Christmas Gift DIY: Mandala Tattooed Wooden Plates

My mom did a lot of craft projects when we were young which had a massive influence on all 4 of her girls. To this day, our hands can make, fix and prettify anything. Our winter holidays were spent sewing, painting and being creative – those are some of my fondest childhood memories! One of the things that Mom taught us were wood soldering. We created little wall hangings and personalised anything made of wood, and I remember the amazing smell of the pine that softly burned under the soldering iron’s tip. It was during a recent sort out and throw out session that I discovered the soldering irons in a box. And when Ideas Magazine asked me to come up with a Christmas gift DIY, I jumped at the opportunity to use them! I found the acacia side plates and platter at a homeware store and decided that they had the perfect surface to create something beautiful on.

Christmas Gift DIY: Mandala Tattooed Wooden Plates

You will need:

  • Wooden bowl or plate. A wooden chopping board will work as well!
  • Mandala design
  • Lemon juice and kitchen towel
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Wood burning tool with a sharp-angled point
  • Piece of off-cut wood to clean your soldering tool’s tip with

 

STEP 1:

Use a round object like a bowl to draw the outline of the mandala. Find the centre point and divide the circle into quadrants. Then add similar patterns to each quadrant – it’s very therapeutic! If you prefer, you can also download my mandala design here.

 

STEP 2:

Use the lemon juice and paper towel to wipe any oil or residue from the wood and allow to dry.

 

STEP 3:

Draw the mandala design onto the wood. Start with the centre point and draw the X and Y axis before you start filling in the patterns.

 

STEP 4:

Carefully burn the pattern into the wood using the wood burning tool. It is advisable to wear a mask over your mouth and nose so that you don’t inhale the smoke.

 

STEP 5:

When the tip of the wood burning tool gets covered with residue, wipe it clean against the offcut wood. You can also use this as a practice block for smaller details.

 

STEP 6:

Rub out any pencil lines that may still be visible and give the plate a quick wipe-down with a damp cloth before wrapping.

 

Happy Gift-Making!

Step-by-step images by Ed O’Reilly for Ideas Magazine

The Best Little Gadget to Get Rid of Flies This Summer

I live on a farm with a rather large selection of random animals: horses, dogs, stray cats, geese and goats. And these are just the ones we know about. While this is lovely, it means that the moment the cool of winter evaporates, flies become a part of our daily lives. I have tried everything to get rid of flies from fly traps (they fill up so fast that it makes me cringe to think how many more there are) to bug spray (we can’t spray the whole farm) but none of my efforts had a lasting effect to gett rid of flies.

Inside the house, I’ve found that fans are ideal. We have a fan over the kitchen table which keeps them off our food and prep areas. But having outdoor meals were still an issue until I saw these clever little gadgets last year on a trip to the Vaal River.

shoo-away

The Best Little Gadget to Get Rid Of Flies

Shoo-away is an Auzzie-invention that takes over the flailing of hands by literally shooing away flies. They come in white, red, and black and because of their small design and simple lines, they are at home in any table setting.

PS: if you want to see how I made these pretty little side plates, click here!

shoo-away

The soft blades rotate unobtrusively while you are eating or preparing food outdoors. The energy efficient motor, powered by two AA batteries, comes to a soft touch should a finger get in the way. It is 100% chemical free and will keep your food fly-free in a 60-90cm radius, meaning two units are sufficient for a 6 – 8 seater table. The units are quite pricey, but once you have them you won’t know how you ever entertained without them.

Shoo-away also claims that the patented holographmatic disks on the tips further act as a fly- and bee repellent. Being naturally nosy, I wanted to know what exactly that means. Here’s a little video to explain. (I got this from ShooAway USA – it’s corny, but it explains the principle!)

Whether the flies really see the holographmatic dots as light sabers, I am unable to confirm (no flies were available for comment). But I do know that I spent an entire afternoon at a dining table in the garden without any flies ruining the festivities. And of course the kids loved playing with the table helicopters as well!

shoo-away

Shoo-Away is a must for any outdoor entertaining this summer, and it makes a great gift as well. Click here to order yours!

Happy Entertaining!

