Week 4 – The lemon drizzle cake

Week 4, time to bake.

I have posted a recipe for a lemon drizzle cake before but I believe that this may be the “one”.

Every time I bake a lemon drizzle I have a problem with it. Under baked is my usual issue but struggle to avoid this without burning the edges and top to a cinder. Anyway my previous post for a Nigella lemon drizzle can be found here, you can see from the pictures that it was definitely on the scorched side. It did taste ok but it wasn’t great.

This recipe can be found in the first Bake off book. This is the book that also gave me the best chewy ginger cookie recipe, click here for that one.

This lemon drizzle recipe calls for the all in one method. It’s not a method I have used really but it truly is about as easy a cake to mix as you can get. As long as you have some sort of electric mixer device 🙂

Ingredients:

  • For the cake mixture
  • 200g unsalted butter, very very soft
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs, beaten at room temp
  • finely grated zest of 2 medium unwaxed lemons
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 100ml room temp milk ( I substituted butter milk as my preference for cakes)
  • for the topping
  • 100g caster sugar (I substituted icing sugar, works fine)
  • juice of 2 medium unwaxed lemons
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon

A 20cm Springform deep round cake tin, greased and lined with greaseproof paper

Method:

  • Love, love, love this method. Do make sure your butter is super soft and your flour is sifted.
  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees c
  • Simply put all the ingredients in a bowl and using either a food mixer or hand electric mixer. Blitz till it resembles cake mix.
  • Dollop your batter into the tin, lightly smooth into the edges, and bake till golden and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Recipe calls for 50-60 mins.
  • Your oven may mean you need slightly more or slightly less 🙂 start checking after 35 mins 🙂 My oven is definitely on the feisty side and so I probably could have taken my cake out 5 minutes before I did. She’s a little darker than I would have liked but no matter. This cake is all about flavour not looks 🙂
  • Meanwhile take your lemon syrup ingredients, pop them into a small saucepan and then heat together to create syrup.
  • Once you have your cake out of the oven. Leaving it in the tin. Poke holes all over it using a skewer/cocktail stick or whatever you have to hand. I did this once with a cork screw with some (not total) success.
  • Drizzle your syrup over the cake and encourage it to go into the holes. I tend to spoon it on so that I can do this.
  • Resist the temptation to take the cake out of the tin. You need to let it cool in the tin, while it soaks up the syrup.
  • Make a cup of tea. Take your cake out of it’s tin, place on a plate, cut a large slice.
  • Patience rewarded. Om nom nom

It’s really not a very pretty cake, but it is super yummy 🙂 as you can tell from the crumb covered plate at the back there!!!

Enjoy,

Lx

 

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Week 3 – Weekend Project – Duckie Lovey

Oh my, imagine my delight when I found this pattern online. The sort of springlike weather inspired me to look for a duck to make for a teeny project. Stumbled across this fab website called The Little Yellow Duck Project. Utterly delightful and charming projects all created to inspire people from around the world to make little ducks to leave for others to find. All to raise awareness for blood, bone marrow and organ donation.

The Just Duckie Lovey is adorable. I had to tweak the ripple slightly as I couldn’t get my lovey to lay flat. I went to Attic24 for her ripple stitch and used that to make the base for my lovey.

The duck pattern was a treat to follow though. Really straightforward to use. I used Style Craft Special DK in duck egg and petrol for the lovey and lemon and sunshine for the duck 🙂

This little guy makes my heart smile every time I look at him.

In other crochet related news! I have made two more squares for the square a week project. Those eagle eyed amongst you will note that I neglected to post this last week (I had made it though, so it counts)

We now have a lemon square, inspired by the arrival of April and more hopeful weather and a sunshine yellow square inspired by my ducks beak!!!

 

 

Really happy with how this project is shaping up.

Looking forward to next week. A cake addition to the project I think. Inspired by the lemonyness of this weeks yarn!!

