Sunday, 26 January 2014

A Late New Year

As I was uploading some photos that I had taken for a future recipe post, I realised that I had completely forgotten about all the photos Osama and I had taken over the New Year holiday. As we are minus a tripod for the camera, the fireworks shots arent all too good but I thought it was necessary to post a few as it did break the world for the longest firework show ever held! You can always trust the UAE to put on a spectacle, which it certainly was. We packed a picnic of snacks and ate burgers and fries as we waited 3 hours for the countdown. The Kite Beach was full of eager faces & the beach villas hosted parties for their friends; the perfect spot for a world record breaking event! We were blessed to have a mattress, blankets and pillow in the tray of the truck for the long wait. 

New Years day was spent in Zabeel Park with a vintage picnic inspired by my sweet Mum, we basked in the sun, played badminton and ate delicious cheese. A perfect Winter day! 

We hope 2014 is a wonderful year. Praying for peace, guidance & happiness for you all!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Summer Snowflake - crochet square pattern

Here is something I have been working on as part of my Crochet Mood Blanket 2014. I adapted it from a few different patterns as I wanted something with lacy detail but smaller than the other squares I have already made. Apologies if there is a mistake in the pattern, I'm a pattern-making newbie so please be patient with me! If you have any questions or suggestings regarding the pattern, please leave a comment below and I'll get back to you as soon as possible!

Please respect my rights as a designer and do not sell or re publish this design as your own. Feel free to sell the finished items you've made from this pattern! If you would like to share this pattern, please link back to my blog

Here is the link to how to make a magic circle, I use magic circles all my granny squares which gives a much cleaner and neater finish. I used US crochet terms for the pattern, a 3.5 hook and work in back loops only. 

CH - chain
SS - slip stitch
SC - single crochet
HDC - half double crochet
DC - double crochet
FO - fasten off

ROUND 1. Start with the magic circle. ch 3, dc then ch 1. *2dc, ch1* 7 times inside the ring (you should end up with 8 dc - 2 groups, 16 dc's). FO.

ROUND 2. With a new colour work, ch 3, dc 2, ch 1 in between ch1 space of first round. *dc3, ch1* in remained ch1 space around. FO.

ROUND 3. With a new colour work: ch 3, dc, ch 2, dc2 in ch 1 space. *dc 2, ch 2, dc 2* between every ch 1 space around (you should have 8 shells). DO NOT FASTEN OFF

ROUND 4. To square off the circle, using the same colour, ch 2 then work sc's in next 3 back loops. **hdc, dc, ch 2 , dc, hdc, sc 8** around until you reach your starting ch. ss into top of beginning ch 2. FO and weave in ends. 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Crochet Mood Blanket 2014

2014 has begun with a new year long project for me along with many other crocheters with the 2014 Crochet Mood Blanket. You are supposed to decide on colours and assign a mood for each - whatever mood your in each day of the year, you crochet a small granny square to represent you mood. However, I thought it would be more uplifting for those moody day to come to just stick to pretty but bold colors I love that I know will improve my mood whatever the circumstance. Along with the crochet community on Instagram, I will post regular updates. I am not setting any image in my mind for the finished product as I will probably use different pattern throughout the project, so I'm sure it will be a culmination of different designs and mismatched prints. The pattern from the square I have used above is from the very talented Barbara from Made in K-Town, she has a few other free patterns also available on her blog.

If you are not using Instagram yet, I strongly suggest you jump on the bandwagon! I have met so many wonderful souls from all around the world who share so many of my passions. To find my blog account on Instagram, click on the camera icon under my Welcome banner or search @theartofeman inside the app.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Staple Banana Cake

One to add to your baking repertoire, a Banana Cake is a great recipe to have up your sleeve for the unexpected guest, itchy baking fingers and fragrant black bananas that need using up. I always use this recipe from a AWW cake book.

I've been experimenting with a little food photography of my bakes and I *think* I'm slowly improving. What I've learnt so far is that its all about natural lighting and plenty of it. The best place and time in my house for lighting is in my bedroom in the early afternoon. If you are also struggling to get the perfect photo of your food, try to find the best location and timing for sunlight in your space.

I use a simple lemon icing for the cake which is easy and quick. For the photos I dusted a little icing sugar as the cake was still too hot for the water based icing. You will need two large (460g) overripe bananas to get the amount needed for the recipe.

Here is the recipe:

125g butter, softened
3/4 C caster sugar
2 eggs
1 C mashed bananas
1 tsp bicarb soda
2 tbsp hot milk
1 C plain flour
2/3 C self-raising flour
Icing sugar and lemon juice for icing

- Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan-forced. Grease a deep 20cm-round cake tin; line base with baking paper.
- Beat butter and sugar in free standing mixer or electric mixer in a medium bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in mashed banana.
- Combine soda and milk in a small jug then stir into banana mixture then fold in sifted flours.
- Spread mixture into tin and smooth top. Bake for about 50mins or until cake is cooked. Note that mine took about 42 mins, depends on your oven. Stand cake in tin for 5 minutes before turning, top side up onto wire rack to cool. 
- To make the icing, combine 3/4C icing sugar with 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tbsp water. If it needs to be thicker add more icing sugar and if it is too thick then add more water. Leave in the fridge until cool.