Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The Great Blog Pact

And so it is, dear readers, that I am entered into a binding pact of blogging.

Three of us at my workplace are owners of Neglected Blogs. We have decided to Pull Our Socks Up and stay on top of our blogs, and have entered into a pact to post at least one blog post a week.

The forfeit, if this is not done, remains as yet undecided. I am open to suggestions, provided they are suitably gory and terrible.

Please visit and love my fellow pacters' blogs. And make sure to tell on them if they don't post weekly. mwhahahahaha!

Vince's Allotment Year

Nancy's Life, Love and Kettlebells

Anyone who owns a blog and wants to join in, say hello!

A simple equation

That is all.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Life as a Simple Dog

I was recently introduced to the wonderful Hyperbole and a Half blog.

This blog is the work of utter genius. It is so funny, it makes me laugh out loud (real-life LOLling is always good).  She writes so wonderfully about little stories from her life, its really heart-warming. And she draws fabulous little cartoon pictures to go along with them. Can you tell how much I like this blog?!

What I love most of all, is her stories about her dogs. So, she has one dog which she thinks is a bit retarded, called The Simple Dog, and another which looks after the Simple Dog, called The Helper Dog.

I now refer to myself as Simple Dog a lot. I so identify with Simple Dog that I feel pleased that someone else in the world thinks like me, even if it is a mentally retarded dog. The picture below, from this post illustrates the point perfectly.

I have a few Helper Dogs in life too, thank goodness. I am very thankful for them Case in point, as we speak, I am sitting around waiting to go on a bus trip to London. I have had to tweet my friend Nancy, who is probably my primary Helper Dog, to check what I have forgotten to pack, even though she is at work and has no idea what I have already packed.

Anyway, I'm off to sit and fret about what I haven't packed. But at least now you know what I mean if I refer to myself as Simple Dog. But mainly, pleeease go and have a look at Hyperbole and a Half, it is really so, so good.

Gin and Tonic Cake

So, one of my favourite things about Friday is Gin o'clock.

I haven't been drinking gin for that long, but my friend Nancy introduced me to it after a hard day and work, and now Gin O'Clock is very much embedded in my routine.

So, when I can across this recipe for a gin and tonic cake, I obviously had to have a go. I made this cake for the Clandestine Cake Club meeting:

So, the first thing you may note is that its certainly not the prettiest of cakes in the world. I made three layers of the sponge, but the ganache was very runny so kind of ran and flopped everywhere, despite a long time in the fridge. I resorted to putting some cocktail peacocks into it to deflect from the ugliness of it. I did have a little practice run of making this cake, but that time i broke up the sponge and layered it in glasses, which worked quite nicely. Making a bit cake was a slightly different story.

I'm not totally convinced by the recipe on the link
-1kg of white chocolate?! really?! I used half quantities and that was more than enough to cover one huge cake. And besides, would anything be more pathetic than going to the shop and buying some gin and 1kg of white chocolate? What would the shop assisstant think?!
-The gin and tonic syrup is fine, although not hugely viscous. I used some cheap gin and fever tree tonic. Someone I was talking to at the cake club suggested using Soda Stream syrup, which i think is a great idea which i may try sometime.
-The earl grey steeped ganache is lovely, but rather runny.
-The sponge is really weird. Its very dense, which i guess should make it absorb the gin better, but it's quite difficult to feed, and i think i will try it with normal sponge sometime to see if that is better.
-it had a very subtle gin flavour. Which, for some people may be good, but for me, was rather disappointing.

So, people said they liked the gin and tonic cake, and it is nice, but there is definitely some room for improvement. I shall let you know how any future experiments go, of course.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Overdosing on Cake!

So, a few weeks ago I received an invite from a wonderful friend called Umbereen to.. ssssshhhhhh..... a Clandestine Cake Club....

A....Secret....Cake... Club..... a Club, of Cake? hmmmm yes please!!

Actually, it turns out that the Clandestine Cake Club (CCC to those in the know) isn't really that secret, with a website and everything. There are events all over the UK http://clandestinecakeclub.co.uk/ You can also find

So, I took my friend Nancy as my non-baking guest, and off we went to the location. One of my other friends, Frankie, was also there with her lovely (and very technologically advanced) mum.

Well, really. It was like a dream of cake.

There was cake here, cake there, and cake everywhere. And they all looked very beautiful. The theme for the evening was cakes you've always dreamed of... my cake was a gin and tonic cake, as i really don't think i can think of anything better than gin, and cake, together. More on my cake later.

So we ate some cake. A lot of cake, and we had some lovely chats, and then more cake, and also some tea. Then we felt rather nicely sick and went home (taking lots more cake with us). 

I would go into the merits of each type of cake, but my attention span is quite rubbish at the moment, so i think i'm going to split this wonderful event into a few different posts.. Also you can find a lovely write-up of the event on Lisa's blog (she set up the Newcastle branch of the CCC) here: http://looopeeelisa.blogspot.com/2011/08/2nd-clandestine-cake-club-meeting.html?showComment=1314303992987#c7051366100792383567

Hello again, beautiful blogosphere!

Hi, hi, hi,

So i used to have a bento blog, but since a lot of changes in my life occurred i never really get around to making bento anymore :(. I still love baking though, and i've been doing lots of exciting new stuff in my life, so i think its time to make a return to this here blogosphere, with new, shiny bakingbeautiful*. Tell your friends! shout it to the world! Hayley is back, and I will try to be vaguely interesting, and hopefully un-sporadic!

oceans of love to you all (although at the time of writing this, i actually have no followers, so this is probably a wee bit odd.)

Hayley xxxxxxx