Monday, 11 April 2011

My top 5 tips to getting great cakes

Here are my top 5 tips to getting great cakes, although I am not an expert, these seem to work for me.

1) Always line the cake tin with greaseproof paper, this will stop any sticking and the cakes seems to turn out better. (wait until the cake has cooled before trying to remove the paper)

2) To flavour your cake, use a sugar syrup to get some more interesting combinations.
To make a sugar syrup simple melt some sugar in a saucepan and add mint, green tea or orange blossom water or whatever you fancy trying and brushing the whole cake with it.

3) You can freeze your cakes for up to a couple of months before needed. After baking, leave to cool and then wrap in cling film and into the freezer it goes. I tend to freeze my cakes even if I am using that day or the next, because it easier to handle, especially if its a bit of a crumbly.

4) Freezing also helps with the crumb coating, this a coating of butter icing that is smoothed onto the cake to prevent crumbs getting into the top icing and give you a better finish. I smooth on the icing and using a piece of paper I remove the excess, then place the cake in the fridge for 20mins-1 hour. Repeat process if required.

5) Using a cake smoother or polisher is great for when you are putting on roll on. It smoothes out bubbles and creases (pictures behind the cake)

...and give a professional finish.

Enjoy Sus x

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Whooo gives a hooot?

I was inspired to make a cute cuddly owl. My cupboard door in the hall is soooo rebelious, as it opens when it wants to (nothing to do with the stuff in the cupboard packed to capacity, obviously!!) I decided what I needed was a doorstop and an Owl would be nice to look at.

It was so easy to make, you use just two pieces of material, one slightly large than the other in a semi circle with a pointed top bit (which form the owlies beak ;-) I added some quilted wings because Husbee (my husband) suggested it (and I have to agree, it looks better with them...clever old husbee :-)

I made big Al a friend so they could make sure the hallway cupboard door stays shut (and so he has company and someone to gossip with)

Enjoy Sus x

Notice Board

At last I have gotten around to making my own Noticeboard, like my friend Vicky made. She told me how to do it, it then took another 6 weeks plus for it to be process in my brain and then voila!. ( I just couldn't decided what fabric to use, you know the problem too many nice pieces of fabric, which do I use!!!!????)

I really love how it has turned out, I wanted some red on it, as our kitchen has colour accents of this colour. The fabric I used in the end I have had for years and bought a tiny piece of it because I loved it soooo much and that was all I could afford. So I glad I was able to do something special with it, at last :-)

If you want to make you own, all you will need is a corkboard or artist cavas, thinkish wadding (not too thick if you plan to use tacks or drawing pins in it), fabric of you choice (good luck choosing) and some ribbons. The wadding is then staple gunned to the board (or cavas), then same with the fabric. I pinned my ribbons into place first, then stapled them on when I was happy (tra la la) and if you wish put some buttons on, sew or glue them on to finish.

Enjoy Sus x

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

I have just finished making this cute little storage tin, and thought you might like to see it. It was ment to be a quick project but it took ages, mainly because 'zippy' refused to do any proper stitching today. Had I known this little machine was going to be soooo tempermental I would have called it Zippinina, as I think he might be a she. Anyway for whatever reason and it could of course had nothing to do me, but I end up hand sewing most of it. As you can see I could not resist embellishing it with one my flowers.

All I used was an old baked beans can (washed out of course, beans should not be mixed in with scissors for health safety reasons;-) A rectangle piece of scrap fabric, hemmmed each long side (zippy managed to that for me at least). Cut out a heart from another piece of scrap fabric, made a little flowers, sewed it on with a choice button and pinned and sewed the rectangle to form a tube and hey presto, bobs not your uncle,you have a storage solution.

Enjoy Sus x

Monday, 28 February 2011

Eleanors Apron

Having a brand new sewing machine (it's new, but I've had it for a few weeks now) I am keen make anything and try new crafts. Normally I don't make presents for every tom, dick or eleanor, but I couldn't resist getting out zippy. He loves it when I get him out to play.

This sweet apron was inspired by one in Cath Kidstons 'Sew' book. I told you I could never resist putting my little flowers on everything. It might have to be removed when the apron is washed, oh well I just the designer, practical is not really in my nature.

