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Behind the Blog: Design Elements

Are you having a good weekend?  We’ve had a lovely one; revelling in the afterglow of Valentine’s Day (a year’s supply of marmalade for him; an amazing vintage Imperial typewriter for me – I can’t stop stroking it..), enjoying a rare glimpse of Spring with brilliant sunshine and mild weather, baking crunchy, syrupy lemon drizzle cake (only crumbs left now, and a vague sense of remorse at our lack of self-control..), and the conversion of a cheerful little corner of Harry’s playroom into a Book Nook… but more on all of that next time.

As promised, this week I’m going to answer a few of the questions I get asked most often about how I design and style both the blog and the projects which feature on it.  Fonts, graphics, layouts; it’ll be something of a geek-peek behind the blog for those who are interested.  If you simply enjoy the projects and posts themselves (thank you!), then turn a blind eye and join me again next time, but otherwise let’s start by talking about fonts, fonts, glorious fonts….

fonts for blog 1

I love browsing for fonts on the fabulous site dafont.com.  There are a myriad of fonts available to download for free, which takes seconds.  You can also choose to donate to the author who created each, which I think is a great thing to do, and important for communities like dafont to continue to flourish and offer such loveliness (I’m like a kid in a sweet shop when I browse).

blog fonts 2

You can find all three of these fonts by simply Googling the name, and will be able to download them all for free for private use from various sites (if you’re thinking of using them for other purposes or commercially, check the licence details; the terms are often different).

blog fonts 3

The next most common question is about how I make the labels, signs, graphics and photo montages that I use, so let’s tackle that…

I do all of my graphics and montages in – wait for it – Powerpoint (I blush slightly at this revelation; I know it is seen as the slightly stale tool of jaded business execs the world over, but I love it, and more importantly, I know it intimately) … so no sexy Adobe tools and wizardry here.  And hence this post, I hasten to add, is just about what I do, rather than what other bloggers would suggest, or what might work best for you.. You can download Powerpoint in a format to suit your computer and have a month’s free trial before you have to commit to buying; worth it if you have the time and motivation to dabble a little and explore.

I work on an iMac desktop and use the in-built iPhoto software for simple photo-editing – usually cropping, and adjusting light (gloom & overcast skies being a perennial British problem), before importing photos into Powerpoint to create montages or add text.  Before I had my Mac I downloaded the free Picasa photo-editing software onto my ancient Windows laptop and used that very happily instead.  Toys and signs I’ve made for Harry like those below were all created in this way, as were the ‘font’ montages shown above.

harrys labels

For backgrounds and backdrops I tend to take photos of interesting textures, walls, surfaces and so on, and upload these for use in projects.  I also use books of art papers like these, often scanning them so I can play with them and use them repeatedly.  The one investment I did make last year which I love is in two polypaper photo backdrops from here, one of chalkboard and one of a faux wood-pannelled barn wall (see both below)… the chalkboard in particular I use all the time as it’s so versatile.  Often though, I just wander around the house following the light, and shoot against walls and on the wooden floor; it’s simple and instant.

backdrops

So, no magic; just a little bit of knowledge and a lot of experimentation and practice.  If you’re making crafty projects at home and printing out graphics, labels and the like, my final tip would be to purchase and use photo-quality matt inkjet paper (HP make some; I’m sure others do too). This gives a great intensity of colour and the closest approximation to what you actually see on the screen.  As a dabbling amateur, I find buying great paper like this is more important – and much cheaper – than buying a world-class printer.

A final word on graphics; most of my pictures and graphics are ‘homemade’, but if you’re in search of general inspiration then Pinterest is a great source; search for free printables or graphics and you’ll often find lists of resources that others have created.  One other gem, particularly for those who like vintage ephemera, is the Graphics Fairy, which has a treasure trove of free-to-download goodies.

See you in a few days for more crafting and projects; have a great week, whatever you’re doing…

A Pause.

end of year sparkler

My last post for a little while, as the year draws to a close and the number of sleeps ’till Christmas can be counted, somewhat feverishly, on one very small hand.  Our home, for once, is lightly covered in icing sugar rather than builders’ dust, and stockings are being shaken out ready to be hung in the hearth. Guests are arriving, menus are planned and champagne is chilling.  Christmas-Day-clothes are waiting on hangers, but close by too are the slippers, robes and soft pyjamas we’ll sink into each day as dusk falls and the fire beckons.

Before I sign off though, a HUGE thank you to everyone who has followed me since I began in late January, and for the constant encouragement, humour, comments, questions and general loveliness that have made this, for me, an extraordinary and wonderful experience.  I never quite believed when I began that anyone would actually try some of the projects I’ve described, or that a continual flurry of like-minded souls around the world would declare themselves and check in, week after week, till virtual friendships grew over shared experiences.  The comments you’ve left have brightened dull days, provided the impetus to continue, and – frequently – made me laugh aloud.

