Monday, 11 October 2010

Grumplestiltskin the bear.

I started this guy a while ago and I have put off and put off finishing him...not sure why, as I have got all the arms and legs and discombobulated bits finished already, but just not sewn together. I liked how his face turned out, even grumpier than I thought it would.

I've been reading some really great blogs that I wanted to share. Each one fits my idea of a fantastic blog - thought provoking, inspiring, funny and human.

Thora Thinks: author of a delightful book

GimmegimmeAmigurumi: very, very cute crochet pictures

Biotic: trees, plants, nature pictures

Mitten Machen: Vegan food and crafts!

and a catch up!

So, no posts since january...what have I been doing all this time? Not so much exciting stuff early on, but I am trying my best to make up for that now!

I started a new job in February, with regular daytime working hours and weekends off, and it has taken much longer that expected to settle into a routine. Not much exciting cooking, and lots of pasta sauces from jars and ready made salads. I've still been cooking at weekends, but it has been hard to get into the habit of making decent homemade lunches to take into work. I imagine this is a common problem, and I will give it my best attention till I figure it out.

I have been crocheting like bonkers though, on the bus, on my lunch break, at the library, everywhere! I have started a few exciting projects for Christmas, like this:

A big star shaped hug for my mum. And this 3dc shell scarf:

And this highly tasteful (I think!) square blanket, for my bed:

I took up crochet when I graduated and spent four months out of work, and I never stopped. I recommend it to everyone!

I've got a pot of red lentil, sweet potato and onion stew simmering on top of the hob at the moment, but I have been unable to take an apetising photo of looks like a swamp in a pan. If it looks any better in the bowl, you can see it, but don't get your hopes up.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Espresso Chip Oatmeal Cookies

More proof that I am of the best sort of flatmate. These cookies were not just great, they were Super-Great. I made a half batch of them to take to the pub with us when we went to meet a friend I havent seen for a while. Everyone who tried one said they were incredibly tasty. Great recipe!

Almond Pancakes

I am such a pro at making pancakes, and I am so despicably smug about it, that I feel no shame in telling you that I dont even measure when I make pancakes. Thats right. (As I type, I have a self-satisfied grin on my face. You know the one...its the kind of grin that makes people hate you. For good reason.) Okay, sometimes I end up with what looks like a fried scone, and other times I end up with fried soymilk with a dusting of flour. But whatever. These pancakes turned out great!

I added a tiny bit (1/4 tsp maybe) of almond extract to the batter, and then poured out the pancakes into the pan as usual. Then I sprinkled the wet side with almond meal and flaked almonds before I flipped it. And they were even more amazing than my pancakes usually are. If I become any more of a smugger I think I will explode.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

YUM. And so easy to make - they cooked in 6 minutes...I would have put a modest amount of money on that being a typo, but I would have lost that modest amount of money. These were good, and although the baking soda gave them a bit of a funny taste (its kind of old) they didnt hang around for long.

Veganomicon Food

Here we have Chickpeas Romanesco and lemony baked potatoes. Terrible picture, but the food was AMAZING.

I cooked for me, my boyfriend, and flatmate 4, and it was really, really good. And best of all, it was different from the things I usually cook. Definitely going to make this again. I was a little sceptical about the almond meal in the sauce, but it was delicious.

Friday, 8 January 2010

The joy of NEW, FREE cookbooks

Well, free might be a slight an effort to Get Rich Quick in my first summer break at uni, I signed up to do surveys on the internet. The surveys trickled in ever so slowly, earning 25p here, and 10p there. Fast forward over two years, and I am not rich, and it certainly wasnt quick, but today I got a £20 amazon gift voucher as recompense for my time and trouble! So I immediately put in an order for two things I have been lusting after, but unable to justify buying - Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, and Veganomicon. I am incredibly excited! VWAV and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World are my two favourite cookbooks (believe the hype) and amazon says I will have their companions in under a week. I am going to celebrate by eating one of the second batch of apricot-glazed almond cupcakes and drinking a big mug of coffee (I have been baking like a madwoman). Life is sweet!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Crimson Velveteen Cupcakes

I told you there would be more! TO celebrate and further welcome my new cupcake pan to my home, I made these Crimson Velveteen Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World...I love this book more than I love most things. These cakes were easy to put together, quick to bake, and while they squidged a little, they rose well overall and kept their shape. I put buttercream vanilla icing on top and then spprinkled with flaked almonds for decoration.

I have never eaten a Red Velvet cupcake, or even heard of one. Maybe theyre not a UK thing? So I was a little dubious about the colour, but I liked the look of them once they'd cooked. And the taste is good - not too chocolatey, not too almondy, not too anything. But yummy.

(I took photos, but blogger is being broke, Ill add them later)

Monday, 4 January 2010

Almond Apricot Cupcakes

So, long time no update. I have not been in the kitchen much, and I have been eating alot of things from packets that need only boiling water to become 'food' - nothing to write home about. But I am meaning to cook more and eat better, and today I found the perfect cupcake tray for £1.50 in the newsagent near my house, so I have been baking! This tray is seriously perfect, and I was sad that they did not have another one, so for now I can only make six cupcakes at a time. The tin I had before didnt really support the cupcake case enough so it spread out and collapsed. Still yummy, but not cupcakes.

I wanted to make something Battenburgy, so I looked up 'almonds' in the index of VCTOTW, and I came up with Apricot Glazed Almond Cupcakes. I made six cupcakes, and I put the other half of the batch into a loaf tin to make a bigger cake. The cupcakes turned out PERFECTLY, springy, moist, light, with the apricot glaze and gooey preserve inside - seriously good.

The loaf cake was fully cooked in 25 minutes, which I was impressed with. It turned out perfect too, as my housemates can verify.

I am definitely 100% going to be making these again. And there will be more cupcakes coming up new cupcake pan is that good. Result!