Enjoy,

Lx

 

Week Two – weekend project. The Penguin

I had a request from a dear friend who wanted a penguin to gift to her brother for his 40th birthday!!. After looking around online (there are loads of penguin amigurumi)

We decided that this was the one for us. It is from a fab website called The Ageing Young Rebel. It is really well written with great pictures to work from. Click here for the link to the penguin page. Do have a look at her other patterns, really nicely done 🙂

Well, firstly, this is a weekend project for those of you who are determined, and able to crochet in daylight hours. Black yarn is a real challenge in all but the best light. I was able to indulge myself over a few days to make this little guy in the daytime. I am so pleased at how he turned out. Truly one of the cutest amigurumi I have made 🙂

I would suggest this is an intermediate level. This is my personal opinion and purely based on my experience of crocheting amigurumi so far. The black yarn and the unusual way of putting the body together made it quite challenging for me. I am super pleased with the result though and he is already winging his way to his new home.

The hat pattern included was for a knitted hat. I cannot knit well and instead crocheted a hat. No pattern as such. What I did was:-

  1. 6sc into magic ring (6)
  2. increase in each stitch (12)
  3. sc,inc rpt all the way around (18)
  4. 2sc,inc rpt  all the way around (24)
  5. 3sc, inc rpt all the way around (30)
  6. sc all the way around (30)
  7. 4sc, inc, rpt all the way around (36)
  8. at this point I started trying hat on the penguin to see if this would go on his head  you can either increase again or simply start adding rows until it is the desired length. So much of this will depend on your tension and the type of hat you are after.
  9. Once it was the length I wanted I then made a row of half double crochet (hdc) in the front loops only (this creates an edge you can fold) to create the rim. Happy days.
  10. Finally make a tiny pompom and attach.

The scarf is my own design (if you can call it that!!) as the original penguin didn’t have one. I simply started with a chain of 8, then hdc into the third chain from the hook, hdc in each chain across. chain 2, turn your work and then hdc in all stitches across. Repeat till scarf is desired length. Attach tassels if you like.

Then smile at the cuteness that is your penguin 🙂

 

 

Enjoy,

Lx

 

 

Crochet / baking project April 2018 – March 2019 – oh my!

Not entirely sure that I have thought this through. Whilst having a leisurely weekend with my youngest offspring (I think we relaxed too much) , we have decided that a blog challenge would be “good for me” and her!!! All the lols 🙂

The plan in a nutshell is – once a week, blog about a thing that I have made that week.

The criteria for the things are as follows:

  1. It must be either a baked thing or a crocheted thing.
  2. It must be achievable in a short period of time – either an evening, an afternoon or a weekend. So for arguments sake we have decided on 2-4 hour projects or one, up to 8 hour project. That way I can have time to do stuff I have to do and still feel like I am enjoying my hobbies.
  3. My youngest can set some of the challenges! (yikes)
  4. Blog about the recipe or pattern. Post pictures, how to’s etc every week on a Sunday.
  5. The last was a clever (not really) addition of doing a granny square as well every week, that will over the year form a lap blanket. The colours each week will be inspired by the weather, season or what we feel like! This cunningly should work through my collection of tiny balls of yarn. All about the right size to maybe make one small granny square. At the end of 49 weeks (a number that makes a square) I will choose a colour and a border to put it all together.

As this is the first week, and we have only just planned this plan. I have only one thing to post. It is (drum roll please) the first granny square!! Inspired by the Spring feel of this weekend, I chose to do this in a lovely shade of meadow green. The yarn is Style craft Special DK. This is my go to yarn for pretty much every project. The yarn is consistently reliable and affordable. You can pick this up online really easily from WoolWarehouse or try your local garden centres. A few near me stock it, happy days.


So here she is. Number one of 49, simple Granny squares. DK yarn, 4mm hook, 4 rows. Here is a really simple, clear tutorial for the type I have made. Do have a google though. There are loads of these on YouTube.

Looking forward to seeing how this develops over the next few weeks.

Enjoy,

Lx

 

Mandala Madness 2018 edition

Love the saffron yellow

Well after giving away my original mandala to a very dear friend, I decided that I had to make myself one in all my favourite colours. The pattern is a wonderful free pattern by Helen Shrimpton. It was a crochet along that ran in 2016. Please see my previous mandala for all links to written pattern and video tutorials.

