Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Fleece and Knitting Society

Almost a year ago now, having moved 300 miles away from all our friends and family, I was very very glad to discover that the university that BF's attending allow non-students into its societies. I joined up to several, wandering round with le Boof at the Fresher's Fair, but the main one that interested me was their Knitting Society. They turned out to be a fantastic group of people, welcoming and supportive, exactly what you're looking to stave off the homesickness! The long and short of this now is I've ended up being a driving force in what's happening in the society next year. As a non-student there are a fair few restrictions on what I can do within the society, but I've been working closely with this year's committee, and next year is shaping up to be super exciting for KnitSoc.

Once we'd managed to get ourselves a logo sorted, one of the first things I put myself forward for was screen printing T-shirts.


These went down very well! I used my little Speedball screen printing starter kit (here), with the photosensitive emulsion, the same I used to make these T-shirts last year. It's very good for detailed images, and thanks to all the testing I ended up doing with exposure times last time it only took the one attempt to get the screen right! (A good photo-tute on screen printing with photosensitive emulsion here)

Exposing the screen
Ready to start printing!

We then decided stash bags would be a pretty good idea. I've just today finished the first batch of fifty!

KnitSoc stash bags!
Just a few to start... well, fifty.

Another project I've thrown myself into, mainly because of my involvement with the knitting society, is making my own wool from scratch! The fleeces were from Freecycle again. A very nice lady in a village not far out of the city takes care of unwanted animals, and in amongst her menagerie are four sheep. Three Hebridean and one Southdown (I think). She was giving them their yearly shearing and decided to offer the fleeces on Freecycle. I eventually decided this was a good idea (le Boof was not so sure to begin with) and once they had been removed from the sheep, went to pick them up.

The first thing I did was ignore all the advice and instructions on how to clean sheep fleeces I'd been reading online and chucked one into the bath. No, I could not tell you why I did this. Once I'd salvaged it from the bath (thankfully it hadn't fleeced very much) I sat back and made a plan.

A bath full of not poop, but wet fleece :S

The method I went for in the end was:

Pick over the fleeces for the bigger bits of hay and plants pieces (and poop D: ), split them into small bits and put the pieces into net wash bags like these. Then fill a bath tub full of water (I went for coolish water. There are various different methods I read up about online, but starting the fleece in a cold bath reduces the amount of effort involved, I felt), and add a bit of shampoo (nice cheap stuff worked fine). The fleece can soak for two hours, then drain the bath and repeat this step once more. Finally drain the bath again and give the bags of fleece a final one hour soak in clean water. Give the bags a good squeeze then pop them in the washing machine on a single spin. Just the spin though mind, any spraying of water onto the fleeces and you'll get felting. Which is exactly what we don't want for spinning fleeces! Once spun, hang out until dry.

I found this process to get the fleeces clean enough for me. They still smelt a tiny bit like sheep, maybe after it had had a shower, but the sheepy smell staying means some of the lanolin (sheep sweat, gross, but useful for spinning!) is still on the fleece, but this helps when it comes to spinning the fleece.

So now the vestibule in he flat is full of boxes of fleece. They are now waiting for either myself or the knitting society to invest in some carders. Carding is the next step in the process of making yarn from fleece. It aligns the fibres of the wool, therefore making it easier to spin.

I've already got myself a drop spindle ready for spinning, and recently attended a spinning class at a local yarn/fabric type shop and managed this -

The majority of it however will be going to the knitting society so we can offer the chance to spin wool to our members, which is pretty exciting (and relieving as it means I won't be having to deal with it all!)

Welp there's loads more to mention about my KnitSoc adventures, but that will probably do for now!

Currently listening to Cough Cough by Everything Everything
Currently playing (obsessively) Tekkit (A Minecraft mod pack)

Thursday, 13 September 2012

It's been a long, long, long time.

Ok, so first off I have unintentionally initiated a bit of a Beatles bender just by naming this post. So here's the song that started it for you.