Have yourself the most wonderful of Christmases, wherever you are and whomever you are with; here’s to a great year in 2013, and a hefty dose of loved-ones and joyfulness until then.

Thank you again from a weary but jubilant

Kate and Harry x

katescreativespace

end of year hall

end of year ducks

end of year window

end of year dinner voucher

end of year stocking stuffers

end of year reindeer cupcakes

end of year placemats

end of year santa hats

Half-year review

It’s been 6 months since I started blogging, as a result of a drunken New Year’s Resolution to really do something creative this year, which had to complement rather than add to my already deliciously chaotic life.  And so this blog was born, and what an experience it’s been so far; from having my first follower sign up in January (someone I didn’t even know! The shock and awe of it.. who was this exciting person?), to the highs of having thrilling little flurries of ‘likes’ and comments when I post, and coming across kindred souls the world over.  A whole new community and world has opened up, and it’s a very lovely – and inspiring – thing.

My battered notebook in which I document ideas and plans for the blog (above) is now stuffed with clippings and scribblings, and accompanies me pretty much everywhere.  Harry, for his part, loves sitting on my lap and looking back at the things we’ve done as I scroll through the blog and show him our photos.  At 2 and a half, he has the innate narcissism of all toddlers and there is nothing finer than time spent with a cupcake and a glass of milk, watching pictures of himself and commenting on their greatness (‘I sooo funny Mummy!’.)

From being something of a luddite where web technology is concerned, I’ve come to understand a little more about how sites work and how to take good photos, though I still have masses to learn.  Stumbling across other blogs has been an eye-opener and given me great food for thought about design, layout and content.  With that in mind the more astute regular visitors will notice something of a facelift this weekend, to a cleaner, more graphic and simple site that I think is also easier to navigate.  One of the absolute best things in recent months has been people getting in touch about the projects they themselves have tried out from my blog, so with that in mind I’ve also separated out some of the most popular into a ‘Tutorials’ tab on the home page.

I’ll be posting again later in the week with my latest furniture makeover project – a seasonal play BBQ/grill that Harry is even now pressure-testing by flinging mini play kebabs, piece by piece, across the garden (it’ll make sense when I show you the pics, I promise…), but in the meantime I’d love to know your thoughts on what you’d like to see more of, less of, or how you’d improve the site – all feedback gratefully received!  Whilst a blog is in one sense a sort of personal diary, it’s also of course a great conduit for ideas, projects and sharing, and your support, feedback, and reaction has been amazing; so please tell me, particularly if you’re a regular, what’s working for you and what’s not…

See you later in the week; have a great and relaxing end to the weekend!
Kate

Neat Feet

Today Harry elected to wear his red rubber wellington boots to nursery.  Yes it is June, and they were accessorised with shorts and a t-shirt, but H is a firm believer in following one’s fashion impulses regardless of season or peer pressure. (I say peer pressure; we were greeted by an eclectic cluster of two-year olds dressed as fairies, superheroes or simply sans clothing altogether, so perhaps conventional dressing is the only taboo at Harry’s age…)

I love Harry’s feet, and always have… as a tiny baby they, like his chubby starfish hands, seemed impossibly small and in constant motion as they flexed, explored and sensed this new and strange world.  One of my favourite pictures I took in those first few blurry months was this one of H&A’s feet, which hangs in the kitchen.

Since then, Harry has developed a keen interest in footwear, albeit each new sized shoe leads to a comic day of tripping and dragging as he learns the extra clearance required for walking in longer shoes.  This morning Harry opted to try on my husband’s shoes for size; a moment I had to capture…

I’ve kept all of H’s shoes since his first slippers at a couple of months old, and often ponder what to do with them; they currently hang on nails along my office wall, waiting for inspiration.  The most recent favourites are these battered silver trainers below, now immortalised as the footwear du jour at age 2  - I did the same for him at age 1 and will keep going over time.

What were your favourite shoes as a child?  As a tomboy I lived in trainers apart from the obligatory school shoes, a notion incomprehensible to my husband as he now surveys my overflowing shoe rack and row of killer heels of a height which makes him wince. Now that my home-days are spent in sandpits and muddy fields,  I have to confess that trainers are once again enjoying a revival in my daily life, and the heels mostly just a reminder that somewhere deep inside me is a footloose glamazon in temporary hibernation…

Feathered Afternoon tea

The sun is shining at last and the birds are chirping gaily in the trees, the Biblical torrents of rain a distant memory.  Let’s draw a veil around the fact that the chirping tends to begin at around 5am in the particularly large tree right next to our bedroom window, and be grateful for small things.  Still, action is called for; Harry tends to make the most noise when he is hungry, so applying the same logic to our dawn chorus I have set about constructing these tea cup feeders (below).

