Friday, 18 October 2013

Gingerbread Teddies

Hey kids,

Satch here. Last December I went to a wedding where they served the most amazing gingerbread I've ever had. When I spoke to the guy who made it, he said he just followed the BBC good food recipe, so I had to give it a try...albeit 10 months later. As this wasn't for any occasion in particular, I figured I'd just whack a bit of icing on. However, my driving instructor suggested I do superhero gingerbread - how could I refuse? 

As you can see, I don't have cookie cutters in the shape of people, but teddies can still be super! To make these gingerbread teddies you will need: 

350g plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
125g butter (dairy-free, naturally) 
175g light soft brown sugar
1 egg
4 tbsp golden syrup 
Cookie cutters
Icing sugar 
Piping bag

Preheat the oven 180c and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Put your flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon into a bowl and stir it altogether. The original recipe said to sieve it but I like to walk on the wild side. 

Add the butter and rub it all between your fingers until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. If you have a food processor, your life will probably be a lot easier than mine! 

Stir in the sugar. 

Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add this to the other ingredients and form it into a dough. 

Knead your dough briefly until it's smooth, then wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Cover your surface and rolling pin with flour - the mixture is quite sticky so I found I had to knead a bit more flour in, but that may well be because I overdid it with the golden syrup, who can say? Roll out your dough to about 1/2cm thickness. I experimented with different thicknesses, but the chunkier ones lost their shape and the thinner ones were too hard. 

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling. 

Then, ice on whatever delightful character you'd like! Here are a few I did: 

Hulk, Superman and Spiderman
Sort-of Fred Flintstone and a Blues Brother (I was watching Blues Brothers whilst baking)

Robin, Batman and a very loose interpretation of Two-Face!

And, of course, classic teddy. 
You'll notice a few are missing limbs/not-so teddy-like. These were the ones that were too thick and placed too close together so they merged in the oven. Still, arms are overrated, I find. 

At this point I usually think about what I would do differently next time, but these tasted soooooo good I wouldn't change a thing. Just make sure you get the thickness right and you're good to go! Also, it's a good idea to bake when you're going to see other people at some point - I basically had to demolish these bad boys all by myself. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.

Until next time, 
Satch x

Monday, 14 October 2013

Apple and Cinnamon Cupcakes

Hey kids, 

Satch here. While it's perhaps a little early for christmassy cupcakes, there was a cooking apple just sitting in my kitchen - how could I not throw in a little bit of cinnamon and whack it in a cake? When I normally bake for my church partnership group, I usually have a few cakes left for my breakfast the next day, but these got completely demolished so I think they were particularly good! Almost too I have to eat toast tomorrow.

Again, this blog is sorely lacking in pretty pictures. It was such an experiment that I didn't think it would work, and didn't think to take photos until nearly all the cakes had gone! However, I did manage this one, and I even instagrammed it for you - aren't I nice? 

To make these apple and cinnamon cupcakes the way I did (which, as they were amazing, I would totally recommend) you will need: 

150g Dairy-free butter
150g Caster Sugar
2 Eggs
150g Gluten-Free Flour 
Splash of Dairy-Free Milk
4 Tsp Cinnamon
Half a large cooking apple (about 5 tbsp worth!) 
Cupcake cases (the big muffin-y ones)
Icing Sugar 
Apple Juice (I used cloudy)

For those eagle-eyed blog readers among you, you may have noticed I've changed my basic mojito cupcake recipe quite a bit. Just so you know, there's one less egg and a lot less milk as I figured the apple would provide a crap-load of moisture (which is a technical baking term) and so you wouldn't need as much liquid as you would in a regular gluten-free cake. It was a complete guess, but it worked! 

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C

Cream together your butter and sugar, and then mix in your eggs. 

Peel your apple and dice it finely. Throw it in your mix with your flour, milk and 2 or 3 tsp of cinnamon (I just did this by sight). I also put raisins in mine, but I was disappointed with that aspect of the cake - the apple is good on its own so I won't be doing raisins again. 

Fill your cake cases and put them in the oven for 15 minutes, or until you can stick a fork in the middle one and it comes out clean. 

While your cakes are cooling, mix together your icing sugar, apple juice and 1 tsp cinnamon. You're going for a nice drizzle-able consistency, so do it by sight and taste. 

Drizzle your icing on the cakes with a teaspoon or using a piping bag if you're feeling fancy, but I like the random drizzly look. 

If I were to do it again, I might try adding a bit of ginger just to see what that's like, but I don't think it needs it (and I knew my friend Piero would be eating the cakes and he's allergic to ginger so that would have been mean). The cupcakes turned out really well, especially for such an experimental bake! They were light, moist and christmassy - what more could you want? 

