Heylo to the lot of yers!
How are you today? The sun’s out shining down on Ireland again – every dry day is a sunny miracle over here and we have been very blessed this year. Miracle magnet!
My weekend was relaxed and happy. The weather was lovely all day Saturday. Even wore light, summer clothes. White linen trousers and pinky-lilac linen shirt with my favourite purple sparkly flip flops. Very pleasant afternoon. No goose-bumping at all.
Did a bit of shopping in Blanchardstown. Fabrics (beautiful, beautiful *sigh*) and notions from Hickeys. Thinking of making some kitchen utensil sleeves – you know, for wooden stirring spoons and spatulas – and giving them away as Christmas presents. Yes I am thinking of Christmas already. Have two Christmas cakes already made, I’ll have you know. Also got some cheap but good little finds in Dealz (someone’s just contacted me to say they think it’s Poundland in UK) and Heatons. More about them in a minute.
I baked cakes yesterday. Lemon and lime cupcakes. Usual cupcake recipe with the zest and juice of a couple of unwaxed lemons and limes in the mixture and buttercream topping. They were delicious. Seriously good.
Want the recipe? here you go:
Lemon and Lime Cupcakes – makes about 12 cakes
125 g soft butter
125 g self-raising flour
125 g caster sugar
2 tbsp of juice from the lemon and lime (save half for the buttercream icing)
2 large eggs
Finely grated zest of 1 small lemon and 1 small lime (save half for the buttercream icing)
1. Put all the cake ingredients into a bowl and beat with an electric whisk until mixture is smooth.
2. Place the baking cases on a baking tray and divide the mixture between them.
3. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C/gas mark 4 for 20–25 minutes until nicely risen and light golden brown.
4. Put the cakes onto a wire cooling rack, and leave to go cold.
Lemon and lime buttercream icing:
125 g soft unsalted butter
250 g sifted icing sugar
The juice and zest saved from the sponge mix
Edible cake decorations
1. Put the butter and half of the icing sugar into a bowl, and beat with an electric whisk until smooth. Add the lemon/lime juice and the rest of the icing sugar and beat again until light and fluffy.
2. Ice the cakes using icing bags and nozzles or use a spatula to spread the buttercream on.
3. Decorate with edible pretties.
You can see how mine turned out in the pictures above.
Now, my cheapy finds. See the cupcake carrier box? It has little circular rimmed holes for keeping the cakes separate and steady for carrying to cupcake, coffee and calorie fests. Bear in mind, I have a Lock and Lock big square cake box from a very reputable and ‘famous’ kitchen and cookware supplier in Uk that cost £25. No complaints whatsoever about it. Fabulous piece of kit. Just very expensive. The cupcake carrier does not compare quality-wise to the Lock and Lock but it does the job. It’s not like I make cupcakes for transit every day of the week, just now and again so cheap and cheerful fits the bill. So, how much and where from? €1.49 from Dealz.
The four clip-closures are very secure and it has a little fold-down handle for carrying the cakes. It’s perfect. For information, they also do square and round cake boxes for single large cakes. Also the fabulous €1.49 Stealz-Dealz price. I bought a round one of those and now both my Christmas cakes are sealed away and safe. Just can’t go wrong at those prices.
Also, I just could not resist these Shiny Things. They are sooo pretty. Non-stick pan friendly scourers in beautiful glitter colours. Pack of three for €1.49 from Dealz. They became MY shiny things and came home with me. Aren’t they gorgeous?
And my best find? Had to be a catering pack of 100 Fairy all-in-one dishwasher tablets for €15.00 from Heatons. I always use Fairy and this is the best price I’ve ever got them for. Brilliant.
Apart from some baking and a bit of gardening my weekend was very uneventful. Still flew though.
Talking of flying, noticed that bird behaviours were a bit odd. Yesterday we hardly saw a bird and that was very unusual. Normally get lots of interest in my bird table cuisine. Choice delicacies – meaty fat, bacon rind, seeds, nuts, fatballs… it normally attracts a lot of visitors.
However, I did see huge numbers of big black birds – don’t know if they were crows or jackdaws, in what seemed to be their hundreds, flying off somewhere. Even so, the garden was empty of the other usuals, my cheeky robin, the blackbirds, the starlings, the song thrushes… where were they? Very weird.
Then remembered, there was a big event called Flight Fest going on somewhere out Dublin way. Flight Fest was an air show put on as part of a celebration called ‘The Gathering’ which was meant to unite families dissipated and dislocated by the diaspora of Irish nationals that went abroad to find work and set up new lives in other countries. Or as one ex-pat put it, to come home for a family gathering and spend money in Ireland. Our economy isn’t in best shape like the rest of Europe’s.
So, bet that’s where the birds went for a good laugh. ‘Look at that big bird – had to take a run up for at least half a mile before he could get lift off!’ ‘I know. And where would it get a bath big enough to clean itself off? Big, doirty wagon’ (Caws and hoots of manic bird laughter). They must have loved it. Apparently, a Vulcan bomber was supposed to have been coming across from Uk but couldn’t fly over because of ‘technical difficulties’. Birds would have larfed their feathered britches off at that.
So, that was my weekend. A good one. Hope yours was, too.