Friday, 30 August 2013

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Good morning - it's Friday and the last day of the school holidays for me. Lucky Pickle-Lily doesn't go back till Thursday next week! So I thought I'd cheer myself up with some lemon drizzle cake. I  said I'd share the recipe in my next post and with son due back from cadet camp later today, the cake tin needs refilling.
lemon drizzle cake
So here goes ...
You need
2 lemons - zest for the cake, juice for the topping
225g soft margarine
225g caster sugar
275g self raising flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder - level ones please
4 eggs
4 tablespoons of milk

To make
Mix all the cake ingredients together - you can use a hand mixer or Kenwood to make it easier.
I should say this is my basic tray bake cake mixture that I add flavours too, and you can do the same if you like.
For my tray bakes I use a square tin ( 9" or 23cm) that I got from Lakeland and line it with one of those paper cases that you can get from supermarkets or again Lakeland.
Bake at 160 fan for about 30+ minutes until it is golden and a skewer comes out clean.
Now lift the cake out of the tin, still in it's paper case and leave to cool on a rack.
While it is cooling mix the juice of the lemons with175g of granulated sugar. This will seem an awful lot but don't worry!
When the cake is warm, rather than hot, put it back in the tin still in it's paper case. Stab it with a skewer, about every 2cm, there is no need to be precise!
Spoon the lemon juice mixture over the cake surface and leave to cool in the tin.
My theory is that by leaving it like this, all the icing mixture really soaks into the cake and makes it very lemony and moist. Be warned it is very sticky!
Cut into squares when you need to eat it!

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Yarn bombing bits and pieces

... but sadly it wasn't me!
This morning Pickle-Lily and I went for a walk along the sea front. We paused to watch the RNLI practise rescuing people,
RNLI in action
and found that someone had yarn bombed one of the Victorian shelters and it looked fantastic. They had obviously taken a lot of time over it, and all I can say is 'Such fun!
Along the seafront
This week-end I got my first smart phone and with the technical help of Pickle-Lily ( my 13 year old daughter to new readers) I am now on twitter and instagram . Please come and say 'hello' to me, I'm on as jopicklelily , I'm not sure if you can post links here.
Thank-you to all the lovely Handmade Monday people who visited me last week, and more especially In a Pickle-Lily's own blog, she was so pleased. With my new phone , and the fact that son is off sailing with the cadets next week, I will get extra blogging time next week, and my next post will be the recipe for lemon drizzle cake some asked for, so watch out for it!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

The Great British Bake-Off is back!

In our house The Great British Bake-Off is must watch viewing, and on Tuesday evening the new series starts, filmed here in sometimes sunny and sometimes torrential Somerset.
Last Wednesday Pickle-Lily went to Millie Moon's in Frome to do a teenage skirt workshop, you can read all about it on her blog - In a Pickle. I had a lovely browse and came back with a bag of fabric, including some Riley Blake Bake Sale. So in honour of TGBBO I made some baking bunting for my kitchen, but I'm so pleased with it has pride of the place in the hall!
Bake sale bunting
As you can see, it matches the cute little one cup tea set I got from a charity shop a while back, and Pickle the penguin photo bombed my picture!
I've also been busy baking - lemon drizzle cake is cooling in the kitchen as I type and I also made a batch of coffee cup cakes as a holiday treat. I love coffee cake, but no-one else does .. or do they? I was very sneaky and gave one to Mr P-L and No1 son without telling them what it was, and guess what they both liked them!
So here is the recipe just for you...

To make 12 generous cup cakes, you need
175g plain flour
175g soft margarine
175g caster sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 eggs
2 tablespoons of milk
1 teaspoon coffee extract

To make
Mix all the ingredients together until light and fluffy.
Divide between 12 muffin cases and bake at 170 degrees (fan) for 15 minutes.
Allow to cool.
You can use this basic recipe for any flavour you like, just change the flavouring.

The icing I used for mine was coffee fudge - again very easy.
55g soft margarine
115g soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons of milk
half a teaspoon of coffee extract

Put all of these into a large saucepan and melt over a gentle heat, stirring. Then bring to the boil and boil for two minutes - keep stirring. Remove from the heat and stir in 400g of icing sugar. I know it seems a lot! Stir until smooth and thick. Then pipe over your cakes.
I'm going to join in with Handmade Monday this week - why don't you?

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

In a Pickle

My lovely daughter has now started her own blog - In a Pickle. The only problem is that now there are two of us trying to post and use the camera!
Why not have a little peek - you'll find her blog here and you can read about the ra-ra skirt she made at Millie Moon.
In a Pickle

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Pick on a penguin part 1

Penguin - pattern by Fuzzy Mittens
As many of you know Pickle-Lily's favourite animals are penguins, and this year we have decided to have a bit of a penguin theme for Christmas. I know it's only August, but most fellow crafters have made a start on preparations! With Mr P-L on a week's holiday, I roped him in with testing the new knitted toy - a penguin of course!

Toys now must be tested for safety, and I am saying here that I am not an expert, but have been using the excellent pack from Conformance. It takes me a while to complete each test but with Mr P-L's help it was much quicker this week, so I thought I'd share some of it.

Firstly, I will introduce the very cute penguin toy P chose. It is one of Barbara Prime's patterns from Fuzzy Mittens . She is very generous in allowing you to sell her designs, as long as you acknowledge her design. I did try and design my own pattern, but I was told it wasn't cute enough!

Choke testing cylinder
The first part of the EN-71 testing is based on mechanical and physical properties. That is how clean it is, how it must be washable, the labelling, testing it as a choke hazard and the torque testing. The pack is very clear on how to do all these things and provides a clear checklist for recording all your results. For all my teaching friends, it's like an early years profile or APP with all the paperwork to accompany it!
Choke testing is done using a cylinder made from card to exact measurements. I was originally surprised by how big the cylinder was, and it has since been a guide to my making.
The torque testing is testing all your seams by taking the toy and twisting it by 180 degrees. This is the part where P decided I was the cruellest mother, by torturing the poor penguin in a such way. We videoed this test as part of the evidence. She decided at this point she couldn't bear watching me and that's where Mr P-L had to help! You really do need two people to do this as one person needs to take pictures or film your evidence.
After the torque test, it was the tension test. This involved 7.2kg of weight hanging from a clamp to test the strength of the seams.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

The rain came down and the water came up!

Yesterday was  Nunney Street Fair, we went last year and had a great time, as you can read here . This year it was a little different!
The morning was fantastic - hot, bright and sunny weather. The streets were thronging with people, the bands were playing, the knight was posing with his horse and the organ was playing all based around the ruined castle.
The brave knight!


Then the thunder came, followed by the lightening and the torrential rain! The rain was so heavy it even lifted the drains! Sadly we had to pack up, and some people lost stock and gazebos, a real shame to what had started so brilliantly.
Still, Pickle-Lily had a super time at Guide camp, and managed to visit Splashdown Water Park on Thursday on the hottest day of the year. I now have the camera back and can start taking lots of pictures of the things I have been making, including, dare I say it, Christmas things!
What have you been up to this week, I am going to join in with Handmade Monday and visit lots of blogs this week as the weather forecast is not looking too good!
For some reason Blogger will only let me adjust and caption the first two pictures when I download them, if you have any suggestions on how I can adjust and caption them all, I would welcome your help.