Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The "Its-almost-like Tiffin" Cake

Blitz the following in a food processor until small pieces:
110g chocolate (70-90% cocoa)
100g chopped roasted hazelnuts
120g walnut pieces

Then add 75-100g sugar (depending on taste)
1 tbsp honey
1/2 an orange-worth of finely chopped orange peel
30ml brandy/cointreau
3 eggs
cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves to taste
1/2 tsp each of vanilla essence & orange essence
Optional: can add chopped cherries and dates too.

Mix well and pack into a large round tin.
Bake at 180C for around 40 minutes then allow to cool.
For the topping melt:
100g 70% chocolate
100g butter
Add cream and mixed spice to taste,
add to base and leave to set in the fridge.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Finally got the Holstein right!

Another commission! Second attempt overall at making a black and white Holstein type cow. I made the first one too thin (too true to life!) and the legs weren't right either.

Lesson learnt: too realistic is no good, these are characters not true-life sculpture. The skill is to identify the features which make it obviously the animal its supposed to be but still make it cartoon-like. I loved adding the bell to this one! I can see the models getting more and more detailed - where will this end??? Also, I can see my 'style' developing.

Here she is varnished and drying prior to posting off tomorrow.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Lemon cake

without the topping this recipe is **dairy-free** (no butter).
you could easily replace the mascapone topping with maybe an icing sugar/ lime juice/ water-based topping, or even easier - maybe just sprinkle some icing sugar on top?

3 lemons
3 large eggs
6 to 9 oz caster sugar (to taste)
1 teaspoon GF baking powder
9.5 oz ground almonds

Scrub fruit, put in saucepan and cover with water. Simmer for 1 hour, with 2 - 3 water changes. Halve the fruit, remove pips and stick all of the fruit in a mixer and blend to a purree. Mix the eggs and sugar. Add baking powder and almonds. Add the fruit puree and mix well. Pour into grease-paper lined cake tin (7inch). Bake at 180C/350F/gas mark 4 for about an hour. Allow to cool.

2 0z caster sugar/icing sugar - to taste really
9 oz mascarpone
add grated rind and juice of one lime

mix it all together and stick it on the cake!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Old English Sheepdog

My second 'commission'. This was going to be good, lots of furry detail!
First I had a go at a head in plasticine:

OK, but this showed me I would need more layers to the fur, and I would have to do the underneath ones first. There has to be some logic to this - FIMO isn't that forgiving so its hard to unpick and redo. So far so good, except I was now told he's black and white. No problem, next attempt is a black and white head in FIMO, with the help of images from google:

Not finished, but enough to get a good idea. The extra whiskers around the nose and muzzle really helped. Its funny how little details like that can really make the model. And there are eyes under there, you can see them in this picture!

Next to add the body, and lots of hair in layers...

He just kept getting more and more furry, especially on top of his head. This is prebake...followed by baked and varnished and drying in the sun:

Rather pleased with himself. You can still see the eyes (just)
Hope his new owners will like him :-)

Chocolate and Cointreau Cake

50g Maya Gold chocolate (Green and Blacks)
50g 70-85% cocoa chocolate

break into pieces and melt together with 100g butter (either in a glass bowl over simmering water or in the microwave)

mix in:
3 eggs
2 tbsp Cointreau
100g ground almonds
75-100g sugar (depends how sweet you want it! Can use less)

Mix together and divide into two round, greased and lined tins
Cook for 20-25 mins at 180C
Allow to cool thoroughly before icing
It will be flat. Don't worry.

Topping and middle:
50g Maya Gold
50g 70-85% cocoa chocolate
100g butter
melt and add 2 tbsp Cointreau
Mix well. Allow to cool until correct consistency, stirring occasionally. Can put in fridge (or even freezer) to speed up the process!

Use about 1/3rd to sandwich the two cakes together, then use remainder to cover top and most of side. Hmmmmm

Thursday, 17 March 2011

chick-chick, chick-chick, chicken...

chickens are great! We really miss ours, and one primary requirement of our next home will be space to keep a few chickens again.

this one was the clever one....

and this one was the one my toddler-son could pick up and cuddle, repeatedly! Her name was Penelope, which became Pee-Pee in toddler speak. Not quite such a clever chicken, but very entertaining :-)

In the meantime, here is the FIMO one. Not varnished yet in this picture. No eggs unfortunately...

