Photo: Through the Archway

After what seems like forever, I think I’m finally beginning to shake this chest infection (luckily I didn’t have whooping cough), so ventured outside last night for the first time in weeks. We just went to the nearby woods for a wander and as  I’ve been really lax with learning my camera lately, I took it, and one lens, along with me

As well as the usual nature photos, I snapped this one.  At first I was really pleased with it, but as I started to edit it, I started to see how I could have improved it.  Funnily enough, this makes me really happy, as I tend to rush at things and then be disappointed with the results.

I loved the way the wooden structure framed the church in the distance, although I’m disappointed that I didn’t take the time to centre it, and focus more on the church.  I think the grain and detail on the wooden frame has come through really well and love the way the sides slats of the frame are replicated in the floor.

I used the following settings on my Nikon D3000 with a 50mm lens: F/3,5, 1/100 sec, ISO-100.   I tried to sharpen up the church and removed the railings at the bottom on the pier using Photoshop; it’s been a long time since I’ve used Photoshop properly and this really reminded me how rusty I’ve become.

I’d love to hear how I could have done this better, so please feel free to comment below.

Until next time…

Travelogue: Sevilla, the most enchanting city of all (part II)

Time has flown yet again but finally getting myself settled back into the swing of life (and aiming to catch up on blogging, crafting, learning, and cooking).  I always just seem to want to hibernate when the nights are long and dark.

Following on from my earlier post, Day 3 and other procession.  This one was in Triana, just on the other side of the river from the city centre.  The streets were jam packed and we ended up waiting for ages because we were at the end of the procession, not the beginning.  This really gave me a feel of how the city would be during Semana Santa.  After it was all over we stayed in Triana for a bit, visiting a lovely little Abaceria, which had the most amazing cheese and jamon.

During the week we took a stroll up to La Cantina at Mercado de Feria for some tasty seafood tapas and on the way popped into Vizcaina for a drink. It’s an old style bar with sawdust on the floor, where your tab is chalked onto the counter.  I loved seeing the barrels from Bodegas Hidalgo, as we did the tour when we were in Sanlucar de Barrameda last year (and got an extra drink from the workers’ barrel!).

I love just wandering around soaking up the life of a city. Here are a few images of my favourite random snaps from this trip:

Oh…I almost forgot – I ate percebes for the first time!  I had wanted to try them for ages – they were okay but didn’t taste as exciting as they look.

As I’m determined to remain on a roll blogging-wise, I’ll be back tomorrow with my Thursday recipe. Time for some coffee and crochet now.

 

Travelogue: Sevilla, the most enchanting city of all (part I)

If you know me, you’ll already know my passion for Sevilla; it had been on my wish list for years and when we first visited I fell instantly in love, even though we spent a good proportion of the week getting lost!  We’ve been back quite a few times since and every time I love it a little bit more.  It was my birthday last month, so no prizes for guessing where I chose for my celebration trip.

Because we’ve been a few times before and have lots of photos, I thought I’d challenge myself a bit more this time.  I took only one lens and focused more on people and general life.  I had a lot of dud photos, as I only got the lens a couple of days before we travelled and I hadn’t had a chance to play around with it but becoming more adept with my camera is one of my goals, so I’m treating it as a learning process.

We were staying on Jesus del Gran Poder, at Plaza del Duque, which is a great location bang in the centre of town.

On the second day of the holiday it was my birthday and I was delighted to discover there was a small procession that evening, close to where we were staying.  I’ve always really fancied going in Semana Santa just to experience it once, but Stu thinks the crowds would drive him insane.  This one had a Cristo and Virgen.  The statues are stunningly beautiful and it’s quite a sight to see them floating down the street.

Some other images from the crowd:

 

After all the excitement, we needed a drink.  I love these mannequins watching over the wine.

Well that was Day 1 and 2, more to follow.  Hope you’ve enjoyed seeing a bit of the city.

’til next time.

 

 

 

Woolly Bully

Just  before Christmas I treated myself to a copy of Vanessa Mooncie’s fantastic book, “Animal Heads – Trophy Heads to Crochet”.  Once I had looked through it, I wanted to make almost everything, but once I put my sensible head on and told myself I was only allowed to do one until I had some other projects finished, I decided on the bull.  It will be perfect in our bedroom, which you may recall from a previous post, will eventually have a Spanish flamenco bar feel to it.

The bull didn’t take too long to do, as he’s mainly done in chunky yarn.  Also, there weren’t too many parts to put together.  I did find my hands got a bit sore making him, especially my “holding” hand.  This is probably not helped by me being a bit hypermobile, as it’s pretty easy to overstretch fingers.

Oodles of Obliciousness - Paco

Before I added the embellishments, I had fun pretending I was Kevin Keegan with his curly hair – luckily no  photos exist. I would  have finished him last week, but I was held back a bit trying to source a wooden ring which was large enough to go in his nose.

Oodles of Obliciousness - Bull Nose

 

I’n not sure he’ll be to everyone’s taste, but I love him so much, in fact he’s quite possibly my favourite make to date.  At the moment he’s resting on top of one of the sofas, as he’s pretty heavy, so will need to get hold of a masonry drill to put a rawl plug in to support him.  I’d love to hear what you think of him.

OOdles of Obliciousness - Bull (finished)

As yet, he doesn’t have a name, but I’m on the case (…and open to suggestions).