While the Shoo-Aways were given to me to try, the opinions in this post are entirely my own. g

 

 

 

 

Snoek & Patat Nicoise-ish Starter

At our recent Thanksgiving lunch, we wanted to have a South African menu, just so that we can be thankful for our amazing country again. We planned our courses by region, and when the idea for a fish starter came up, the thought of a West Coast-inspired Nicoise salad really got me excited! Traditionally, a Nicoise is made with salad leaves, tuna, tomato, hard-boiled egg, potatoes and green beans. It is carefully arranged on a plate and dressed with shallots, mustard, thyme and olive oil. This beautiful little creation takes those ingredients and gives them a few twists – Weskus style!

Snoek & Patat Nicoise Starter (Serves 10 as a starter or 4 as a main course)

Ingredients For The Sweet Potato Rosti:

  • 4 large sweet potatoes (patat)
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2ml fine cumin
  • Oil for frying

 

For The Fish (if you cant find snoek, you can use any firm fish like angel or yellowtail)

  • Snoek cutlets (10 small portions for starters or 4 medium portions for mains)
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup apricot jam
  • Sal & pepper to taste
  • Slices of lemon to serve

 

For the rest of the dish

  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, shelled
  • cherry tomatoes, grilled and splashed with olive oil and balsamic (2-3 per serving)
  • 2-3 green beans per serving, lightly steamed. Add a tablespoon of butter and splash of lemon juice to the pot while it’s still hot)

 

To Make The Sweet Potato Rosti:

Coarsely grate the sweet potatoes. Put them in a dishcloth and try to press out as much of the moisture as possible.

Step 1: Add the 2 eggs and cumin and mix. Season to taste.

Step 2: Heat about 1cm of oil in a frying pan.

Step 3: Once the oil is hot, shallow fry spoonfuls of the sweet potato mixture, pressing them down to make a flat cake.

Step 4: Fry both sides until crisp and golden, carefully flipping them over to prevent them from becoming too dark.

Step 5: When they’re cooked, place them on some kitchen towel to drain.

*You can easily make the rosti ahead of time and quickly reheat in the oven before serving.

 

To Make The Fish:

Step 1: Melt the butter and stir in the apricot jam.

Step 2: If you are so inclined, braai the snoek on an open fire, liberally basting with butter and apricot jam as you go.  Alternatively, grill the fish in the oven while regularly basting with the sauce.

 

snoek & patat

 

To Serve:

Step 1: As soon as the fish is ready, quickly reheat the rosti under the grill.

Step 2: Place 2 of the rosti on a plate with a piece of fish on top.

Step 3: Finish with the green beans, a quarter of egg, the roasted cherry tomatoes and a slice of lemon.

 

I’m not a saucy kind of girl, but if you feel it’s missing, put some salad dressing on the table and let your guests help themselves.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Taking a long hard look at curtain hardware

Window dressing can make a massive impact on a home: it frames the windows and adds softness, colour, texture and pattern to a room. But window dressing does not only consist of curtains: the curtain poles have a huge impact on the overall look as well. There is a large variety of curtain poles, tracks and finials available and knowing what to choose, can be a daunting task. Let’s break curtain hardware down for you!

curtain hardware basics

Twofold Interiors

Poles

Curtain poles are perfect for both formal and informal rooms. They can be used with rings or with eyelet curtains that slide directly onto the pole. Curtain pole thicknesses vary from 16mm all the way to 93mm so that you can create a variety of looks.

Finishes include brass, chrome, pewter, dark and light woods, solid painted colours, beaten copper and cast iron.

curtain rail basics

You also get clip-on poles that look like a pole, but that has a track installed behind it. This is great when you want to use curtains without rings. The Alumina range by Finishing Touches has a track integrated into the pole itself, making it even simpler.

Finials

Finials are the bits that you fit onto the end of a curtain pole. Finial styles are practically endless: metals, glass, acrylic, wood. And they are fashioned into all kinds of designs and shapes to suit different styles of décor.

curtain rail basics

Brackets

A curtain pole will usually have a matching bracket, so there isn’t much to worry about here. If however, you want to hang a double layer of window dressing, like a sheer and a dress curtain, then you will need to choose your curtain pole based on the bracket.

There are lightweight cup brackets for 16mm poles, up to heavy-duty brackets for the thicker poles. For poles longer than 1.2m or heavy curtains like those with blackout lining, you will need to install a central bracket as well to prevent the pole from sagging. Ask your sales assistant to suggest the most appropriate one for your needs.

