Happy Canada Day!! Are you taking in any of the festivities in your town? We’ll be out climbing for the day, but might meander downtown later on, to feel the birthday love. Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 01.July.2017.
On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:
In honour of Canada Day today, here are 28 ultimate Canadian foods you have to try, at least once. Should I be ashamed to admit that there are still 7 foods I haven’t had?
Every month, I choose a new word or phrase to focus on (for picture-taking). July is all about Urban Art. Here’s some fantastic examples! I wonder if Vancouver has any of these?
On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):
Last week, the van was in complete disarray.This week, the van looks much better:
We took out the tall walls (dividing the kitchen from the bedroom) and re-made them.
Originally, we used 1/8-inch plywood to keep the weight down, but have since switched to 1/4-inch. Ultimately, 1/8-inch was too flimsy (rattling!) and didn’t allow for any clean mounting options. So, off to the wood shop we went!
New panels have been cnc’d, stained and installed, and these ones are much better. We’re definitely happy we made the change.
We installed the counter top this week! The induction cooktop and sink fit perfectly. Nothing is hooked up or works yet, but it sure does look good 🙂
Jonty also made a sink cover using the extra butcher block wood we had. The design was to have a cover that fit over the double sink, to increase our usable surface area. When you take it out and flip it over, it turns into a little kitchen tray! We use a kitchen tray in our apartment all the time, so it makes me happy to have something similar in the van 🙂 I’ll have to fill the knots with epoxy, then OSMO it, then it’s good to go!
A few more sides of the galley walls have been cnc’d, stained and installed. And so has the end board of the upper cabinets. It’s starting to feel like a real kitchen.
We’re chipping away at covering the roof and wall panels. The ceiling is now complete, finally! All we had left were three long corner pieces. Two were on the side that house all the electrical wires, so we were procrastinating if finishing them. It feels very good to have them done!
The only remaining walls that are left are right behind the driver’s seat. We’re planning on installing a bathroom on that side, so we’ll wait until we know how much of the walls we actually need to cover.
Happy July (a few days early)! I think summer has finally arrived in Vancouver, and we’re absolutely loving the sunshine. June was filled with evenly split with work-work, van-work and climbing-work. The weather was better than most June-uaries, so we made the most of getting out and about. And with that, My Month of Explore has come to and end. I’ll share the full photo round-up in a few days time.
July Month of URBAN ART
Last year, Vancouver hosted a Mural Festival. Numerous buildings around town were covered in large-scale art. We thought it was a fantastic way to showcase local talent and add a bunch of colour to our city. This year, the festival is returning, with another group of buildings getting covered. When I start to actually look at the city, there is so much urban art and culture around, whether it’s a painting or a sculpture or someone’s freedom to express themselves.
I expect there will be quite a few building murals in my month, but I’m going to be on the look-out for all the urban art that catches my eye.
So, I’m dedicating July to my month of URBAN ART, and I would absolutely love to see the artistic gems in your city, too! If you’d like to join in, please do (as many or as little photos as you’d like). I’ll post my findings on various social media places – Instagram, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, tagging #MyMonthOfUrbanArtand #MyMonthOfJuly.
Gosh, the last weekend of June! How did this month go by so quickly? Here’s a few things that caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 24.June.2017.
Vancouver is getting it’s first free street wifi! So if you’re in need of a phone-charge and some web surfing, head down into Yaletown.
On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):
I was on vacation this past week, and we really seemed to cram in a lot of work!
We filled all the holes and grooves with West System 105 epoxy (+ 205 Hardener) and covered any areas we thought would be affected by the under-mounted sink. I’ve never worked with epoxy before, so started on the underside of the counter, where I could make mistakes, knowing they would never be seen 🙂
When you see the big blobs of amber-coloured epoxy all over the wood, I must admit, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. Would that amber colour remain? Would you see remnants of the epoxy on the wood? But it turns out the epoxy sands smooth very easily, so we ended up without any overspill on the filling.
We’ve CNC’d, stained and installed the back and sides of the kitchen counter. Do you like our ventilation holes?!
