Making my own wedding cake

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Neil and I got married two weeks ago, and it was perfect. I never imagined everything could go so smoothly and the house and garden look so much better than I could have imagined.

I have had to keep off the blog for a while, as any cooking or crafting I was doing was ALL wedding related, and I didn’t want to ruin the surprise for any guests… But now, as all the secrets are out be prepared to be spammed by cake, dress (yes I made my own dress, and it was as stressful as that sounds…), invites and bunting galore!

_DSF3406This cake was actually quite easy to make, I used Frances Quinn from the Bake Off’s recipe in her book ‘Quinntessential Baking’, and it’s a lemon, mascarpone and raspberry cake (well technically eight of them) layered with some impressive structural engineering… (I got my brother to help place the rods in as he actually is an engineer.

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The picture above shows my genuine amazement that it stood up! (and did so for the entire afternoon!)

Everyone was really pleased with the cake, and as was I! I have never made anything higher than a Victoria sponge before. I made the sponges in my Aunt’s new high tech super oven (it has a touch screen and beeps!) on the Thursday morning, wrapped them up in loads of cling-film and then assembled it with mscarpone icing, home (aunt) made lemon curd and fresh raspberries. I added home grown lavender around the edges and dried flowers on top.

I’m rather proud of it.

 

Lincolnshire pottering and wedding count-down

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It’s less than a month to the wedding! Sorry I haven’t been able to show any wedding prep on Flour and Faff, I don’t want to ruin any surprises for guests!!

It’s been quite hectic getting everything sorted,  but things are coming together nicely!

We had a lovely long weekend away in Lincolnshire and even had some beautiful weather – here’s hoping the sunshine lasts for the next month… I think we’re probably crazy for organising an outdoor wedding in England…

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Toria

Say cheese (or raclette) at Borough Market

I went to visit some lovely friends this weekend in London, on the Saturday morning we headed off to Borough Market, and after some much needed coffee from Monmouth we pottered around the market and took in the sights and smells, and inevitably tastes of all the goodies the market has to offer.

20151219_13471520160227_10582120160227_113235I came down to Borough Market on the last Saturday before Christmas last and it was so very busy, it was nice to have a bit more breathing space this time around, even if it mean not having the lovely Christmas decorations they put up!

One dish we tried which I was really impressed by was melted raclette on potatoes with pickles, it was SO tasty. Essentially they melt a side of raclette under a grill and then scrape off the gooey loveliness ontop of the potatoes – it was DELICIOUS, but I don’t think I could have eaten a whole plate full!

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1 – Raclette melting
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2 – Raclette scooping
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3 – Raclette chomping

 

One of my friends had an artisan scotch egg with sweet potato fries which was also amazing, and I went back to basics with a Lincolnshire sausage sarnie!

I love pottering around food markets, and picking up tasty bits and pieces – I selflessly spent a while trying cured meats and grabbed Neil some Alpine chilli biltong which is going down well at home :).

Have you got any favourite food markets I should check out?

Flowers are happy things: Yes, I made a wedding cake!

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So, last weekend was a bit of a craft fest! It was my cousin’s wedding, I wore a me-made dress (see Elisalex blog post) AND I made her wedding cake!

Last July, while having breakfast in a Norfolk B&B, my cousin asked me to make her wedding cake! WOW. Of course I said yes, but then I began to panic – I’d never made a HUGE cake before, never decorated one with anything other than a sprinkle of icing sugar or a dab of butter cream, never made *anything* out of fondant… but hey, how hard could it be?

They also wanted it allotment themed.

ah.

Here is the epic (mainly picture based) tale of the journey of the cake.

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It’s a carrot cake, with Swiss meringue butter cream. I used Ian from the Great British Bake Off’s carrot cake recipe x 2.5 quantity, and cooked it in 2 batches in a 12 x 12 inch tin and sandwiched them together.

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I made a trial run of the cake – full size, and practiced the green grass stippled effect and took it into my work colleagues who very graciously devoured the whole thing 🙂

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I decided to double the spice quantities (only 1.5times the cloves as they’re quite strong) because everyone loves extra flavour right?!

Together with my aunt, cousin, (now) cousin-in-law, both his parents AND my mum, we settled down on Boxing Day to make the fondant veg and flowers – it took ALL day…

My aunt later made the shed – icing a mini-fruitcake, and my cousin made the minion – the wellies were a last minute addition being made only the night before assembly!

I made the actual cake and iced it on the Tuesday before the Saturday wedding, drove it down to Kent (terrifying), assembled it on the Friday (took about 4 hours) and drove it to the wedding venue (even more terrifying) ready for the Saturday wedding.

I’m pleased to report that all went according to plan, the wedding venue AND photographer were super impressed, which left me feeling AMAZING for the whole day, and the cake was *still* moist and tasty on the Saturday night!

Congratulations Mr & Mrs B!

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Pecan toffee cinnamon swirls – and tangent about how cook books and thunderstorms are connected

These gorgeous bites go out to our American cousins across the pond! In (early) celebration of Thanksgiving, and because my work colleagues are always keen for baked goodies, I decided to make these delicious sticky pecan toffee cinnamon swirls.


Now I don’t want to start any arguments here, so for the Brits amongst us, these are modified Chelsea buns, and for the American’s – cinnamon swirls.


I’m please to say they went down very well at work! I had to take them all into work otherwise Neil and I would be at risk of heart attacks!

I got these out of the Great British Bake Off: Big Book of Baking, which actually has a funny story about it:

Tangent warning* – So on the way back form visiting my parent’s there was horrid weather – I mean terrible: gale force winds, sideways rain, all sorts of things blowing across the motorway. Now I had already done my stint of driving (I hate driving…) and so in my capacity as chief navigator I missed the turning for the M6 so we ended up on the M6 Toll. This however was a really good thing in the end as the rain got to the point where we had to slow down to 30mph on the motorway as we couldn’t see a thing! As the conditions were so dangerous even on the nice empty M6 toll we stopped off at the services – where there was a Smiths, where they had the GBBO book on sale for a fiver… thus bad rain storm = cookery book YAY – Tangent over.


Anywho – these are those pecan toffee cinnamon buns and they are/were tasty!

Toria

Roll with it – rye rolls with garlic butter

Omnomnom – so I’ve had a pretty wholesome day today. After a failed attempt to teach myself to crochet I decided to do something that might have better results 🙂

Was anyone else watching the Hairy Bikers’ tour of the Balkans – Northern Exposure it was called? I thought it was fab – I always love the Hairy Bikers, they’re so happy and ‘real’ if you know what I mean? I love that everyone they meet can’t help but love them too even if there is normally a language barrier involved!

One of the things they mad on the programme was Pampushki (Baltic Buns) – they made them to eat with borscht, but I’m having these with sausage casserole.

I found the recipe on the BBC Food website.

I was initially a bit worried about them rising properly as the flat’s about as warm as an igloo…

But I’m pretty happy with the results, and had a nice afternoon knitting while they were proving, and I think they’ll be great dunked in the sauce from the casserole.

Toria

Quiche Lorraine and puppy training

12 weeks ago my mum had her hip replaced! She’s doing amazingly well and marching around without her sticks now 🙂

I went down to visit a few weeks after she’d had it done to say hello, and help my dad out a little – he was AWESOME, cooking cleaning, helping AND training/pee mopping for their new springer spaniel puppy – Digby (who received his first rosette last week!)


We did loads of cooking and together we made loads of really tasty things – one of which is this rather fine Quiche Lorraine – after a gander around the usual suspects for recipes we went for a classic one we found on the BBC website:

James Martin’s Quiche Lorraine

Toria