Also, consider whether your curtain pole will be installed on a back or a side wall. Not all poles have the option of end brackets, so if you require them, you will have to choose your bracket first.

Pelmet Pole

providence cottage

I have written about pelmet poles before, but they really are a great invention. It has the look of a wooden pelmet, with the functionality of a double track. They come in a variety of finishes to match the room.

Extendable & Telescopic Poles

curtain hardware basics

Fitted with spring-rods, these are perfect for when you have a bit of a space constraint and want to install a curtain inside the window recess. Extendable rods are perfect for non-standard window widths, and they don’t need to be cut down to fit.

curtain hardware basics

Serena & Lily

Happy Decorating!

This post is sponsored by Finishing Touches.

can you make a soufflé in a convection microwave oven?

I consider myself to be more of a traditional oven-with-gas-hob kind of girl. So when LG recently gave me a Neochef® Microwave Oven with Smart Inverter Technology to try out, I am not ashamed to admit that I was highly skeptical and a little bit intimidated. I remember a microwave cooking course that I attended with my sisters in the 90’s, and even then I was not terribly impressed with the results. But technology is making strides and not being one to shy away from a challenge; I decided to attempt that most intricate and fail-prone of French dishes: the soufflé. Certainly, you’d be able to make anything in a convection microwave if you can create a soft, cloudy, cheesy soufflé. So, hold on to your aprons ladies, you’re in for a surprise!

I chose Faith Durand’s authentic French recipe via Kitchn, with a few slight variations (recipe below).

At first, I was a terribly worried when after 10 minutes I couldn’t see that anything was happening. But these little bowls of loveliness rose to the occasion, and at about 19 minutes they were golden and delicious.

Suffice it to say; I am super impressed with my Neochef! And a firm pat on the back for my own culinary ability as well – I conquered my fear of making a soufflé!

The Neochef has proven it can bake, but this baby can do so much more. It makes yogurt, defrost, has a Healthy Fry feature, and an awesome Easyclean Coating inside that helps to keep things safe and hygienic.

On top of all its features, this is a beautiful appliance as well.

How to Make a Soft and Delicious Cheesy Soufflé

You will Need:

  • 4 Large Egg White
  • 3 Large Yolks
  • 1/2 Cup of Grated Cheese (I used Emmenthaler and Gruyere, but as she says, any one or a combination of cheeses will do)
  • 6 Tablespoons of Flour
  • 3.5 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 1.5 Cups of Milk
  • Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg & Cayenne Pepper
  • Butter or Spray & Cook for the souffle dish
  • Extra Parmesan for to coat the dish

Method:

souffle

Step 1: Grease the souffle dish or ramekins and sprinkle with a little bit of extra Parmesan.

Step 2: Make a Bechamel sauce: melt the butter in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the flour, stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Add a little bit of milk while stirring. Put back on the stove and keep adding milk, while constantly stirring with a whisk. The sauce will thicken quickly after a few minutes. Keep whisking until it has the consistency of porridge and then remove from the heat.

Step 3: Spoon the bechamél sauce into a mixing bowl and allow to cool for a few minutes.

souffle

Step 4: Once the sauce is cool enough to the touch, stir the egg yolks into the sauce.

Step 5: Next, stir in the cheese. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and Cayenne pepper to taste.

Step 6: Place the egg whites in a clean mixing bowl and beat until they form stiff peaks.

Step 7: Add one spoonful of the egg whites into the bechamel-mixture, mixing thoroughly.

Step 8: Now carefully fold the rest of the egg whites into the mixtures. This is where the secret to a great souffle lies: the egg whites are holding all the air, so you have to make sure that you mix them with the rest of the ingredients without losing that air.

Step 9: Carefully spoon the mixture into the prepared soufflé dish or ramekins. The batter should fill the dish about halfway.

Step 10: And this is where the Neochef comes in: you will notice that I didn’t start this recipe with an instruction to heat the oven. The heat in a convection microwave is instant, so once you’re ready to start baking your soufflé, put it in and switch it on – it’s super efficient!

