Sunday, 29 November 2009

Johnny Depp Cake

I went to a Johnny Depp and Jack Daniels Party the other night. It was fun. (The concept of matching initials parties started with Pumpkin Soup and Patrick Swayze).

The JD Party included Jammy Dodger Shooters (yum! Raspberry Liquer and Cream layered in a shot glass), "Johnny Dumplings" (actually chinese dumpling things but you've got to stick to the rules). My contribution was Johnny Depp cake:

It may look like chocolate cake, but it is actually rum and raisin chocolate cake! You may still be confused as to the relation with Johnny Depp, but see:
Rum - Johnny Depp, as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean was a bit of a fan of the rum
Raisin - He played Gilbert Grape in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, and everyone knows raisins are made from grapes
Chocolate - How could I deny Willy Wonka chocolate? Plus he was in Chocolat (mmm Johnny Depp in chocolate)

If you want to make your very own Johnny Depp cake, the rough recipe I used is as follows (I used one off the internet but ended up changing a few things)

About 100g Raisins or dried fruit, roughly chopped
A good glug of Rum
175g unsalted butter
150g sugar
2 eggs lightly beaten
225g Self Raising Flour
40g cocoa powder
150ml milk

Soak the raisins in the rum for a while (preferably a few hours)
Pre-heat the oven to 180C, grease and line a cake tin
Beat the butter and sugar until light, then gradually beat in the eggs
Fold in the rum and raisins
Sift together the cocoa powder and flour
Fold the flour mix and the milk alternately into the batter
Pour into the tin, smooth the top and bake for about an hour (until a knife comes out clean)
Leave in the tin for 15minutes then turn onto a rack to cool

For chocolate rum icing, melt about 100g dark chocolate, mix in 100g butter until melted
Then add 75g sifted icing sugar and 3tbsp rum
Ice the cake and enjoy:)
I also put chocolate sprinkles on top just because I had some in the cupboard.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009


My fourth mitten is finally complete!

Mitten number one was meant for my granny but ended up the perfect size for me (and hence too small for the intended recipient - oops!)
Mitten one (pre-thumb)

Mitten number two (knit at a looser gauge) was perfect for my granny (yay!)
Mittens two and three - blocking.

Mitten number three was the same size as two but had the thumb the wrong way round the first time (argh) and had to be fixed.

Mitten number four was going to be too much for the wool I had left so some shifting round of colours make it a friend to number one, rather than an exact copy. Good enough for me, and so warm:)
Mittens one and four, complete!

I particularly like the contrasting pattern on the thumb, and the picot hem.

Pattern: Found at Tiffany Mittens by Sari
Wool: Rooster Almerino DK


I like libraries. I loved them as a child; being able to wander round amongst aisles and aisles of fascinating books and pick ones to take home for free!! I read avidly as a child and still adore the escapism books provide.

Unfortunately some librarians are evil minions of satan, incapable of allowing people to enjoy books. Do they think I'm going to corrupt the poor little books or something? I don't plan to involve them in book-burning or anything, I promise. Anyway, I had a bad experience with one library (well, two bad experiences actually, and I've only been in there twice), so it doesn't really surprise me how popular online book-retailers are.

Generic Online Book-Retailer:
  • Allows you to see a vast selection of potential options
  • Gives you other reader's reviews
  • Suggests other books you may like
  • Sends the books to your door and requires minimal human interaction
University Library:
  • Baffles you with a variety of options
  • Only gives information about the standard option
  • Apparently has a variety of different shelving systems (Dewey Decimal not good enough eh???)
  • Is inhabited by evil people who shout at you for being slightly confused
I've worked at the University for a few years now and never really considered getting books out (it's a lot further away than my local library and I mostly read fiction and knitting books). A little investigation showed that they had the score of some piano music I wanted to play (Metamorphosis, Philip Glass - the piece Starbuck plays in Battlestar Galactica) at the nice price of free (as opposed to about £30 online). Awesome. So, I registered with the library, looked up the information about how to get books out, great. Except of course sheet music is in some random corner of the library and not in the right place in the baffling subsection of freakish book-shelving (I like the Dewey Decimal system dammit). Eventually I found it and took it to the information desk to check out.

Unfortunately the person at the desk had no idea what she was supposed to do with sheet music. She finally found a piece of paper that I was maybe suppose to fill in, so I did. I got the sheet music home and realised she hadn't stamped the return date. No problem, I thought, it'll say on the online system! Of course, that would be too simple, no record that I have it out.... Generally it seems you get to keep books for a month so I tried to take it back after 3 weeks, just in case. Oh that it could be that simple.

I took it to the information desk and asked about the return date (you know, for future reference), the man at the desk proceeded to tell me off for not knowing the return date and said I should have remembered it from when I took it out. Given the person I dealt with was totally baffled by the concept of sheet music, she hadn't given me any indication of when to return it, she hadn't stamped the return date (there were a couple of recent return dates in it). I said this, and pointed out I had checked the online system. "Well of course it's not on the online system!" Err ok, I hadn't realised, it's the first book I've got out, I'm staff, not a student, so I didn't know. "It's not a book, it's a score!!!" Err, ok but what would the return date be for scores then? "The end of term, as always!!!!!" Err...but I don't know when the end of term is, I'm staff... He then seemed utterly baffled by the concept of wanting to return it early and found a scrap of paper and a pencil to write my name on. I think he's going to use it to hunt me down and kill me:/

Maybe I'll aim for illiteracy in future.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Things I Hate:

The Post Office
They currently have two parcels. I sent them a while ago. Unfortunately they haven't arrived. One was for my best friend in Japan. It contained a hat knitted to her specifications (and wool isn't cheap dammit), plus lots of tasty things. Post to Japan tends to take 2-3weeks. I think it's been a month so far...

Hat (ignore the zombie face, it's my first pompom for ages):

The second parcel was for my granny. A while ago I asked her if there was anything she'd like me to knit, she suggested mittens. I took my time as I wanted to make them perfect. I found a great pattern, found some lovely soft wool, took my time. The first mitten was a perfect fit for me - unfortunate as her hands are bigger. The second mitten seemed ideal so I knitted a third. D'oh, finished it off and realised the thumb was on backwards - unravelling and re-knitting was fiddly but worth it. Finally done, I decided to post them Special Delivery so I could track them, looked up the price and the details. £4.95 apparently, expensive but fair enough. Took them to the post office; "You can't track special delivery, that'll be £5.60 please." Err no, ok I'll just send it first class then. That was about a week ago...

Mittens (blocking, hence stuffed with placky bags):

Please, please royal mail, please get them safely to their destinations. I even bloody checked when the postal strikes were so I could avoid them:'(

Sunday, 1 November 2009


Oops, it seems to have been a month since my last post... Oh well, here are a few halloween treats.

Chocolate monster buns:

Pumpkin Jack:

And playing with matches:)

Coming soon, mittens!