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Peanut butter and choc chip cookies

Following a request for gluten free chocolate chip cookies, I tried to make these. I remember a recipe for peanut butter cookies from when I was younger....mmmm.

So, melt 50g of butter. Add 100g ground almonds, 1 egg yolk, 50g sugar, 25g of crunchy peanut butter, 1/2 tsp baking powder, handful of dark chocolate chips and mix well.

Divide mixture and roll into 12 small balls. Place on a baking tray lined with grease-proof paper, and squash slightly with a fork. Doing this twice at right angles makes the pretty criss-cross pattern. Bake at 180 degree C for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool before removing from the tray.

My first commission - Charlie 'Boo-bear' the lab cross dog

This is my first (sort of) commission. Charlie is a black lab-cross, so I wasn't sure how well a black short haired dog would come out....but he does have some grey-white patches...

First attempt was made in non-FIMO clay. No black, so just started with green to get an idea how he might come out:

Not too bad, so decided to try him in black, with plasticine. The extra details (teeth, tongue, eyes, collar) make up for the single colour quite well.

Evolution of Charlie dog, from green to black plasticine to full FIMO model. I added grey patches to the face and stomach. You have to be careful with the black FIMO, it carries over to the other colours on your fingers and tools very easily.

The final FIMO model

and here he is, all baked and varnished and drying in the sun
think he's come out quite well!

Time for some cake!

Possibly the best brownie recipe ever, and it just happens to be gluten-free.
Everyone likes these (well, actually I have heard one person didn't - ???)

Melt 100g butter with 100g of chocolate (70% cocoa, or 50:50 70% cocoa: Green and Black's Maya Gold chocolate). Add 100g ground almonds, 75-150g sugar (depends on how sweet you want them), 2 eggs, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp vanilla essence and a generous pinch of salt. Mix well. Pour into a greased and lined square tin, bake for 30 minutes at 180 degrees C. Cut into squares straight out of the oven.

Options: you can reduce the amount of sugar, but too much lower and the crispy top will disappear.
Maya Gold chocolate makes this extra special, mix 50:50 with the 70% cocoa chocolate
You can also add walnut pieces - mmmmm.

p-p-p-pick up a penguin

The original penguin, in non-FIMO clay. One of the eyebrows accidently landed upside down, but since it looked quite good I left it like that!

I then decided the penguin looked a little cold, so gave him a scarf and ear muffs. He looks happier now.

The original with his FIMO double. I kept the upside down eyebrow...

FIMO model, all baked and varnished

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

I wanna pony...

The original Pony was made from plasticine - see below - my first time playing with this stuff
(actually my sons...)
This is really when the critters started getting more intricate, with long tails and manes

So here is the FIMO version, slightly different colours. First attempt at melding two colours to get a straight join too:

all shiny post-varnish :-)

The Glaswegian Tree frog called Pablo

This is Pablo, our Whites Tree frog or Smiling Tree frog - you can see how he got that name...
He (or probably she, but we're not sure and s/he's not going to tell us - maybe that explains the grin?) is rather cool, but my son requested a frog he could play with:

so here is Pablo II. More robust for handling (and possibly slightly more active than the original) made out of the non-FIMO clay...

and here he has also evolved nostrils. Next to Pablo III the FIMO model (the first FIMO critter I tried)

Pablo III prior to varnishing... Another plus side - these frogs don't require live locusts. I haven't tried making locusts out of FIMO yet

The Snakessss

Here is the original 'snakey':

and here is about the second or third non-FIMO model (requested by my son...)
he had evolved a neck band and changed colour of some spots
he's next to the FIMO snake (pre-varnish):

note the addition of a rattle on the tail!
And here he is all baked and varnished:

Evolution of the Highland cow

This critter started life looking a little different:

This was with the original modelling clay, non-bakeable, interesting colours only.
And this is the first attempt with the FIMO:
Other attempts haven't been as successful. I am realising that the more detail the better, hence Highland cows with their long hair are rather good. The Holstein-Friesian needs more work.
My son was concerned that this poor cow couldn't see!
Here he is, all varnished and dried

The Highland Cow

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