Until next time, 

Satch x

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Mojito Cupcakes (Gluten and Dairy Free!)

Hello Children,

Satch here. Last week it was our friend Reb's birthday and so I felt she deserved a nice birthday treat, particularly considering the fact that she's gluten-intolerant and so rarely gets to eat cake - what a terrible, terrible thing. As a dairy-free kid myself, I know you can still make great cakes without half the stuff you usually put in, so I decided to make my first foray into gluten-free. 

One thing Reb and I have in common is that we both like a cocktail or six, so I decided to go all out and do something a bit special: mojito cupcakes! 

Unfortunately, I have a distinct lack of photos for this blog post as a) I still have no camera and b) I was making these with a five-year-old so we didn't have the patience to stop and take pictures (for those of you about to report me to the NSPCC, I didn't let her have any rum!) 

For these AMAZING cupcakes, you will need: 

For the cakes
150g Caster Sugar
150g Dairy-Free Butter 
3 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
150g Gluten-Free Flour 
5 tbsp Milk 
(If you don't want to go gluten-free and dairy-free then you can just use whatever fairy cake recipe you normally use.) 
Cupcake cases

For the icing
70ml Rum
3 Limes
Soft Brown Sugar 
Butter Icing (I tend to just mix it up by taste - you need butter and icing sugar!) 
Mint Leaves

Start by preheating your oven at 200 degrees C.

Cream together your butter and sugar and then whack in the eggs (beating eggs is for chumps!) 

Add your vanilla essence, flour and milk and stir it all together. The good thing about gluten-free flour is that you don't have to sift it (not that I would bother anyway, but just in case you're into that kind of thing.) The mixture will look a bit more wet than if you'd used gluteny flour, but the nice lady in the health food shop told me that's how it's meant to look.) 

Fill the cake cases with the mixture, and pop in the oven for roughly 15 minutes. Get them out and let them cool. 

Poke little holes in the cakes with a fork and brush the tops with rum. Let it soak in for a minute, and then go for another brush of rum. 

Juice two of your limes and brush the juice on the cake twice, just like you've done with the rum. 

Sprinkle on the brown sugar, it should dissolve into the cake. If you're not a big icing fan, you can probably stop here and still have a delicious mojito experience. However, the icing is pretty amazing, so you'll be missing out. 

For the icing, add the rest of the rum and lime juice to your buttercream. I have no idea how much buttercream I made, but I didn't use all the rum and lime because it would have been too much. Just keep going by taste and consistency until you get what you want - have an experiment, be an individual! 

Once you've iced your cakes (I went for the slap-it-on-with-a-spoon approach as dairy-free buttercream never holds a pretty piping shape anyway), slice up your third lime and place a slice on each cake, along with a mint leaf, and you're done! 

The cakes went down a treat and I was mega pleased my first gluten-free bake went so well! If I did them again, I might experiment with adding lime zest, rum and mint to the actual cake mixture, but you still get plenty of mojito flavour doing it this way so crack on! Anyone got any other cocktail cake ideas? 

Until next time, 

Satch x

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

No Sew Tank Top

Hey kids, 

Satch here. This top has been aaaaaaaaages in the making so I'm really excited to finally share it with you all (especially considering the fact it turned out much easier to do than I realised!) But first, WE HAVE TWITTER! It's very exciting so do follow us @SatchandSalt. Plus, we're taking suggestions for the bestie bucket list 2014, so give us some great ideas! We'll do crazy stupid things and put them on the internet for your enjoyment, what could be better?

Business over, back to pure crafty pleasure. About a year ago, our friend Glenky left this AWESOME tee at my house to show me, and I instantly fell in love with it: 
This isn't Glenky, it's just a pic of the original tee I leafed off the internet!

It combines all the best things in life - science fiction and famous authors from history - so obviously I proceeded to sneak the tee up to uni with me and hold it hostage until Glenky said I could keep it, what a Gent! 

The problem I then faced was that as Glenky, a regular-sized man, had bought the tee to fit himself and not me, a tiny-sized lady, and so a little customising was in order to make it wearable in public. At the time, I cut off the sleeves and sewed them up, but it was just the wrong side of 80s for me, and so back into the sewing basket it went.

For the life of me, I can't figure out why there's a random grey bit at the bottom of this photo!
Cut to two years later and I've finally discovered a way to make a man's tee into a girl's tank! Hallelujah! 

I've combined ideas from a couple of blogs here, as there are a few ways of doing it. However, to do it my way (which is totally the best) you will need: 

One man's t-shirt (This was a medium, so if you're not a tiny person, you may require a bigger size. 

- that's it! 