I have loved making these blankets, so imagine my delight when I discover that Helen has designed a new blanket that will be available as a crochet along starting on the 17th April 2018 🙂 Happy, happy days. Her website Crystals and Crochet has all the details and available yarn packs and links.

I am already intending to use my existing stash to make this but there are some cool colour suggestions on her site for those who like a well laid out plan.

 

Do have a go at making one of these yourself, I learned so much and the videos and photo tutorials make this very achievable for the adventurous beginner 🙂 As long as you can yarn over and jam your hook in somewhere, have a go 🙂

Enjoy,

Lx

 

2018, new year new me. January is so tedious with it’s demands to self improve :(

I have pretty much lost my life mojo over the last year or so. I feel like I have been coasting through the last few months, doing what needs doing but not really doing what I want to be doing.

I have come to the conclusion that this is due to the children getting their adult lives up and running and so not needing me as much. I also feel that my career is a tad off track (not sure what track it needs to be on though!) I have always taken jobs that have suited my family’s needs and now find myself in the terrific position of being able to choose a job that I want to do…………trouble is, I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up (I do appreciate that time may not be on my side here!)

Anyway, with a view to doing something that gives me joy but not too demanding I set myself the challenge of using up the last half balls of yarn before I was “allowed” to buy more. I did make some very cute amigurumi items for my sister (see below for links to amigurumi patterns) as well as a collection of baby converse booties. Loads of patterns out there but after some trial and error I chose to buy a great pattern from Etsy for these. Good value, clear straightforward instructions and cute box to make for the shoes too 🙂

Then,  whoopee,  shopping at wool warehouse for all the style craft special DK colours that I can justify 🙂 I am now happily and busily working my way through another mandala madness. I am really enjoying this pattern. Usually I don’t like to make a thing again but this pattern is so varied,  it keeps me interested. I love the way this pattern lends itself to my use (overuse) of colour 🙂

The next task (thanks January for making me look at my life) is to really look at what I want to be doing Monday to Friday (hopefully to Thursday!)

February update – well for goodness sake, how are we half way through February. The only thing I have really achieved so far this year has been my mandala madness, currently just completed up to part 14. Love, love, love making this. It has proved to be useful avoidance tool when it comes to, well pretty much anything I’m wanting to avoid!! Ha ha.

Anyway, I have been productive with the crochet club too which now has added new members. I am enjoying the challenge of trying to teach people something that I have learned through the magic of youtube.

Note to self – I must print out UK and US crochet terms for everyone. I tend to use US terms but a lot of the patterns that we have been working from are UK. This is adding a level of difficulty we could do without!!

Enjoy,

Lx

The first two patterns are paid for patterns. The unicorn is a free pattern. Both of the paid for patterns had really clear instructions with helpful pictures. Highly recommended 🙂

Dendennis donkey pattern 

Lalylala kangaroo pattern

Unicorn pattern

Sticky ginger flapjacks – such an easy recipe, not so easy on the waistline!

Well, it turns out that 2017 was not my year to blog. I started out with good intentions and many many plans and then it was Christmas! Anyway, January 2018 is here and I found this recipe that I clearly intended on posting last Autumn. No pictures of the finished product but a fabulous picture of my cats, just because!

Enjoy, Lx

What a gorgeous Autumn day it is today. Sun is shining, leaves are crisp underfoot and I have been oh so virtuous today. Yoga class first thing and then a smidgen of housework. Socks are paired and the sofa cushions are plumped 🙂

Having had lunch I still feel a tad hungry and yearn for something yummy and homey. Decided to hunt down a decent flapjack recipe.

These days flapjack recipes all seem to be trying to reduce the butter and sugar content in order to make them healthy. Sadly this makes for dry and disappointing flapjacks. If you are after a healthy, low calorie snack that is low in sugar please search elsewhere. This is not the recipe for you! This recipe was found in my old faithful Good Housekeeping Step by Step cookbook. You can always pick up a copy of this somewhere relatively cheaply. I still have my Mums copy from 1957 as well as my shinier version bought more recently with, joy of joys metric measurements.

