Saturday, 22 February 2014

Tie Dye Pants

Remember when I dyed my trench coat tropical green? Well, I also managed to sneak a little tie dye project in... You see these very plain pants that are no longer at their bright white best and might otherwise be consigned to pant heaven?

After simply applying a few, carefully-placed and tightly-wrapped elastic bands:

And popping in the washing machine with the Dylon dye and salt on a 40 degree wash, you end up here...

...and finally after removing the elastic bands you end up here in 1960s-pants heaven!

PS After the success of the trench coat and these pants I can't stop looking around for more things to dye... watch out wardrobe!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

(6p) Banana Bread

I snapped up 7 bananas for 6p at the supermarket the other day. Slightly past their best, they were just perfect for making banana loaf. I made a couple of loaves by doubling the recipe below. The first was plain and the second had 100g of dark chocolate chips thrown in for good measure and stashed the latter in the freezer for a rainy day.

Loaf cakes like these freeze really well - I just left mine in the greaseproof paper and popped it into a freezer bag with the date on. Bananas are often reduced in the supermarket as they go from ripe to overripe so quickly, so keep your eyes peeled if you want to get in on the banana bread action!

This is adapted from a Mary Berry recipe and is the quickest and easiest recipe for banana bread that I know. It makes a loaf that's pretty even in texture, but if you wanted chunks of banana, I'd suggest stirring with a wooden spoon rather than using an electric mixer.

100g softened butter
175g caster sugar
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp milk

1. Pre-heat the oven 180℃/360℉/Gas Mark 4 and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper
2. Mix all of the ingredients with an electric mixer
3. Spoon into the loaf tin and flatten the top with a spoon
4. Bake in the centre of the pre-heated oven for around 1 hour, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean
5. Leave to cool in the cake tin for a short while and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully

Enjoy warm with cream or ice cream or with a cup of afternoon tea.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Gluten Free vs Regular Sponge Cake

This weekend we had lots of Birthday celebrations to enjoy, which gave me a chance to do a side-by-side comparison of a gluten-free sponge and a regular sponge.

For the regular sponge I used this recipe (but with 2 layers) and for the gluten-free cake, I opted for this recipe from Dove Farm. The two aren't really a direct comparison as the 'regular' cake uses 4 eggs and the gluten-free just 2, but I'm not yet confident enough to play around with quantities.

Gluten Free

Unsurprisingly then, the gluten-free didn't rise as much as the regular sponge and the top was fairly prone to cracking, but both were quite light and tasted pretty similar (particularly after the addition of a generous helping of jam and whipped cream!)


I'm pleased to say both cakes were enjoyed by their recipients and I will be looking up some more gluten-free recipes to make with the remaining flour I now have waiting in the cupboard!