Start with the chalk and mark your tee where you're going to cut it. You're going to need a dip at the neckline (both front and back), as well as cutting off the sleeves and hem. I tried on my tee while I marked it. It may be a good idea to make conservative estimates with the markings, because you can always cut more off but you can't undo it very easily!  

Cut along your chalk markings, but don't throw away the hem you've just cut off! You'll need it later :) Try your tee on again and pinch the back straps together, to get an idea of what it will look like. If it's pulling in too tightly, you may need to cut deeper arm holes and more of a dip at the back - the bottom of these two holes should be in line with each other. Keep adjusting and trying it on until it looks right. 

Once you've got it cut to the size and shape you want, it's time to tie up the back. Try on your tee and pinch the straps together where you want them to join. Then, safety pin the straps in place so you know where to start with your knotting. Take the scrap of hem you saved and thread it under the straps so that there's an even length of material either side of the safety pin. Tie a knot in the hem fabric, and keep knotting downwards until you can no longer knot! (Don't forget to take out the safety pin when you're done.)
Sorry about my foot, folks!

And here it is!

I'm absolutely in love with it (and a little bit in love with Glenky for letting me keep and mutilate his T shirt!) I saw a version of this where they tied a ribbon round the back instead of the same material, which I might try. It takes a little time to get the proportions right, but it's so easy to do that I'm going to proceed to raid the mens' section of charity shops from now on! 

Until next time, 
Satch x

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Bestie Bucket List Update

Alright gang?
Salt here - it's been a while! Sorry about that, but it seems Satch has been keeping you entertained!

Just wanted to blog a reeeeaaallly speedy update on the Bestie Bucket List!

I crossed off a big'un recently by running a half-marathon!
Unfortunately due to health issues, Satch wasn't able to partake in this, so I took one for the team.

It was my first half marathon, and I finished in 2 hours and 32 minutes, which I was really pleased with for a first try, and raised £590 for an incredible charity - The Hannah Chamberlain Foundation.

Here's some photographic evidence to prove we managed it:

We're taking suggestions for the 2014 Bucket List already, so if you have anything you want to see us try, get in touch. We're on twitter @SatchandSalt or you can email us

Friday, 13 September 2013

Piano Cake

Hey Kids, 

Satch here. On friday, it was Mummy Satch's birthday and I was in charge of the organising/food etc. (I would say Daddy Satch was also in charge, but as he spent the majority of Friday afternoon in the pub, I'm gonna go ahead and say Cobb and I take full credit!) 

Obviously, a birthday is a fantastic reason to get creative with cake, and as my Mum is a pianist, I gave myself a bit of a structural challenge and decided to make a piano cake.
Apologies for the camerawork, I'm taking photos on my phone until I can get a nice new camera!
It's a little smaller than I would have liked - I think if I used 4 eggs and 8oz of everything it would have stood up on its own without the box, so you may want to change the quantities of ingredients. However, I'm not sure about this, so I'll write it how I made it. 

To make this cake you will need:

6oz Caster Sugar 
6oz Butter (I used dairy-free) 
3 Eggs 
1-2oz Cocoa Powder
4-5oz Self-Raising Flower (With these last two ingredients you need to make it up to 6oz, so it depends how chocolatey you want it. I think I just did 1oz cocoa and the rest flour). 
A Lined Square Cake Tin 

To decorate:
Icing Sugar
Cocoa Powder 
Dark Chocolate
Chocolate Fingers
Possibly a cardboard box covered in greaseproof paper to stand it against!

It's your basic chocolate sponge recipe so I won't go into too fine a detail. Cream together the butter and sugar, mix in the eggs (I don't bother whisking them first) and add in the flour and cocoa powder. Then, pour your mixutre into your cake tin and place it in a 180 degree oven for 18-20 minutes. 

When your cake is done, leave it to cool on a wire rack while you make your chocolate buttercream. I don't really have a recipe for this, I just mix together butter, cocoa powder and icing sugar and keep adding different components in until it tastes good! Also, I used dairy free butter which is why the icing looks a bit speckled, as soya butter doesn't mix in as thoroughly. Meh, it still tastes the same! 

You basically want to divide your cake into thirds, and trim a little off the top of one of them so that it's thinner than the other two (Hence the random extra bit of cake in the photo) This section will form the bit with the keys on, so you don't want it so thick that it makes the cake topple over. 

Cover your sections with the icing, making sure to cover the sections where the cake will connect. On the keys section, you're obviously going to need keys so add a line of marshmallows along the bottom edge. To make the black keys I melted dark chocolate and piped it on using a really thin nozzle, and I also piped "Squire Ealing" on the top section, as this is what it says on my Mum's piano.

Then it's time to assemble your piano! You may need an extra pair of hands for this (Cobb came in very handy at this moment!) Stand the bottom section against the back of your box (or on its own if you're feeling confident!) and stick four toothpicks into the top, spread out evenly. I tried to do this without toothpicks and it all just fell over, so don't try to be a hero. 