The recipe says “broil for 3 minutes”, which refers to the top grill element. After that, without opening the door, change the setting to convection with a temperature of 200°C and bake for 20 minutes or until a testing pin comes out clean.

A soufflé has to be eaten immediately so make sure that everything is ready for supper. Serve with a side salad.

I hope that I have inspired you to try and make a soufflé at home. It’s a delicious light meal and looks fantastic too. And if you can make it in an LG Neochef®, all the better!

souffle

This post and the Neochef® was sponsored by LG.

How to do a Quick Room Makeover on a Small Budget

We moved our two eldest boys into a shared bedroom a year and a half ago when their baby brother was born. At the time, I was completely preoccupied with the nursery, so their bedroom didn’t really get any attention. As with all the rooms in our home though, I get to a point where I can’t stand it anymore and then swiftly change it, on a small budget and with minimum effort. But I usually need a catalyst for this to happen. So, when My Wall Tattoos offered to send me some wall decals to play with, my room makeover plan was kicked into action.

room makeover

One morning last week, while they were in school, I set out to create a superhero-inspired bedroom for my two very different boys. The black and blue Triple Triangle stickers were perfect for the graphic wall that I had in mind, and they were surprisingly easy to use.

How To Apply Your Wall Tattoos:

  1. Cut out the vinyl stickers
  2. Position on the wall using sticky tape (and tape measure/spirit level if necessary)
  3. Peel off the back
  4. Stick in place
  5. Rub the vinyl to secure and then peel away the transfer tape

Repeat several times. That’s it!

Because of the random pattern that I wanted to create, I spent about an hour getting all of the stickers into position first. From there, it was just peel and stick!

room makeover

room makeover

And here’s the result!

  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Budget: R2,350 (this includes only the new things that I bought and not the items I repurposed from elsewhere around the house.)

The boys, 5 and 7, have very different personalities so creating identical spaces didn’t make sense.

room makeover

I am dead set against character bedlinen and tend to go for white in all of our bedrooms. To bring in the theme, however, I used the pages from a calendar with vintage superhero posters. The slim black frames create a subtle border around the prints, making them pop against the busy background.

room makeover

room makeover

For Jean’s bed, I chose black & white, indigo and green cushions in graphic patterns. In his words: “Now, I have a grown-up boy bed!”

room makeover

The bright blue herringbone throw is from The Cotton Company. These incredibly versatile Turkish pestamals can be used as a towel, throw, picnic blanket or anything else you can think of really! It’s made from high-quality Aegean cotton and is finished with hand-knotted tassels – the perfect accessory!

room makeover

Gian is more wild and rough, so I chose scatters with a playful element to them. The colours are bright and unapologetically bold, just like him!

room makeover

room makeover

room makeover

Another cotton throw from The Cotton Company is great to sleep under when the nights are too warm for a duvet.

room makeover

Above both beds, I used the remaining pages of the calendar and stuck them down with washi tape. This is a playful and inexpensive way to hang art on the wall. And it’s effortless to replace should they get tired of them!

The Full Picture

room makeover

The only splurge in the room is the new cubby shelf. It’s actually an upright shelving unit that I turned on its side to function as a bedside table between the two beds. It’s the perfect height for nightlights and to store the endless paraphernalia that they tend to accumulate.

room makeover

The ombré curtains are colour-dipped sheets. It’s one of the most cost-effective and easiest things I have ever made – have a look at the article here!

The boys love their room, and finally, theirs is not the most neglected room in the house anymore.

Next up on my last-minute-DIY’s-for-2017 is the scullery. A water leak necessitated an overhaul which I will share as soon as its done. As I said, all I need is a catalyst!

Happy decorating!

*Vinyl stickers for the walls were sponsored by My Wall Tattoos, and the Turkish pestamal throws were provided by The Cotton Company.

Deeply Delicious and Utterly Easy Chocolate Almond Cake

A friend recently made this deliciously rich chocolate cake when we went over for dinner and a few rounds of Mexican Trains*. Come dessert time, I decided as soon as I bit into this chocolatey deliciousness that it had to be my next bake for the blog.  Even though I’ve got a good, flop-free chocolate sponge cake which I often make, the addition of almonds and coffee along with the decadent chocolate frosting puts this one in another league!

