very own cake stall at the
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It seems we will be just off Inglebert Street (near Filthy McNasty's pub)so please
come and see us from 12pm-5pm.
Posted by Arianna at 2:47 pm
Sorry I haven't been posting much but I have been really busy lately setting up Bittersweet Bakers! Most of my baking talk with continue on the new blog I have set up for that at www.bittersweetbakers.blogspot.com so if you are interested, please bookmark it!
I will continue to talk about knitting every so often, but mostly I am putting my projects on Ravelry. My Rav id is ahalshaw if you would like to see what I am up to.
Posted by Arianna at 4:34 pm
Cookies are fine thing to make when the weather is miserable and frankly, so un-summery. The constant rain outside is instantly made better when you sink your teeth into meltingly warm fresh chocolate chip cookies. The world is somehow right again and no crappy weather can take the smile off your face!
As you can probably tell, the experiment was a success and I really think you should run off and whip up a batch immediately. I cooked a dozen or so at the 24 hour mark and really, they were very good... but nothing compared to waiting 48 hours. I couldn't cook any at the 36 hour mark due to the timing but I am so glad I waited. The dough was so well dried out it was crumbly and I had to scoop the dough out and form them into a ball for baking. But the effect on the finished product was epic.
Even though this may shock you, I think there is too much chocolate called for in the recipe as it takes away from the crunchy, golden cookie so I decreased the quantity by a third. The cookie part of this really doesn't get enough credit, it really is more than just a vehicle to eat warm gooey chocolate. The flavour of the cookie base is buttery, salty, caramelized and rich which cradled the strong, bittersweet chocolate so delicately. The edges were crisp and the center yielding and soft, as the layers of the thin chocolate discs melted into streaky heaven throughout the cookie. Just perfect in every possible way.
I ate 4 before going to bed last night. 4!!
Posted by Arianna at 4:02 pm
I still religiously read the Dining section of the New York Times every week, albeit online, and to my amazement a couple weeks back there was a great article on chocolate chip cookies and how NYC pastry chefs work their magic on this very classic-so-classic-you-really-shouldn't-mess-with-mrs.tollhouse-classic American institution.
Now, I am not really one who usually abides by this sort of nonsense as on an everyday level I haven't met a recipe that I haven't tweaked in one way or another. One of the best parts of going to culinary school was learning how the chemistry/magic of pastry recipes can be gently pushed in other directions while still maintaining it's integrity.
So, like many people who have baking blogs I too read this article with much excitement and enthusiasm! The recipe and tips are very interesting especially the the last bit, a sprinkling of sea salt on the top...genius. At my culinary alma mater, I had the pleasure of taking a few classes with Jacques Torres and the man certainly knows a thing or two about chocolate...then I graduated and went to work for his arch rival uptown and I had to forget all about it, but I digress. :-)
I had the luck to find some very yummy Valhrona Manjari 64% feves (discs) to use for this recipe. The cult of Valhrona, to which I swear my allegiance, is really starting to take off in London finally. Not only is the chocolate, in all it's gorgeous flavours easier to find, it's even popping up on the odd dessert menu here and there. Check out the size of these discs...the cookie batter really is just a vehicle for a serious amount of chocolate. yay! Nestle, eat your heart out.
If Londoners don't truly appreciate Valhrona yet, using the discs in these cookies might just win them over.
The recipe quite interestingly, requires a certain amount of maturation time for the flavours to really bond. I have whipped up a batch...and without tweaking the recipe for once... this afternoon and will post again tomorrow at the 24 hour mark then again at the 36 hour mark for a taste test.
Sounds like a great way to spend a Sunday, doesn't it??
Hope you are having a great weekend!
I am on a roll this week with my patterns! I am really happy about it actually as I have been off from work all week and have done quite a bit on my to do list such as cooking, redecorating and of course knitting. I have been on Ravelry so much this week my hubby is starting to call the laptop 'the axiom'. (If you haven't seen Wall-E, run out and see it. You won't regret it!)
8 or 9 x 50g balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK (I used colour 9)
5 mm needles ( I knit ‘straight’ on a long pair of Addi Circular needles so it was easy to handle)
Gauge: Sadly, I didn’t take note of this but this pattern can really suit any gauge
Size of FO: approx. 24 inches x 36 inches
Abbreviation: C8B – Sl 4 st to cable needle and hold to back, k4 then k4 from the cn.
This starts as a 13 Row pattern with two cable rows in the first sequence and one cable row in every sequence thereafter.
Odd numbered RS Rows: k10, p3, (k2, p2, k8, p2)* to last 15 sts, k2, p3, k10
Even numbered WS Rows: k13, (p2, k2, p8, k2)* to last 15 sts, p2, k13
CO 168 stitches with your preferred cast on method.
Knit in garter st until work is 1.5 inches.
To start stitch pattern:
Rows 1 and 3: k10, p3, (k2, p2, k8, p2)* to last 15 sts, k2, p3, k10
Row 2 and 4: k13, (p2, k2, p8, k2)* to last 15 sts, p2, k13
Row 5: k10, p3, (k2, p2, C8B, p2)* to last 15 sts, k2, p3, k10.