But yes, it has been a very long time. I would like to say something dramatic like life's gotten in the way or I've been very busy, but to be entirely honest, I just got out of the habit of writing on my blog. It happens. I've not been idling about though, I have done many things in these long five months. Many small enough not to warrant looking back months and months to comment upon.

One thing that is definitely worth a big mention however...

Yes! It's a knitting machine! Of course you all knew that.

A very kind couple were offering it on Freecycle. They were moving house and emptying out their garage and attic, and weren't sure if it had all the pieces, so were offering it for FREE. Whelp. It has all the pieces, plus a ribbing attachment, and all the various bits and bobs it needs to operate fully! Not only that but the couple also gave me a HUGE posh briefcase full of fantastic 80's pattern books, instruction manuals, blank punch cards and punchy thing to make my own patterns. Then, as if that wasn't enough, the next day I received an email asking me if I'd like the box of yarn cones they'd just found in their attic to go with the machine!! It was an EVEN HUGER box of cones, I could only just lift it and fit it into my poor little car!

On first getting it set up, I experienced a bit of new-toy-at-Christmas syndrome. I was certain I'd put it all together correctly, but whatever I tweaked it wouldn't work properly. So followed many a "humpf" and "argh", until I gave up and trawled through the internets to try and find a solution. I eventually discovered it was something called a needle retainer sponge bar that was causing my problems. It should be a nice plump bit of sponge holding the needles down so that they catch the yarn as it's drawn across. However on inspection, the one in my machine was as flat as a pancake! They can be fairly expensive to buy replacements, but thanks to this very useful tutorial, it barely cost a thing. (DIY ftw)

So now I've been working my way through the various techniques in the getting started manual.

Two colour skip-stitch knitting
Plain knitting, I was so proud!

Skip-stitch knitting

It's a proper old school punch card machine, which, although means there are certain restrictions on things like pattern width, is fascinating to watch and learn the inner workings of. It's piqued le Boof's interests too as punch cards are a very (very very) basic form of programming! (He's a computer scientist fyi)

Needless to say I was dead chuffed when I finally got it working!

This contraption, however, I'm still figuring out. It's the ribbing attachment that also came with it. The knitting machine itself can only knit one way, so no ribbing. This adds another bed, the other way around, which enables you to do it. Not a great deal of luck with it yet though! It also puts the dinner table out of action as that's the only surface large enough to fit it on :S

I've made plans for my first pullover, just have to get up the courage to start a garment on it!

Oh yes, by the way, the picture at the top of the post is an old steam roller we spotted in town the other week. It had been used in the 1960's to flatten the roads in York and had been brought back to it's old stomping grounds by the lovely people who had restored it. It was utterly fascinating to see! Here's an article about it in the local press.

Currently obsessed with: Arrested Development on Netflix (Netflix is so good!)

Thursday, 5 April 2012

My Adventures With Pinterest, and My Busy, Busy Week.

First off, I organised my paper stash the other day. Let us take a minute to fully appreciate the beauty of it. Mmmm.... paper.

I deny any accusations of having an unhealthy obsession with paper. *stroke*

In other news....
I have no problem at all with owning up to having spent a little bit too much of my time on Pinterest of late. My craft related productivity has been the highest since I last had space to craft (probably not far off a year ago now), I've made lots of useful things and discovered many new (to me) wonderful craft and food blogs through it. Can't recommend it highly enough for inspiration. And a super long to do list! Mine's miles long now. Some things I have got crossed off in the past week though are:

Polymer clay plant marker.
Very useful as my brightly coloured lolly sticks markers were starting to suffer from being sat in wet soil. These make my plants look classy instead of like a small child is growing them.

