Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Gems in the rough: architectural brilliance hidden away...in Ghana.

The Dailymail carried a story headlined "The world's most spectacularly-designed houses that prove that nothing is impossible when it comes to architecture"

I idly clicked on the link not expecting to see anything close to home. But a house in God's own land, Ghana, made the list. I doubt many have seen it, or even know it exists but apparently it's here. The house belongs to Carsten Höller and Marcel Odenbach, both artists and is located near the Biriwa Beach resort.

After a little sleuthing (read as googling) on the web:

It's considered an artitechural wonder because if its unusual design, read the interview below for details: 

Would you like to live here though?

Monday, 14 October 2013

Legal knots: Ty-Tys

Ty-tys is a Nigerian brand that creates unique ties and bow ties using Ase-Oke fabric as well as vintage Damask. These ties are great for injecting a shot of colour into a dull outfit or adding a zing to a crisp white shirt.
What I found most fascinating about this line of Ase-Oke ties is that it is designed by a lawyer!
Given the jealous nature of the  law, it is always refreshing to see a lawyer branching out and combining active legal practice with other talents. 

Picture credit: http://africafashionweeklondon.com
Read his interview on AfricaStyleDaily and check out his website: Ty-Tys

Friday, 11 October 2013

The Dashing yet dangerous Italian Meringue Butter Cream

I had decide to embark on the 'perilous' adventure of making this lovely icing with my friend Jen, but she's abandoned me for another end of the planet  so I decided to attempt it alone. Perilous because stories are dotted all over the 'net of how wrong it can go.

I picked a an easy(ier) recipe off the internet, after scouring through hundreds and tried my hands at it.I will forever be grateful for that recipe: 

Essential equipment: Food mixer &  Sugar thermometer
The food mixer is needed because the eggs must be whisked at very high speed. I don't think it's humanly possible to whisk that fast for as long as the recipe requires. The Guinness Book of Records should look into a challenge like that.

The sugar thermometer is needed because the sugar syrup must be at the soft ball stage, which is a particular temperature. The Cake Tekniks shop the makola mall sells sugar thermometers, in case you're looking for one.

Sugar/ candy thermometer 
It took me ages to attempt it because I wanted to get my hands on a Sugar/Candy thermometer. It's said to be essential in making the icing, unless you can gauge exactly how sugar behaves at every stage.

You basically need  sugar, water, egg whites, butter and essence.

Only the egg whites

Cubed Butter at room temperature (unsalted)

That's basically all you need to create this magical, fluffy buttercream.
I was nervous about the outcome  so I documented the process very carefully. 

I put the sugar and water into a pan and stirred it with a whisk. It took about 3 minutes and 30 seconds to boil. I then got the chance to use my sugar thermometer. About 3 more minutes later the temperature climbed to the soft boil stage. 
At this point, no more heat!

Meanwhile, I had put the egg whites in the mixer bowl already and had started whisking at low speed so and I just tipped in the sugar syrup when it was ready, being careful not to hit the sides of the bowl or the whisk attachment while pouring.

When it all went in, I turned it up the mixer to high speed.

You should smell the eggs cooking.

The mixture has to be beaten at high speed until the mixture cools to room temperature. This is to ensure the eggs are completely cooked. 
My mixing bowl is plastic, so it did not heat up as much as a metal bowl would have (I think). 
I allowed it to mix on high speed for 10 minutes and then decided it had reached room temperature.

I then reduced the speed to medium and in went the butter, a few tablespoonfuls at a time.

Some recipes suggested switching to the paddle attachment for the 'heavy mixing'. I ignored the advice (and regretted it later,lol!) Next time I make it, I will switch to the paddle at this point. The icing is much smoother, with no extra buttery bits, in my experience.  

Added in the vanilla essence, turned it on  high to incorporate for just over a minute.

Then taste! 
It can be stored in the fridge, even freezer, quite well. But good luck not finishing it all!

One of my favourite cake bloggers has a similar different recipe, minus the sugar thermometer - in case you don't have one and want to attempt it too.

I used mine to ice a cake for a friend's baby shower. What will you use your's for??

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Tag: The Liebster Award

This award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers to recognize them and their hard work. I was tagged by the lovely MUA Annette of http://naturalistagh.blogspot.com way back in February!! I'm extra embarrassed because this has just been sitting in drafts! so much for hard work. Smh at myself.  

The Rules:
1. Each person must post 11 random things about themselves (optional)
2. Answer the 11 questions that the tagger set for you.
3. Choose 11 bloggers who you would like to give the Liebster Award.
4. Create 11 questions for the bloggers you have tagged with the award to answer. 

11 random things?? pick 11 from here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/abbie-agyekum/a-number-of-random-thingsfinally-wrote-it/54984114823

1. Food or Music?
That's a toughie!! But music is the lazier option, so I'll go for that,lol. Food requires a lot of work, unless I am not the one cooking it.... I'm lying food.

2. Favourite movie
My fave Ghanaian movie of all time is True colours. I'm not sure if animation counts but my all time favourite movie would be the Lion King, lol.

3. Favourite Shop
My fave shop is Zara. I will raise money and pull that company to Ghana. 
credit: The Guardian 

4. What is your pet peeve?
I have so many...from black polyethene bags in my fridge to people digging for gold (boogies) in public...mad hatter trotro drivers...oohhh don't get me started
for sale at: http://www.artsyhome.com/product/dont-get-me-started

5. I have a "phobia" of ......
cockroaches...they're disgusting and sooo hard to destroy.
(don't expect a picture)

6. Tell me a secret about you
I'm very shy. But I fake being bold so well even I believe it,lol. 
credit: http://sd.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/p/keep-calm-and-fake-it-till-you-become-it/

7. Makeup or Hair?
Until very recently I'd have said hair. But I'm getting into make up now so I'll say both.

8. Heels or Flats?
What are flats????

9. Boobs or Butts?
I have boobs so butts...which reminds me I must start doing squats!
credit: http://fitnessbunny123.wordpress.com

10. Facebook or Twitter?
Facebook. I like pictures and talk too much for Twitter.

11. Natural Haired or Relaxed Haired
Naturalista and enjoying it!
credit: http://www.123rf.com

My 11 Bloggers:
+Annette Akye  of http://naturalistagh.blogspot.com
+Esther Gbudje  of http://houseofsienna.blogspot.co.uk
+Cecil Tim-Pappoe of http://www.lifeandcookingit.com
Dava of http://dramedies.blogspot.com
+Nana Achiaa Amoako of http://mzunderstood-junkmail.blogspot.com
+Juliet Ajaab of http://azedi.blogspot.com
+Nana Oye Odame of http://etoileoye.blogspot.com
+Jemila Abdulai of the famous http://www.circumspecte.com
Sandidy of http://sandidystories.blogspot.com
 +Theo Acheampong of http://theoacheampong.blogspot.co.uk  (it's not an economics quiz but try! lol)

Totally Random Questions:
1.What was your first blog post about (not the welcome one)?
2. What's your style sense like? Not a hair out of place or more laid back?
3.Would you rather watch TV or read a book?
4.R & B or Rap?
5.Homemade cake or bakery/ shop bought?
6.Favourite book and favourite author?
7.Cupcakes or muffins?
8.Daredevil activity you would attempt if you knew you'd come out unharmed?
9.5 of your Wardrobe staples? (eg. white shirt, black tee...)
10. Would you wear African print daily if you could?
11.Facebook, Instagram or Twitter?