Lemon Poppyseed cake

17 May

Good Monday Morning gentle readers! Today it’s Lemon Poppyseed Cake day – my very first Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe ever. (Recipe here, via the Guardian. There’s also a recipe for fennel meatballs, but since fennel is the bane of my existence, I skipped that one.) While I was selecting images to include with this post I was reminded of a book that was a childhood favourite of mine – the Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein. For those of you who don’t recall, it’s about a vaguely pac-man looking thing searching for his missing piece and the things he learns along the way, all the while, singing this little song:

Oh, I’m lookin’ for my missin’ piece
I’m lookin’ for my missin’ piece
Hi-dee-ho, here I go
lookin’ for my missin’ piece

Anyway, I don’t know why I thought of the missing piece rather than pac-man, but there you are. Now onwards to the cake action!

So I saw this recipe last weekend in the Guardian whilst traveling to Oxford to visit a friend and immediately decided it looked like the most beautiful thing ever – pretty much anything lemon flavoured is my favourite ever, other than the awesome banana and chocolate combo, which is damn near perfect. Anyway, the recipe itself wasn’t too complicated, the only tough part was making the meringue and then ‘gently’ folding it into the batter. I am not a gentle baker, so this is counter-instinctive. On the whole, I think it turned out alright, although I think next time I may skip the brutally tart lemon syrup that goes on top – either that or cut the lemon down by half or something. I mean, I like the lemon, but even I can only take it so far. If anyone ends up with one of the end pieces, be warned. It’ll be tart enough to make your face pucker. Best enjoyed with tea or coffee, methinks.

He’s looking for his missing piece!

Seriously soft and moist.

The missing piece itself. I fear he may never be reunited with his gigantic cake-y friend.

That’s it for today folks – next week I’m attempting the ultimate cake/bread thing: Banana Chocolate Cake. I can barely contain myself!!!


Archaeology Wednesdays on Friday

7 May

Since I’ve been totally slacking on the Archaeology side of this blog, I’m trying to think up some new ways I can incorporate more archaeology (and anthropology). I had considered doing a ‘bone of the week’ post or maybe write-up a quick analysis of some new study or the such. You guys have any ideas? I want to make this blog the most awesomest thing ever, and save writing about Peeps every post (most viewed post to date), I think I need some ideas. Anyway, it’s archaeology time!

Are you part Neanderthal? Probably! New study suggests that modern humans and Neanderthals shared 99.7% of their DNA, and, even better, that we could, and probably did, interbreed.

Little boy accidentally stumbles on sweet archaeological find – a brand new hominid species in S. Africa.

Plumbing in the Maya world? Evidence points towards the use of pressurised water, possibly for fountains. It would be even cooler if they had indoor toilets too. Sweet.

Alright peeps, that’s it for today. If anyone has some ideas on what kind of features I should add to the site, please feel free to leave a comment here  or on Facebook. I would definitely appreciate any feedback!

Peeps sushi = awesome

3 May

So I don’t know how many of you guys had seen this around easter time (how to make peepshi), but when I read the article, I was convinced it was the most awesome thing ever. And you know what? I was right. Awe-some! (said in a sing-song voice.)

First off, for my british audience, ‘Peeps’ are an American marshmallow confection that is typically available around the easter holiday, usually formed in the shape of a chick. (Peeps are now available in a range of shapes, depending on the time of year; I loves me some Peeps ghosts!) I do believe that ‘Peeps’ can be used both when referring to a singular peeps chick or to a collective of peeps, as I am fairly certain they have some sort of terrifying peepy over-mind. (Hence the need to behead and consume as many as possible – preferably before they take over the world, as is their fiendish plan.)

Anyway, I’m not going to do all the step-by-step (had a brief early nineties flashback just then) details of how exactly to make the peeps sushi, as you can find those on the previously mentioned link; rather, I’m just going to post lots of pretty pictures and give some hints on how to make the inside-out rolled peeps sushi.

The materials: Rice Krispie treats (to form the ‘rice’ portion of the peeps sushi), fruit roll-ups (the ‘nori’; the original post suggested fruit by the foot fruit roll-ups, which definitely would have made life a bit easier, however, then you wouldn’t be able to make the inside-out rolls), and, of course, the peeps. We decided to go full ‘chicks’ for this sushi making endeavor, although I suspect it might have been just as much fun to demolish a few packs of peeps bunnies. Also, I suggest using lots of different colours of peeps – and yes, only because it looks pretty. 🙂

btw, hot rice krispie treats are delicious

One of the first steps is to behead the peeps and try not to be swayed by their little chirpy screams. Chop Chop Chop. Make sure your knife is sharp – the internal structure of the peeps is sticky and slightly gooey.

and listen to their peepy screams

Kinda my addition to the peeps sushi – California Roll Style. (California Peeps Roll perhaps? Or maybe Calipeepsnia Roll? I dunno.)  Start with two pieces of wax paper and a block of rice krispie treats in between. Roll the rice krispies until they form a flat sheet, approximately the size of a fruit roll-up; remove the top layer of wax paper. Place a full sheet of fruit roll-up on top of the rice krispies and press down gently. Lay strips of sliced up peeps bodies (whatever bit were left over from the beheadings) in a thin(ish) straight line across the fruit roll-up; careful not to overfill or you may not be able to roll properly. Using the wax paper, gently begin to roll the sushi, pressing firmly with each movement; use the wax paper to help form the sushi into a nice roll. Once the rolling is done, remove from wax paper and roll the entire thing in some orange sugar sprinkles – which look eerily like masago once the roll is coated.

Carefully cut your inside-out sushi into pieces; again, I would suggest a very sharp knife, as peeps sushi is quite soft and can deform under too much pressure. Luckily, you can always mould them back into shape with your chubby paws if need be.