Inspired by an image from this blog, I finally made something to brighten up one of the corners of our front room. I spent many, many hours playing with my Cuttlebug cutting the shapes and then abusing the needle on my sewing machine by using it to sew them all together. It's currently awaiting further additions, hence the dangling red thread on one end.
Sat bored watching a film (I can't just watch things, unless I'm falling asleep. I have to be doing something at the same time), I decided to have a go at making a cardboard loom using these instructions. Still a work in progress atm, it's eventually going to be a small mat for something. Maybe not a place mat, cheap wool isn't normally too heatproof I don't think.

I've also had a go at making a watering can from a plastic milk container, which has become an invaluable part of my gardening equipment. I've got lots of large pots with plants in now and trying to water them all with my little dinosaur watering can would take years. This is great, although don't try and punch holes in the lid with something pokey instead of a hot needle like the instructions say. I thought I was being clever by not reading the guide properly. Didn't work, the smooth holes mean that the water comes out in a proper watering can style sprinkle and not one big stream (yes, despite the multiple holes). That'll learn me.

I've attempted to make a friendship bracelet seat cusion, with limited success. I was using strips of material from some old t-shirts which turned out to be not quite long enough, meaning the cushion ended up being stretched a fair bit. But the parts where I still had plenty of fabric to work with look good, so it had the potential to come out looking like the one in those pictures. Albeit far, far more offensive colour-wise (I was using near fluorescent green, pink and orange fabric).

Having recently come into ownership of a lovely table and chair set for the balcony, I made myself some plant hangers using this tute. I used just bog standard cotton kitchen string to hang some of the smaller pots on the balcony from the railings to free up some floor space. I'll pop some pictures up if I remember to take some when it's not pitch black out.

So that's about it for things what I nicked off Pinterest. For now. Expect further updates.

When I wasn't busy getting stuck in string or stroking my paper collection this week, I made THE. BEST. HOT CROSS BUNS. EVOIRB. E-V-O-I-R-B. Modesty aside, it was a fantastic recipe, found here. I wanted to get a good recipe so some could be taken down with us when le Boof and I go to see the fams for Easter this weekend. (Correct sentence structure? Pfft, too excitable) The first recipe was based on a fairly standard bread recipe. The came out a bit solid and went stale really quickly. These babies however. OMGoose. Once they'd cooled (enough) we had a taste. They were super soft and just perfect. They were everything I wanted from a hot cross bun. I was super excited. In fact, I've still only made the one batch but I can't stop raving about them. Unfortunately for le Boof he's pretty much the only person I've seen all week, so it's been mostly aimed at him (although I'm fairly certain he wasn't listening most of the time, so I guess it's ok.) I can't recommend this recipe highly enough. It's a bit more labour intensive than the first I tried, it's probably best left for when you've got an entire day/evening set aside for breaded goods based tinkering. Or if you're a work from home seamstress who is easily distracted. *ahem*

I'm making the proper batch tomorrow, here's hoping I can keep them from le Boof long enough to get them all the way down South!

And finally, golly, there's a lot more to be blogged, but this'll be the last thing for now, postable birthday cakes. Two of the lovely ladies that I worked with when we were down South had their birthdays last week. So when the delivery man came to pick up my finished box of sewing, I snuck in a tin of cupcakes.

The main challenge with this was making sure the cupcakes didn't rise too much so they wouldn't fit in the tin. I tend to have issues with my cupcakes being tall, but I just about managed enough small ones to spell out happy birthday! They were vanilla sponge with a hole scooped out the top, Ma's home-made strawberry jam plopped in then a thin bit of the scooped out cake put back on top to keep the jam in place. Iced with glace icing, piped on letters with the same in purple and finally, edible glitter. Yay! Off they went with the courier man.

Unfortunately it took a week for them to reach their destination. I was fairly certain it was a next day delivery thing, but I have been assured they were still yummy when they were finally received yesterday. Oh well.

For anyone who has played Portal 2 all the way through - here ♥. If you know the background, it's quite emotional. Such a fantastic game, and a great song.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Fruity cakes and more bunting.

