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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Something for the galanthophiles*

Today we took advantage of the lovely sunshine to do something very seasonal and very British. We went to look round a garden. But not just any garden. Welford Park is open for just 28 days between late January and early March as part of the NGS so that people can enjoy its amazing display of snowdrops. The website promises a "magnificent carpet of snowdrops" and it doesn't disappoint. Even walking from the carpark to the entrance I saw more snowdrops than I'd ever seen in one place before.

Welford Park

There are snowdrops all over Welford Park. Along the sides of the paths, in the rose garden, on sunny banks but the real star of the show is the snowdrop wood. It's breathtaking, like it actually snowed.

Welford Park

Welford Park

I had a great time playing with my new camera. I love the zoom lens and the macro function.

Welford Park

HD snowdrops.

After the snowdrop wood we visited the tearooms for delicious homemade cake and tea.

Welford Park

Welford Park

Being married means you get to share your husband's chocolate cake.

You can find all the snowdrop openings at the NGS website. If you've not made plans for tomorrow or next weekend and you're in the vicinity of Welford Park or any NGS snowdrop garden I thoroughly recommend a visit.

* i.e. an expert on snowdrops.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the possibilities in your stash? It happens to me all the time at the end of a project. I've just finished a pair of Muckle Mitts and the 16 Sixteen Cables hat and I haven't a clue what to knit next. I've got 4 ply Shetland in sufficient quantities for a hat and mittens and lots of laceweight and plenty of other bits and pieces but I'm struggling to match the yarn to a project. So any ideas would be most welcome.  I'm looking for a non-lacy lace project or something in colourwork that isn't another pair of fingerless mittens!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

It's a bit late but ...

Happy Valentine's day!

Valentine's cupcakes

The great thing about these fancy cupcakes from the Maison Blanc bakery in Oxford is that they actually taste of something. The pink one has strawberry flavoured frosting and the white one is coconut and they were both totally delicious.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Woolly hat weather

I started this hat about a week ago when the recent cold snap was at its very frostiest. It's not so much that I needed another hat but I definitely needed a warmer hat.
After a quick trawl through Ravelry I settled on the 16 sixteen cables hat by Circe Belles Boucles. It looks stylish and cosy and a few people have already knit it in my chosen yarn, Rowan Lima. It's my first time knitting with Lima and I really love it. It's basically an aran weight icord which makes it very lightweight for an alpaca yarn.
Of course the weather's now getting warmer which is great but I hope it will stay cold enough to get a couple of wears out of my new hat before Spring really sets in.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Rainbow Battenberg cake

No, that's not the version of Android that my new phone is running but rather my birthday cake. I first saw and tried this cake at Teacup in Manchester and immediately wanted to try and have a go at making it for myself. I followed the recipe for Battenburg [sic] cake in Leiths Baking Bible but made one and a half times the quantity of mixture and of course added colouring.

I created the different layers by first dividing the mixture into three and colouring it red, green, and blue. I don't know the exact quantities of food colouring used, just that it was enough to get a satisfyingly vivid shade of each colour. I then took roughly two quarters of each colour and combined them separately to make green, orange and purple. I then put the mixture into two square 20 cm tins with three stripes in each tin. I didn't bother to separate them in any way, just put them in carefully and hoped they wouldn't mingle too much. I baked the two cakes at 180°C for around 20 minutes.Once the cakes were cooled I cut each cake into three, sandwiched them with apricot jam, trimmed the edges and wrapped the whole thing in marzipan. I should warn you that the cakes will not look rainbow coloured when they come out of the oven, their technicoloured tendencies will only appear once you cut into them.

I will definitely be making this again. I'd like to make the division between the colours neater and (although it tasted fine) I'd like to do a little more to promote flavour over colour, maybe by using natural fruit colours.

Written on my shiny new Android phone.