Monthly Archives: August 2008

How to turn a scarf into a shopping bag in four easy steps

My friend Linda put me on to the coolest way to make a re-usable shopping bag the other day. Of course, Japanese people have been using this method for about five hundred years, so you might well know about it, but in case you don’t, watch the video below to see how to tie three different styles of bag from a square of fabric, or furoshiki.

I learnt about using furoshiki to wrap presents years ago when I fell in love with shibori dyeing, but had no idea that these apparently simple cloths were so versatile. I love the thought of having three or four scarves in my handbag, and quickly whipping them out when I do the shopping, and producing bags seemingly out of nowhere.

This tying chart has been produced by the Japaned Ministry of the Environment

This tying chart has been produced by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment

The Japanese Ministry of the Environment have created the above tying chart with lots of different patterns for wrapping everything from bottles of wine to watermelons. It is available here, as a downloadable pdf (416kb).

I’ve been practising all weekend with every square of fabric I could lay my hands on. I’m going to hem a few in different sizes, to use when wrapping presents.

If you’d like to do this as well, you might like to pop over to Mommy Cooks for her tutorial on producing a furoshiki with a beautifully mitred hem.

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Chocolate hedgehog slice – a tutorial

 
A triangular white plate with five squares of the finished hedgehog slice beside a mug of tea.
The finished product

One of my favourite recipes as a kid was chocolate Hedgehog slice. Made with crushed biscuits, it is one of those quick and easy ‘melt and mix’ slices that doesn’t need to be cooked – just assembled and chilled to allow it to set.

I’ve been making this a lot lately, and we’ve been really enjoying it, so I thought I’d share the recipe (with a very simple photo tutorial) so that others can make it too.

Butter, cocoa, sugar and a bowl of crushed sweet biscuits are assembled.

Most of the ingredients for Hedgehog.

Ingredients: 

125g (4 1/4 oz) butter
140g (5 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
1 large egg, beaten
1 packet plain sweet biscuits, crushed.

Method:

A stainless steel bowl full of crushed biscuits.

The biscuits form the base of this slice, in the same way they do for a cheesecake base.

Crush the biscuits and add 2 tbsp of cocoa; mix to combine. (Don’t make the pieces too small or too uniform. Variety in the size of the crumbs makes for a much better texture in the finished slice.) I crush them by putting them in a couple of freezer bags and then hitting them with my rolling pin.

A bowl full of crushed biscuits and cocoa, with a container of cocoa next to it.

Mix cocoa and biscuit crumbs together before adding wet ingredients.

Melt the butter and sugar together; add the beaten egg and mix well.

Butter and sugar in a glass mixing jug, in the microwave.

Melting the butter and sugar together in the microwave is quick and easy.

Add the wet ingredients to the biscuit and cocoa mixture.
Mix until all ingredients are well combined. Press into a plastic container, cover and refrigerate until it is cool.

A container filled with the prepared slice is surrounded by other ingredients including butter, cocoa and a measuring cup.

Ready to be covered and refrigerated.

 Prepare the icing; remove container from fridge (remove cover) and …

A green bowl filled with icing sugar, cocoa and butter.

The icing ingredients ready to be mixed

…spread icing over slice.
I make a butter icing, with around 2 cups of icing sugar, 1 1/2 tbsp of butter and a couple of tbsp of cocoa; creaming the butter and sugar/cocoa together, and adding a tiny amount of water if the mixture is too dry, until I get a thick, creamy consistency.

A plastic container filled with the iced hedgehog slice.

Make the icing as fancy or plain as you like.

Return the container to the fridge to allow the icing to set, then cut the slice into 2.5cm (1in) squares and it is ready to be eaten.

If you can wait that long, you should be ready to sit down with a cup of tea or coffee and a piece (or two) of hedgehog slice in about an hour.

Enjoy!

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Filed under recipe, tutorial