I've always been more into veggies than fruit, but when I do my twice weekly (ish) grocery shop down the high street, I do try and buy a few bits of fruit in an attempt to nudge le Boof and I closer to our 5-a-day. However more often than not, said fruit will sit for a little while in the fruit bowl, full of potential, then start to go a bit past it's best, and of course then there's an excuse not to eat it. This week though I decided enough was enough. I rescued the three apples and one banana from certain bin-based doom.

And put them in cakes.

Well, we're still eating them, just maybe in a slightly less healthy fashion than I had first intended.

So for me, a humongous apple cake, and for BF some banana muffins (actually a banana loaf recipe that I was too lazy to bother with the loaf tin for so they went into muffin cases).

The banana loaf recipe was from my wonderful Hummingbird bakery cook book, the one I always seem to turn to when I'm at a loss for what to bake. As for the apple cake...

450g cooking apples (although I used half eating, half cooking this time and it came out fine)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
225g butter
280g caster sugar
4 eggs
2tsp vanilla essence
350g self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
A little Demerara sugar (or similar) for sprinkling on top

1. Set the oven to 180°c
2. Peel, core, then thinly slice the apples
3. Squeeze the lemon juice over the apple slices
4. Beat the butter and caster sugar together, then add the eggs one at a time.
5. Stir in the vanilla essence then sieve in the flour and baking powder.
6. Line a large, deep baking tray with greaseproof paper, or grease one well with oil or butter.
7. Spread half the cake mixture evenly across the base of the tin, then layer half the apple slices on top.
8. Carefully cover that with the rest of the cake mix and finally arrange the last of the apple on top, and to finish, sprinkle with (lots) more sugar.
9. Bake for 40-45 minutes, leave in the tin for 10 minutes to cool once it's out of the oven.

When I was not eating cake (as part of my 5-a-day), I managed to finish this; bunting for the university's knitting society which I am part of.

I used this pattern for knitted bunting triangles I found on Ravelry ♥, but changed the amount of cast on stitches to fit the embroidered pattern... which was a cross stitch pattern for the Times New Roman font, that just so happened to translate nicely to knitting embroidery. I did try knitting the letters in as I went, but it ended up being more trouble than it was worth. I'm still new to colourwork with knitting. Someone with more experience (or not, who knows) might have had more luck, but for me it came out looking sloppy. The embroidering however came out rather nicely, even if I say so myself. I used a duplicate stitch, which took a bit of getting used to, getting the embroidery yarn to sit directly on top of the stitches, but I got it in the end! Very pleased with this, it shall be adorning all future KnitSoc tables for various events.

In other news, I have recently become obsessed with Pinterest. It's kind of social networking, but more than that. You set up "boards", collections of things that you like the idea of or that inspire you, or that you just plain like the look of, then whenever you come across something on the internet that falls into one of these categories you can "Pin" it, and add it to one of your boards. You can also follow other people's boards, and they can follow yours. There's lots of pictures of things people want for their weddings, and cute puppies, and pictures of attractive/famous young men and women, but personally I have found it incredibly inspiring. In the last week I have been more productive, arts and crafts wise, than I have been since we moved up here. All the things I have made need an entire blog post of their own, so I'll leave that until next time, but for now, here's my collection of boards, enjoy!

Just watched Fight Club for the first time (yes yes, I know) so song for this post is
Pixies - Where is My Mind

Friday, 23 March 2012

My Balcony Garden

Well before we knew we had secured the flat (it took a good long month from us saying we wanted the place and were ready to put down the deposit to secure it to the various owner type people getting everything in order and finally taking our money *breathe*) we were well aware it came with a delightful balcony. And as such, I was well aware I would fill our little outside space with as much greenery as I could as soon as I could.

