I know, it's been months and I'm not quite sure if there's any excuse good enough to explain this absence.
I've still been baking and cooking but things just never made it onto my camera let alone here!
I'm in London! Yes. I can hardly believe it too and have to remind myself a few times a day that I'm here. It all happened really fast sometime in February. I had applied to the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) at the end of last year to see if I could get a place for the Post-Graduate Diploma in Tropical Nursing. Chances were slim...heck, they were dental floss-skinny! An intake of 65/year and I didn't have anything beyond a diploma. But I've recently had this mentality that if I haven't got anything to lose, why not just try. So I applied. I dreamt about being here and thought up crazy scenarios of where I'd stay, who I'd be friends with even down to what I'd like to wear! All this before I had even heard from the school. Fast-forward: I heard from the school asking if I could be put on the waiting list. Yay no.1! I had been accepted. So I plonked myself down on the waiting list and got on with life. About 3 weeks later I heard from the school again. Someone had pulled out and they wanted to offer me a place! Yay no. 2! Golly. And with just 4 weeks til the course was scheduled to start. Of course I said yes, and everything just went a little crazy in my mind and the days to follow.
So I'm sitting here in my bedroom, 4 weeks into the course and starting to miss home real bad.
You see, I'm not one for adventures on my own. I love exciting new things but I much prefer it when someone else is here to share it with me. hmmm.
Okay, mulling over. I'll survive but this blog won't if I don't get something out!
So, over Christmas I did bake & cook. Of course! Who'd be crazy enough not to?? Well, that's not what we usually say the day after Christmas. We collapse from the overly-ambitious work and swear we'll never make the same mistake... and then Christmas comes along and we fall head-over-heels again!
I'll just tell you what I made and put some links up...
- Rice Krispie Christmas Trees
- Slow-cooker Cinnamon Almonds
- Roasted Pumpkin & Ricotta Crostini
- Stuffed Courgette Rolls
- Soft-bake Funfetti Sugar Cookies
- S'mores Pie
I know right? I could have had 6 posts! Well, maybe I will without the pictures. Still have a few tips that the websites couldn't tell you. Next time.
For now, I've got an epic Chocolate Cake I made for Mothering Sunday just last week.
Initially I wanted to do an adaptation on the Cake-Mix-from-a-Box. But the post office by the station didn't have any left and the closest supermarket in the village is...erm...ages away. :/ So I quickly Pinterested for a rich chocolate cake I could do and got down to it!
One epic headache? Conversions! Argh. What's with all this US/UK Metric/Imperial confusion???
Even the tablespoons are of different sizes! And I think I've finally decided that the Metric and weight measurements are the most consistent for any recipe. So from now on I'll give all measurements in grams unless otherwise impossible.
Okay, rant over.
- Self-raising Flour 125gm
- Granulated Sugar 200gm
- Cocoa Powder 60gm
- Baking Powder 1/2 tsp
- Salt 1/2 tsp
- Eggs 2
- Milk 115ml
- Melted Butter 60ml
- Vanilla Extract 15ml
- Black Coffee 115ml
- Softened butter 180gm
- Cocoa Powder 60gm
- Icing Sugar 250-350gm
- Milk 100ml
- Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
- Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C
- Grease two 7-8" round tins generously
- In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together
- Add the eggs, milk, butter and vanilla to dry mixture and beat until smooth
- Add the coffee and mix well. Batter should be quite fluid
- Pour evenly into prepared trays and bake for 30-35mins until toothpick inserted comes out clean
- Remove from oven and leave cake to pull away from edges before removing from tins to cool further
- In a clean bowl beat butter and cocoa until well mixed
- Alternating between 1/2 cups of icing sugar sieved and tablespoons of milk mix frosting until desired consistency and taste. Too thick/sweet? Add more milk. Too bitter? Add more sugar.
- Add vanilla extract and beat well until light and fluffy
- Cut the dome off one cake and place trimmed cake on surface for frosting
- Put about 1 cup of frosting in the middle of the cake
- Place top layer gently on top of the bottom layer. To sandwich, gently rotate top layer while pressing down gently until frosting just starts to overflow on all sides. I've found this to be the most effective in ensuring there are no air pockets in the frosting
- Put about 1 1/2 cups of frosting on the top of the cake
- Using a flat/offset spatula (a butter knife will work too), spread the frosting out from the middle and down the sides. Fill any holes with the remaining frosting
- Chill in fridge until ready to serve
P.s. I found this cake better after having a day to rest in the fridge. Gives the cake time to "gum" with the frosting giving it a fudgy texture.