Thursday 28 July 2011

The Rainbow Cake

Last Thursday I was having dinner with a couple of friends when I confessed my intention to make a rainbow cake the following morning (having already spent money on cake tins and food dye I was pretty committed to the task).
I can't remember their exact responses but they were something like:
"Are you mad / Haven't you got better things to do / Why bother"

Hmmm, why indeed.
It was a two-week late cake for Hugh's birthday - I think both him and Coco were put out by the lack of cake. For a three year old birthdays are all about the cake. And a little bit for Hugh's sister who was visiting and had also had a birthday.
But mainly I guess I'd set my mind to doing it. There is something about making things that just makes me feel happy and satisfied. I'm not normally a baker, but having a contained project (unlike most of my schemes) is quite a good thing once in a while.

So justification over.

And the result of both making the cake and the prospect of surprising Hugh and Coco was actually very enjoyable. Rocking the pushchair to get Henry asleep at the same time as trying to ice the thing was a little stressful, but generally, it was kind of fun.
And one of the secrets, I discovered, to making baking fun is don't clear up along the way.

Because I had to do the whole job by 1.30 I just measured and mixed, messed with food colouring and shoved the dirty dishes in the sink, left wafts of flour and dribbles of egg until it was done.
In a slightly obsessive way I normally HAVE to clear up as I go along.
So there.
My theory for what it's worth!
I didn't go crazy with the layers, or try a complicated icing; so I think I was pretty sane about the whole project really.

Coco helped decorate the outside when she got home from nursery, without any knowledge of the rainbow awaiting her...

And the cake did it's wowing job perfectly.
Coco of course only ate the red/pink layer despite taking part in a blind tasting which proved that all the layers tasted exactly the same!

Ms Marmite Lover has done a UK version of the recipe, which I followed and which worked a treat.

The original US version can be found on Whisk Kid.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

A Day in Pictures

Sunday was a mooching day - in as much as you can mooch with two dependents hanging around.

And I did something I've been planning to do for a while. I documented the day with a photo (or two) an hour.

Looks kind of boring; but on the other hand I think it will be nice to look back at.

If you are interested in the full edit, I've put it here.

Friday 22 July 2011

A (Very British) Summer Party

My second cousin hosted a party for in honor of some American relations on Saturday... it had been planned for months but of course the weather turned very British on us...

We soldiered on none-the-less and the BBQ went ahead.

The green-fingered side of the family did an amazing job with the food. Homegrown carrots, courgettes, potatoes and beetroot were made into a colourful and mouthwatering display... and there were lots of blooms fresh from the garden.

First sardines of the season from Cornwall (and amazing cheeses from my cousin in Devon too).
Even Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall would have been impressed.

Summer pudding with allotment grown fruits.

and look at this tomato crop; in the front garden. Not jealous. Honest.

I couldn't resist taking photos of all the different flowers around the house...

Everyone loved the red-current sorbet; no E-numbers in this one, that's all natural fluro!

Sunday 17 July 2011

Letters for Colette!

I've been shamed into finishing the letters that I started making for Coco over THREE YEARS AGO!

One of the most popular posts on this blog seems to be the one about Coco's bedroom, which has a photo of the 3D letters 'C' and 'O' that I made for her when she was about 4 months old.

... and now she has the L, two T's and two E's which means she has her full 'big' name.

This is a perfect example of why I started my blog, if I'm going to put stuff out there it has to be finished! So last week I actually pulled my finger out, used all the cereal boxes in the house (even the ones that were still officially in use) and finished something I started!

Is quite good for her right now too as she is really getting into writing Coco on everything, which is obviously a VERY easy name to write, thought I'd try to scupper that!
As you can see I'm experimenting with their final location...

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Letterpress Learning at Harrington & Squires

Last Thursday was a good day.
First, I got to ride my Brompton (yep, still got it), go on a train without a buggy/child and visit a bit of London I haven't been to in a while.
Just that would have been enough to warrant a good day.

But it got so much better.

I spent the day doing a course in Letterpress printing at Harrington & Squires. I learned a lot, tried something new, was reminded of things I used to love plus I met the two very inspiring women who are Harrington and Squires, and a lovely fellow student.

The result of the day were my very own blogcards... and an appetite to do some more printing projects, both with Letterpress and my trusty Gocco.

And then of course I got home to my lovely family, was great to have a 'free' day, but I got a very heart-warming welcome back. Henry kicking his legs and flapping his arms in excitement.
And Coco spilled the beans about a present her and Hugh had made for me for our anniversary... classic!
Days don't get much better than that.

Harrington & Squires are based in a very quirky shop called the corridor... because it is basically a corridor. On three floors. Perfectly adapted to purpose and very organised.

The lead used to create the space between lines of type. Leading, geddit?

Typesetting... a very satisfying task, just wouldn't want to do a whole newspaper.

Inspiration everywhere...

Inking up on the (Adana) press... and freshly printed cards...

The finished article, complete with holes made with a great Japanese puncher. Chrissie kindly let me stay until nearly 7pm punching my holes and chatting.

Ah yes, and the day was a Christmas gift, so thank you very much Hugh!