Finding work for idle hands: making, baking and more.

Tiramisu roulade February 25, 2007

Filed under: Food — lauravw @ 9:10 pm

I seem to be a bit up and down with baking these days: I made some very successful cookies for Valentine’s Day, which were wolfed down by friends at work. But this afternoon I tried a recipe for Tiramisu Roulade, which to me sounds like the ultimate dessert, combining my two loves of roulade and tiramisu. The recipe is from Cakes, Biscuits and Slices, an Australian Women’s weekly cookbook I found at the library (their cook books are very good by the way, and well-priced).

Not quite filling the pan...I knew things would not go according to plan when the recipe called for a swiss roll tin – I’m not entirely sure what this is but figured it would be something like a large brownie pan. I measured my brownie pan and that sounded too small, so I used a cookie sheet with 1/2 inch high sides. So there was the first sign of possible trouble ahead.

The recipe called for three eggs to be beaten with some caster sugar until the mixture turned thick – the book suggested this would take about five minutes. I have a small hand-held electric mixer tool, and stodd mixing with it for 6 or 7 minutes with no sign of a change in the texture of the eggs and sugar. I didn’t want to carry on mixing forever (for one thing, with my mixer you have to hold down the button to make it go, and my finger was starting to ache!) and so I had to proceed to folding in some flour and coffee. Anyway, then I poured it into my prepared pan and to no-one’s surprise found that the cake mix couldn’t expand itself to fill the huge tray I had put it in. So when I baked it, some of the ends were wafer-thin…

The end result was more like a chewy coffee-flavoured pancake than a cake, and it’s so thin that I didn’t really make a roulade, but instead a big tubey thing filled with cream and mascarpone. I had to cut off the ends to neaten it up and that gave me chance for a taste-test. The verdict: it tastes OK, but is chewy. Disappointing. Also, it’s hard to cut neatly, which is a shame as I’ve made it to serve to guests tomorrow evening. The picture in the book makes it look so appealing that I will certainly have another go one day.

The finished roulade. Or pancake. Whatever.


Nice February 23, 2007

Filed under: Shopping — lauravw @ 12:27 pm

cupcakes_next2.jpgNext are selling some cupcake-themed accessories, which would be a nice gift for anyone in your life who appreciates a bit of cake now and then. I like the compact mirror, and the keyring is good – plus it comes with little lipglosses attached, bonus.


Picture this February 21, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — lauravw @ 9:30 pm

This is something I need to make myself read again every time I start to pine for a newer, fancier camera: Ken Rockwell – your camera does not matter. (Via I Like) I often think about when I will buy myself a new camera, and always think I’d want something with a zoom lens so I can take pictures of things that are far away (birds! the moon! and all sorts of other good stuff!) but if I’m honest with myself the reason I  should never let myself have a big camera is that I will just leave it in a drawer while I take out my current, so-small-it-fits-in-my-handbag camera.


DIY Cola February 19, 2007

Filed under: Food — lauravw @ 4:05 pm

Here’s something to do one day: make your own cola.


Eat more fruit February 17, 2007

Filed under: Food — lauravw @ 8:28 pm

I’m trying to eat a little bit healthier – I have a reasonably healthy diet, but I should eat more fruit and to be honest it bores me. I have been making myself take a piece of fruit to work every day, and on many occasions I even eat it, but in an attempt to make things a bit more interesting I have decided to compile a list of smoothie recipes.

We have a book about smoothies but the vast majority of the drinks in there are somewhat ‘fancy’ – the kind of thing you would make if you were wanting to impress someone or treat yourself. As such we never really refer to the book. So, my plan is to assemble a good stack of basic smoothie recipes that could be churned out any day of the week, and don’t require you to keep things like rosewater or edible gold leaf on hand. Any contributions are most welcomed – leave a comment with your recipe or a link to it.

Here are a few to get the ball rolling – I’m not listing quantities here as I usually just chuck stuff in the blender. Also, I’ve put milk down but it goes without saying that any of these would be fine with soya milk.

  • Banana, blueberries and milk.
  • Strawberries, banana and milk.
  • Raspberries, banana and orange juice.
  • Banana, honey and milk.

The BBC have a big list of recipes on their site, and the following ones sound straightforward enough:


Doctor Who, bird lover February 14, 2007

Filed under: Paper crafts — lauravw @ 8:32 pm

I was thrilled to see on Blue Peter this evening that they made a Tardis bird feeder. What a great project – it mostly involves recycled materials too, so you can support Doctor Who AND the planet AND birds, all at the same time.


Urban alphabet February 13, 2007

Filed under: Shopping — lauravw @ 4:20 pm

bostonmag_165.jpgI must stop window-shopping! But before I do, how much do you want a set of these pictures?! I love them – though I think you’d need a set of several to really do them justice, and that puts them way beyond my price range.

There are many other things on the Bellamuse website that are as attractive and much more affordable – the cards have a nice fresh look about them.


Waiting February 11, 2007

Filed under: Shopping — lauravw @ 5:40 pm

plates.jpgI’m waiting for some Valentine cookies to cool down so I can ice them – pictures to follow. While I’m waiting, I have been admiring:

These glass tablemats which come in several different patterns. My plates have quite a modern pattern on them, so I’ve not done well at finding tablemats to suit them – I’m not sure if these are the ones either but they are nice – I love green things. This particular set says that when you stack them all together you get a nice 3D picture effect – obviously something that’s less than essential, but a really nice thought.

This really attractive set of plates and dishes at M&S. They do seem to be trying to be a bit more stylish there these days.


Barcelona buildings February 6, 2007

Filed under: Travel — lauravw @ 1:20 pm

Sorry there have been no updates for a few days – I’ve been away in Barcelona, which was a wonderful place to visit. Many of the buildings there are remarkable, and I’ve enjoyed looking at them all. The city is associated with several famous architects and artists, but my favourite by far was Gaudi. We visited Parc Guell, a funny hillside park with a few buildings and open spaces – it was never finished the way he anticpated, but it’s still interesting. We also toured the Sagrada Familia, a massive and again unfinished cathedral. I knew that it was still under construction, but I didn’t realise just how much work still lies ahead – at this point the interior is pretty much filled with scaffolding, and the roof has only recently been completed. Many of the windows just have plain glass in them, but a few have had modern stained glass panels installed, and they are amazing. You can take an elevator up quite high in the towers of the church, admire the views, and then make your way down the spiral staircase (which can feel claustrophobic, be warned).

Finally, my favourite Gaudi building was Casa Battlo. It’s right in the middle of the city and we stumbled on it on our first day without even trying. The building is all curves and colours – there’s not a straight line in sight, and even the windows are curvy. The roof is all scaly and looks like a dragon. I took quite a few pictures and will have them on Flickr very soon.

On a somewhat related note, I found this article interesting (seen on SVN): it explains how buildings in Chicago, specifically the CNA Center, added messages supporting the Chicago Bears to their buildings by turning off some lights and altering a few shutters. It makes what must be a complicated project sounds so very simple. And this picture of it is fantastic, just look at that if you don’t have time to read the article. (And if you’re at SVN, look at this thread about favourite buildings.)