Tuesday, 26 May 2015

New Dress?

With the next event only 3 days away everything's a bit hectic in trying to make sure all my ducks are in a row. And yet I'm still trying to get the red dress that should have been done ages ago done for the weekend.

*sigh* I don't think I'll ever learn about last minute sewing.

Rest assured though, I am being supervised, and anything Suzie-supervised is bound to turn out well*. 

*Where "well" may mean covered in cat hair.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Layered Mint Cheesecake

Recently I shared a picture on my facebook page that seemed very popular indeed. Certainly the physical cake didn't last long at all.

Now, I shall preface this recipe by stating that it is not mine. It was generously shared some time ago on another social media long since abandoned, so I can't find the user name of the original poster. That said, should the owner find this recipe and decide they'd prefer it not to be posted, please contact me and I shall dutifully remove it. And on to the recipe:

287g chocolate cookies, crushed
57g butter

3 x 227g packs of cream or soft cheese (this time out I used the lactose free philadelphia, which seemed to work quiet well)
172g caster sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
100g semi-sweet chocolate, melted (I prefer to use 70% cocoa chocolate)
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
Green food colouring

1) Preheat the oven to 180oC and grease a 9" loose bottom cake tin.
2) Melt the butter and mix in the crushed biscuits. Press the mixture firmly into the tin and put into the freezer.
3) In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together well. Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat well.
4) Take out a third of the mixture and mix mint extract and green food colouring into this portion.
5) In the remaining two thirds, add in the melted chocolate and stir well.
6) Spread a little less than half of the chocolate half of the mix over the cheesecake base and allow to chill for 10 minutes.
Note: This chilling is the magic step, this is what allows the layers to be poured separately to give that wonderful look when cut.
7) Add the mint layer, making sure to spread it gently so it covers the bottom chocolate later without disturbing it. Chill and add the final chocolate later in the same manner.
8) Cook the cheesecake for 44-55 minutes depending on your oven, but you may want to check it after 40. When cooked the cheesecake, insert a knife into the cake; if cooked, the knife will come out clean. Make sure to allow the cheesecake to cool somewhere warm (on top of the oven would be ideal) as if it cools too quickly, it may crack. This doesn't harm the cheesecake or the flavour, just takes away from the aesthetics.
9) Last, but most important, enjoy!

You can see from the recipe above, it would be very easy to substitute other flavours into this cake to make a variety of cakes.. must get around to trying a chocolate orange flavour one of these days...

Monday, 4 May 2015

First Yarns

What better way to spend a sunny bank holiday Monday, directly after an event which while not going to plan, was no less wonderful a weekend, in getting to know the new spinning wheel.

Two and a half years since my last attempt meant I had to turn to YouTube to find directions on how to get started, and even then there were many, many false starts before I managed to get everything working together. Funnily enough, it was when I kicked off my shoes so I could feel the treadle through nothing but my stockinged feet, just like last time, that it all worked smoothly. I'm hoping the same will hold true for my slippers when I'm in garb using the wheel. Oh well, if not it'll be an excuse to have some exceptionally pretty socks made up to show off.

I've started spinning using Ashford Merino Silk, which is 80% New Zealand Merino and 20% silk. I stopped here so I could divide the fibre, and make sure I only used half on this bobbin so I could ply it properly later. The yarn is coming out quite fine at the moment, though with the odd slub here and there, that it's enough to keep me hoping that it'll come out, when plied, as a nice fingering weight yarn, so I can knit up something pretty to show off.