We wanted to make use of the 8020 grooves to hang curtains. We bought a strip of nylon glider, which fits into the grooves and cut some into small pieces, then screwed in a small hook into the centre. These act as runners along the length of the 8020!
I had a bit of fabric lying around the house, so sewed up a version of what we thought we might want, just to see if the runners would work. They totally do! So now the “real” curtains can be made, once I figure out a colour scheme.
Pictures from the week of 24.June.2017:
The Dragonboat Festival is on this weekend. Last weekend we had a rest-day (from climbing) and meandered down along the waterfront. We saw a few of the boats getting last-minute practice in. It was a beautiful afternoon to sit and watch the world go by.
Every year, a week or two before the day, I start asking Jonty what kind of birthday cake he might like. Either a specific cake, or general flavours. Usually, I get a generic response that often includes the word chocolate. So I was quite surprised this year when he said he might like a Battenberg Cake (he’s never been so specific before).
A What-en-what Cake? You know, those checker-board cakes!
Ah yes, I did know. I have never eaten one, let alone actually made one, but that’s what Google is for, right? 🙂
The classic Battenberg Cake has a white and pink checker board pattern inside and is held together with apricot jam and covered in Marzipan. It is most-definitely British in origin, making it a perfect choice for my British hubby!
When I started poking around online, my suspicions were confirmed – the pink portion of the cake is dyed with red food colouring. I prefer not to use artificial dyes, if possible. Also, my mind immediately went to a chocolate variety because, if you know Jonty at all, you know his love for chocolate.
And what jam pairs well with chocolate? You guessed it. And so began my Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake journey.
I’m not going to lie – this cake requires a tape measure, a calculator and a bit of patience. But I promise you it’s not difficult! The hardest part might be making your foil / parchment liner and really, that portion probably took me longer than necessary because I was multi-tasking while making it. The good thing is that it is absolutely worth the time and effort.
So, here’s my version of a Battenberg Cake, in a nutshell.
Start by prepare a 23-cm (9-inch) square cake pan:
Grease the bottoms and sides of the cake pan.
Cut a piece of tinfoil and a piece of parchment paper into a 21cm x 42cm rectangle. Grease the tinfoil and place the parchment paper on top.
Fold the tinfoil / parchment in half, and then fold the centre over again to make a crease that is 5 cm wide. When you unfold the papers, the centre should pop up like a little tent. When you place this into your cake pan, this little tent will become the divider (see the pictures below).
Place this liner into your pan and start making the batter.
Make the cake batter:
The cake batter is a simple sponge cake recipe (so equal ratios of butter, eggs, sugar and flour). Half of the mixture is poured into one side of the prepared tin, and cocoa powder is mixed into the other half of the batter before pouring it into the other side.
Cream together some butter and sugar until it’s super light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and make sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding the next. If you don’t, your batter may look like it’s curdling. If this happens, just keep beating the mixture before adding the next egg.
The vanilla, flour and baking powder is added and whisked until combined.
Transfer half of the batter into another bowl (if you have a scale, this becomes really easy) and add a splash of milk.
In the remaining batter, the cocoa powder and more milk is added, and stirred to combine.
Each of the batters is poured into its respective cake pan side, and is baked at 350 F for about 28 to 30 minutes.
Assemble the Battenberg cake:
Time to get out your tape measure! Measure the height and width of each sponge cake, and decide how much you need to trim off the edges, in order to make the cake a square.
My sponges were wider than tall, but I didn’t waste a lot of extra cake, so I decided to make my Battenberg into a 3×2 rectangle, instead of the classic 2×2 square. The choice is yours!
Warm up some raspberry jam and use this as a glue to hold the cake pieces together.
On a counter sprinkled with icing sugar, roll out your marzipan into a rectangle, big enough to wrap around the cake (so the same length + 4 times the width).
Spread jam on the top of your cake, then invert this onto one end of the marzipan. Spread jam on the next side of the cake, then roll it onto the marzipan. Do this until all sides of the cake are spread with jam and covered with marzipan.