When I left my seamstressing job down south with a lovely group of ladies, they knew of my plans for a balcony garden and for my leaving gift they bought me a fantastic selection of gardening bits anf bobs, this was my starting point for my gardening. I then spent the chilly months of January and February buying up seeds (I managed to get most of mine massively discounted because they were last year's. Packets of seeds for 39p ftw.), as well as pots and other gardening bits and pieces. Then on my week long visit down south to see family and friends I bought a huge amount of soil (£10 for 3 x 60 litre bags!) and what is proving to be possibly one of the best things I have ever bought, a mini, plastic greenhouse. Similar to this one here, but under a tenner!

It is currently my pride and joy. I have planted so many different things, I'm starting to wonder if I really do have enough space for everything once it gets closer to harvesting things.

Pretty much every thing's shooting up too. All apart from the strawberries, which have finally poked their tiny little lazy plant heads up above the soil, but are seemingly reluctant to grow into anything larger and that might potentially grow me some strawberries. And the coriander, that just doesn't seem interested. It's still got time though, I've not given up on the little seeds yet.

I've got radishes, which will go into their final pots this Sunday (Sunday is gardening day), purple sprouting broccoli and peas which are also close, tonnes of carrot plants, tomatoes, spring onions, pak choi, various herbs in a small grow bag on the bottom level along with two tubs of rocket and salad leaves, and butterhead lettuce.

Gardening for me is not just the joy of growing something from a seed and (hopefully) enjoying the fruits (veges?) of my labours, but about family ties and memories. One of the most important veggies I've planted, for me, are the runner beans. I've planted three beans which are a few generations down from the same that my Grandad grew rows and rows of on his plot of land at my grandparents' house, a place which holds strong and fond memories from my childhood. The generations in between were my parents' plants. I can't remember a year where we didn't have a glut of runner beans in the summer. And I love them, especially the first crop of the year, young and tender beans, absolutely delicious just on their own. Maybe a little gravy. Nom.

I've gone for a few flowers as well, poached eggs plants and nasturtiums. Both because they remind me of my parents' house. The drive out next to the front garden was, until recently, a thing of dread for anyone trying to navigate it (or just me and delivery men in vans). There was about a foot wide ditch between the edge of the drive and the lawn and it was inevitable I would end up in it in my car, more often than not (back wheels right in there, on a front wheel drive car D: ). During the winter this was a horrible boggy ditch of doom, which I got properly stuck in more than once (Pa having to come out of the house to angrily rescue me). But in the warmer months it became a beautiful patch of vibrant poached egg plants.

The gardeny part of the front garden was always covered in nasturtium plants, I used to play with the cabbage white caterpillars that would smother the patch for a month or so of the year, then once the caterpillars had all found somewhere cosy to chrysalis-up (or had been eaten by something), the plants would go mad and threaten to take over the path as well as the garden. And the smell, it was so strong, especially in caterpillar season.  Recently, however, my parents got the lawn (and the dreaded ditch) paved over, turning the area which was garden into lawn. Some of the nasturtium plants were put into pots and now live in the back garden, and I brought some seeds from the plants up to York with me, which are now growing into my very own nasturtium plants.

And sunflowers. There are no reasons whatsoever for me wanting to grow sunflowers other than they grow tall and awesome. And potentially delicious if I harvest their seeds (that sounds a bit sinister, but yeah.).

Other than my seedlings I've got my violas, which are just about surviving the greenflies that have appeared from nowhere.


I bought these not long after we moved in, in November I think it was. These have been flowering solidly since then! Dedicated little lovelies. They smell fantastic too.

 Honourable mentions go to my avocado plant, which has started to sprout again, to my relief, after I chopped all of it's leaves off!
 My lemon plant, which I grew from a seed I found sprouting inside of a lemon at my last pub job, over a year ago now. That's got sprouts now after I chopped the top off. (I think my harsh pruning habits must come from my Pa.)
And last but not least, my carrot plant. Which you would be correct in thinking it is just a top of a carrot. Le Boof  hit the nail on the head by saying gardening taps into my nurturing nature. I saw one of the carrots starting to sprout in the fridge, which of course meant I had to chop the growing bit off and stick it in some soil! There will be millions of carrot in the flat when I'm finished, I swear.

