Paper-cutting

Hey gang! It’s been a little while I’m afraid, been busy getting burnt in Spain and then burying myself yet again in job applications and cover letters. However the last couple of days I’ve been taking a break to try something new…

My aunt and uncle have their 25th wedding anniversary this weekend and, considering how sparse my bank account is looking right now, I wanted to make them something to commemorate the event rather than buy something. I watched a show on craft recently on BBC, about how getting crafty and making things is becoming more popular again, and on this show they featured paper-cutting. I’ve always really liked papercut art, and the beautiful delicacy of papercut pieces, though I never really thought I would be patient (or dextrious!) enough to actually be able to do it myself. However, I was feeling inspired so I thought I would give it a go, and I am SO pleased with the results!

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First things first, I have learnt that it is a slow slow process, and that’s ok. This is just an artform that takes time, but you are rewarded for being so patient. Even just drawing the design: mine was about A3 size because I wanted to do quite a complex design, so to draw it all out took about four hours. This is also because I needed to make sure I knew absolutely which lines I was going to be cutting on, what’s going to be the cut-out area and what will be left behind and also ensuring that the entire design is linked together and won’t end up with a massive hole in it!

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The actual cutting out took about 10 hours altogether, but actually it was really theraputic. I just became so entraced by the whole process that I didn’t even feel the time go by (though I didn’t do it all in one sitting!) I started out with the smallest, most delicate holes while the structural integrity of the paper is still as it’s strongest, then moved on to the bigger sections.

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And here’s the finished product!! Yay! I wanted to corporate as much as I could about my aunt’s family: their hobbies and interests, etc. So there’s cake on the table in front of my cousin who loves to bake, the older sibling is holding a book with Harry Potter’s lightning scar on the cover, my younger cousin is near her cricket stuff and the cat and the chickens are featured too.

I’m so glad I tried this out and it’s definitely motivated me to try this out more in the future! Hope you like it too! 🙂

Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Cake (and Welcome!)

Hello! Welcome to the vanilla cake! I’m so happy to (metaphorically) see you! For a while now I’ve been looking for a place to share tales of my travelling adventures and my various shenanigans in and around the oven. Inspired by various friendly blogger-types and creative bodies I finally decided to create this! And what better way to open than to share some devilish deliciousness in the form of a Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Cake from the fantastic brain of Nigella Lawson – self-proclaimed domestic goddess and fellow Nutella worshipper! I love Nutella. Soooooo much! When I discovered they come in 5kg jars in European crepe shops I have never been so excited. When I was on exchange and I was too poor/lazy to buy bread it quickly dawned upon me to skip the middle man, which is really a dull carbohydrate vehicle, and go straight for a spoon! Ten minutes later 3/4 of the jar was gone, along with most of my dignity. I figure putting Nutella in a cake is a slightly classier (and even more delicious!) way of devouring an entire jar! The recipe can be found here on Nigella’s website. Enjoy!Image

Just a note I baked it for more than the recommended time because my oven isn’t fanforced, but the centre was still pretty wobbly when I took it out. This is ok! Like a lot of brownie recipes, this cake is very fudgy so it won’t necessarily be completely solid when you take it out, but it will solidify as it cools – as long as the edges are starting to shrink away from the side of the tin then you know it’s done. 🙂