Continue and repeat Rows 6-13 only until work reaches desired length.
Row 6-12: follow odd and even number row pattern above.
Row 13: k10, p3, (k2, p2, C8B, p2)* to last 15 sts, k2, p3, k10.
To complete, end on Row 8 and change to garter st for last 1.5 inches.
BO when blanket is desired length and weave in ends. Block if desired.
Another pattern for you from this year's knitting arsenal. 'Matilda' is an amazing scarf that I fell in love with it after the first pattern repeat. Not only did I get amazing compliments every single time I have worn it, but it really knits up as the most luxurious yet sturdy fabric. This really is a showstopper and by far my favourite project of this past winter. I would really recommend it as your next scarf project as it is so interesting to knit and you will love the texture. Especially if you love cabling and even more so if you are one of these super coordinated people who can whizz up masses of cables without a cable needle!
I have named it Matilda, as I was watching the glorious BBC series Cranford while I was knitting it. (A series I really hope continues, it is just so so good!)
I know I am the worst blogger in the world, so to make up for it, I would like to give you a pattern of mine that I have just now finally written up. I am posting this as my very first pattern on Ravelry because someone asked me for it! You can find it here on Rav or below.
But I am truly rubbish at taking photos of it. I recently talked to a friend who happens to be a photo editor for a huge imagery company, and she gave me some tips so I am hoping my images will improve. That doesn't do much for the fact my greediness well outbalances my need to photograph so usually, by the time I get to the camera....pooof....nothing but crumbs remain.
Perfect case in point... I made a free form Apple Tart this past weekend to take to a dinner party and it was just amazing! We served it with caramel ice cream and it really couldn't have felt more in rhythm with the cold crisp weather we are having. Anyway, I had to literally move my friends out of the way to get these photos, a before and after shot, of the lovely, dreamy apple tarts.
Posted by Arianna at 10:25 pm
The best was attending a workshop/talk by Jane Brocket of Yarnstorm fame. She was just as charming and lovely in person, talking about her crochet flowers, as I imagined. If you don't have her amazing book. Get it or hit up Santa for Christmas! I hope my life is as charming as hers one day...
Hope all is well out there!
Posted by Arianna at 8:37 pm
I know I promised a cake update but look at the lovely yarn I bought at the knitting show this weekend! Mostly the show was appalling, so crowded and so much crap...(who knew they made acrylic yarn in 5 lb balls?) and I have never been body checked by so many old ladies on their way to a cross stitch demo but there were treasures to be found. Treasures indeed!
I started this scarf over the weekend but I think I am going to abandon ship and start on the shiny Colinette for a cable scarf instead. I am not that thrilled with it. It's Rowan Cocoon but I don't really like how it feels knitted up. Maybe for a cool stripy hat instead? I only bought two balls, but still... waste not, want not.Also, I was finally invited to join Ravelry! I am really excited about it and have been slowly putting up pics and patterns. I think it's going be very fun to geek out over everyone's photos and amazing talent in one cool place. Yay!
Hope you had a nice weekend!
Ok, see that wasn't so bad.
Posted by Arianna at 6:05 pm
Posted by Arianna at 2:17 am
After knitting yet another birthday gift (this time only a small black slip-through scarf in RYC Rowan Cashsoft but the photos just didn't come out), I am finally getting on with the project for me! I have been desperate to start this for AGES, but after a knitting gift frenzy I finally was able to sit down and start it....
As mentioned below, 'it' is a gorgeous cable wrap jacket from the Rowan book Scottish Inspirations. I have chosen a different wool than the pattern recommends (because I can't ever just follow a pattern), which is the lovely slate blue RYC Soft Tweed. It has lovely flecks of dark blue, yellow and pink on close inspection but from far away it looks like a dreamy blueish grey. It has a really nice texture and since I picked it up for £2 a ball it's a bargain to boot. It's a good thing too as I am going to need 16 balls of it!
After some serious maths, I have scaled the pattern down to my gauge and to accomodate for the much thicker new wool. It was a bit confusing at first, but now it's right on target and I sat on the sofa last night knitting like a demon possessed to try and make a dent in it. I really want to wear it when we go on holiday on the 24th so it's going to take a few evenings of this determination to make sure it happens. Luckily it's pretty much knit as one huge rectangle with slits to sew the sleeves in, so no faffing around with shaping and sewing up at the end. My dream project!!
Posted by Arianna at 1:39 pm
I finished a gift! Hurrah! This baby took me about a week to knit, and is sooo lovely to touch that I am thinking of making one for myself. I used two colours (one colour on each side) of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky and decided to just make a pattern up because I couldn't find the Ann Budd Aran one I liked so much and no other pattern I looked at had lots of cables. It really worked though because it turned out great and my friend absolutely loved it!! I am happy to share the pattern if you are interested.
Posted by Arianna at 5:30 pm
The weather is downright nasty here in London and all I want to do right now is snuggle up on the sofa with a lovely blanket, a cup of tea and the serene click-click-click of my knitting needles. I have finally been brought back to the knitting place in my soul that loves winter and making lovely things out of soft and soothing wool.
Posted by Arianna at 3:33 pm