So there we go. There were going to be several other things mentioned in this post, but I've probably waffled on enough for now. Back to cake and yarn next time!

Two songs by one of my favourite bands ever:
The song that first got me interested in them, Wild Beasts - Assembly
One of the songs from their latest album, Wild Beasts - Bed of Nails

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Mother's Day 2012


Due to the big ol' move, this year was the first year I was away from my Ma for Mother's day, *sad face*. So at the beginning of the week I set out to make a wonderful gift package as a substitute for my presence. I started with the traditional list of things: chocolate, flowers, gift and card, then had a good think about how to achieve these goals with my powers of arts, crafts and baking. (And yes you would be correct in thinking I really should get round to making myself a cape some time soon.)

For the flower part of the gift (and also the card part) I found a jolly good gerbera knitting pattern (ma's favourite flowers being gerberas), which knit up very nicely. Although having chosen yellow for the petals I had to put up with lots of people asking why I was knitting a string of tiny bananas. A small sacrifice however. I made myself a card from two A4 pieces of nice lilac card stock and then made a paper hinge (folding a long thin piece of paper in half length ways and sticking the two outer faces on one edge of the bits of card). I then poked holes close to the sides of the stem and tied it to the card with the same colour wool and cut out a leaf shape from green card and stamped it with my letter stamps and acrylic block (such useful bits of card making gear).

So once Ma's done with looking at it as a card she can remove the flower on it's own and put it somewhere as a lasting memory of what a good daughter I am (really!) :D

The gift part of the, er, gift, was two little knitted piggies. I made three smaller ones for Ma for Christmas, she liked them so much I decided to add to the family that now lives on the printer in my parents' house. It's a fairly straightforward pattern, but as it's done on DPNs and with double knitting wool it can be a little fiddly. A good one for practising bobbles though.

And finally in the Mother's Day Gift Pack 2012 (now it's official title), the pièce de résistance, was a small batch of these chocolate truffle cookies. Unfortunately, not all of them could fit in the box I had in mind to send off, so some were left over. And.... tasted. Repeatedly. Omnomnom! They are gorgeous. I think maybe a recipe best saved for a special occasion, they're terribly more-ish and I can't imagine they rate highly on the health meter, even for cakes and cookies. They come out of the oven crisp on the outside and soft, ever so slightly chewy and melty in the middle.

So there we are. I packaged these bits up in a box and packaging le Boof and I had previously been sent things in from our parents (yay, recycling!) and pottered off to the post office.

My brother managed to hide it away until Sunday and dadah! it's like I was there in person. Well nearly, it's hard to send wittiness and charm through the post. *ahem*

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The Story of the Citrus and Chilli Cosmic Cake and My Very First Cake Competition

Ok, first off, sorry for the humongous gap in time between now and my last post. Turns out making money to pay all the bills people keep sending us takes up a lot of one's life. Anyways.

So myself and le Boof are members of the university's gaming society, FragSoc. They host three LANs (if you don't know what a LAN is, please read this) a term, which is great fun. Sixty to ninety people sat in a massive room for an entire weekend playing games, eating junk food and consuming an unhealthy amount of caffeine. When I first joined I had heard rumours of baking competitions and the weekend just gone they finally held one. YUS. First ever baking competition, dead excited.

So planning began. A long, late-night discussion with BBF (best baking friend - find her here amongst other places) followed, on what could best fulfil the four criteria the cakes were to be judged on: taste, appearance, ingenuity and "appropriate use of caffeine". I wanted something interesting, something that no one else would think of. Chilli cake was a route I was intrigued by, and chocolate and chilli was the obvious recipe to go for, but it had already been done in previous competitions. Of course the next step is lemon and chilli (??) I have no idea where that came from but it stuck. As far as getting caffeine into the cake was concerned a lot of previous entries had, in my eyes, cheated, and just ground up pro plus tablets and popped them in the cake batter. I did not wish to cheat. So the idea of incorporating energy drink into the cake somehow was added to the list of insanity.

