Saturday, 29 June 2013

Welsh Cakes...and a puppy!

One of my all time favourite tea-time treats are Welsh cakes. For anyone who's unfamiliar with these goodies... they are a bit like thin scones and traditionally cooked on a griddle pan, or bakestone rather than in the oven. (Although a frying pan works just fine!) I'm working in Wales at the moment, and staying with family so I thought what better food to bring then some Welsh cakes, though if I'm honest most of them were demolished on the bus journey there.
So here is the recipe, it makes around 16 cakes.

225g plain flour
110g butter/margarine, plus extra for greasing
75g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on top.
50g sultanas/currants
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp mixed spice
1 egg
pinch of salt
splash of milk, if needed
1 tsp of grated orange zest

  • First sift all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl (flour, baking powder, salt and mixed spice). Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the sugar, add the dried fruit and orange zest to the mixture. 
  • Pour in the egg and mix to form a dough, using a little milk if needed. Roll the dough out to a thickness of around a biscuit and use a pastry cutter to cut out round cakes. 
  • Cook the cakes on a greased preheated frying pan on a medium/high heat. If the heat is too hot the outside of the cakes will burn while the inside stays uncooked. 
  • Once they are all cooked, sprinkle with caster sugar. 
I eat mine just as they are, but you can spread them with some butter or jam. I really love the addition of the orange zest to the standard recipe, I think it adds just a little more flavour. 

In other exciting news, my parents have recently got a puppy.

 This is Ellie the labradoodle, and I just had to share her with you all as she's so small and cute!

Emily Kate 

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Mini Musicians...

 Well, well, well, looky what we have here... It's some more mini musicians! (and about time too)
So here we have Miss Flute and Miss Oboe, loosely based on a couple of friends of mine, and yes her hair actually is that crazy, although perhaps not that yellow.
 The flute was very simple to make, as it's all silver there wasn't really any need for any added detail. I have some spangly silver thread, which is very difficult to knit with, but made a pretty good flute I think.
For the oboe I used the end of a cocktail stick for the reed, and increased a stitch for the last couple of rows, to make the bell.

mini oboist

So if you're a flute or oboe player, or you know someone who is, send them a link to my blog! I've been very surprised and humbled by the response I had to my mini bassoonist on here, and my facebook, and I've been inspired to try and sell a few on etsy. So please do watch this space, I'll hopefully get it done over the summer. It's lovely to see I'm not the only musical geek out there!

knitted oboe

Emily Kate

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Negative Embroidery Experiment

hand embroidery Since my Glasses Case post a couple of months ago I've really wanted to try some more negative space embroidery. So this time I decided to try a shape rather than a word, with horizontal lines around it rather than seed stitches. I chose a flying bird for the image, and I rather like the effect. The outline could have been clearer I think if the embroidered lines were slightly closer together. I chose colours that went well together, (although the photo doesn't illustrate this at all well!) turquoise, dark blue, magenta and white. I pinned the shape onto the centre of the hoop and then began stitching fancy lines in embroidery floss out from the edge of the template.

 The only thing is I'm not entirely sure what to do with it now, I feel like I should make it into something... but I don't know what. I could just leave it as a little piece of embroidery hoop art, but then I'm not really sure what one's supposed to do with them either, just hang them around?! Any ideas are always welcomed in the comments section!

Anyway this is an embroidery technique I really love doing, and I am hoping to try it out on a sewing machine some time soon, because if I could find a way of doing it a little quicker, I'd like to try out maybe selling a few things on etsy.

In other crafty news... my mini musicians had unfortunately taken a back seat for a while.. as I do find it difficult to feel inspired to knit when it's so warm outside! I'll be spending rather a lot of time on a megabus trundling along the M4 in the next month or so though, so I have decided to make use of it and knit like crazy. However my next post should hopefully feature one or two of my knitted friends at least, so watch this space...

Emily Kate.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Mini Victoria Sponge Cupcakes

My post today is a really simple idea to make plain vanilla cupcakes a little more exciting. Mini 'Victoria Sponge' cupcakes with a raspberry jam centre and vanilla buttercream icing on top. Use a straightforward vanilla cupcake recipe for the cupcakes, or the recipe for a standard victoria sponge, separated into individual cakes. When the cakes were cooked and cool, I carefully piped some smooth raspberry jam into the centre of the cupcakes using a piping bag with a small nozzle. For the buttercream I roughly used:

100g salted butter (softened)
250/300g icing sugar
1/2tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cream (if needed)

Beat the softened butter until smooth, sift in the icing sugar and slowly mix in with the vanilla extract. I prefer to use salted butter rather than unsalted butter, then adding salt as many recipes suggest. I also think the best consistency is achieved by using proper butter, instead of soft margarine. If the icing is a little thick, and struggling to come together add a spoonful or so of cream.

Pipe the buttercream using a star shaped nozzle in a spiral shape, working from the outside in. I added a single raspberry on top for decoration and a dusting of icing sugar.

I think they look quite cute, and the jam in the centre coupled with the buttercream, is just perfect.

Emily Kate