Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Vintage cake forks

I want some..where can I get some?  This is my new quest. 

The bambino is officially 'due' tomorrow, but as I have hardly ever been on time for anything in my life ever (apart from breakfast, lunch and dinner Handsome husband helpfully pointed out this morning) I don't expect Junior to be making an appearance tomorrow.  So instead of worrying about when baby might arrive, I am attempting to divert myself with the pursuit of vintage cake forks...

Any ideas?

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Burn, baby burn.

Picture the scene...Darling boy has had his bath, milk and stories and is snugly tucked up in bed.  Handsome husband and I are downstairs relaxing in front of the fire with Sister in law who has come to visit.  Dinner is just finishing cooking in the oven.  Handsome husband has just cracked open a beer.  All is calm and cozy.  When I notice sparks coming down from inside the large stone fireplace.  That's unusual I think, sparks normally go up, not down. I point this out to Handsome husband, he gets up to investigate and it doesn't take Miss Marple, or even Fireman Sam to realise the chimney is on fire.


Handsome husband calmly says to his sister that she should get me and Darling boy out of the house.  Now...and to take the labour bags in case I have the baby tonight.

I rush upstairs, pack a bag for Darling boy and I for overnight- well, I grab a sensible amount of clothes for Darling boy and a weird armful of stuff for me. I get up Darling boy, who seems very jolly at the fun and commotion and we head downstairs where we are greeted by waves of smoke and Handsome husband and our next door neighbour rushing about with buckets (and inexplicably, cups) of water.

We jump in the car, with promises from Handsome husband not to do anything silly, like trying to put out the fire himself and as we bump up the road in dark, we are greeted by Tiverton's finest fire engine coming the other way.  Darling boy is now super excited and chats the whole way to the in-laws (who live just over the hill about 15 minutes away) about the 'fire engine and flashing lights'

Sister in law and I arrive at the in-laws, let ourselves in and put Darling boy to bed.  We eat two whole large bars of Green and Blacks. Sister in law is watching me carefully for signs of labour, convinced that the excitement and stress will inspire junior to make an appearance. 

We wait for news.

Time passes and the news is that a second fire engine has been called.  The house has been filled with firemen and Handsome husband has been banned from the inside and relegated to the garden.  He will call later with news when he has it.

Time passes and Handsome husband calls again to say the fire is out, the firemen have left and Handsome husband is going to tidy up a bit and head over.  Inside things are apparently smokey and wet, but thankfully not flamey any more. 

Time passes, Sister in law and I manage to eat even more chocolate and eventually a smokey, heroic Handsome husband turns up.  He says the damage really isn't that bad...I picture black walls, soaking carpet, everything covered in soot and the whole house stinking of smoke and smoke damage.

I had to wait till the next morning to see for myself what I had been imaging as the worst.  Turns out I have a very over-active imagination.  You can hardly tell there has been a fire- it was luckily confined to the cavity in the chimney and nowhere else.  Thank goodness for Tiverton's finest firemen (and in particular the one who doubles as a builder and had been to our house a few years ago and it was only this that meant they knew where they were going) 

We spend the next day (which happens to be our 10 year anniversary- oh the romance) cleaning the house as although it isn't as awful as I had expected, i.e practically burnt down, it did need cleaning up.

Handsome husband was a complete hero and cleaned up and dealt with what needed to be dealt with.   Perhaps I should rename him 'Handsome Hero'.  

Having a chimney fire certainly wasnt on the list of 'things to do before the baby arrives' (though neither was running out of oil and having to wait a week for heating to be restored, or getting a flat tyre and having to wait in the dark and rain at the local garage for the mechanics to come repair the tyre for me- both things which have happened in the last week) But hopefully this will be enough excitment for the time being. I'm hoping life will get much more boring, till the main excitement, due in just 2 days...

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Cardamon cake

Last weekend Marvellous mum and dad were down to stay, and as an early Mothers Day present I baked this fragrant cardamon cake for Marvellous mum.  She is a wonder and a fabulous mum.  She famously has a very very unsweet tooth, and the family jokes that she would be happier sucking a lemon marinated in battery acid, rather than tucking into  bowl of something tooth-achingly sweet.

I came across this recipe for cardamon cake and I just knew it would appeal to her, being fragrant with a hint of sweetness, rather than the full-on sugar-fest that cake baking can so often be.

Baked using the ground cardamon Sensible K had just sent over from India, this was a truly exotic* Mother Day cake.

*yes, I know most spices come from India, but that's not the point!

Packages from India

Sensible K, my wonderful chum from way back when, recently returned to India for a 6 week stay.  But before she went, she stopped at ours for a weekend visit.  Whilst she was here, we put in our orders for exotic Indian goodies and Sensible K did not forget us on her travels.

On hearing how lovely and cheaporama the cinnamon sticks were, I had requested a handful of these.  Im also fond of baking with cardamon, but haven't been able to find ground cardamon anywhere down here in Devon.  But it seems you cant take a step without falling over the stuff in India, so a pack of this fragrant green dust found its way here.  There were also yummy cloves snuggled into the box too.

But perhaps most exciting of all was a surprise little toy for Darling boy.  As a fanatic of anything with an engine, Aunty Sensible K came up trumps and Darling boy was delighted with his tuc-tuc.  He listened to tales of mummy and daddy going in tuc-tucs on their holidays (pre- Darling boy of course) but mostly he enjoys carrying it around the house saying 'tuctuctucutuctuc'  Ahhhhhhhhhh, the simple life.

One of your five a day

What's a girl to do when at home with no plans and Darling boy is napping, and there are carrots in the fridge that escaped the roast this weekend.  Well, make carrot cake of course.

Only the tin I usually use for carrot cake currently has dark chocolate and coconut bars chilling in it.  So I thought I would make cupcakes.  Yum.  With their spicy sponge and cool cinnamon cream cheese frosting, Darling boy upon waking was the first to give them a whirl.  He is a fan.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

The last market before bump is due

I have done my last market before bump is due.  I'm now officially on maternity leave from cupcakes (that is excluding special orders and of course, baking for the family)

It was lovely to be back at the market, the other stall holders are all really lovely and friendly and of course,  my regular customers are all super too.  Each time I also meet new people and it's great to bring a smile to their faces with my cupcakes and cookies.

I'm really proud to say as well, that as a small business  (set up and operated by someone with no head for business, ie me) that after counting my money tin after my 'last market' (well, for the time being) I had made double what I took at my very first market.  Takings had been steadily increasing with each market, but there is something very pleasing about the symmetry of the figures being doubled, not from a business point of view really, but more of a 'pleasing numbers' type thing (see, no real head for business, just a head for cake).

Though of course its totally cool that people want to buy my cupcakes and gobble them up as well.

Getting crafty

Bump is due in 16 days now (and counting) and, as part of the nesting instinct which is kicking in, I have made this patchwork blanket for the baby to lounge about on.  It was going to have some cute prints of animals on it, but I figured once the baby is all grown up, it could always graduate to a throw for a grown-up bedroom.  I have gone for a mix of blues and greens in different prints, with some blocks of cream too.  The fabrics have yummy textures too for junior to cozy up to.

I'm sure Darling boys reaction will be to play 'falling over' on it as soon as he sees the blanket. This is his brand new hilarious game, which involves throwing yourself on the ground, and saying...'fallen over!'  Everyone nearby has to join it- its pretty infectious and totally fun.  

I am totally amazed that I have actually finished a craft project...