30 Before 30 – Cakes

Hello all

Remember last week when I mentioned that I was in the process of making Herman the German Friendship cake? Well I made it (him) yesterday, and I’m here to tell you he is delicious!

For those who didn’t see my blog post last time, Herman the German is a cake that apparently originates with the Amish people. They would share this cake amongst themselves to help the sick and poor. I received it from my sister-in-law, Kelly, and while I was a little cynical at first, when I actually got to taste her finished cake, I was convinced!

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~ Instructions ~

I received these instructions, along with the little bowl of mixture at the start of last week. As you can see, the instructions tell you that you can’t put the mixture in the fridge, or seal it, because otherwise it will die. As far as I can tell, the bowl of ‘stuff’ that you receive is a yeast mixture; it is therefore ‘alive’, and you keep it that way by feeding it flour, sugar and milk. You have to keep stirring the mixture throughout the ten days; it builds up bubbles on the top which is how you know it is still alive. It smells quite awful, like a brewery, which is almost enough to put you off, but luckily I knew how good the final product tasted!

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~ Day 4 ~

This is how the mixture looked on the fourth day, when I had added the first lot of flour, sugar and milk to it. It seems a bit strange to add milk to a mixture and then keep it out in room temperature, but it is called a sourdough mix!

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~ Day 9 ~

The ninth day is when you divide the mixture into four, keeping one batch for yourself, and giving three away. I gave one lot to my sister, one to my dad’s friends, and the other is still on my worktop! I am giving it away to my friend Anna, so I have to do the first few days for her, because otherwise Herman will die!

On day ten, you finally get to bake Herman. I didn’t actually do it on the tenth day, because I didn’t have the ingredients that I needed, so I left it until the eleventh day. I knew that it wouldn’t turn out to be a problem, and it wasn’t.

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~ Cooking apples, cut into chunks ~

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~ A cup of sultanas (the recipe calls for raisins, but sultanas are cheaper!) ~

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~ The final mixture ~

To the mixture that has been developing for ten days, you add cooking apples, raisins, salt, flour, eggs, baking powder, vanilla essence, oil and cinnamon. You can also add nuts, but I’m not a huge fan of nuts in cakes, so I left them out. I suppose you could probably add whatever fruit you liked to it, really, but I decided to stick with the recipe!

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~ Almost ready to bake… ~

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~ … Just as soon as you add some butter and sugar on the top! ~

The mixture goes into a roasting tin and then you sprinkle melted butter and brown sugar onto the top. This gives it a lovely crispy top, so while it’s not the healthiest addition, it’s definitely tasty!

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~ The finished product! ~

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~ Perfect with a cup of tea ~

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~Yum! ~

Ta da! There you have Herman the German friendship cake! it really is a delicious cake, and, as the name suggests, it is something you can share with your friends. It makes a lot of cake, so I am going to give some of mine away, otherwise it will just go to waste! If you do find yourself as part of a chain, you may find that you are making Hermans from now until eternity; I got mine from my sister-in-law in Bedford, and was offered one by my brother’s girlfriend in Essex the other day!

So that is three cakes down, and my aim is ten. I’m quite pleased with that – seven months (minus one day) until my birthday to make seven cakes. Easy! My next aim is this one, or a variation on it; I don’t like marzipan!

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Project 366 – Week 15

Hello all

I can’t believe that we’re fifteen weeks into the year. It’s just ridiculous! I missed another day last week, everything just seemed to blur into one, and it slipped my mind to try and take a photo. A couple of the photos this week are from my phone, because I am using Evertale, and the photos on my phone are set to automatically upload to it. I’m trying to make sure I take at least one photo a day with my phone, so that there is some content for each day on Evertale, and it’s handy because if I forget to take a proper Project 366 photograph, there is always one on there.

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~ Day 93 ~

My brother and his little girl by the lake at Marston Vale.

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~ Day 94 ~

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~ Day 96 ~

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~ Day 97 ~

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~ Day 98 ~

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~ Day 99 ~

Easter Sunday at my sister’s house; after a yummy roast dinner, we played The Logo Game. My team won.

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Miscellany

Hello all

Happy Easter! I know it’s a bit late in the day but I hope you have all enjoyed a lovely day, whether you celebrate or acknowledge Easter or not. I went to lunch at my sisters house, and it was nice to spend the afternoon with my nephews and niece, because for some reason, despite them living up the road, I don’t seem to see them that often! I haven’t eaten that much chocolate, but the day isn’t actually over yet!

I am writing this on my new laptop, which I have been given by a friend who had too many laptops! What a problem to have! So I am very grateful to him, because it means that I can lay on my bed and blog to my heart’s content, without being reliant on my dad’s computer. This should mean that the Tuesday Treat can be reintroduced. and at some point I am hoping to get a new blog name and makeover sorted! I know I keep going on about this, but I really want to get it sorted. Watch this space!

