Saturday 25 September 2010

Weeknote 25/9

A little of the sparkly hat. I also got some Debbie Bliss tweed to make this waistcoat-type garment, but I am having trouble getting gauge. I am down to a 3mm needle and still at least a st/inch out. I may have to find another pattern for it, or make one up myself. I like the cabled look and it's everywhere this winter; I have some Swarovski crystal buttons to go on it and they have languished in the button box too long, so I am going to cast on for that this week. Hopefully.

Going to:
Brunch, with Parpy Jo. For the first time in months! It was very nice to get back onto the sofas with her for a natter and a mocha.

Bed, early. I caught a bit of a cold this week and it spoiled the first part of the week; I didn't do much at all. By Thursday I was feeling better but behind on my work so I couldn't even make it to knitting group. Sad.

Jamie's Italian, in Bath. My second visit, and this time I had a beef and beet salad (last time it was prosciutto and pear; he likes alliteration, obviously). We went to celebrate Mr Z's birthday, and on the advice of Jonts we went at 6.10ish. He said we'd eat by 7 if we went by 6, but we only waited 15 minutes for a table. Not bad for a Friday night.

Every shop in Bristol, in search of the elusive navy prom dress I want for Parpy Jo's wedding in two weeks. I was thwarted. I found a passable navy dress which I can jazz up, but the perfect red shoes were not available in my size. I should have known, when I had to drive halfway home and park on the street and get the bus back in due to overcrowded car parks, that it was not going to be a lucky shopping day.
I did manage to get an amazing goodie bag from Lush, at least, newly reopened after their refit. And that's just as well, since they have discontinued my favourite ever product, Babyface.

Chocolate cake. It was Lou's birthday this week and, as a founder member of UNSC, cake was necessary. Mr Z Googled "best chocolate cake recipe ever" for me and what he came up with...well, it can certainly lay a claim to the title.

4oz butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup cocoa
2 cups plain flour
pinch of salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup milk
1 cup strong coffee, cooled (I made espresso for my cake)
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream the butter and sugar; beat in the eggs. Sift all the dry ingredients together and add in stages, alternating with the milk. Beat in the coffee and vanilla. Divide between two 8 inch tins which you have greased/lined. Bake at 180 degrees C for 20-25 minutes (one of my cakes took 20 mins; one took nearly 30. I was not good at evenly dividing.) Turn out, cool, ice.

4oz butter, melted
2 cups icing sugar
2 tblsp. cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. milk

Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into the butter and mix. Add the vanilla and milk and beat until smooth. Spread about a third of the icing in between the two cakes and use the rest on the top/sides.

Two things about this cake.
Firstly, there's not even a hint of coffee in the finished item. I tried really hard to taste it, but couldn't. It just makes it moist and awesome.
Secondly, the icing looks totally ruined to start with. I beat the icing sugar into the melted butter and when I stopped, liquid butter just oozed out of an unpromising, mealy substance. I started coming up with a back up plan, then added the milk and vanilla, whereupon it transformed into a smooth and delicious icing. Amazing.

  • About ePals, this amazing site that connects schools all over the world. I attended a webinar about it on Wednesday night and it sounds like it has real potential. I am hoping to do something with it this term.
  • That small town politics and gossip can have a real negative impact if one allows it to. Better not say more, though. Le sigh.
  • All about a new PGCE course. I am back as mentor again, and remembering all this entails; but it's a different university as the Bath Spa course closed down. The new course leader at the new uni is someone I know a bit. I am interested to see how he does in the role; I considered applying for it myself, briefly, but I think I would miss working with actual children too much. And it would have meant taking a pay cut.

Obsessed with:
Looking at all things Kindle. Unfortunately I don't think it's worth buying one for myself, since I just don't have enough time to read regularly. But maybe I will change my mind. I have also been obsessively looking up Android pads. There don't seem to be many good ones out there yet, though.

Entertained by:
@VizTopTips, my fave follow of the week. I especially liked this one:
SUPERMARKETS. Delight and appal grammatical pedants simultaneously by opening a "5 item's or fewer" till.

The return of Dancing With The Stars. David Hasselhoff and Bristol Palin. It has a lot of potential. And Strictly's back properly next week too! Huzzah.

This is England '86. It's extremely entertaining!

A bit coldy, but better this end of the week. Same as last week though: I feel swept along. I don't know what has happened to September. I am pleased to say re-marks are (hopefully) done now though, at least; so my evenings are my own again.

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