Trim off the ends, to make everything nice and neat, and to show off your great checker board pattern!
You can eat this cake right away, or keep it tucked in the fridge until you’re ready for it. We nibbled away on it over the course of 3 or 4 days, and it almost tasted better the longer it sat! We just made sure to wrap it tightly in parchment paper to keep it from drying out.
So, what was the verdict for this Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake?
Jonty loved it, and said it tasted just as good as he always remembered!
Moira loved it, and actually wants to make it again, because she’s pretty sure she can do an even better job the next time around!
The classic Battenberg Cake takes on a twist, with chocolate and raspberry. Adapted from Baking Mad and Jamie Oliver recipes.
150 g flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
150 g granulated sugar
150 g unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp milk, divided
1 tbsp dutch-processed cocoa powder
100 to 125 g raspberry jam (plus a few drops of water)
225 g marzipan
Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
Prepare the cake pan:
Grease the bottoms and sides of a 23-cm (9-inch) square pan.
Cut a piece of tinfoil and parchment paper into a 21cm x 42cm rectangle. Grease the tinfoil and place the parchment paper on top.
Fold the papers in half, then fold the centre over again to make a 5cm overlap. When you open the tinfoil/parchment paper, you should have an inverted tent in the centre. This becomes your cake pan divider.
Place this into your greased cake pan and start making the batter.
For the cake batter:
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add in the eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each egg into the batter before adding the next egg. Then add in the vanilla extract.
Whisk in the flour mixture until it is fully combined.
Transfer half of the batter into another bowl. To this, add 1 tsp of milk.
In the remaining batter, add the cocoa powder and remaining tsp of milk. Whisk to combine.
Pour each batter into its respective side of the prepared cake pan. Bake for 28 to 32 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Let the cake pan cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the sponges from the pan and allow to cool completely.
To assemble the cake:
Warm the raspberry jam with a few drops of water
Slice each flavour of sponge cake into equal sizes, trimming off the edges in order to make them square.
Place a chocolate and vanilla slice side by side and use the raspberry jam to glue the pieces together. Do this with the remaining pieces, making sure to alternate the colours.
Roll out the marzipan on a counter top lightly sprinkled with icing sugar. The size of the marzipan should be the same length as your cake and 4 times the width.
Spread more jam on the top of your cake, then invert this onto one edge of the marzipan. Spread jam on the next side of the cake before rolling it over the marzipan. Continue to do this for the remaining two sides of cake. So the entire cake will be covered with marzipan, and held together with the raspberry jam.
Trim off both ends of the cake, to even them up. Place the cake, seam side down, on a serving platter.
Serve immediately, or allow to chill in the fridge before slicing.
This cake tastes even better on the day after baking. To store in the fridge, wrap it completely in parchment paper and place in a sealed container. It should keep like this for 3 or 4 days.
Enjoy this Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake!
This was a week where the days seemed to fly by and we were suddenly at Friday evening, wondering where the week went! It was a busy one, with site visits and work meetings, climbing and training days, and a few days of van work. All in all, no complaining 🙂
Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 17.June.2017.
We’re in full-on kitchen mode! CNCing the butcher block countertop was a bit of a stressful moment (Jonty says that it was probably the most difficult cutting project he’s had to tackle, to date). But it worked, and it fits and we’re so happy with it!
This week has been spent making mounts to attach the counter top to the 8020 frame (it’s not going anywhere!).
The induction cooktop fits perfectly into its space, and so does the sink!
We were googling how to secure an under-the-counter mounted sink and saw that Ambassador (our brand of sink) sells these little aluminum mounts for attaching to a wood counter. But why buy a mount, when you can just make a mount! So Jonty’s had to manufacture mounts, as well. To be fair, he went to a few places around town, before giving up and deciding to just do it himself. 🙂
The next step is to use a waterproof epoxy on the exposed wood around the sink and faucet, and also fill in any knots and holes in the wood with this epoxy, too. We were pointed to the West System 105 marine epoxy, so hopefully next week we’ll be able to show some progress.
Once the epoxy is applied, then we can Osmo the entire counter top, and it should be finished!