CHOCOLATE ALMOND CAKE

YOU WILL NEED:

Equipment: Mixer, spatula, food processor or equivalent to blitz the almonds, 25cm cake tin

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 225g dark chocolate
  • Small hot espresso or 4 tsp good instant coffee in 3 tbsp boiling water (I went for the instant option)
  • 200g butter
  • 80g flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp good quality cocoa
  • 5 eggs
  • 225g castor sugar
  • 125g whole almonds, blitzed in the food processor to make ground almonds

Ingredients for the frosting:

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 3 tbsp butter

Chocolate Almond Cake

METHOD:

Preheat your oven to 180ºC, Gas Mark 4.

Prepare your cake tin by generously spraying with Spray & Cook and lining the bottom with baking paper.

For The Chocolate cake:

CHOCOLATE ALMOND CAKE

  • Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (or place a glass bowl over small saucepan of water).
  • Once it starts to melt, add the hot espresso.
  • Cut the butter into blocks and add to the chocolate coffee mixture. RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO STIR!
  • Sift flour, baking powder and cocoa together.
  • Separate the eggs, dropping whites only into the bowl of a standing mixer.
  • Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, then quickly but gently fold in the sugar with a large metal spoon. *
  • Remove the chocolate from the heat and stir to dissolve the last of the butter.
  • Beat the egg yolks in a little bowl, and add to the chocolate butter mixture.
  • Gently fold this mixture into the sweet egg whites. You are folding to keep the air in the cake.
  • Finally, fold in the sifted flour and cocoa, followed by the ground almonds.
  • Once the flour mixture and almonds are just combined, plop the mixture into your cake tin, scraping everything from the bowl with your spatula.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean, with no streaks of batter. A few moist crumbs are OK! **

 

Chocolate frosting:

CHOCOLATE ALMOND CAKE

  • Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler and stir together to make smooth, melted chocolate. Pour over the completely cooled cake. ***

Cook’s notes:

* Mexican Trains is a double twelve or double fifteen Domino game that I can absolutely recommend – it’s great fun for the whole family!

** The reason for using a metal spoon is that the edge cuts through the mixture, so it doesn’t deflate.  If you fold ingredients in batches, using a cutting action and turning the mixture in on itself, rather than stirring, you avoid the risk of losing too much volume.

*** I found, when making this the first time in a smaller (23cm) tin, that my cake needed much longer to cook.  A larger tin, which allows the heat to penetrate the batter more, will bake in a shorter time.

**** The chocolate frosting is almost pure melted chocolate, so it does set quite firm and tends to crack a bit when cut.  If you’re OCD like me, and the cracking bothers you, I reckon a chocolate ganache will work really well with this recipe too.  An easy ganache I’ve made before uses 200g chocolate & 85ml cream: heat the cream until it’s about to boil, then add the chocolate.  Let it stand for 2 minutes, then stir until the chocolate has fully melted into the cream. Whisk until smooth and glossy. When you start to stir it, you think it won’t come together, but it will. Allow to cool to a pourable / spreadable consistency, then spread over your cooled cake!

 

 

 

Why do you need a headboard in your bedroom?

I have recently been headboard hunting because, as you may have noticed in our cottage renovation project, we don’t yet have one in the bedroom. And it’s not for lack of trying. To be honest, I found the options a bit overwhelming and as it happens with overwhelm, proceeded to do absolutely nothing about it. This made me think: why do you need a headboard in your bedroom? Is it really essential and will it make a huge difference if you don’t have one?

providence cottage

Let’s first look at a few pros:

  1. A headboard is both functional and aesthetic: it gives you something to lean against and frames your bed.
  2. It’s a practical way to keep the wall behind your bed protected.
  3. It adds depth, texture, colour, or softness to your room – depending on the design of course.
  4. A headboard adds a finishing touch to your room.
  5. Its style can emphasize the style of the room.

So how do you choose the right headboard style?

There are so many different varieties of headboards available that it is difficult to cover all of them. A headboard also doesn’t have to be a solid piece of wood or upholstered item: it could be anything that frames the back of your bed. In terms of trending bedroom styles, here’s what you should be looking for in a headboard to complement the design of your bedroom.

 

1// BOHO

Sadies Lovely Life

The boho look is built on the layering of textures and natural materials. Go for carved wood, woven rattan or textured upholstery. And if you were into alternative style headboards, then this would be the style to explore.

