Monday, 26 August 2013

My Baking Fail!

Last week I had my first baking fail. That's what I get for being proud of my previous successes. They do say pride comes before a fall. These cookies may look yummy but looks can be deceiving.

My friend, Helen, had mentioned a recipe for white chocolate and raspberry cookies. The reason it was brought up was that we were talking about making fudge using carnation condensed milk. This particular recipe used condensed milk. A few weeks later as a joke she presented me with a tube of the milk which had the recipe printed on the other side.

The recipe is fairly straight forward. Not that many ingredients and the instructions were simple and basic. Not much really can go wrong. My friend did recommend that I used frozen raspberries rather than fresh which I did.

The end result though was far too sweet even for my sweet tooth. The raspberries also turned the centre of the cookies to a soggy mush. The next day I had to through almost the whole batch out. It's unlikely that I will make them again but if I did I think I would either go without the raspberries or use dried.

Having said all that my mum and myself were the only ones who didn't like them. My sister, dad and friend's partner all enjoyed them. My sister has asked for the recipe. My dad even thought that the soggy mush in the middle was raspberry jam. So not a complete fail then!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Great British Bake Off (Book Review)

Since The Great British Bake Off started again last night it seemed apt that my next post should be about baking. Did anyone see it? I have added angel cake and chocolate cake to my must try list! I took up baking a few years ago when I wasn't working. I borrowed my mum's copy of the "Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook" and I found that I loved doing it. Plus people seemed to like the end result.

The peanut butter cookies became my most famous and I have made them for numerous people. The Great British Bake Off book has replaced the Hummingbird. The problem I have with the first one is that it doesn't matter how long I pre-heat the oven for I have to keep the baked goodies in there a lot longer than stated in the recipes. This has been the case for every single thing I have tried from that book. Perhaps it has something to do with my oven but it's frustrating.

I haven't had that problem with this book. The first thing I tried was the banana bread and it has now become my signature bake, replacing the cookies. I'm quite grateful for that as the banana bread takes little prep and baking time compared to the cookies. The recipe in the book actually wants you to make the loaf marbled and have lots of mini ones rather than one big one. I decided to change it to a straight forward loaf. I have made it with butter icing and I have even added walnuts (on request) to another and they turned out quite well.

The sticky lemon cake was the next on the list as my sister loves lemon desserts. This was my first attempt at  baking any sort of sponge and I was pleasantly surprised by how it turned out. I can thank the book for that as the instructions are broken down into steps and they are very easy to follow. I love the images and the layout of the book. Perfect for a beginner baker. It has instructions at the front on different baking techniques with lots of images as well as a list of equipment needed. Like most cookbooks it is separated into sections and there are even some savoury bakes in there.

This image gives an idea of how the recipes are laid out. I love carrot cake and I think these muffins will be my next project.

Or maybe these easy macaroons. I have always fancied trying my hand at these. There are a few bake off books out there now and I am itching to get those too but maybe I should try more of these recipes first.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Project Round Up!

This is the last of my catch up posts. The truth is that I haven't done a whole lot of crafting this year and so it's fairly easy to fit it all in on the one. My photo's are also a little all over the place and in some cases I have only taken and I would have much preferred a few other shots if I was posting about them on their own.

This first finish is a freebie kit from a magazine I have taken too. I stopped buying cross stitch magazines years ago in favour of knitting magazines (which I have also since stopped buying) because the tended to have almost the same things every week. Cross Stitcher seems to have changed it's style in that period and quite often there are retro or vintage designs in there that I love. This freebie keyring was one of them. I am a huge fan of Cath Kidston and I think this keyring fits in to that style. Having said that I passed it on to my mum as soon as it was finished. It was my first time stitching onto wood which felt strange and a little awkward when threading off ends.

This mini accordion scrapbook was taught to me by my friend Lyn. She gave my knitting group a class on making these whilst we were away the weekend. At first it felt a little footery. I am normally okay at papercrafts but I had to concentrate to ensure I stuck everything down the right way. I like the end result although I have yet to decorate the insides. I will post that as soon (if I every) as I do that.

This is Colin and he is one of my favourite finishes. I love instagram and someone I followed was stitching this design. I had to ask where she got the pattern from which she kindly told me. It was designed by a lady who has her own shop on etsy under the name Pickle Lady Farm. The key recommends a gold colour but as it's done in the one shade it's easy enough to change it. My sister wanted a Dalek as soon as she heard about the pattern and I got her to pick the colour. So here is her alternative Dalek. He's not the most conventional!

This photo doesn't show the true size of this blanket. I wish I had take more photo's of it. It's a large granny square which I did for my sister's best friend. I did it in aran yarn which had a fab feel to it when done. I picked out the colours special for her and I think it's one of my favourite granny projects so far. I even did the fan edging round the border.

A few people at knitting group had been learning from Laura how to do a bobble stitch in crochet. I have since learned that it is actually called popcorn stitch but we call it bobble. It was nice to learn a new crochet stitch and was surprisingly easy to do. I did this scarf in the stitch using a glittery cotton by Sirdar. I have since handed it in to the knitting group for the shoebox charity.

For a while back I was obsessed with these tiny cross stitch kits by Mouseloft. My sister can be thanked for that as she bought me a few as extra gifts for Christmas or birthdays. I now have a fair collection of them with no idea what to do with them. Any ideas? This bumble bee I actually stitched for my sister.

I stitched three animals she liked, including the bumble bee. and put them in a pencil stand. The fabric turned out to be shorter than the stand but she likes it.

So that's my project round up. I am working on other things so will have more up to date posts for you soon.

Sunday, 11 August 2013


These are old photo's from before last Christmas. As I have started socks for this Christmas I thought it was time that I finally posted these.

I posted these ones in a previous post when I talked about the book they came from, The Big Book Of Socks by Kathleen Taylor. This was the sock wool I thought was going to make the ugliest socks in the world. Surprisingly I quite like the end result. More importantly my sister loved them.

This pair though has to be my favourite. These were for my gran. The yarn is by regia but I forget the name of the colourway. It reminded me of something from Monet. The lovely Dawn from the knitting group was using this yarn for socks for a friend and I had to go out and get some for myself. Another friend had the same idea and did the same thing. The spiral pattern I think sets off the colours of the yarn. I am very tempted to get some of this yarn to knit socks for myself.

Mum and dad also received some socks with the same pattern. My dad's was the blue and grey pair. I wish I could remember the yarn type as I loved knitting with it. It had a nice feel to it. The ones for my mum I am still not sure about. It was also by regia but had too much brown in it for my liking. I was very tempted to knit them again but with different yarn but my sister convinced me to stick with it. I am still unsure, however, my mum liked them.

I loved knitting this pattern which is why I decided to knit them for everyone. I liked the idea of knitting the same pattern with different yarns to see the effect. I managed to make the pattern suit each person they were knitted for. I think I will be doing that again in the future. If anyone is looking to move beyond the basic sock pattern this particular one is perfect. It has the basic pattern with a simple six row repeat. Very easy to follow and easy to track.

Something I have yet to learn is to hold onto my ball bands in order to remember my favourite yarns. I am in the process of reorganising and decorating my organiser (something for a future post) and this will give me a way of keeping them. So hopefully I will be more informative in future.