Thursday, 13 December 2012

{Mini Post} Moshi Monsters

Say hello to Katsuma! I'm not sure what a Katsuma is but I want one - that thing is super cute!

One of my brother's work colleagues asked me to do this cake for her daughter but she had a certain specification: no sugar paste. The cake, therefore, had to be covered in buttercream splodges. I would say this was a pain but as I also don't like sugar paste, I couldn't really blame the girl for wanting buttercream!

This was the first time I've done a cake like this and so I know I could do it neater and make sure I get all the cake covered next time but it still turned out pretty cute and I was mostly pleased with it.

Take a look...

Hope you like it!

See you next time :)
Vicky x

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Slow Gin

(Warning – this post is not about cake!)
I am late for everything. It's not that I don't try. I try really hard. Honest! It's worse when I have loads of time because then I think 'oh, I have loads of time' and then I start faffing about, the time disappears, and I'm late. It's at the point now that people just expect me to be late: last one ready, last one there, birthday cards/presents 2 days late... That doesn't stop the guilt I feel when I am late, because I do feel bad, but it also doesn't give me any incentive to change my ways.

Plus, I have scientific proof that it is imbedded in my genes.

But now it seems that this lateness has drifted into making my sloe gin breaking all the rules of an age old tradition! :/

Sloe berries come from the Blackthorn Tree. What is interesting about the Blackthorn tree is that it is surrounded in mystery and is depicted in folklore as a tree of ill omen. *Geek alert* A branch of the blackthorn tree is also used in a Snatcher’s wand in Harry Potter. Harry does not enjoy it so much when he is forced to use said wand. Strangely, this endears me to the tree and makes me feel like I’ve made some special potion and not just a (hopefully) delicious alcoholic beverage. Let’s ignore that it is also associated with death… Grim.)

The berries produced on the Blackthorn are round and a beautiful deep blue but they are horribly bitter to eat. Even the birds have to be desperate to eat them. They are, however, excellent for making gin.

I’ve tried very hard to find out how sloe gin actually came into being but only seem to be able to find the same very elusive answer: the people of Britain have been making sloe gin for hundreds of years. But whatever the reason, sloe gin has been a wintery/Christmassy tradition for a long time, and I managed to get behind on the traditional processes.

The usual time to gather your sloes is the end of October/beginning of November, and normally when the sloes have experienced their first frost. Because sloes have been so sparse this year and we were worried about the longevity of the ones we did find*, I collected mine at the beginning of October and popped them in the freezer to simulate the ‘frost’ part. 

(*I have become one of those people who keep their source of sloes a closely guarded secret, even more so because they have been in such short supply this year. Sorry!)

This is where I got behind.

For some reason, my sloes got left in the freezer until late November. The tradition of sloe gin is that they are collected and put into the gin so that enough time has passed for the flavours to infuse and to be ready to drink at Christmas. Mine won’t be ready.

I was so excited about giving my homemade gin as Christmas presents but that is definitely not going to happen this year. Although I have read that the gin tastes better 1 -3 years after the berries have been removed and the drink has had time to mature so I am going to pretend that this was my plan all along.   

Anyway here is my ever so simple, and ever so late, recipe for sloe gin, which, if you managed to find any sloes, should have been started months ago.

1 litre gin
1lb sloe berries
500g caster sugar

You will also need a couple of bottles or a large container to keep the gin in. The vessel also needs a lid so you can shake the mixture. A person with common sense probably doesn’t need to be told that the litre of gin and the berry/sugar mixture won’t fit in the litre bottle the gin comes in, but I made that mistake and thought I’d highlight that you’ll need a vessel of bigger volume!

-        Weigh out the sloes and prick each one to break the skin. (Folklore says this should
       be done with something silver!)
-        Pop them into your vessel
-        Weigh out the sugar and pour it into the vessel with the sloes
-        Pour in your gin
-        Give the vessel a quick shake and tip to make sure everything is getting mixed 
-        For the first couple of weeks the mixture will need to be shaken every other day,
       after that it just needs a bit of a tip about once a week or so.
-        Leave the sloes in the gin for about 2-3 months
-       After this time, strain the sloe gin through a very fine sieve or muslin into a
       sterilised bottle and enjoy (next Christmas)!

