Cake Wars – Revisited

Look what fell into my shopping trolley this weekend.

It was a completely necessary purchase, since all my cookbooks are still in storage together with our other possessions awaiting our new home (another thing I’m feeling grumpy about) and I really do need to practice using my Christmas Kitchen Aid. Also the pictures are divinely beautiful and the recipes looked fab. 

But mostly I was rather jealous of Helen’s new book.

Today I made the Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip cupcakes. 

I ended up having to cook them 10 minutes more than the stated amount of time and I’m not sure they’ve risen enough. Are American cupcakes generally flat on top like this? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a American cupcake ‘naked’ before and I’m used to the more domed appearance of an English fairy cake. I’ve subsequently read the customer comments on Amazon and it seems that people are having problems with some of the other recipes, so I’m now a bit wary of this book. Serves me right for buying on impulse.

Nevertheless these cakes did taste really good, though they did contain an obscene amount of chocolate chips – next time I think I’ll cut that back.  And how anyone can actually eat them with frosting and not immediately die of a massive coronary is beyond me.

By the way, how sad am I to be desperately in love with a spatula?  


This old house

Oh, but I’ve been neglecting this blog recently. 

Partly because I’ve just been really busy updating the site with new products and photos, partly because I’m in the midst of researching more new products for Spring and Summer, partly because Living Gorgeously has got off to a really successful start and has been keeping me busy cooking and making things, and mostly because I’ve been spending every other waking moment househunting – either searching for properties online or visiting them.

When we first came out to Seattle our intention was to rent, but after speaking to a few people it became clear that by remortgaging in the UK and taking out a new mortgage here in the US, we would be able to buy something here.  And I would be able to fulfil my dream of doing up a ‘fixer’.

Well after a lot of looking it seemed like we’d found it.  The above image is of the main rooms which were loaded with beautiful original features.  But the upper storey was completely clad in pine and looked like a sauna, the kitchen needed replacing, the bathrooms needed updating, the basement needed finishing and the garden needed landscaping.  All in all perfectly habitable, but with the perfect amount of work I could do to turn it from something great into something spectacular. It even had a wonderful roof terrace with views out over the Sleepless in Seattle houseboat lake and the downtown area.

So we put in an offer and then hit a hitch in releasing the funds in the UK.  And so our offer wasn’t accepted and they’ve now accepted an offer from someone else.

And I’m really, really gutted because I doubt very much that we’re going to be able to find something that perfect again.

Unfortunately it seems like we’re not the only people who have been househunting.  

Why oh why did the Beckhams have to follow me over here?  And how come there is so much hype surrounding an (admittedly handsome) bloke who plays a game that nobody here watches, a has-been popstar who can’t sing and their Scientologist friends whom nobody likes?