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Showing posts from June, 2012

Those brownies I talked about

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When I was a kid growing up in New Hampshire, our barbeques, beach trips, and lazy days at the lake were always accompanied by big tupperware containers of homemade brownies. The go-to recipe then was the One-Bowl Brownie recipe on the back of the box of Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate. And while those brownies were and still are undeniably delicious, I think I've found an even better recipe! It comes from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook - a fantastic book based on the recipes used in the eponymous London-based bakery. While Hummingbird is most famous for its cupcakes, I've mostly gravitated to the other sweet treats featured in the book, including an amazingly rich chocolate cheesecake, gorgeous white chocolate and pecan nut cookies, and the incomparable 'traditional brownies'. Given my history with easy-peasy brownie recipes though, I've adapted this recipe a bit, getting rid of the double boiler called for to melt the chocolate and thus making my own version o…

Double Irish Chains

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Some family friends back home are getting married in mid-July, and I long ago decided that I’d make them a quilt for a wedding present. I just wasn't sure what pattern I wanted to follow in making it. This lack of certainty was due, in part, to the fact that I wanted a quilt to suit both the people and the occasion. But, if I'm honest, I also wanted to pick just the right pattern because the groom's mother is a fellow (and much more talented!) quilter. Although I love many of the more modern block patterns and tutorials out there at the moment, my instinct told me to go for something more traditional. I briefly contemplated an Amish Wedding Ring quilt but decided I’d better attempt/practice curves on a smaller scale first! Then, I thought about another Log Cabin quilt, as my first one had come out so well, but I selfishly want my next Log Cabin quilt to be for myself! Finally, as I was flicking through my various quilting books, I saw a beautiful Double Irish Chain quilt a…

I've got sunshine...

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The lovely Sarah over at Sew Me has kindly nominated me for a Sunshine Award, which means, as far as I can tell, that I answer a few fun questions and nominate a handful of other blogs as well, to spread the sunshine, so to speak. Thanks, Sarah! So, here goes....


Favourite colour - purple
Animal - dog (preferably the large cuddly kind)
Number - can't say I have one really. If I had to choose one, I'd probably go for 13, because it's my birthday!
Drink - Dunkin Donuts French Vanilla Coffee (my mom sends me care packages of it; a little taste of home!)
Passion - writing, baking, patchworking
Giving or getting - giving (but I agree with Sarah - giving is getting, too!)
Favourite Day - my wedding day, 15 May 2010 (awww)
Favourite Flower - lilacs (state flower of my home state, New Hampshire)

Those are the weird and wonderful facts about me, and here are the bloggers I'd like to nominate for Sunshine Awards in turn:

Leanne @ She Can Quilt
Helen @ Archie the Wonder Dog
Susan @ Canadian …

Molly Malone's Makeover

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Last week while I was running all over Dublin like a chicken with my head cut off, I spotted this interesting new addition to the iconic Molly Malone statue at the bottom of Grafton Street.


A more conventionally-minded knitter might have given poor Molly herself a little shrug or cardigan, but this guerrilla knitter/crocheter chose to cover Molly's barrow wheel instead in a striking neon pink.


If you look closely, you can see that the wheel cover is made up of several individual pieces that have been linked together with tiny little cable ties. Still, having seen a bunch of knitted scarfs going up around the telephone poles of Cork a few years ago, this is a pretty impressive feat.

Fabulous Fabric-y Fun this Saturday

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Quick and Easy

This week is particularly hectic with work, so there's very little time for the ordinary day-to-day things, let alone blogging, baking, or quilting. Nevertheless, I thought I'd take a minute to share a super easy, incredibly tasty recipe for Thai Green Curry - one I whipped up in a flash last night to feed myself after a long day at work. In my rush to eat as quickly as possible, I neglected to take any photos, but, I promise, it looked and tasted delicious!


Vegetarian Thai Green Curry
Olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 heaped tsp of Thai green curry paste
1 tin of chickpeas, drained
3-4 cups of vegetables, chopped into bite-sized chunks (I used broccoli, yellow pepper, baby corn, and courgette)
1 tin of coconut milk


Heat a splash or two of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the chopped onion along with a bit of freshly grated salt and gently stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. Lower the heat slightly and cover with a lid. Continue to cook for another 5-6 minutes, or…

White Cake Success

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After my earlier post about my disappointing white cake experiment, it's only fitting that I share the next, much more successful experiment, as well as a photo or two of the end result (which, I'm proud to say, went down a real treat - excuse the pun - at the aforementioned birthday party). Feeling a little bit blue about the dry, distinctly lacklustre cake I had produced in my first attempt, I consulted fellow ex-pat and baker extraordinaire, Meg, who sometimes blogs at Emmeline and Annabelle. She obligingly sent me the recipe she always uses, and it was perfect: moist but not too dense, buttery but not overly rich, and with just the right hint of vanilla. Not only that, but it couldn't have been easier to make. Love, love, love tasty, simple recipes!! (The recipe follows after the break.)



To complete the cake in all of its lovely buttery, vanilla-y goodness, I used the Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting from the amazing Smitten Kitchen blog. This is a more complex versi…

White Cake Fail

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A friend of mine asked me recently if I would make a cake for her daughter's first birthday, and, of course, I obliged. The party-throwing mum opted for a white cake as the one that might appeal most widely to children and adults alike. So, for the past couple of weekends, I've been trying out recipes to find the perfect one for what will surely be the birthday party of the year for the under-5s at least. The problem is that, here in Northern Ireland, 'white cake' seems to be synonymous with Victoria Sponge: an egg-based cake served layered with fruit or jam and cream, and sprinkled with icing sugar (see the photo below from Wikimedia Commons). When it's done well, it can be very tasty indeed, but frequently it's a bit too dry for my taste. And, to be very honest, having grown up with buttercream frosting, a cake just isn't complete, in my mind, without lashings of the stuff.



Anyway, I started my experimentation with the white cake recipe in Peggy Porschen&#…

Log Cabin Love

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I've been really enjoying making log cabin blocks recently. So simple, so satisfying to make, and so appealing in their history! Traditionally, log cabin blocks were assembled with a red fabric centre, symbolizing a blazing hearth at the centre of the home. I just love the thought of quilters years ago stitching blessings, prayers, and hopes for a happy home into their log cabin quilts, and I love the thought of carrying on that tradition today! Plus, you can have great fun with creating different patterns in your quilt, depending on how you organize your strips of fabric for the outer 'log' pieces. And, each little block is a great scrap buster to boot!


I had my first introduction to the humble log cabin block at Bee Blessed, a charity quilting bee in which I'm involved.  (There's a great picture of the fruit of our log cabin labours if you scroll down a little bit!) I had such fun putting these blocks together, that I decided I'd make a log cabin quilt of my o…

Let me introduce myself

Hi! I'm Tina, a thirtysomething American girl living in various places across the island of Ireland for the past ten years. I'm married to a lovely Irish guy who likes jokingly to praise my cooking and patchworking experiments, however inept, by saying they've got a secret ingredient: love. Hence, the name of this blog. Here I share my love for all things baking- and quilting-related, sprinkling in the occasional observation on life as I go. x Tina