Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The truth about centipedes & millipedes - I only just found out (last week)

I seriously did think that centipedes had 100 legs and millipedes had 1,000,000 legs.
And I only found out last week w/c 30th April 2012, that this was not true, and I was very disappointed.
  • Why didn't I know this until last week?
  • Why didn't anyone tell me?
Millipedes and centipedes were mentioned because there's a few knocking around the allotment, I don't touch them, they make me cringe.

Even wikipedia says a millipede doesn't have 1,000 legs...Hang on, 1,000 legs? That's not right, the clue's in the name, millipede = million.  And the stuff about centipedes says they have between 20-300, so why call them a centipede??

Millipede information on wikipedia
Centipede information on wikipedia

How old were you when you found out?

Monday, 7 May 2012

cakebook planning - stop it from leaning sideways

These are extracts from Top SECRET cakebook plans

cakebook: baking cakes

I need 14 sponges (2 of each): red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo & violet:

As you can see I've made good progress baking, here's how the cake-o-meter looks so far:

This weekend I made great progress, working on a 300g mix-base (300g SF flour, sugar, fat, 6 eggs, 1tbsp milk and 1 tsp vanilla essence).

I split the mixture into 2 portions (600g per mix) and coloured the mix before putting in tins and baking (175° for 20mins).

Once cooled the cakes were removed from their greaseproof and frozen.

Over this weekend (5 & 6th May) I've made 13 of the 14 cakes needed for the middle of the building.

The top part of the building is cooked in a single tin shaped like a bell, it's a bit slow to cook and a bit tempramental.

I'm wondering if I can make the cake mix for the entire dome, split it into 7 portions, colour it, and then layer it in the dome shaped tin before cooking.  I'm wondering how much blurring of colours I'll get by doing it this way, or it I'd get away with separating each layer with a piece of greaseproof that I can remove after it's cooked?  This might need some experimentation.

And Mr Lisa still doesn't know (yet).

cakebook plans

Cakebook 2012: The last bake

Cakebook 2012 is an event organised by Newcasle Gateshead EAT Festival 2012.  The event calls upon bakers amateur (like me) and professionals to bake cakes and craft them into a building...

In 2010 it was a building/structure from Newcastle/Gateshead, and I baked The Bridge Hotel, which I was really pleased with.

In 2011 it was a building/structure from the North East and Yorkshire, and I baked Bamburgh Castle, which I was quite disappointed with.

And this year we're required to bake/build a building/structure from one of the 10 'regions' across the UK.

I said in 2011 I wouldn't do it again, because I spent so much time baking in the run up to the event, that I didn't take part in some of the other events in the programme.

But I've found a building that I'd love to bake, and after my own personal disappointment with last years cake, I need to 'fix' it by doing a really really good bake this year....

Oh yes, I've signed up, I've agreed to bake the gherkin building and the plans have been drawn up...

I spent the last couple of days planning things out: height-width, materials, construction plans, which will be posted to this blog, but i didn't want to spoil all of the suprises straight away...

Oh yes, and Mr Lisa doesn't know yet....

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Allotment harvest (6May): Rhubarb, Leeks and Purple Sprouting Broccoli

Thank you allotment!

Today's yummy harvest includes:
  • Purple sprouting broccoli (which I'll simply steam)
  • Rhubarb (which I'll turn into a crumble)
  • Leeks (which I'll either steam or pan fry in butter)
The leeks have been in the allotment over winter, some of them had begun to go to seed, but since this stint of cold weather they've hung on a bit longer.  And they've kept me going over winter/spring - I love leeks, they stay in the ground and you just pick them as you need them.

The rhubarb was a plant I brought from my old allotment, which has been in since 2007, each year it gets bulkier and bulkier.  The stalks don't go completely pink, and I don't force it either, I just let it go a bit wild.  I'm planning on moving this year - I could probably get a couple of good sized cuttings off it for anyone who wants them?  I mainly turn rhubarb into crumble, but last year made a cake (rhubarb, raspberry & custard), but I would like to make something else rhubarby, like a jam or a chutney.  I've made rhubarb ice cream before (which is delicious), so I might make that again.

The broccoli was inherited from the allotment next door - I was offered the plot last month and it has about 3 purple sprouting broccoli plants on it  - bonus!  Especially as I didn't get mine in early enough and missed the spring-brassica season.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Geek Chic: Retro cassette laptop case

Look what I bought - this retro cassette tape laptop case for my laptop.

And it was only £14.99 from Amazon
And it's cool (IMHO).

And if you want to be a Copy Cat Kipper, you can buy one here from Amazon.

Copy Cat Kipper

If someone buys the same thing as you, whether it's a school bag, pencil case, packed lunchbox, you can call them a Copy Cat Kipper.  I did, when I was 9.

Geek chic (headphone storage)

Cotton reel style headphone storage
I bought this from Paperchase in York a couple of weeks ago.

I saw it and I had to have it for my headphones, which often turn into 'spaghetti mess' in the bottom of my handbag.

And I love it.