick and then I went to Limerick to visit my wonderful boyfriend for his birthday. I had been trying to decide for ages what to make him for his birthday as I love doing handmade things for peoples birthdays. One of the book series he’s really into at the moment is the series A Song of Ice and Fire (Or A Game of Thrones depending on where you heard of it from first). I’m currently only one and a half books into the series right now so I didn’t know a huge amount about it. However one of my favorite things about the entire series are the direwolves! I really love the direwolves in the series and they’re just so cool. Also currently in the book series the Stark household are the only house who aren’t completely horrible in one way or another.  Of course I know that that doesn’t mean that the wont be but I gotta go with what I know! Anyway I decided to make a direwolf themed card for his birthday.

I’ve always liked papercrafts and stuff and I enjoy bold colours and geometric shapes so card making can be quite enjoyable for me. The only problem I have with it is that I tend to get slightly obsessive and can over complicate cards because I want to make them so perfect. I had to stop myself doing that with this card. But I also bought extra card and glue just incase. I wanted to be able to redo the whole thing again if needed.

I was trying to think of something funny to do on the card and it was kind of difficult because A Game of Thrones is such a serious series. One of the first things I did was google “A Game of Thrones birthday” and one of the first results was this gem, which I then sadly forgot to put in the card:

I don’t know! Anyway I was going to put that in the inside of the card and I forgot, which made me a little sad because the picture is just so silly.

Anyway moving swiftly on I decided on using one of the ending scenes from the series as a joke where Ghost the direwolf brings back a frozen hand happily to his owner. I tried a bow to it and made it so that he was bringing it as a birthday present. I found it quite amusing!

I made the card in 3 rectangular layers with the hand and the wolf sitting on the top. All together I really liked how the card came out. It was really simple and the colours worked very well and it ended up being a little silly, which is always good.

I ended up getting a black envelope as well and because I was getting into the whole thing I ended up decorating that as well. I cut out a direwolf seal in both red and black and put them on the envelope, one on the front and one on the back.

So when I cut these direwolves out they ended up leaving really cool silhouettes on the card so I decided to use them as well. I made two little direwolf card thingies and a bookmark. I game the cut out one to my boyfriend in his card and kept the rest for myself. This is what happens when I buy extra caaaard!

I also ended up making him A Game of Thrones themed birthday cake. I made him a red velvet cake and then used rolling icing to make the top look like the Stark direwolf on the flag. I was pretty happy with how it turned out. More importantly the birthday boy thought it was really cool and wouldn’t let me cut it until a day later when there was more people there to see it!



I also got him an Iron Man tshirt that glows when you turn on a battery. It’s the ultimate in geeky! 8D All together I think he was very happy with the gifts and I had a hell of a lot of fun making them!

Hope everyone has a wonderful week! Hopefully we’ll be back to normal schedule’s soon! 8D