The most important step: Arrange them beautifully. Believe me, they taste better that way. Can you see my pathetic attempt to make peeps sushi hand rolls? In my defence, I can’t make them with nori and normal sushi ingredients either, so this really comes as no surprise.

The full haul of peeps sushi. Aren’t they glorious?

It may not look like a much, but I’m pretty sure that took me and my mum about 2 hours to make. The end result is totally worth it though – just look at them! I would recommend eating them quickly after making, as if left out for too long, they become rock hard. (If you stick them in some air-tight packaging though, they can last a few days. Don’t refrigerate though!!)

Btw guys, these have all been consumed at the time of this posting. Sorry!

The archaeologist returns & wrap-up of the AAPAs

1 May

Greetings my dear readers and welcome back to a freshly minted instalment of ‘The Baking Archaeologist’. Apologies for my extended absence; I thought I would have more time whilst away in the states to pen a few short notes, but time got the better of me and, well, here we are, me with a cup of hot tea on a cold, rainy English spring’s day, and you, sitting at some undisclosed location, reading this. Anyway, my extended absence was due to having to attend the AAPA (American Association of Physical Anthropologists) conference in Albuquerque, NM, USA. The annual meeting of the AAPA is the largest of its kind, with anthropologists and archaeologists from around the world gathering together to discuss really sophisticated things, like primate locomotion, identification of human remains in forensic contexts and the origins of the human species, as well as present the latest and greatest research in the field. That makes it sound rather posh, doesn’t it? The reality is this:  it’s totally an excuse to get plastered with your mates and get caught up on the latest and greatest gossip. Okay, okay. In all fairness, there were some seriously awesome presentations and posters (the best ones from right here in the UK – you all know who you are), and I’m pretty sure that I did manage to learn some cool new things – and not just that you gotta have a cast iron liver to get by in this field, although I’m sure that helps a great deal. 🙂 Overall it was a great experience and I am already looking forward to next year – now that I know who’s who and the way these crazy conferences go.

Btw, my poster was awesome. Just saying.

Anyway, other than the meeting, archaeology was definitely on the back-burner this month. I’ve pretty much been on thesis hiatus for the past three weeks and so now have some serious catching up to do. I can write 20k words in a month, can’t I? Oh, and in bone-related news, a friend of mine kindly donated a super awesome turtle skeleton to add to my collection of ‘dead things I keep in boxes’, which at the moment consists of said turtle, a cat tooth and various human incisors. (Okay, so it’s not really a collection yet, but damn it, it’ll get there in the end!)

Keep an eye out for the next post – it’s Peep Sushi time!!

Archaeology Wednesdays

31 Mar

It’s Wednesday again and you know what that means – super awesome archaeology for you to enjoy. Sorry for the late posting today – totally spaced on prepping it yesterday and it’s been a bit manic over here with Uni closing for the holiday and trying to get my poster completed for the AAPAs. Which is finally finished and at the printers as I type. Super sweet. Anyway, so who wants archaeology?

Does this burial site found in Mycenea suggest a classless society? Awesome pic of the burial pit, btw.

Crocodile poop and shark teeth. Intrigued?

Giant lead coffin found in Gabii, Italy – but who’s inside? The suspense is killing me!

And lastly, nothing to do whatsoever with archaeology, but about the damn coolest thing ever: the Large Hadron Collider is back on-line and kicking ass.

That’s it for this week folks. More archaeology next week. I’ll make sure to post before I hurl myself across the Atlantic in a giant flying metal tube. Ah, aviation. How I both love and hate thee.

Nothing delicious to speak of…

29 Mar

greetings gentle readers. sadly, no baking shennanigans took place this weekend – I seriously baked enough last week to make my baking quota for the foreseeable future. and besides,  no one appears to be coming into the research room today, so had I baked anything, I would have been forced to consume them all myself. which would have been horrific.

anywho. just wanted to keep up with the posting pattern and put a little something something here. regarding baking. I finally got around to buying a pastry bag last weekend and I am so very, very pleased with it. I made cupcakes (sorry no pics this time) for a b-day party and was able to frost them beautifully in pink and blue, with little sprinkles all over. so freaking cute!!! I need to practice with it more, but I can’t wait to try to do all sorts of patterns and the such when I return from the conference late next month. I’m even tempted to make madelines; although my next goal is to make sugar cookies – I’m usually to damn lazy to make them ’cause you have to chill the dough and then cut it all nice and neatly, but I think I’m ready to give it a go.

speaking of the conference, my poster is blissfully almost completed. just have to finish up a short discussion and conclusion section and then I am good to go. I did find out that it’s going to cost me a bloody arm and a leg to print it out at kinkos though… meh.

that’s it for today folks – keep your eyes peeled for more awesome archaeology news on Wednesday.


Archaeology Wednesdays

24 Mar

All archaeology, all the time. At least that’s how it feels lately. I spent all of yesterday reading a book on craniofacial growth and development. Good times, let me tell you. I can at least say that I now have a vague understanding of bone remodelling, all be it rudimentary. Meh. As long as I can scrap together 500 words about it to jam into the thesis, I’ll be a very happy archaeologist.

Anyway, how about something more interesting?

More evidence for bipedalism in our ancient hominid ancestors.

Okay, so I don’t do dinosaurs, but this is pretty neat.

Sweet! Let’s go see some viking skeletons!

Glad to know that the entirety of the US isn’t opposed to the awesomeness of human evolution. Brand new Hall of Human Origins at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC. Super cool.

That’s if for this edition of Archaeology Wednesdays – now I’m off to go analyse some human remains. Toodles.

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