Another delicious recipe from the Humming Bird Bakery Cookbook (thank you, Nadia). These went down a storm!
What surprised me about the sponge is that it didn't have any eggs in it. It's quite a dense mixture made by mixing wet and dry ingredients like a muffin:
120g Caster Sugar
40g Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/1/2 tsp white vinegar (i used cider vinegar and it was fine!)
1 cap Vanilla Essence
Put all these into the cupcake cases and then mix together the cheese cake:
140g cream cheese
60g caster sugar
1 cap vanilla essence
100g milk chocolate chips
Pop this on top of the cupcakes and cook at 170 degrees for 20 mins.
The recipe book suggests adding cream cheese frosting on top of these but I think that's a bit much! If you were going to add frosting then I'd suggests a chocolate fudge icing.
I'm not a fan of swimming costumes but I really like the Edwardian swimming dresses. The only problem with them is that they are made of linen and so are quite heavy when wet and don't dry quickly. So I decided to make a swimming dress from board short material.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find the material for sale in the UK so I bought four pairs of extra large board shorts and cut them up. I was hoping to get an Enchanted-style holey curtain shot but there wasn't any material left by the time I'd finished!
I used the top of linen dress and a pleated netball skirt to cut a basic pattern in tissue paper and then adjusted it on my mannequin. It turns out Miranda, the mannequin, has a much shorter body than me so I had to make a belt strip in the middle to join the two together.
Despite using all the material, the skirt was a little tight around the bottom... of the skirt and so wouldn't have been good for swimming as I wouldn't be able to kick. I cut open the pleats and inserted a strip of aqua lycra which would stretch with the kicks. I plan to make a matching bikini out of the lycra to wear under the dress.
Throughout the construction of the garment, I tried to keep it in theme with the boardshorts it came from: all the seams are top stitched with twin needles and the hem of the skirt and arm holes is a double hem. I put pockets on the sides to make it look more like a pair of swimming trunks but I also found that the trunks were pretty badly made and every time I unpicked a pocket, there was a giant hole made when the sewing machine had finished the stitches. I mostly managed to hide these holes in the new seams but there was one massive hole in the centre of the back so I stuck a pocket over the top. I'm going to call it theme-ing. I made the middle band more like the waist band of a pair of swimming shorts by unpicking the elastic from two truncks and making a double band at the back. It's sheared over the top of the elastic. I took out all of the darts in the top once I added the elastic and this will give a bit more space when swimming.
I was going to put in sleeves but I decided that would hinder the arm movements too much. I was also planning for the collar to be larger but I think that too could get in the way of turning your head to breathe.
All in all, I'm looking forward to hitting the beach this summer in my new outfit!
This is an easy recipe for a delicious ragu sauce. Serves 4-6.
60g Bacon rashers
1 x celery stick
1 x carrot
5 x table spoons tomato puree
1 x beef Oxo cube
2 x garlic cloves
1 tea spoon Marmite
1 splash red wine vinegar
basil, nutmeg, pepper to season
Cut the bacon into small pieces and fry while chopping the onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Add mince to the pan and fry until browned. Then add the vegetables and fry until soft (about 5 minutes or so). Boil the kettle and add 150ml to the crumbled oxo cube. Add the stock, milk, tomato puree, Marmite and herbs. Turn up the heat and leave it to simmer for about 15-30 minutes or while the pasta is cooking.
I recently dyed some wool with food colouring and wet felted it into beads. I strung it onto some necklaces with 2mm plastic coloured beads, clear thread and silver lobster clasps, O rings and earrings.
To make the beads, dip the wool into warm soapy water and then slowly roll it into a sphere. Speed up as it cools and hardens. It will shrink a lot.
You rip what you sew!