I saw a version of this idea here and fell in love; ever since I’ve been scooping up random bits of china from charity shops (I also use them in cake stands like my one here, and to make pretty filled candles).  Leftover spindles and paint from our house restoration provided the other parts – though old broom handles or curtain poles would work great too, particularly for larger cups.  Paint the spindles, glue cup to saucer and saucer to spindle and hey-presto! a bird feeder.  Not just any feeder at that, but a chic and tasteful one that can be painted to contrast with (or coordinate with) your garden.  A happy consequence of the small saucers and the petite scale of these is that squirrels find them particularly challenging…. I mounted mine by our pond (below) and have watched a small army of them attempt – and fail – to hustle some seed.

A few tips… if your spindle has a particularly pointy end, use that one to dig into the ground (obvious I know, but worth evaluating carefully before you set about glueing on tea cups…).  Shallow cups and saucers work best so that the birds can access the seed very easily and without having to hop into the cup and risk missing a sighting of the local cat / fox / toddler who is stealthily heading their way.  For location, try a few ideas out – I found they look best in groups, and when spaced at different heights.  Moving them around in this bucket of sand allowed me to decide on their final position without too much exertion.  Not least because my long suffering husband was the one who lugged the pot around behind me, as I waltzed around the lawn crying ‘left a bit! No, not there!’, until steam rose gently from his brow.  Hmmm, some marital brownie points to be re-earned, I think…

A Taste of Summer

It’s raining again, plus ça change. In fact, I’m surprised that my predictive text function doesn’t automatically open each post with these words, so consistent is the dreary drizzle and grey skies.  We have chosen to rise above it and conjour up sunshine in the form of these individual bread rolls baked in terracotta flowerpots and bursting with sun blush tomatoes, feta cheese, rosemary and all manner of deliciousness.

I uncovered this recipe buried deep in a bulging and well-thumbed file entitled Magazine Clippings That Will Change My Life Or At Least Enhance It In Some Transient Way, and we set about making it this weekend.  We carefully selected some pots and gave them a good wash and burst in the oven to prepare them, then rolled up our sleeves and let loose.  Gorgeous as an accompaniment to soups and antipasti, they also went down a treat at our teddy bear Playroom Tea Party this morning, where a surprising number of rolls were nibbled and partially tasted, given that most participants were stuffed (literally), and only one, Harry, was technically capable of eating.  Hmmm… suspicious.

Recipe and tips below..

This recipe originally came from British foodie mag Delicious, and I’ve reproduced it faithfully below.  Uncharacteristically, we didn’t deviate from the instructions at all and they tasted divine; a more accomplished cook could play with a variety of substitutions and tweaks and produce some interesting variations.

Sunblush and Feta Flowerpot Bread. Ingredients & method:

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 7g fast acting dried yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 240g tub of sun blush tomatoes; set 8 aside before chopping the rest.
  • 150g crumbled feta
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped rosemary plus some sprigs for decoration.
  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and stir in the yeast and chopped rosemary. Gradually mix in 250ml of warm water to form a loose dough, and add the chopped tomatoes and a tbsp of the oil from the tomatoes.
  2. Tip out onto a clean surface and knead the dough for 5minutes until smooth.  Add the crumbled feta and knead again until it is all incorporated into the dough. Separate into 8 evenly shaped balls and place each carefully in a well-oiled terracotta flowerpot (you could just place these in a muffin tin or on a baking sheet instead).
  3. Allow to rise for around 30mins, setting the oven for 220 degrees.
  4. Scatter the remaining crumbled feta over the top and add a single whole sun blush tomato to each (below). Thoroughly soak 8 small rosemary sprigs then gently push one into each flowerpot for decoration (the wetness will stop them from burning in the oven).

Bake for 20-25mins, then allow to cool for as long as you are able to restrain yourself; these are best served warm, so eat as quickly as possible or give them a quick turn in the oven before serving later (they last 2 -3 days if you can manage it).

Seedlings, soil and a spot of light toil…

I’m feeling all green-fingered again. I’ve been swept away by a tidal wave of good intention and the recurrent vision of becoming a self-sufficient, kaftan-wearing earth mother who harvests dinner every night from her Kitchen Garden and whose offspring can name every variety of tomato under the sun. Like most fantasies, alas, this is impossibly far from the truth.  The kaftan-wearing bit in particular is just never going to happen.

