Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Deliciously Vintage

Part of my 30 before 30 was to make my way through the recipes in one of my cook books. This was definitely a big undertaking, and could have been a #30before30 list in itself! I love baking though, so this was good fun and something I probably would have been doing anyway. Since I started my new job, I've had a lot less time to spare baking after work or at the weekend, so I haven't had as much success in recent weeks to get through the last few recipes that I wanted to. I was given a madeline baking tray for Christmas so I will be able to get that done - which I plan to do possibly this weekend (if I can get my essay draft done early enough!) Then I have an Opera cake recipe to tackle, which would definitely take an entire day as it's quite a difficult one! I decided at the beginning of this challenge that I wasn't going to include recipes that I had baked before on my list, so below are the new cakes etc that I made over the past year, and at the end the ones I haven't got around to yet! I have enjoyed this challenge and will keep on with this one - as I will do with my other 30before30 list! 

The cookbook in question

Where it all started with the battenburg!

Jammy Dodgers, one of my triumphs!

Peanut butter and jelly cake. Not to my taste but a big hit with the NYU students!

Dorset Apple Cake. A little soggy :-/

Kugelhopf (Bundt cake). Requested a second time at work, but not one of my faves!

Another highlight - Vanilla Chiffon Cake for my friend May's birthday!

Some incredibly small eccles cakes

Pecan Pie... a bit of a disaster because all of my family and I thought this one was far too sweet!

Not pictured: Cornish Fairings, whoopie pies, chelsea buns, lemon drizzle cakes, angel cake, bakewell tart, 

And what do I have left:

Florentine biscuits, Millionaire's shortbread, snickerdoodles, Madeline cakes, cinnamon rolls, fat rascals, hummingbird cake, opera cake, eclairs.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

New Year in Cornwall

I am not a lover of New Year's Eve. I've had a couple of shocker nights over the years, and I think there is so much pressure placed on this one night to have a great time. The one night of the year when the whole world is out celebrating, bars that are usually free charge entry, you cannot get to the bar to buy a drink for love nor money and getting a taxi home is either impossible or costs you a small fortune. This year however, I had big plans for New Year in Cornwall with my family and lots of friends! Despite the long car journey down the day before, and busy preparations for the day, New Year 2014 was epic! Cornwall is fantastic and New Year's Day was spent watching crazy people jump into the sea wearing all sorts of silly costumes! 

After a long journey back to Essex today, I'm home now, with a busy weekend ahead preparing for my MA presentation on Monday!


It was weird being a back-seat passenger in my own car!

Beautiful sea view in Cawsands

Me and my brother

Brother showing off his moves (as he slipped around on the bench)

Some crazy people on New Year's Day ready for the sea dip (I know the penguins, clown and Top Gun pilot)

A few travel related gifts from the Christmas/New Year period!

I got a couple more steps for my El Camino bracelet this Christmas (Yellow Middle East and Ukraine)

Friday, 2 January 2015

30 before 30 update...

It's a new year, and only a month and a half until my latest list deadline :-/ Up until about 2 months ago, I looked upon my next birthday: my 30th with dread. It's always been my scary age, where I expected to be all grown up, sorted and feeling like a real adult. But I really don't feel like that, and that's a little bit terrifying. However, since the end of last year, I realised that I can't stop the passage of time (more's the pity) so I might as well come to terms with the big 3-0. I wrote my latest list at the beginning of 2014, after collecting a few more things I wanted to see/do and with some inspiration from a birthday present from Macey (this book). I've been working through the list slowly but surely over the past 11 months, and I thought this would be a good time to take a look over what I have completed, things I will likely tick off before February and the few things I will get to after my birthday. After all, life doesn't stop after 30... I hope!  

Dim Sum (in Chinatown)

Westminter Abbey - No photos inside

Dinner at Jamie's Fifteen. Delicious! I actually ended up here twice in the same month... But it's good enough to head there more than once, and the menu changes so every visit is different! 

Eerie Highgate. Visiting both the east and west cemeteries

Dishoom: pretty good

Opera in the park - very good even though I didn't understand the plot completely!

No photos inside but a great museum to visit (even if we did have to put up with loud fellow visitors!)

An afternoon at the tower complete with a rain shower right after this photo was taken.

Wine on a balmy summer evening with Chelsea

Charles Dickens' house on Doughty Street: a small museum but one full of little artefacts and an insight into one of Dickens' houses, and where my favourite of his books was written - Great Expectations!

I didn't get a photo inside the WWI exhibit but this was from the main room at the Imperial War Museum. It's full of other galleries as well, focusing on the many conflicts our world has seen over the years.

The entrance to the Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town cocktail bar.

Kyoto Garden in Holland Park. A bit too late for the Cherry Blossoms and a little disappointing as it's incredibly small, but I'm still glad I went to check it out.

A dodgy sunrise over Primrose Hill, on the day of the Summer Equinox 

A drink on the Wibbley Wobbley pub!

I downloaded War and Peace on my kindle, and I have started it... 17% so far. But it's really dull, AND I have so much reading for my MA at the moment that it's sort of fallen to the bottom of the book list. I also have an exciting pile of 11 Christmas books to make my way through so I'm not sure I'll get back to W&P anytime soon. I'm giving myself points for starting it though!

So I've completed 16 of the things from the list. I have planned to visit Circus and Duck and Waffle for birthday celebrations, which brings me up to 18, and I have another post to write about my success with my Vintage Cook book challenge (which is almost another one off the list). In January I hope to get at least another 2 (St Paul's and a sunset on Waterloo Bridge) ticked off too. The Renoir cinema is closed until after Feb and I'm not going to sunbathe at Brockwell Lido during the winter so there are 2 I can't get done until after my 30th. I definitely think it's possible to spend an afternoon at the Operating Theatre and Check out the Greenwich Observatory but I might have to leave those until my latest MA assignment is handed in (Mid-Feb). Not too bad going. I am determined to get the list completed, but I'm just going to need a little more time. I'm getting old after all ;-)