Friday, 24 June 2011

Dreaming of St. Ives

You probably won't believe me but this was taken on the 1st January 2010...Beautiful!

St Ives has got to be my favourite place in the whole world and it is very special to me, my husband and his family have been on holiday here every year since before he was born. I decided to go with them in 2003 the year after we met and fell completely in love with everything about it. We got married here in 2006 and we continue to go every year, twice a year - 2 weeks in July and 1 week over new year.
And guess what...we go next Friday!!!

8 weeks in the's my first knitting project!

When I decided 8 weeks ago to start a knitting project I found a pattern in a shop bargain bin for 10p. It was a pattern for a shrug, you knit it all in one piece and it looked simple enough so I thought it'd probably take me a couple of weeks at most. First big it's 8 weeks later!! But I got there in the end.
I'm pretty proud of myself but it's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, there was a few times when I thought I'd wrecked it altogether. The other massive mistake was... however much wool it tells to you to get .. get more. I ran out and was unable to get more, so I had to finish 2 rows earlier than I should have and only had a little bit of wool to cast off. Luckily I had some embroidery thread that was similar to the colour of the wool so i used that. 

Surprisingly it doesn't look too bad, see for yourself:

At least I've learnt some valuable lessons along the way :-)  and it really goes well with my favourite summer dress so I'm all ready for my holidays!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Look what I made!

I have spent this afternoon making a cushion for the shoe bench in the hall, I know it doesn't seem like much but I'm so proud of myself! LOOK.. 
Hmmm..what should I make next!

Happy Birthday Hubby!

It's my husband's birthday on Wed 22nd June, but this weekend we have had BBQ at ours with both his family and mine.

It's a tradition that i always make him a birthday cake, i asked him what kind he would like and he said a chocolate cake.
So here it is...
I used a silicone giant cupcake case that I bought last year and I've never used, and had the idea of making a cake using 2 things that Matthew loves: Dark chocolate and Bourbon biscuits.
I would have put chillies in too, cos he's a chilli addict but i think it might of put the rest of the family off eating it, so i settled for putting small bars of chilli chocolate around the cake, These are from a small shop in St Ives, Cornwall called 'I should coco' , where you can see them making the chocolate. It's great and the chocolate tastes amazing! I think it would taste good with the chilli chocolate, i have made cupcakes with it before.

Chocolate cake
8oz butter
8oz caster sugar
7oz self raising flour
1oz cocoa powder
4 free range eggs
1tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

Mix it all in a blender and put half in each side of the greased cupcake mould.
Bake for 45- 50mins in oven temp 180C.
When taken out of oven leave in mould for 15 mins before turning out.
I scooped out more of the cake from the bottom mould so i could add the filling, I spread a layer of jam then a layer of slices of strawberries, keeping some back for the top and drizzle dark chocolate on top.

For the filling:
6 Bourbon biscuits - crushed
150g butter
350g icing sugar
Vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
Mix together the icing sugar, butter and vanilla until thick and creamy buttercream then add the crushed biscuits and mix gently.

The bourbon buttercream then goes on top of the strawberries and put the top of the cake on and press down gently.(there will be some buttercream left over depending on how much you put in for filling and if you use more for the decoration)

For the decoration
Melt 100g of dark chocolate and pour it over the top of the giant cupcake and let it drip down the sides, leave to set slightly put a blob of buttercream on top and push a bourbon biscuit into the top. Position the reserved strawberries around the top of the cake and pour on some red love heart sprinkles to show it is made with love! aww!

And yes it did tastes as good as it looks!