Thursday, May 5, 2011

Orange and Almond Cake

This is as much for you, as it is so I can easily find this again.
Let me just say that this cake is at the end of being more expensive to make than normal cakes, and seems a little odd, but let me assure you that it is incredibly tasty (super moist and semolina-ey!)

Makes a 24cm cake:

3 medium oranges
1 1/2 cup caster sugar
4 x 70g packets ground almonds
5 eggs, beaten
2 tsp baking powder
100g semolina
3 tsp cardamom (I only put 1.5)

1) Put clean oranges in a saucepan of cold water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes
2) Cool and cut oranges in halves. Discard pips.
3) In a food processor, blend oranges with sugar until smooth. Pulse in almonds, eggs, baking powder, semolina, cardamom.
4) Pour into a round, 24cm, greased and lined springform tin. Bake at 170 degrees C for 50 minutes (or until cooked).

If you use navel oranges, you don't need to remove the pips.
Yes, the entire orange goes in to the blender (remove the green bit on the top!)
Last time I whipped 1/2 cup of cream with 50g of melted dark chocolate, then refridgerated til cool, then whipped in another 50g of melted dark chocolate for icing. It was nice, but this time I think I will do an orange glaze.
You should still have a grainy texture, so pulse until combined, but not any more than that.
I also don't bother too much making sure the orange and sugar mixture is smooth, I like the extra texture!

Try it! Honestly. (I might try and get some pictures this time round!)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It's all true.

In defence of my recent internet absense, I must claim that it isn't my fault, the internet is to blame. Currently, I am at university, the only place where I can successfully read all my blogs and also blog.

I haven't been doing nothing. I did try to make a Sencha Blouse (fail),
I did start sewing little coin purses (win so far),
I did make a couple of purse type things to hold all my stuff (slowly winning, no internet tutorials, all winging it),
I did start learning to cross stitch (win).

I'm sure everyone knows about Whitcoulls and Borders and their money problems and going in to liquidation and all. For me, it meant some wonderful Cath Kidston books that I'd been jealously eyeing for months finally came within the range of the student budget.
So far, I have started with the zip bag that is included with the book, but my next grand plan includes satin stitching, roses and a cardigan (I think it could all work out (fingers crossed).

Mostly this is all just because I have so much practising that I should be doing so I can move to San Fran in August (I probably haven't mentioned that yet, have I? Now you know).

Pictures when done, I promise.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


So- I finally got on to Pinterest.
I can see this is dangerous.
I guess collecting pictures is cheaper than collecting actual things that cost money though.

Here is a classy looking screen shot of all the swoon-able-things.

And this here is the cutest thing I have ever seen.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bargains that couldn't be said no to

Sometimes I find stuff that I just can't turn down on the internet. Mostly they surprise me a lot.

I got an adorable collared front navy dress with white spots that I really thought would be way too small for me for under $10 including postage. I sewed up the hems on the sleeves and a tiny hole near the armpit, and it fits just fine (if a little snug, but I can get it over my head, which is much better than I was expecting).

And the other thing that came in the mail today was this lovely white embroidered shirt.

Now- because I am broken on the insides and have a terrible sense of self- I really thought this was going to fit. Quite obviously it does not.
It is way too big around the top half and especially around the arms, but I really love the collar and the front which has lovely flowers with some pink thread (which can't really be seen here).

I googled 'shirt refashioning', and found a lot of things that weren't really what I had in mind. I'd love to keep the shirt long sleeved and basically as it is, but make it more fitted and less boxy. I assume this is going to mean taking in the sleeves and doing some darts or something. If I take in the sleeves, this is going to change the sleeve holes right?

It's going to become a big complicated mess, I can just tell.
Does anyone with re-fashioning experience have any suggestions on how I can make this blouse in to something I can tuck in to a high waisted skirt?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Nashi pie and Buttered rum. A Friday evening success story

The other day I failed at copying some pies from A Beautiful Mess.
Today, I tried again and totally won. You can read about my other disaster here but I'm sure success stories are much more satisfying!

Nashi, walnut, date and sultana pie


Puff Pastry,
4 Nashi pears,
1/4 cup sultanas,
10 pitted dates,
1/4 walnut kernels,
tsp cinnamon,
50g white sugar,
1/4 cup brown sugar
tsp vanilla essence,
1/2tsp ginger
Water for stewing.

Combine all ingredients, except the puff pastry, and the sultanas in a saucepan.

I used way too much water, so maybe use less than that. However, I did turn the left over sugary, cinnamony water in to a bizarre kind of sauce by cooking it down?

Basically, I stewed it, add the sultanas later otherwise they just take up room down the bottom and get overly moist.

Use a muffin liner to trace the desires size on to the puff pastry,
Cut out and insert in to a greased muffin tray.

I topped the pies with latticed puff pastry (or stars or stripes as I got more bored) and baked in the over at 180degrees until crispy and slightly bubbling.

Don't burn your hand like I did

Obviously there were some shamefully misshapen pies when I ran out of pastry to do fancy lattice tops.

I didn't care though because I started drinking Buttered Rum (from this recipe) before dinner. MMMmmmmm

It doesn't look like much. But believe me. Yum!

When did I become one of those people?

I was trying to think today, as I walked to class in my green pencil skirt, white silk blouse, long black cardigan and lovely green silk flats, with my eyebrows pencilled, and eye liner and mascara and blush (unfortunately not my legs cleanly shaven like they really ought to have been), when did I turn in to this person.
I know the answer is recently.
I'm not sure why it happened, and I can't really pinpoint a date when I bought that first dress of Etsy.

And then I wore it out, and further to that, I went and purchased another dress that I'm pretty sure I would have massively sneered at 2 years ago.

And then I went and wore that out. A lot.

I guess you miss the reference of my entire years at high school when I wore jeans (generally boys jeans) and an oversized black t shirt with varying slogans and geeky prints on them for about 7 years straight. I think my way of dressing so I didn't look fat was by buying the jeans that only touched my body at my hips, which was hidden by the massive shirt that draped the whole way down, without ever making contact. And they were literally all black shirts. Every single one of them.

I remember looking in to my wardrobe late last year and thinking 'wow.. look at all those colours.. I bet if I posted that on facebook, people from highschool would be amazed'.
I'm not really sure they'd be amazed. They'd probably just think 'about time'.
Or 'Why am I still friends with that girl who is so boring and posting pictures of her wardrobe on facebook? She is most certainly no longer relevant to my current life and shall be purged' (not if I purge you first!).

And then somehow that pink dress ended up in my wardrobe (it's been there for more than a few months, it's just that I can fit in to it and breath now).

I'm pretty sure highschool me would have scoffed.
Personally, I'm kind of glad.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mini Peach Pies via Beautiful mess:

I tried to make these pies from beautiful mess.
Instead I used blackberry and pear.
It kind of failed so there are no pictures.

I thought of many ways they could be better, and am going to forge ahead with the rest of the puff pastry.. Maybe on the weekend.