It's a very nice project for beginners (like me) and children too. I got to use bias tape for the first time (actually I didn't really know what it was until I had to order it. (blush)

I had fun with this apron, why not give it a go :-)
Enjoy Sus x

Soda bread

I wanted to share this for awhile (how sad am I?). I have never made bread before and one saturday (about a month ago), I put aside my fears and rolled up my sleeves (otherwise they always get floury, my sleeves not my fears), to make my first ever loaf. The recipe that I have posted is very easy and doesn't take very long ( excellent for the scared or beginner). It tasted lovely, even though not a huge fan of soda bread, it went amazingly well with the homemade soup (recipe at a later date, maybe :-) Give it a go and tell what you think.
Enjoy Sus x

BBC - Food - Recipes : Irish soda bread

BBC - Food - Recipes : Irish soda bread: "Irish soda breadVeg
Try this easy soda bread recipe for when you want bread in a hurry - it's ready in less than an hour.
170g/6oz self-raising wholemeal flour
170g/6oz plain flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
290ml/½ pint buttermilk
Preparation method
Preheat the oven to 400F/200C/Gas 6.
Tip the flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and stir.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk, mixing quickly with a large fork to form a soft dough. (Depending upon the absorbency of the flour, you may need to add a little milk if the dough seems too stiff but it should not be too wet or sticky.)
Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly.
Technique: Kneading bread Watch technique
2:35 minsForm into a round and flatten the dough slightly before placing on a lightly floured baking sheet.
Cut a cross on the top and bake for about 30 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack."

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Quilted Babies ball

This is one of two balls that kept me extremely busy just before christmas. Two babies due (not to me, I must add) and it was a guessing game to their flavour (blue or pink). I made one of each colour hoping they both didn't have boys or something and as it worked out one had a girl and one a boy (yippee). These balls take a good day to make and very hard on the fingers as you have to hand sew everything. But I loved the result. When putting in the wading I added a small bell and hey voila a babies toy. Very satisfying to do, after all the ironing flat and stitching is done! (phew!)

Enjoy Sus x

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Kinzashi flowers

I have discovered these cute Kinzashi flowers. I can't get enough of them. They are fab for embellishing anything. I brought the purse for my god daughters birthday and couldn't resist adding a little something of my own.

I may show you how to make them in the future , but you have to ask nicely

Enjoy Sus x

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Cheese, walnut and date scones

Yummmmmmmmmmy, I made these delicious scones the other weekend and I thought I would share the recipe.
I love baking, but I have to be in the right mood. If it's too cold outside, grey or raining, the kitchen doesn't always make me feel in the right frame of mind. I can't seem to control it, like other areas of my home and life it just get too rowdy for me to handle. I am trying, I being stronger and being more productive in dealing with the rowdiness before it gets out of hand. I think scones were one of the first things I ever made. I like my mums scones but she tends to bake things crisper than I like, so I think I thought I would have a go and created some lovely cheese tartlets, they weren't very deep you see- but they were very tasty....and that's another reason why I don't make them very often, because no-one else gets a look in.....but anywhay to the recipe Batman!

Cheese,walnut and date scones
10oz Plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2oz Butter (organic of course)
2oz caster sugar
1 egg
A splash of milk, if the mixture is tooo think
A blob of english mustard
Half a teaspoon Nutmeg
As much Strong cheese as you like
A handful of dates
A few walnuts or pecans if you prefer.

Put the flour, baking powder, sugar, mustard and butter in a bowl and rub together with your fingers, until like breadcrumbs. Then add a egg, alittle milk at a time whilst working the dough. Add cheese, date, walnuts and nutmeg, work it all together until mixed throughly-neither too wet or too dry. Roll out to approx 4 cms thinkness and cut out scones with cutter of your choice. Brush with egg or milk and sprinkle more cheese and nutmeg on the top. Bake in the oven for 20mins gas mark 5, until film and golden. Then place in your gob and enjoy! Sus x

Friday, 28 January 2011

Ruc Sac Project

Last Christmas (2010)I wanted make my niece, Nephew and God children something special so I came up with the idea of making small Ruc Sacs for them. I like to make something each year, it saves money, but most importantly I feel its a more persoanal gift. It was a bit selfish of me really, for I had just got 'Zippy' (my sewing machine) and really wanted to see what he could do. I think he enjoyed making the bags as much as me, racing along the fabric at speed, stitching everything it his path. I made an Owl bag for the girls and a Dog for the boys. Very easy to make, but almost went blind doing the hand stitching.

Happy Making
Sus x