Tag Archives: cake

The Best Cake #teamnigella


I’m in my favourite day. Christmas cake day. And thanks to Nigella, it’s a pain free totally guaranteed to work day. The only thing that can go wrong is that I’ll have one too many glugs of the brandy bottle and forget to pick up the Boy from school. Will that get me onto the front page of the Sun? Or do I have to up the anti and shove some of the powdery stuff up my nostrils for that to happen? I think if I had a dead mother, a dead sister, a dead husband and a shit of a second one I’d’ve resorted to hard drugs too. Occasionally. I’ve only got one out of the four so I’ve stopped at alcohol.

If you fancy it, it’s the Easy-Action Christmas Cake, Nigella Lawson’s ‘Feast’, p92.

And it is easy and it is lovely.






Filed under oddbods

The Creative Industries

I embroidered some leaves.

It’s Autumn, after all. I know that because I’ve got an Arran sweater on and tights and my fingers are slightly cold even though I’m indoors and the air smells of damp and fungus and sweet marshmallow woodsmoke and there are elderberries in a pot in the kitchen waiting to be cooked into jelly. I left them overnight so that any livestock could escape: a very small snail with a shell as pink and as delicate as a baby’s fingernail and a spider abseiling off the work top.

embroidery: leafembroidery: leaf

I was in Manchester recently, sitting nursing a coffee in the Craft and Design Centre, scribbling a few things including snatches of conversations. Four women with presence: neat, A-line skirted, girdled, hair done, nail polished in a pale pink way, big semi-detached, plenty of spare cash for jollies, forthright. A priceless snippet…..

Coiffed No. 1: “She’s got the biggest wardrobe ever: it’s called the floor and the

things she wears. I wouldn’t go out with her it was that bad.”

Coiffed No. 2: “But she still has to get to work, I mean, get from the station or

bus or whatever dressed like that. In public.”

Coiffed No.1: “It’s the Creative Industries she’s in. They’re all like it.”

A pause for cake.

Coiffed No.1: “Why do you wear beige? It’s old. It makes your skin look beige.”

Coiffed No. 3: “It is! And it’s not beige…it’s fawn!”


I had another coffee just so I could stay and listen….and then this which just made me roar inwardly:


Coiffed No. 1: “His wife died.”

Coiffed No. 2: “Oh!”

A mouthful of coffee.

Coiffed No. 1: “His THIRD wife.”

Coiffed No. 2: “Oh! Really! Three?”

Coiffed No. 3: “He’s a multi-faceted chap is Don. Solicitor. Takes his dog to work with him.”


I’ll leave it there…..



Filed under embroidery, sewing, writing

Cake and Being Underwhelmed

It’s the Jubilee weekend and I’ve made cake. Lemon sponge, blackcurrant jam, lemon buttercream. I’m feeling patriotic and a little emotional (the Queen does indeed look like my Great Aunt Jane, long dead but still thought-of, often).


So, in pursuit of things British and glorious I went to see the exhibition,  ‘Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950’ at the Victoria and Albert. I was looking forward to seeing the newly opened costume gallery and was expecting great things from it and I feel underwhelmed: I think that an opportunity for something jaw-droppingly good has been missed. The gallery is still squashed into a corner. Still, I feel, a bit of an afterthought, a bit of an embarrassment.

Fashion. Decried as frivolous and not for the serious-minded yet of great economic importance: designers, factory owners, dyers, embroiderers, academics, pattern cutters, journalists, textile designers, milliners, shop workers, machinists, photographers, advertisers, publishers….I think you get the message. It’s a big employer. And London, quirky though it might be in terms of fashion identity, is a major player in the fashion world and I think it, or rather we, could expect a little more pomp from our national collection.

The exhibition dresses from 2000 demonstrate that we have considerable design talent but I’d like to have seen more of it: 20 or so exhibits of recent work was just not enough and certainly only one McQueen and one Galliano was a paltry offering. I have the much coveted exhibition catalogue of the Alexander McQueen exhibition ‘Savage Beauty’ held at the Metropolitan Museum in New York last year. It alone gives me goose bumps, let alone seeing such a vast collection of work. That exhibition was huge, in scale and importance, as though the curators were utterly assured of the seriousness and influence of the fashion industry.

I can’t help but compare….

(Thanks to the Hub for the photograph of the cake…he’s got a good eye…)




Filed under oddbods