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June, 2013

  1. Cut-out Sugar Cookies – Baby Feet!

    June 30, 2013 by sarah

    I took a box of these baby feet cookies to the baby shower. This is my first attempt at cut-out cookies and royal icing and piped icing biscuits. Well, actually second attempt for the cookies because the first recipe, from my trusty Nigella’s ‘How To Be A Domestic Goddess’, were disappointing; not at all buttery or sweet like they should be and easily burnt. So 10pm on Thursday I made a second batch which were much more successful. This recipe is made up from various sources when I noticed I needed to add more butter and to leave out the baking powder. I have to admit to much preferring a nice slice of moist cake or a tasty cupcake to a biscuit or cookie but I may be tempted to make these from time to time, especially as they can be made in advance (supposedly keeping for up to a month).

    Butter/sugar cookies for cut out

    200g unsalted butter, soft/room temperature

    150g caster sugar

    2 tsp vanilla extract

    1 large egg

    300g plain flour, 1 tsp salt

    • Cream the butter and sugar until well mixed but not getting to light and airy stage (air will make the biscuits spread), whisk in the vanilla and then the egg.
    • Sift over the flour and salt and mix until comes together in one lump.
    • Divide the very soft and sticky dough into 2 patties, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour.
    • Kneed just a couple of times so smooth and warm enough to work. Roll out using minimal flour (can do it between 2 sheets of parchment so no extra flour needed as the flour will change the texture of the cookies) until 1/2cm thick. Cut out desired shapes and place on greased or parchment lined baking trays, allowing a couple of centimeters between each cookie. Place trays in fridge for at least half an hour or the freezer for 10 minutes until firm.
    • Bake in preheated oven at 160 degrees fan for 12-14 minutes until just going golden around the edges, allow to cool completely on wire racks and leave at least 24h before icing.

    Royal Icing

    500g icing sugar

    3 tbsp dried egg white powder

    100-150ml warm water

    • Add 100ml warm water to the dried egg whites in a bowl and whisk until well blended. Add any liquid flavourings eg vanilla extract.
    • Sift over the icing sugar and beat until well mixed then continue beating for 10 minutes until thick. Colour at this stage.
    • Leave for 24h before uring. To pipe on to biscuits, the correct consistency is that a knife dragged through the mixture takes 10 seconds to fill in.
    • Pipe an outline then fill in. Size 2 to 5 nozzle is required, though I only had a size 10 and this worked too.

    baby (7 of 5)

  2. Baby presents!

    June 30, 2013 by sarah

    The practice manager of the practice where I work had her baby shower on Friday. I put together a little bundle of baby themed things, including some hand stitched felt baby booties and some appliqued onesies and bibs. The booties are surprisingly easy to make and look so cute. The pattern and instructions is from a fantastic website I discovered recently. Sadly the online store and shop are in the USA, but perhaps this is a blessing otherwise I would end up spending all my money there!

    This was my first attempt at applique and it was a bit mixed success-wise, mainly because the antique sewing machine I use is on the way out and so the stitching is irregular. The patterns are just images searched for on Google and simplified to make them easier to stitch, stuck to the fabric with Bondaweb. I am fairly pleased with the result and will try and make an applique strawberry T-shirt for myself for our holiday in Germany next week.

    Congratulations Anna!

    baby (3 of 5) baby (4 of 5) baby (5 of 5) baby (6 of 5)

  3. Coconut Kitsch! Coconut Cake

    June 1, 2013 by sarah

    I finally get time to bake a cake again – I needed the therapy. I found a bag of dessicated coconut in my baking ingredients drawer and decide to make a coconut cake. The recipe called for Malibu but I hate the stuff (smells of cheap tanning oil) so substituted rum which works nicely. The recipe is courtesy of Nigella’s Domestic Goddess – I think I must be making my way through the book! Lilac and clematis flowers from the garden.

    2 x 21cm sandwich tins, lined and buttered

    225g unsalted butter, softened, 225g caster sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 4 large eggs, 200g self-raising flour, 25g cornflour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 50g dessicated coconut soaked in 125ml boiling water.

    Filling – 25g dessicated coconut, toasted in dry pan, 75g soft unslated butter, 150g icing sugar, 1 tbsp rum/Malibu

    Make the sponge by the all in on method and cook for 25mins at 180 degrees until cake tester comes out clean.

    Make the buttercream by softening butter then sifting over icing sugar, beat until smooth then add the toasted coconut.

    Iced with glace icing made from icing sugar and rum, topped with some more toasted coconut.

    Enjoy your slice of coconut heaven!

    coconut (10 of 8) coconut (9 of 8) coconut (8 of 8)

  4. A Vintage Find!

    June 1, 2013 by sarah

    At the weekend, we took a short break in the Peak District. On a trip to Calke Abbey ( , well worth a visit), I found this pile of old magazines from 1950 in the second hand bookshop. I just love the adverts so couldn’t resist buying a pile. They look like they belong in their own museum. I need to think of how I’ll use them now…

    coconut (7 of 8) coconut (6 of 8)












    coconut (5 of 8) coconut (4 of 8) coconut (3 of 8)