This better be worth it... 
Vicky x

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

{Mini Post} First Christmas Bakes of The Year

Oh I do love Christmas! I also love Christmas baking but never seem to have the time to make everything I want.

This year, however, I may be making weekly Christmassy treats for my friend's Mum to take into work and so I have no excuse not to get creating. This was my trial week so we will see at the end of the week whether I will be making more next week. (I do hope so!)

But for now I hope you enjoy my efforts and are starting to feel a little festive! :)

Sunday, 2 December 2012


During November, men’s faces everywhere sprout moustaches for the entire month; this month is thus known as ‘Movember’. The point of this is to raise money and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate and testicular cancer. Now I’m more of a full on beard lovin’ kinda gal, although I do enjoy a finely groomed handlebar moustache, but if a man wants to don some facial hair in the name of charity that’s fine by me.  The only thing I don’t enjoy about Movember is not knowing whether people are growing their ‘tache for charity or whether that’s just what their face looks like, because, let’s face it, some people just look plain stupid with a mo and that’s not so ok if it’s a lifestyle choice and not a charitable effort.

I took part by doing this…

Never fear, this cookie was not consumed by the paying public!
As you can see I happen to be in possession of the coolest moustache cookie cutters EVER, which were a Valentine’s present from the boyfriend and are so much fun. So as it was quite appropriate I decided to make some moustache cookies.

Instead of just giving them away to the folks at my Mum’s work, she took them in and sold them to raise some pennies. I’m not quite sure what she charged for them – I think it was more along the lines of people giving donations in exchange for cookies – but in the end we ended up with £17. Not too shabby.

The money went to Movember via my friend Oliver, who sported his very own mo throughout the month. Oliver is currently living in China and I’m not sure the Chinese do Movember so gold stars for him and his friend for the international participation and looking ridiculous without people knowing why they were doing it!

If you want to help support men’s health, you can still donate by clicking on the link below and visiting the Movember website:

Chin chin, gentlemen.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

{Mini Post} Christening Cupcakes

These little cupcakes were made for the Christening of a little boy named Freddie. I actually really struggled for ideas for these – I found it quite hard to make it Christening-y! Meaning that I didn’t want them just to look like cupcakes for a baby boy. In the end, I think that’s what happened but it worked. I don’t know how I could have made them more related to a Christening without putting more religious/church symbols on them. I mean like crosses… I don’t know what else I would have done for that either! Maybe a bible. Anyway…

I think I would have liked to have done more with flowers and maybe some kind of lace effect and make them really delicate and sophisticated but there was the danger of just making them look like pretty blue cupcakes. (Just as a bit of a side note, lace is something I would love to work with on cakes but haven’t yet figured out how to do it or to find a tutorial that is doing what I want. But I will persevere!)

So without further ado, here are the pictures!

Hope you like them :)



Monday, 19 November 2012


I am super excited to announce that I now have a Facebook page for this little cake adventure I am embarking on!!

My lovely friend Liz has played a big part in me getting this page; mostly this involved telling me that I needed a website and should get one. Boyfriend then caught on to this and vowed to ask me about it every day until I did it. So I did!

Being obsessively particular, I didn’t want to share the page until I was completely happy with it. This all went to pot when I showed the work in progress to Liz and she decided she wanted to be the first to like it. 30 seconds after this her friend’s Mum liked it… Then others got on board and decided that if she could like it, so could they! Enter about 10 like in 10 minutes that I wasn’t prepared for!

It was probably for the best though because it meant I had to get it sorted and out into to the World! 

So now it’s out there and I have a stupid smile on my face just watching people like it. At the minute it’s mostly just people I know but it still means so much to me that they are all behind me!

So here is the link!

I would appreciate it so much if you could take a look at it and maybe even give it a like if you are so inclined!

Thank you!!