Eventually I came to my final decision. I would make a citrus chilli cake with an orange energy drink and chilli drizzle and the same energy drink in an orange buttercream icing. And it would be magnificent.

After half a day of playing around with a lemon drizzle cake recipe and and quite a lot of crushed chilli flakes, I found a good balance, and to my intense relief, it actually tasted really nice! Next was the drizzle. I boiled down some of the energy drink (Relentless Inferno for those who know what it is &/or are interested), and again chucked in a load of crushed chilli. That... well, that was best not consumed on its own to be frank. But on the cake, it definitely added (more) kick!

Fairly innocuous lemon drizzle mix
Slightly less innocuous chilli flakes

Batches ready for varying amounts of chilli
Chilli batter and the control mix (sans chilli)

Then came the day before the LAN party, and the competition. Three batches (and not small batches either) of cake mix, two cans of energy drink, a lot of naked lemons and oranges, a hell of a lot of chilli flakes, and a fair bit of arts and crafts later I had my cake finished.

Two of the three cakes used
The Relentless and chilli drizzle being reduced

It was. Magnificent.

The Final Cake!

The space invader design was le Boof's idea. It's used in the gaming society's logo and of course is iconic within computer gaming, so was a no brainer once it'd been suggested. The night before I made the cake I made a bespoke cardboard base for it and drew out the logo in 1 1/2 inch squares, then covered it in a couple of layers of cling film. Once the cakes were made I cut them up into the same size squares and put them together in the space invader pattern, like giant edible pixels! To top if off I went crazy with the space dust edible glitter, although you can't really see it in the pictures. *sad face*

Just for funsies I also popped the left over Relentless and chilli drizzle in an empty (and clean) vanilla essence bottle and brought that along, then left it casually by the side of the cake. During the judging this got passed round the more laddish of the LAN attendees who were shotting it from the tiny lid and  then shaking their heads and gasping!

I came third in the competition in the end, it was incredibly nerve racking! It was judged by the chair of the society, a guy who had come along to represent the society's new sponsor and another member of the society (society society). I was beaten by an admitted really impressive Nyan cat cake which was beautifully decorated and was a seven layer rainbow cake inside. I doff my hat to them, it tasted good and looked incredible, but despite that they only came second. I can't say I would have awarded first prize to the cake it did go to, but I'm not grumbling. Here's what I won! Yay! Prizes for baking!


So there we go. It was great fun doing it, although I can't now even think about eating lemon drizzle cake, I'm sick of the sight of it. I enjoyed my first dabble into experimenting with baking. I think I'd do the basic cake again, not all the energy drink business, that was mainly to get in some caffeine. I'll pop the recipe at the end of the post, it's definitely worth trying out if you like a little bit of spice in your food (prob not for the faint hearted though).

This also means I am now no longer just one of the girls at the LAN (max 4-6 girls to min 50 odd boys usually), I am the girl that made the crazy but surprisingly tasty citrus and chilli cake. (oh, and the girl that's good at TF2 - my team totally won the tournament.)


Citrus and Chilli Cake

320g Caster sugar
3 eggs
Zest of 2 lemons and 1 orange
350g plain flour
1tsp salt
250ml milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
250g butter
4 1/2 tsp crushed chilli

+Pre heat oven to 180°c
+Cream butter and sugar together
+Stir in eggs
+Add zest, vanilla extract and crushed chilli
+Sieve in flour, baking powder and salt
+Stir milk in, a bit at a time until you've got a nice batter mix
+Pour batter into cake tin
+Bake for roughly 30mins, dependent on what shaped tin you're baking in
(Original recipe this is based on was for a lemon drizzle loaf, that said to bake for 1hr 15min, although I put mine in a brownie tin, which took considerably less baking time)