Monday, 17 February 2014

Forages and Finds has moved!

Forages & Finds now has a new home... and some exciting announcements!
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Friday, 14 February 2014

Golden Snitch Doughnuts

I could have made something with a Valentine's theme, but I have something far more exciting to look forward to this weekend: a trip to Harry Potter Studios with my old housemates! So when looking for an excuse to make some doughnuts, inspired by one of my favourite blogs, I had a wave of inspiration. Golden Snitch doughnuts!!

I was surprised how easy doughnuts are to make - providing that you're fairly confident with deep-frying. I used this recipe, but halved it to make a small batch - I got about 12 average sized doughnuts out of it. I begrudgingly used cup measurements, because I was in a hurry and didn't have time to convert it. Cups! Tuh. Next I'll be calling them Donuts.

My main tip is... use a thermometer to keep the temperature of the oil right (180 degrees) and you need to adapt your cooking time depending on the size of the doughnut. The recipe I used said 30 seconds on each side - mine were bigger and so needed more like 45 on each. The best thing to do is to cook one, and then let it cool slightly before cutting it open to see whether it's cooked through or not. If not, adjust your cooking time.

I could have made a golden-tinted glaze to give a smoother appearance but I had decided I wanted to make patisserie cream-filled doughnuts, so didn't want to compromise the flavour by adding too much extra sugar coating. Oh and it occurred to me that with minimal adaptation - a different colour glaze or spray - you could probably make Yoda doughnuts. If you are so inclined. I might have to try that.
I confess, doughnuts are probably my second-favourite naughty treat (right after popcorn). And I'm officially not counting how many I've eaten so far today. Well, it's Valentine's Day... surely I'm allowed to indulge myself a little? ♥

Monday, 10 February 2014

DIY Wall Year Planner

This project took me a few hours one morning, but was totally worth it as it will help me keep track of a year which started out with absolutely no fixed plans at all! Since I'm starting a job soon that has a rota of irregular hours including weekends, plus I have my own freelance projects to map around this (and hopefully a few trips!), keeping track of everything was getting a bit chaotic and I already managed to double-book myself a couple of times. Organisation time.
I got hold of a diary which had a couple of pages mapping out 2014 to guide me, a large A1-ish sized piece of paper and a ruler. The first step was the most time-consuming - I decided that I wanted the months in columns so I measured the width of the page, took off the margins I wanted at the edges and between each column, and then divided the remaining number to establish the width of columns before pencilling the columns in.
My paper size worked out pretty conveniently for the rows - I simply measured out 1cm rows down the page in pencil. The slightly complicated part was making sure all the weekends matched up across the page - which affected how far down the page the month would start. I used the diary's format to help me with this! Finally for this stage I drew in outlines of the rows I needed for each month. I had two pages (6 months on each) so the second page was easier... I traced over the first, altering the number of rows for the months of course. 
Tricky part over... time to add stickers and month titles! Or draw/paint them if you're feeling a bit more creative.
Oh, and add the dates inside the boxes. Hopefully you got the right number of days for each month!
Since I managed to get the weekends to line up across the pages, I painted in the weekend rows to make them stand out and give it a bit of structure. Clever stuff eh?
And finally as an afterthought, I felt-penned an arrow onto a piece of card and stuck it on with blue-tack, so I can see where I am in the year (when I blearily wake up in the morning and don't know what day it is, this helps). All that remains is to pen in your plans... or make some plans maybe. I love this chart already... I can see when I have free blocks of time between work, and hopefully make the most of it!
Totally exhausting, says Truffle. 


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