 

2// SCANDINAVIAN

By Koczanska

The Scandi trend is still going strong! If simple, clean lines and great design is your thing, then this is your style. Blond wood or white headboards as part of the bed frame is the perfect choice to create this fresh fuss-free look.

 

3// MINIMALIST

Domino

Taking Scandi a bit further, minimalism strips a room of anything that doesn’t fulfill a basic function or that which we value most. Anything that detracts from that, is removed. Choose a headboard that doesn’t show off, in honest materials like wood or natural fibers like cotton or linen.

 

4// FRENCH COUNTRY

Infiniti Homes

Still popular for its coziness and nostalgia, French Country is all about dreamy linen, deep buttoning, and distressed finishes. Get the look with a linen or brocade headboard and beautiful lace bed linen.

SHOP YOUR NEW HEADBOARD HERE!

5// VINTAGE

headboard

Design Collector

Vintage as really become popular over the last few years. It’s a style initially built on frugality and a sense of environmental kindness. But it has by now flourished into a style in its own right. It’s accessible, economical, and adds a wealth of character to any room. Like with boho, you can also really think out of the box here. Anything that can be positioned in a more-or-less upright way behind your bed, can work!

 

6// MID-CENTURY

headboards

Lynden Foss for Inside Out

The furniture of the 50’s have really made a comeback in a big way and there really are just 2 things you need to remember here: tapered and wood. Tapered legs on beds, nightstands and dressers and natural medium wood finishes create the most amazing midcentury bedroom. Throw in some twill on an upholstered headboard with a wooden trim and you’ve stepped back in time!

 

7// JUNGALOW

Anthropologie

For those who live in urban areas but yearn for a bit of the outdoors. This is another style that plays with natural textures and materials, mixed with greenery. A LOT of greenery. The idea is to create a jungle, so don’t hold back!

Finishing Touches offers a unique approach when it comes to headboards. You can design your own headboard according to fit your style and personality in 3 easy steps:

Step 1:  Check the size! Standard bed sizes are:

Step 2: Choose your design and fabric. There is a wide variety of fabric options and 8 different designs:

Step 3: The Admin. Place your order, process the payment and collect your headboard in 10 to 15 work days.

Remember that you will get your 20% off made-to-measure designer headboards from Finishing Touches until 24 December, so hurry to your nearest Builders Warehouse and place your order!

Happy Sleeping!

This post was sponsored by Finishing Touches.

When life hands you lemons, make lemon drizzle cake!

A recent abundance of lemons on the tree in my back garden prompted me to find a recipe in which I could use them.  Luckily, I didn’t have to look far!  A friend gave me The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook a few years ago and their Lemon & Poppyseed cake was the 1st (and actually only!) recipe that I tried. So when life handed me lemons, I decided to make lemon drizzle cake! This cake has been a tremendous hit with everyone who’s tasted it.  So far, it’s been requested by my mom-in-law, my children (no surprise there to be honest, it’s cake afterall!) and even a colleague of my husband’s. Twice! You know what they say: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

lemon drizzle cake

Lemon Drizzle Cake

YOU WILL NEED:

Equipment: Mixer, spatula, whisk, 24cm Ring mould

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 85g unsalted butter
  • 245g caster sugar
  • Grated zest of 1½ lemons
  • 15g poppy seeds
  • 165ml whole milk
  • 235g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 egg whites

Ingredients for the Lemon Syrup:

  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 100ml water

Ingredients for the Lemon Glaze:

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 250g icing sugar
  • Pretty sprinkles if desired!

lemon drizzle cake

METHOD:

Instructions for the cake:

  • Preheat your oven to 170ºC, Gas Mark 3.
  • Prepare your ring mould by generously spraying with Spray & Cook.
  • Cream together the butter, caster sugar, poppy seeds and lemon zest in a large bowl.
  • Slowly add the milk in stages and beat until all the ingredients are incorporated (don’t worry if the mixture looks slightly split at this stage).
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Add this to the butter mixture in 3 stages, beating well after each addition.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
    Using a metal spoon, gently fold this into the cake mixture until well mixed, but don’t overmix or you’ll lose all the fluffiness!
  • Pour into mould and bake for about 30 minutes until the sponge is golden and bounces back when gently pressed.

