I really need to find a better way of taking pictures of my pictures. It looks much better in real life. I think.
Time for the beau's first birthday party (of three this week) and therefore time for his first cake. A massive fan of mint-choc-chip, well actually no, that's an understatement... the BIGGEST fan of mint-choc-chip there was only one option really for his cake. I sought inspiration on pinterest and sort of went for a combination of several designs.
The cake itself was the rich chocolate cake only coke layers can provide. The icing was a creation of my own consisting of standard butter cream (well I say standard, I mean about a kilo of buttercream) dyed mint green and flavored with American Peppermint Essence and then sprinkled evenly with blitzed milk choc chips, dark chocolate and aero bubbles.
This was then topped with a chocolate ganache made extra minty by using Lindt Excellence Mint Intense for the dark chocolate (mixed in a bain marie with double cream and liquid glucose). This was then finished with melted white chocolate with green coloring piped in lines and then feathered for effect. The overall result was scumptious, if rather large. Again. It appears I never learn.
Don't wanna boast or anything but I fecking love this new embroidery of mine. All my design, took a lot longer than I thought it would (the irony of using small stitches) but I have to say I am so happy with the result. This one is going on the wall and is staying there forever.
Been busy stitching up a storm. One a tribute to a personal hero, Ron Swanson and the other a design of my own. I'm getting better at keeping things neat and tidy and first attempt at stitch writing was relatively painless.
Death by cake
If you are not aware of Outsider Tart in Chiswick then you need to be. It is the most incredible cake shop in all the land. No joke. They also have a cook book. I had made a few of their recipes to great success and thought it was time to up my game for the beau's sister's birthday. And thus we discovered how to make a heart attack in a cake. I made, with the help of said beau, the coke layers with a chocolate fudge icing and it was big.
So big that it weighed close to 15lbs. That's almost two human babies. It was 6 layers of coke cake, about 1kg of chocolate fudge icing and three bags of M&Ms. Transporting it 5 minutes down the road was an exercise in weight lifting and balance but it tasted so good. So very good. Just don't eat more than a sliver or you will die. Fact.
Wanted to try learn some more stitches so made this little message for the beau. It includes french knot, chain stitch, back stitch, stem stitch, split stitch and cross stitch. If you can spot them all then hats off to you.
I've always thought embroidery was one of those things that lived in the house of a smelly elderly semi-alcoholic relative along with toilet roll doileys and the inexplicable aroma of lavender. I was wrong. I think I might have found a new love. My first attempt was pretty straight forward, just a running stitch 'Home Sweet Home' for our new flat.
Then I graduated to the french knot. A full on hard core embroidering stitch don't cha know. I even one upped it to an ombre effect making use of the many pink threads in my starter kit.
There are so many better blogs for teaching how to stitch out there that I won't attempt to better them, instead I would highly recommend the following:
The Craftinomicon - amazing for intro to stitches and tutorials
Handmade Craft - great for free embroidery ideas and patterns
Skeins - 150 skeins for under £10, incedible value for money. Every thread is a different color and although the picker does seem to have a little bit of an obsession with pink and green the varieties are beautiful and make projects so much more fun with a real variety of shades to choose from.
Never try to poach eggs in a microwave. It may sound like a convenient, lazy way to reach egg perfection but it will only end in mess, tears and explosions.
I have wanted to make my own marshmallows ever since I discovered you could make you own! After buying a sugar thermometer for the infamous fudge cake I could finally try out a recipe for coconut marshmallows I had been obsessing over for the past month. And it was so worth the wait. It's a miracle it even made it into the tray to set really. In its melted form it's like the most incredible marshmallow fluff you will ever experience in your life. If I could marry a food I would have got hitched there and then. I'm glad I held off though as, once they were set, they were even better. Soft and squidgy and moist and far from the sickly sweetness you get from the bag, these are amazing. I urge you to make your own, you will never buy them again!
Next experiment shall be strawberry marshmallows. I can hardly wait! (although I must as might have smashed the sugar thermometer...)
Ordinarily I hate beef. I've only recently discovered steak (well, that's a lie, technically I had discovered steak but it was cooked by my grandma and therefore resembled a shoe insole) and have started exploring the world of beef in more detail. This was one of my most recent ventures - caramelized slow cooked pulled beef.
It was divine. Words cannot do it justice. I defy you to start salivating at the sight of my beef...