Living in a Field of Hats

some ramblings and reflections on working with students in Herts and Beds.

Cheats guide to a showstopper cake! May 8, 2012

Filed under: Foody Things — Sarah @ 10:07 am
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Over the last couple of years I have become a little bit obsessed with baking – shows like the Great British Bake Off have made it seem so simple to produce amazng cakes easily. Alas, I do not yet own a Kitchen Aid (which obviously will solve all of my kitchen problems), do not have a huge kitchen in a marquee and don’t have an entire day to dedicate to one cake. This hasn’t deterred me from baking, but has made me very selective over the reciepes that I choose to even to attempt. The Hummingbird bakery carrot cake is a fave as it always turns out looking great (even without the marzipan carrots which are very fiddly and annoying – but the only photo I can find is from the day I spent hours making tiny carrots!), but it’s pretty high on the faff scale – grating 300g of carrots takes a while!

So, for church-weekend-away-at-home-garden-party-indoors-because-of-the-rain, on Sunday I branched out and tried a new cake … and it is literally the easiest cake to make in the world! It’s called a Blueberry Soured Cream Cake, and I pretty much followed the receipe on the good food website, but used frozen blueberries to bake into the cake (so much cheaper). It takes minutes to mix, no hand mixer required, and yet looks and tastes like it took hours!


Organisational Bliss January 23, 2011

Filed under: Foody Things — Sarah @ 3:04 pm
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I’m normally not that organised when it comes to keeping things in jars or cupboards tidy, but after being covered in icing sugar one time too many this week (which is really hard to get out especially when you’re running late!) due dire cupbaord organisation I took a trip to Dunelm Mill yesterday afternoon and now all my (cupboard) problems are sorted. Ahh!


Chai! January 22, 2011

Filed under: Foody Things — Sarah @ 10:54 pm
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This morning I got up and was determined to be productive before I went out for a walk with a friend this afternoon, so I started at the top of my to do list (not my important to do list which has things like … clear my car out to do list – this one here).

Now for an important how to make this I’d see the original post, rather than my pictures below! But here is how my Saturday morning went…

 All the ingredients ready to go …



The witches brew starts taking shape…

 Straining it to make …

a lovely cup of home made chai (it didn’t look anywhere as near this yellow in real life though!). I think the Cath Kidston mug makes it even better!



My to do list January 17, 2011

Filed under: Foody Things — Sarah @ 10:47 am
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After a very domesticated afternoon yesterday, I spent the evening on the internet looking at some of my favourite cooking blogs and have come up with a to do list which is as follows:

1) Spiced Chai Concentrate
This is potentially a very exciting and money saving find. I’m a big fan of Chai Lattes – the best being at a coffee shop in Durham. Yum! If this tastes half as good I’ll be making a huge batch and living on Chai Lattes!

2) Meatballs with Peppers and Pineapple
I never used to like meatballs but then I discovered IKEA! And as I don’t have an excuse to visit IKEA on a weekly basis (sadly!) I’ve been thinking for a while about making my own meatballs and this recipe has inspired me . . . pineapples sound random but yum!

3) Mini Maple Pancake Muffins
Now these are in Bakerella’s breakfast section … they sound very sweet for breakfast – maybe brunch!? These may be on the menu next time we have overnight team days in Hatfield/Hoddeson . . .

4) Brownie Pecan Pie
Just look at the pictures. How is this not a good thing to make?!

5) Grilled Chicken with Lemon Pasta
Random combo but sounds awesome. Next time I have people over for dinner maybe?

Right I’m going to stop the list there! There’s so much good stuff out there though!


Lazy Sunday Afternoon January 16, 2011

This afternoon has been very productive (in a very laidback and lazy kinda way). Not only have I made enough soup to last me a month  – thanks to very reduced veg at Tesco yesterday! But also, had a very successful dairy free baking experience (as opposed to my dairy free jam cakes earlier in the week!). Sadly the internet hasn’t evolved yet to be able to let me give you a cake so here’s a picture for you to enjoy!

The most exciting thing is the icing . . . it’s chocolate buttercream but instead of using cocoa powder, it uses real chocolate. Mine is a little bit runny as I halfed the receipe but forgot to half the milk – d’oh! This is the recipe (unsuprisingly American – why do they have the best baking?) though I  used soya milk and butter and 74% cocoa dark chocolate to eliminate all milk and it tastes great. Though I wouldn’t put it on a chocolate cake as it’s pretty rich just on a vanilla base but that is a good way to make sure I just eat one at a time! 

Cooking, baking and church has made a pretty good day!