lemon drizzle cake

Instructions for the Lemon Syrup:

  • Whilst the cake is baking, make the lemon syrup by mixing the lemon zest and juice, sugar and water in a saucepan and gently boiling it until it has reduced by half and has thin syrup consistency. Do be mindful not to let this boil for too long… I have ended up with a very sticky toffee-ish mess once!
  • When the hot cake comes out of the oven, pour the lemon syrup all over the top whilst it is still in the ring mould.  This makes the cake wonderfully moist.  Leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes, then turn out on to your plate of choice to cool completely.

lemon drizzle cake

Instructions for the Lemon Glaze:

  • Mix the lemon juice and icing sugar until smooth and glossy. It should be thick but pourable – add a little water or more icing sugar to thin or thicken as necessary.
  • Once the cake has cooled, spoon over the glaze and let it run down the sides of the cake.

lemon drizzle cake

lemon drizzle cake

The official recipe states “Sprinkle with a few poppy seeds” at this point, but I always opt for prettier sprinkles like the pearls and silver balls seen in the photos.  And glitter.  Almost always glitter!

lemon drizzle cake

That’s it… all that remains is for you to serve yourself a slice of lemony deliciousness.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

What is the best way to mix prints like a pro in your home?

When I think of mixing prints, I am reminded of the heyday of florals and stripes in the 90’s. Everything was pink, peach, and pale blue with touches of burgundy for a formal setting and splashes of soft turquoise to keep things light. Although terribly outdated now, this laid the foundation for many interior brands who kept building on that to bring you an abundance of patterns thrown together in a very structured but seemingly random way. I struggle to mix patterns in fashion – I have to have a particularly good self-esteem day to pull it off. But in interior design, I throw patterns together with reckless abandon! Here are 5 things to keep in mind when you want to mix prints like a pro in your home. Use it as a guide, and then throw all caution to the wind. Play a little this spring -what’s the worst that could happen?

1// seek inspiration

There are few places I go to for my patternal inspiration (yes, I just made up that word – but it works!).

  1. Missoni
Missoni Home Emme Collection

The mother and father of textile prints, this family-built design house is synonymous with mixing things up. I wrote about Madame Rosita Missoni’s talk at the Design Indaba Conference 2 years ago and was so inspired by this matriarch’s fierce passion for pattern. Here’s a designer that is truly fearless!

2. Laura Ashley

Laura Ashley Living Wall

I started my career with this amazing brand, and will forever love their homeware! They have been throwing together prints since post WWII, and doing so fabulously. Their online catalog has some serious pattern eye-candy! And while they are quite traditional, they do also have amazing contemporary ranges.

3. Anthropologie

Anthropologie Medina-printed Rivona Chair

It’s no secret that I have a huge design crush on Anthropologie. They have this way of doing a crazy mix of colour and prints and making it all work.

2// find a common thread

Voutsa for Anthropologie

Whether you choose a colour, a scale, a pattern, or a texture, as long as there is something tying everything together, it will work! Maybe everything has some botanical element in it, or there is a touch of blue in all of them. It could also be that you have a large painting, rug or wallpaper that is the unifying element in all of it.

3// play with layers

Liberty For Anthropologie Feather Bloom Shams

Start with an item and build from there: this will usually be a big piece, like a carpet, or curtains. Then gradually layer on top of that. A bedroom also offers ample opportunity to play with different layers of pattern. Use curtains, or a duvet cover or quilt, as the starting point. Then add a different print with pillows, followed by accessories like a throw or a scatter.

4// vary the scale

Anthropologie Edlyn Sofa

If everything is the same scale, things can get pretty hectic, pretty quickly. Have large patterns mixed with small patterns and dense prints with more spacious prints. White space or negative space is also very important here: there has to be some quiet in all the busyness to give your eyes a rest!

5// jump out of your comfort zone

Old Brand New

Unless you plan to redo all the walls with an imported wallpaper and have floor to ceiling curtains made, the risk in throwing prints together is actually quite small. There is no right or wrong: as with anything in your home, if you can live with it and it makes you happy, then it works! Buy a few cushions to start with, and see if they work together in your current living room. If they don’t, you can always take them back 😉

Happy decorating!

 

 

 

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