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I’ve never had a webcam in my laptop before, and so I had to mess around with it a little.

Tomorrow I am off to see Titanic 3D with my friends Richard and Hannah. Richard has never seen it before, so once we knew it was being reissued, he decided to wait and actually see it at the cinema. I can’t decide if I think he’s going to enjoy it or not; I think that the problem with seeing it fifteen years (argh!) after it was first out is that you kind of probably know everything there is to know about it. Also there is a whole nostalgia element that goes along with so many favourite films, and without that it might be a little hard to really enjoy a film like Titanic. Still, we’ll see. Obviously I will enjoy it, and I am sure I will cry. I might even be going to see it a second time, it looks as though I’ll be going next weekend too with Anna, Vicky and Jen. Though we didn’t see it at the cinema together the first time round, we were all at school together at the time, and it was our generation that really went potty for it. Most teenage girls went overboard  for Leonardo, apart from me; I fancied Mr Andrews, and still do. Leonardo didn’t really start floating my boat until The Aviator.

What else is new in my world? Well yesterday I made a knitting needle case! This was very exciting because it’s probably the first thing that I have actually made on a sewing machine that wasn’t total rubbish. I had a lot of help from Anna, whose sewing machine it actually is, and I was really pleased with the result! I might blog about it in detail later this week.

So I really just wanted to write a post taking advantage of the fact that I now have a laptop, and the result is this! Have a fabulous Bank Holiday Monday everyone!

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Progress Report ~ March

Hello all

It’s the start of a brand new month (give or take a few days), and it is therefore time for me to let you know how I am getting on with all my lists and aims for the year.

See 52 New Films

I saw another seven films in March, which takes my total to 25. That’s very nearly halfway there, for the year, and we’re only in April, so I’m confident that I will be able to meet this target! Two of the films were cinema visits; The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Hunger Games. TGWTDT was released in the UK on December 26th, so I’m quite proud that I managed to see it over two months later at the cinema! That’s because I went to see it at my local independent cinema, which sometimes gets new releases some time after they come out on general release. But I love it, because it’s cheap (£3 a ticket, I think), and it means that if I miss something when it first comes out, chances are I can see it at The Rio! The Hunger Games, conversely, was one that I saw the weekend it was first released! This was not for any specific reason, it’s not like the Harry Potter films where I was eager to see them the minute they were released. It just happened to coincide with a weekend when I was seeing Anna and Jen, and we have all read the book and wanted to see the film, so we went. It’s very good! As for the others, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp and In Which We Serve are both BFI films, and the other three I watched in one day! All very different films, but entertaining enough.

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Read 75 Books

I thought that I had got a bit behind with my reading, because my tendency lately is to be reading two or three (or sometimes four) books at a time, and if they are particularly long books, I don’t get anything finished for ages, and then all of a sudden I’ll finish them all. I know that this won’t actually make any difference to my totals, so I guess that it’s a psychological thing more than anything. Incidentally, I actually finished Storm Over Burracombe in January, but for some reason I had missed it off my list, so I thought I’d add it in here. Anyway, I read nine books in March, as you can see, so I am still ahead of my target, according to Good Reads. I really enjoyed most of the books I read this month, apart from maybe May Day, which is really short as it is just a novella, but took me ages, because I kind of missed the point of it, I think (I don’t really get Fitzgerald!). I’m whizzing through everything Jennifer Egan ever wrote, because I adore her writing, and Divergent was possibly my book of the month (tough call between that,The Hunger Games and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, though).

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Project 366

I missed a day in March! Disaster! Or not so much; I am not too worried, and it isn’t going to stop me from carrying on. I have been lacking inspiration a little bit recently, so no photos particularly stand out, though I do like this one, simply because my mum is in it.

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Bake 10 Unique Cakes

I baked another cake in March! It was a Chocolate Marble Cake, and I blogged about it yesterday. If you read that post, you’ll know that I already have another cake on the go, Herman the German Friendship Cake! 2 (and a half) down, 8 to go!

Have watched at least 15 new films from the BFI Top 100 British Films list

As I mentioned above, two of the new films that I watched were on the list; The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp and In Which We Serve. Blimp was a strange film, nothing like I imagined it, and it was rather long (I watched it in two sittings), but it was good. It tells the story of a man and follows his life from his army life in the Boer War right up to the Second World War. In Which We Serve is another war film, and also very good, but you can very much see the difference between the two. In Which We Serve was a patriotic film, made with the intention of boosting morale. Blimp very much wasn’t, and was criticised for a sympathetic portrayal of a German officer. Obviously, when it was released, in 1943, you can understand why people might have been wary of a film that showed a British officer and his German counterpart being close friends. Watching it now, of course, doesn’t elicit the same feelings at all! Anyway, both good films, and I’m glad I’ve watched them! That’s four down, eleven to go.

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