Then, pick up your middle section - the one with the keys - and push it down so the back joins on at the toothpicks. Here's where you need a second pair of hands: while someone holds the middle section in place, slide two chocolate fingers underneath either end of the keys, to make the piano legs. I found that the fingers were slightly too high, so I chopped the ends off. 

With the other person still holding the middle section, slide two toothpicks up underneath the middle of the piano, making sure they cross at the centre. This stops the cake from collapsing in the middle. Then, insert four toothpicks along the back of this section - in a slightly different place to where the bottom toothpicks are - and slide on the top part. 
Here it is close up.

It's a little messy when you examine it closely, but it's so delicate I didn't want to touch it once it was together! Plus, this isn't the Great British Bake Off or anything, so I'll take that. I chose buttercream because it tastes better, and makes it look more like my mum's piano, but using fondant icing might give you a better finish, especially if you did a grand piano version. Just remember to warn everyone about the toothpicks before they eat it! 

Until next time, 
Satch x


Friday, 30 August 2013

Hand-Painted Magpie Tee

Hey Kids,

Satch here. 

Before we get started, the Bestie Bucket List half marathon is on the 8th of September and Salt needs sponsors! She's running for the Hannah Chamberlain Foundation, so pop on over to her donation page and do a good thing. Unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to run it this time, due to bloody health problems, so it's probably a bit cheeky to ask you to give money to the charity I was running for. However, it is a very nice charity, so if you did fancy checking it out and giving them money - just because you're lovely - you can do so here. (Anyone else notice how brilliant I am at hyperlinks now?)

Right, now that's sorted, onto crafts! A few months ago I was in a bit of a sketching mood, and ended up with this picture of a magpie: 

Ever since I decided to include a character called Magpie in a book that I'm never going to finish writing, I've been a little bit obsessed with them, and see them ALL THE TIME. I think it's God's way of telling me to stop procrastinating and just write the damn thing already, but instead I decided to turn it into a craft-pportunity. #Priorities

I love this sketch in black and white, but the original image was so colourful I couldn't help but get a bit creative with the fabric paints! 

You may get a bit of deja vu if you've read my bleach tee blog, or Salt's bold slogan tees, but let's be honest, you're reading this to procrastinate, not judge, so we'll move on.

For your hand-painted magpie tee you will need: 

A white tee (Mine was from a charity shop)
A flat board (I used the board from the back of a big picture frame.)
Chalk/Oil Pastels
Black Fabric Paint
Blue Fabric Paint
Green Fabric Paint
A Fine Black Fabric Pen (fine as in thin, not "Damn, girl, you looking fine.") 
A Clean Tea Towel
An Iron

The first thing you need to do is stretch your tee over your board and peg it in place. The tighter it is, the easier it will be to paint. 

Then, draw on your design in chalk (don't worry, it will wash off). It's quite a time-consuming design so I couldn't be bothered to redo it once the whole thing was on, but now it's done I kinda wish the design was about an inch to the right, so make sure you're happy with the layout before you start painting. A clever person would have tried it on before painting but, alas, twas not to be. 

When you paint a new section, use a stiff paint brush to outline the edge before you fill it in. This will help you to do it more neatly. I got excited when I realised that adding a drop of water helps to spread the colour, and so ended up going somewhat over the lines, so be careful when you get to the edge. 

The head of the magie was pretty straightforward, as it's just solid black, but I really love how the colours change on the wings and tail. To make the green gradient like that, I started at the right end of the tail, and then gradually added a bit of black as I went along the tail. Again, spreading it with a watery brush helps to blend it together, just be careful! As the wings have more obvious blocks of different shades of blue, I roughly drew where the colours change in chalk before I painted. Again, start with the lighter shade, add black to get the darker colours, and then blur it together with water. 

Before you can go over any layers, or outline the wings, you need to leave the paint to dry and set the first layer with the iron. To do this, simply cover your tee with a clean tea towel, and iron on a hot setting for one to two minutes. It was at this point I tried to "paint away" the mistakes I'd made with bleach, but it just didn't work. It might be worth trying when the paint is still wet...

Once the first layer is set, go over any patchy paint jobs, and outline the design with your fabric pen. I then hand-washed my tee but threw it in the machine after that anyway because I suck at hand-washing. It came out fine, so I wouldn't bother hand-washing next time! 

I really love how it turned out (minus the mistakes). Next time I'm thinking of doing a tortoise, as they're the best animals ever. What do you guys think? Anyone know how to get rid of fabric paint mistakes? If you could comment below, it would be much-appreciated! 

Until next time, 
Satch x