Jelly & Custard Cupcakes

It’s was my brother-in-law’s birthday last weekend, so I baked him some cakes:

Piña Colada cupcakes – by special request.  I even put little umbrellas in them.

Oodles of Obliciousness - Pina Colada Cupcakes

I also made jelly and custard cupcakes.  These are always a great hit with the little ones (and big ones too!)

Oodles of Obliciousness - Jelly & Custard Cupcakes

The Piña Colada ones were from Love Cupcakes, my hands down favourite cupcake book.  The jelly and custard ones are also based on a recipe in the book but I’ve tweaked it so many times it doesn’t bear much resemblance to the original.  Here’s my recipe for them:

 

Jelly & Custard Cupcakes
Print Recipe
An homage to that old favourite childhood pudding - jelly and custard...in cupcake form.
Servings Prep Time
12-18 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12-18 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Jelly & Custard Cupcakes
Print Recipe
An homage to that old favourite childhood pudding - jelly and custard...in cupcake form.
Servings Prep Time
12-18 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12-18 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
for the cakes:
  • 125 g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 125 g caster sugar
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs (large, at room temperature)
  • 125 g self-raising flour
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • raspberry jam
for the frosting:
  • 125 g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250 g icing sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp (heaped) custard powder
  • milk
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
To make the cupcakes:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees c and line a muffin/cupcake tray with cupcake cases.
  2. Put the butter, caster sugar, and vanilla extract in the bowl of your mixer and beat until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs and mix to combine (don't worry if it looks a little curdled at this stage, adding the flour will sort that out).
  4. Add the flour and baking powder and beat again until combined.
  5. Add the milk and beat again.
  6. Divide the mixture evenly between your cupcake cases, bake for approximately 20 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean, and turn out on a wire rack to cool.
  7. Once cupcakes have cooled, using an apple corer or knife, removed a section of cake from the centre, taking care not to go straight through to the cupcake case. Fill the space with raspberry jam and pop the piece of cake you removed back in.
To make the frosting:
  1. Beat the butter and vanilla until pale and fluffy
  2. Add the icing sugar and beat, slowly at first, until the mixture comes together. Add the custard powder and beat again to incorporate
  3. At this point, you will probably find the frosting to be a little too thick. Add milk, one tablespoonful at a time, until it reaches your desired piping constituency.
  4. Add the frosting to the cupcakes using either a piping nozzle of your choice or spread on with a palette knife.
Recipe Notes
  • I use a very heaped tbsp sized measuring spoon to measure the mixture into the cupcake cases.  This will give around 16 cupcakes.
  • I find squeezy seedless jam ideal for these cupcakes.
  • I prefer about 4 very heaped tablespoons of custard powder in my frosting, as I like it to be quite custardy.
  • I like to use large nozzles, as they allow me to cover the cake quickly and easily (cake decorating is not a skill I possess!).

 

 

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New Year, same old Oblibby

Happy New Year, Oodlers.  Hope 2016 brings you everything you wish for.  I always have mixed feelings at New Year; excitement at the fresh start and all the projects I’m looking forward to undertaking in the next 12 months, mixed with sadness (and a touch of anger) at everything I’ve failed to achieve in the past year.  I know I can’t do everything, but I really, really want to structure my life so I become more productive and use my free time better this year.  We shall see…

When I’m making up my project list for this year* I’m definitely adding a couple of things from these books I got a Christmas.  Both look wonderful and have so many things I’d like to make.  I think I’ll got with the orangutan from Edward’s Menagerie and the bull from Animal Heads as the first one from each book.

Oodles of Obliciousness - Christmas 2015 Crochet Books

*Actually, I think maybe listing the projects I want to do and ticking them off as they’re complete might be the way forward for me.  Ideally I’d only like to have one large and few small projects on the go at any given time, as I’m terrible for starting larger projects and having so many on the go I become overwhelmed and end up doing nothing.  I’ll report back on the list situation and let you know if it’s working or not.

I’m also looking forward to trying out my new cooking and cocktail books.  The Nopi one will be great for dinner parties and special occasions, whilst Spuntino is full of hassle-free food to cook at weekends.  Tequila Mockingbird is full of literary based cocktails, so looking forward to posting some fab booze pics soon.

Oodles of Obliciousness - 2015 Christmas Cookbooks

On the subject of cooking, I’m definitely going to get back to posting regular recipes here.  I’m also going to slightly change the way I cook and start doing more batch cooking for midweek meals, instead of cooking something from scratch every night.  I’m hoping this will free up a bit more time to spend on my crafty projects, as I’d really like to do a fair later in the year.

One of my current makes is taking a little longer than expected.  I’m making a Fair Isle tank top, using a pattern from Debbie Bliss’ Blue Faced Leicester DK book.  I’m using Patons Merino Extra Fine DK in shades Camel (105), Wine (132), Olive (171), Chartreuse (174), Blue Nile (155), Black (199), and Cream (102).  It’s a long time since I’ve knitted anything and had forgotten just how much longer it takes to do than crochet.  I’m really enjoying making it although it has to be said it’d definitely a design which needs my full attention.  Here’s my progress so far.

Oodles of Obliciousness - Tank Top

Thanks for looking.  I would love to see what you’re making or cooking, or even projects you’d like to do at some point in 2016.