Rainbow Cakes


In the wake of the stupendous news from the other side of the pond (or from your own side of the pond, or the top of the pond, or round the back of the pond… it all depends where you’re standing), and with Pride celebrations happening across the world this weekend, I’m seeing wall-to-wall rainbows all over my social media. I’m delighted to see them. Wordpress is flying a rainbow banner at the top of the very page I’m typing on. Half my Facebook friends have rainbow profile pictures. My online world is a brighter place.

And it made me think – remember when I made beautiful rainbow cakes?

You don’t?!

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Look at these glorious beasts. I’ve only made them once, but I feel like I nailed it.

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Rainbow Close Lilac 2

Let this post serve as a reminder that I once made these, and they were awesome. If you want to make your own, I put together a Rainbow Icing Tutorial that you can have a look at. It uses more than one piping bag, and will make a dent in your patience reserves, there’s no denying it.

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Rainbow Post-Icing

You, too, can get your Pride on in the form of cake. If you can convince a baking fanatic friend to make them for you, all the better.

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Be warned, though. People can come over a bit funny when faced with so much rainbow.

Rainbow Ruth


Foodie Penpals May 2015


My parcel this month came from Ingrida in the Netherlands. I asked her to send me snacks that were ready to eat – and she didn’t disappoint!

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She also included a massive wedge of gouda, which is still keeping me going. Generally I don’t know that it’s a great idea to put cheese in the post – though this one did make it unscathed, as did the packet I got last month. What do other people think? Anyway, this one is strong and smoky, it was the first thing I opened – I couldn’t even wait to take a picture before I tried it.

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The next things were stroppwaffles – I’ve had these before, they are SO good. I have one left, I’m saving it (though I’m sure it won’t last much longer. Fact: the happy man on this packet makes them taste even better.

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There were some speculoos biscuits, too – these were just about right for tea time, the biscuits stand up admirably to being dipped in a hot beverage. And that happy man is there again, too!

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The rest of my parcel was full of boiled sweets, none I’d ever tried before. I tried to figure out the flavours even though I don’t speak Dutch. I figured out the two in tins – they’re coffee and butter flavoured. The butter ones are kind of like Werther’s Originals, sweet and buttery hard caramel. Plus there is a lady on the tin who looks like knows what’s what.

The coffee sweets were excellent – I couldn’t imagine how they’d taste, but they were kind of like mild coffee creams, but longer-lasting. I took all the sweets in to work and there were a lot of pleasantly surprised ‘mmm!’ noises going around the office as people tried these.

There were another two bags of sweets, too – Ingrida really spoiled me! We’re not absolutely positive what these flavours are, but we think these ones are cherry flavoured:

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These were kind of like the rock you get at the seaside, but softer. Not as soft as Edinburgh rock – it has a bit of crunch to it, especially round the edges. I’ve just translated all the writing on the package – they are cherry wands, and the bottom of the label says ‘sweets from the old times’. There’s something very charming about roughly translated phrases, isn’t there?

These were also a kind of caramel toffee sweet, which was unexpected – we were thinking maybe pineapple, by the colour.

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They translate as ‘butter wafers’, though I think ‘butter waffles’ might be more accurate. I love the shape of them! I must try making my own boiled sweets some time.

I loved everything in my parcel – and so did my colleagues – so a big thank you from all of us, Ingrida!

If you’d like to get involved in Foodie Penpals, here’s the lowdown:

We have a Facebook page, where you can see photos of other parcels, read blog posts about them and get to know people who take part.

We use the #foodiepenpals hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.

In Europe, you can sign up through the drop down menu at the top of the page, or by clicking here. We’re taking a break this month, but we’ll be starting up again in July.

In the US and Canada, you can sign up through The Lean Green Bean.


Photo Party!


I didn’t have a blog post for this week. I made a cake! And every single photo I took of it looked like I’d taken it with a toy camera. So, that wasn’t going to work. I took a look through my Instagram feed, and turned up a few photos that never made it blogward. I thought I could try a bit of a photo party with those – it’s a new idea for me, but let’s give it a whirl.

First of all, it’s been my birthday! I managed to carry the celebrations over a few days, starting with a surprise cake when I went out to dinner with my work buddies. That sneaky lot. I had a load of cards, including one depicting me as a monster playing drums (so true to life), and my mum made me the traditional Smarties cake. I’m one lucky blogger.

I’m more of a cook-at-home kind of gal, but sometimes (especially hangover times) I like to get out and have someone make me a sandwich. There’s a place near my flat called Siempre, and the G man and I head down there every so often to check out what their menu’s up to. This is a Vietnamese style chicken sandwich with a cup of curried chickpea soup. Not pictured is the fruit smoothie that actually does help a hangover better than Irn Bru does. Sometimes I still have the Irn Bru, because sometimes you need to drink ten teaspoons of sugar suspended in a bright orange liquid.

What have I been making? All sorts of things! I tried one of those curry kits – not something I’d usually pick up – and I have to say that in twenty minutes I had a pretty good curry, as promised. I did, of course, mess about with the directions and serve it with noodles and gomasio sprinkled over the top. It’s very brown, and not the prettiest to look at – much like that photo of the brown risotto. It was mushroom and asparagus, made with real chicken stock, and I made it with my special risotto spoon. Did you know that risotto spoons existed? They do.

I also made these raspberry cheesecake brownies, from Joy the Baker’s new cookbook, and Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Laksa. That’s another recipe I messed around with – I’ve made it a few times, and it’s great for getting a quick fix of veg when I feel like I haven’t been eating enough. This iteration had a lot of green veg, including mange tout, asparagus and broccoli. So good. I think I snuck some leftover broccoli into the salmon pasta up there – that was a real ‘what’s left in the fridge’ dinner. And, yes, that’s a bowl of popcorn up there. It’s not fancy, it’s plain old microwave popcorn. I’m intae popcorn these days.

Selvedge Yarn

Wool! Well, yarn. This is made of the scrap edges of fabric, which would otherwise go to waste – I’m part of the upcycling movement now, you know. I haven’t made anything from this yet, being utterly preoccupied with my peacock blanket (42 feathers done!).

Oh, go on – a photo of the current state of the peacock blanket:

Feathers

I have six balls of the black and red yarn to work with – I was originally thinking a cushion cover or covers, depending how it knits up on 12mm needles, but I’m wondering now if I could fashion some kind of punky waistcoat. Sometimes life is one long string of decisions.

I’ve been making purchases, also. These are three that I thought worthy of Instagram – a limited edition artichoke and smoked ricotta pesto (it was good, but I missed the basil), a pot of Lucky Charms (exactly as awesome as I remember) and a book of writing exercises and prompts that I found for 99p in a charity shop. It originated in the library of Glasgow Uni, the uni I went all those years ago, so I feel like it was meant to be.

Mushrooms

I bought my dad a mushroom growing kit for Christmas, and after a few months (and without any preamble), he sent me this picture. How cool?

The world’s driest lime and the world’s largest naan bread. It’s been a mixed bag. That lime, though. Soooo dry.

Cleaner vs Lighter

Things not to get confused on oven-cleaning day.

Care Box

My pal Amy had to move away from the UK to the US, and neither of us is especially happy about that. However, it *does* mean that she could send me this amazing care package. I’m savouring it and trying to make it last – I have cheesecake plans for those graham crackers. I also object to it being pronounced ‘gram crackers’. What? Are people not called Graham in the States?

Found at Work

Finally – people at my work are pretty serious about their mugs.


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