Thursday, 6 August 2009

Croatia, cake and crochet

I'm going on a trip to Croatia and Italy with a couple of my friends soon and we're having fun (read not) organising all our hostels and working out a rough itinerary (let alone a detailed one). So far we have flights, a ferry from Split to Ancona, Italy rail passes and hostels in Split and Como. The rest of the hostels still need sorting but we've each taken a couple of places to research and can present our ideas to the other two when we meet next. Once we've got an idea of how much it's all going to be and whether we can pay by card we'll be able to get some money. Irritatingly Croatia still uses the Kuna (HRK) so we'll have to get two lots of money. On the other hand the Kuna is far far weaker than the Euro and Pound so it'll be a cheap place to be!
Yesterday I hung around in town with A, one of the people I'm going with, before we had our planning session. Apart from that I didn't do much...
Today I had a brief coffee with C as she's going on holiday tomorrow and I go away while she's away, then she goes back to university very soon after we're both back (same day, same airport, 10 hours apart!). Chances are I won't see her 'til Christmas now.
After that I went to Clarks Village in Street, a smallish kind of outlet mall, with my Mum and sister to buy her clothes for college (not what Americans would call college, she's 16) since she's always had to wear uniform up 'til now. I came away with a lovely pair of softish grey trousers from Fat Face (?11), a denim skirt also from Fat Face (?6.90), and a blue and white reversible bikini from Next (?4!!), it's spotty on one side and stripy on the other.
On the way home we went to Sainsbury's for food shopping and I got a can opener (I expect to be drinking a lot of soup at university...) and a little stainless steel saucepan. Two more things to strike off the list.

Right, I'm quite far behind on my Flickr uploads so these are from July sometime but they're still nice:
Banana breadBanana bread

Flickr page I found it via

I used the good old technique of searching Flickr for a recipe seeing as I hadn't made banana bread at home before. And I'm too lazy to leaf through loooads of recipe books :D
This turned out really nice! I used walnut oil and it had walnuts in anyway so it was quite nutty.
The only minor problem I had was that my loaf tin was a liiiittle too small and the banana bread developed an interesting bulge. Impressively it didn't actually overflow and came out of the tin in one piece!

Crochet fun!

This was an experiment with crochet. I was trying to make a flower and just about managed it. But then I filled in the space between the petals and it became a coaster.


Sainsbury's Caf? chocolate cake. It had loooads of layers. The bottom one was biscuity stuff like cheesecake base.
(for any Americans Sainsbury's is a supermarket)

Kate and I had lunch in the recently refurbished and upstairs caf? in the Sainsbury's near the M5 in Taunton. They've got sofas and coffee shop type drinks as well as OAP scampi & chips :D

View through our letterbox

And there's Catty literally lying in wait to finish it off! Happy Thursday!

Monday, 3 August 2009


Now I've got your attention I can prattle on about other things! (don't worry, there will be cake eventually)
Today has been another day of not much (they will end soon enough... and then I'll wish I had done something with them). I was "in charge of" the laundry, meaning I loaded and unloaded the machine a couple of times and hung things out to dry, with help/hinderance from the cat. He started by pacing up and down the path under the washing line and occasionally rubbing himself on my legs and throwing himself on the ground. When this failed to attract any stroking or attention he tried to climb into the washing basket & had to be pushed away. When I'd finished hanging things out, instead of staying to be stroked he went and hunted things in a flower bed. Fickle.
I should probably point out that he's not our cat. We don't currently have any pets but our garden, being fairly big and neutral territory, is a kind of cat Mecca. Catty, as we imaginatively named him, comes from one of the houses up the road and seems to have decided that he'd much rather live with us. (this may have something to do with his people working a lot and having small children, another cat, a dog and chickens) He likes to sit in the flowerbed under one of the windows, or on top of the old mattress by the garage if it's raining, and mew whenever he thinks we might be listening. If he hears us behind the front door or we open it he comes running and attempts to get in. We've learnt to expect this so we're fairly good at stopping him, but when he does get in he seems unsure of what to do and just wanders around exploring until someone ejects him.
Anyway! Your reward for reading all that is here: cake!
I was looking for something to do with the glut of redcurrants, apart from making muffins, and a Google search yielded a few thousand recipes for redcurrant jelly, and this, a yoghurty pie-cake thing as made by a lady living in little wooden house in Finland. Her recipe is here. It's a very nice recipe and, I expect, could be made with almost any fruit or even jam.
Raspberry-redcurrant pie

And in close-up

Raspberry-redcurrant pie
I've made this twice now. The first time I used Flora because I didn't have any non-olive oil (it's too strong flavoured), I calculated that 2/3 cup of oil is roughly equivalent to 134g of Flora... It turned out fine both times, although the mixture for the 2nd one (using walnut oil) was very oily indeed. It just slid out of the mixing bowl with no need for a spatula or to grease the tin. Slightly disturbingly the oil resurfaced in pools when I got it into the flan dish, but it cooked fine!
The 2nd time I used 3 cups of redcurrants and no raspberries. I'd recommend fewer redcurrants if you do it this way as it gets very soggy in the middle. Another idea for avoiding sogginess is to use a metal tin rather than a ceramic one. The middle should cook a bit more & you won't end up with a pile of crunchy crust and underdone sludge.
So... go and make it!

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Here's something exciting

I'm blogging from a gadget in igoogle, it's thrilling!
I'm not sure how helpful this is since I've got no formatting tools, I expect I'll end up using it as a handy link to my blog, but it's good to try things.
Today I've not done much, just sent some information on accomodation and start-of-term type things to a friend who's going to the same university as me at the same time. She could get the information herself but she's currently in Sydney or Bangkok or somewhere inbetween. It's useful for me too, she asks questions I wouldn't've thought of asking. Looking again at the "What next?" booklet I found several things I'd missed, like the fact that I can upload a photo for my ID card instead of using an expensive and bad photo booth.
So... yes. I've helped by Dad wash congealed fat out of the drains (from the kitchen sink) and am now watching my Mum pick plums in the garden/typing up a list of things to take to university/blogging.
My sisters have been to Sainsbury's & it looks like Hot Cross Buns for tea. Mmmmmm.
I think I enjoy the supermarket and homemade varieties fairly equally, although homemade ones tend to be more substantial and I'm less prone to eating far too many of them. I did once get a Hot Cross Bun Loaf from Morrisons which made me rather happy, it was basically a fun-shaped fruit loaf :D
Hot Cross Buns II

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Blog blog bloggy blog

So... I've been using gmail for a while and I noticed that when I comment on blogger blogs I can do so using my Google account so I thought I might as well have a go at blogging here. I do have a Xanga but I'm not really in the habit of using it. I use Flickr far more, and keep it up to date. Probably because I always have my camera with me. Often I get confused by blogging, I might start with one idea (or no idea but an urge to update) but I end up with a huge stream of conciousness. Like so.

My Xanga and Flickr can be found here:

Within my Flickr there's an abortive 52 Weeks project where I tried to take a self-portrait every week for a year. It turns out I'm too lazy/uncreative for that.

Here's a nice photo for no particular reason: