Thursday, 31 May 2012

Holiday memories no. 1 - Chester and its zoo

I'm back from a very relaxing and surprisingly warm 10 days in England. I have a lot to show you so I'll probably spread it over two posts, if that's OK.

Before leaving my home I'd asked for advice on what to take with me, and all my friends and family said "It's freezing, bring warm clothes", "bring lots of layers", "wrap up warm". So I did. It's true that for the first two days it was rather damp and not very warm. But then, on the Monday, it got quite alot warmer. Off with the coats. Off with the cardigans and, oh dear, all my clothes are too warm. Luckily my sister has the same size feet as me and I borrowed a pair of sandals. I bought a lovely skirt and borrowed a couple of blouses too. There are lots of advantages to staying with family. As the days went by it got sunnier and sunnier, warmer and warmer.

Today I'm going to show you the pictures from our visit to Chester and its zoo. Chester is a beautiful English city close to the Welsh border. Chester was founded as a "castrum" or Roman fort with the name Deva Victrix in the year 79 by the Roman Legio II Adiutrix during the reign of the Emperor Vespasian. You can still visit the remains of a Roman amphitheatre, and I enjoyed a walk around the city walls.

The suspension bridge

Gorgeous open-topped bus for the tourist trips around the town

Chester is famous for its old black and white buildings

The main street on a busy day

The city walls

The zoo is huge and has over 400 species and 8000 animals. There are around 11 miles of paths, and I think I walked on almost all of them! Chester zoo specialises in research and conservation. We were lucky to visit on a wonderfully sunny day.

Cheetahs. We had a great view from a bridge above.


A giraffe bends down for a nibble

Aren't I beautiful?

Giraffes again - so elegant

I'm not sure who was watching whom


Friday, 11 May 2012

François l'éléphant

Hello there!

A week from today I'll be going on holiday to see family and friends in England. Yay! I'm really looking forward to it. Before I leave, I'm trying to finish off as many Unfinished Projects as possible. This little elephant had been sitting in a bag in my room for several months, and to be honest I didn't really like how it was looking. I was even tempted to throw it out. But yesterday I came across it again and decided to finish it off. I'm so glad I did! I found the pattern on Ravelry, but you can also find it here. 

Why François l'éléphant, I hear you asking, Because when I finished off this little guy, for some strange reason he reminded me of the new French President, There's something in his expression. François l'éléphant président.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Little pink owl

Hello there!
I've been making owls again. This time it's a cute tiny pink one! I haven't found a name for her yet, but I have a feeling that she'll soon be adopted. She's only tiny, 2 inches or 5 cm tall and wide. I made her with a lovely shiny crochet thread that I've had for ages and ages, and a 1.75 mm hook. Her goggly eyes mean she can have different expressions and look even cuter. And did I mention that she's cute?

I've also make a lovely little flower pin, using the pattern from Yellow, Pink and Sparkly, a lovely blog that I follow and where you can find some great free patterns. I've only made one for now. Here it is:

I'm also busy finishing off a whole variety of hats, but more of that next time, maybe.

Bye for now!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Choco-banana loaf

I found the recipe for this cake online, but I've made a few changes so here's my English version. I hope you enjoy it!

3 eggs
150g sugar
160g plain flour (I prefer to use brown)
1 teaspoon baking powder
150g salted butter
2 bananas
100g dark chocolate

Start by melting 30g of the butter in a frying pan and fry the sliced bananas until they have started to brown. Add a tablespoon of the sugar and continue to cook until it is nicely caramelised. Remove the pan from the heat and leave it to cool.

Heat the oven to 180°

Place the eggs and the rest of the sugar in a mixing bowl. Mix them using an electric whisk until the mixture is pale yellow and doubled in volume. Fold in the flour, sifted with the baking powder.  Melt the rest of the butter and fold it in to the mixture. Now add the caramelised bananas (and the accompanying caramel) and chopped chocolate. Pour the mixture into a loaf tin that you have greased and floured, and cook for 45 minutes.

Even though it may be difficult to wait (it smells so good when it comes out of the oven!), leave to cool fully before serving. The chocolate will remain nice and melted for quite a while. If you don't eat it all immediately, keep it in an airtight tin, it tastes just as good, if not better, the next day.

Bon appetit!