Ingredients

  • 350g unsalted butter
  • 275g golden syrup
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 450g rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger

I never seem to be able to completely adhere to a recipe and this one is no exception. I had some stem ginger in syrup in my fridge that looked lonely so I chopped that up and popped it in too. Entirely optional yummy extra. I thing sultanas would work too in this.

Method.

  • Grease and line a tin approx 18 x 28cm (your traybake type)
  • Heat oven to 180 degrees c
  • In a large saucepan, melt together your butter, golden syrup and sugar. I added my stem ginger pieces to this too as it will help them combine later.
  • In a bowl, mix your oats with your ground ginger and then add your syrupy liquid. Stir to combine.
  • Pop this mixture into your prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  • Keep an eye on it. After 32 minutes mine was going just a little to0 dark (rescued in the nick of time, still yum). You want it golden and still squidgy in the middle. Overcooked flapjacks are not yummy and are not worth the calories.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for a while before lifting out onto a cooling tray. Cut when cold in to 12 squares or 24 triangles depending on how you feel.
  • For those who really want to know (I didn’t want to know but the book very (un)helpfully gives the calorie count) 517 calories per large square!!! Yikes.

Enjoy,

 

Lx

Spring has Sprung (maybe) hopefully :)

Well the last couple of days have seen a delightful shine in the air. Birds have been chirping, sky is blue with cottonwool balls of clouds dancing along (I know, the words are a tad whimsical but that’s how I feel today 🙂 enjoy it!). My garden is showing signs of life too. Lovely, although it is a teensy bit early so hope we don’t have too much of a downturn on the weather front (forecast is looking a little chilly ahead)

Anyway, I digress. I have found myself recently with a little time off. Apart from napping, I have also been crocheting like a demon and also a spot of baking again. Lovely.

Todays venture has resulted in a batch of lemon curd for my daughter to take back to Uni with her tomorrow so that she can make some lemon curd and white chocolate muffins. Check out my recipe here, for the lemon curd. Keeps for about two weeks in the fridge although we’ve never had it long enough to test that theory!!!

I am hoping she sends me some pics. I have also finally got all the pieces together for my latest blanket, here is a sneak preview of some of the pieces 🙂 

The other thing I have been doing is trying to get better at my food photography skills, looking back over the last year to try and find a picture of spring flowers, I stumbled across some pics I took last year that never really got showcased. Apologies for the self indulgence but I really like them despite the fact that one of them is of the peel of a garlic bulb!!! Not to mention that this is the best pic I have produced in the last year (I think!)

Enjoy,

Lx

 

Well for goodness sake, how is it March again already!!!

I am such a lackadaisical blogger!!! I keep crocheting and lately baking a bit more too. Think to myself, mmm must write up a blog post about that and then promptly don’t. Anyway, the next few posts will (I hope) have new recipes and also some links to some exciting CAL’s (crochet a long) that are coming up or already started.

This post though is motivated by my sweetest, youngest child. In her third year at uni she has decided that it is time to embrace the baking genes that run deep in this family! Text received requesting a recipe for banana muffins. I directed her to my blog as that is where said recipe resides. Shock horror, the offspring has not read my blog. Rude!!!!

Anyway, once over the shock, we discussed the pitfalls of baking without scales and she went ahead and produced a delicious batch of muffins that she shared with her coworkers that weekend. happy days. I am looking forward to the next time she comes home so we can bake something together and post pics.

Although I don’t have a picture of her baking, I do have a really cute picture of Agnes!!

Cute Agnes

Enjoy,

Lx

Gingerbread House 2016 edition

As always, Christmas Eve is made up of me and mine making gingerbread houses. See my previous Christmas posts for recipes (although there are very many fabulous ones online). This year we also made two miniature houses for gifts as well as a gingerbread star tree. I have to say Christmas Eve is truly my favourite day during the festive period. Have a wonderful time, love and sparkles xx

img_3576

Enjoy,

Love L x