Still, a well-lived life is one of constant reinvention, as I’m sure someone must have said as it sounds very profound.  Harry and I have duly cracked open the Dorling Kindersley Guide to Gardening for Complete Amateurs, and begun sowing in earnest.  Initially we’ve just planted lettuce, carrots, radishes and salad onions. The DK guide warns me ominously that carrots are plagued by the psila rosae Carrot Fly and must always be planted alongside onions, which will, it promises, have the same effect as Kryptonite on Superman or garlic to Dracula, thus ensuring that the evil weevils keep a flight exclusion zone around our precious harvest.  This is just as well, as I wouldn’t be able to identify a psila rosae if it fell into my gin and tonic.  Especially then, in fact.

I found this rather cool and slightly more macho planter for Harry (below), and once he’d wedged himself into it a couple of times and ascertained that it achieved a max speed of about 2km/hour when pushed along, he was happy to plant it up instead, bashing each tender seedling heavily with the spade for good measure.

And finally, what I’m hoping will be the most verdant and productive of all; this grafted tomato, which the garden centre has led me to believe is the genetic equivalent of Usain Bolt and will deliver such a bountiful harvest that even the sight of a tomato, come September, will make us feel a little queasy.

It must deliver on its promise, as I have a title to uphold; last year my very undersized efforts scooped the ‘Most Artistic Tomato’ prize in my friend’s annual Tomato Festival (a deliciously drunken garden party where tomatoes feature loosely, and other equally tenuous categories include ‘Best shop-bought tomato’ and ‘Best wine to drink with tomatoes’..).  I strung a handful of dwarf cherry toms together to form a fetching necklace and earring set which I duly wore (below); it did the trick – and works a treat when you get hungry and the canapés are far away – but I think that substance is going to have to trump style this year if I am to retain my title…

And in closing; a gratuitous montage of some of the most distracting spring blooms in the rest of the garden.  One of our great pastimes (having moved into our house in the depths of winter) is watching to see what bursts into bud, then flower, as the weather turns.  All helpful advice on identifying and naming the varieties of beauties below is more than welcome…

The Great Sunflower Race

I have found a new nemesis. He’s called Hans Peter Schiffer, and I’ve never met him. ‘Who??’ I hear you cry. WELL, Herr Schiffer may be a benign, helpful German flight attendant by day, but apparently in his spare time has somehow managed to seize the World Record for the tallest sunflower ever grown, a whopping 8.03m. Lordy. Who knew that the very hands used to highlight emergency exits and demonstrate seatbelt positioning could produce such unfettered glory in the garden?  Eight metres of it no less.  So, competitive juices in full flow, we’ve decided to start a new family tradition; the Great Sunflower Race.

Initially thinking we would just have a Mummy / Daddy / Harry race, we carefully chose 3 pots to sow our seeds, hoping that a short spell indoors would give us a head-start come warmer weather and planting out.  Amidst much jostling and inter-marital suspicion we opted to label the pots with chalkboard paint and pen to ensure no crafty tag swapping once the growing began in earnest.  (Damnit; my master-plan thwarted before germination even occurs…)

We took to the garden for some cavalier tossing of compost; very little landed in the pots themselves but the lawn will, I’m sure, benefit from all the additional nutrients it received.

Sunflower seeds are amongst the most reliable of all so can be sown just one to a pot with confidence.  Or so says the packet.  We’ll see….

With a nearly-full pack of seeds leftover, we decided to ask friends and family to join in the race, so carefully packaged up a sprinkle of seeds into little vellum envelopes (below) and issued the challenge.  Some packets were collected by Harry’s friends at our egg-hunt this weekend, the rest will be mailed to Grandparents and other feverishly keen competitors in the week ahead…

So, without further ado, let the Great Sunflower Race commence!

p.s. Global entries welcome… the Big Measure will take place in July, just as soon as my entry is towering magnificently at an impossible peak (and there I go again; ambition completely outstripping skillset…)

Pasta la Vista, baby!

Carbs are big in our household, as anyone who knows us will attest. Given that my husband declares the potato to be his favourite vegetable, and I would request a toasting fork and crusty loaf if given notice of being stranded on a desert island, it was inevitable that Harry was going to feel a strong gravitational pull towards all things starchy. Whilst I’m secretly proud of the fact that he freely eats vegetables and would for ages misidentify any tree in a picture book as being ‘a piece of broccoli’ (no idea why; it’s unlikely, frankly, that he made this connection at home…), it’s also true that if you ask him what he’d like to do next, the statistically most probable answer at any given time is ‘eat spaghetti’.

So this weekend we whipped out our shiny new pasta machine that was the gift-of-the-year in Christmas 2010, rather like the bread machines that everyone gave and received 10yrs earlier.  A guilty confession; our machine is actually a present I bought for someone else and decided to keep because it looked so enticing; instead, they received a selection of novels and I no doubt received a great dollop of bad karma that will ensure all the pasta I make with it is cursed.  We’ll soon find out.  My cookbooks and the web are full of delicious recipes for homemade pasta involving herbs, different flours and semolina, et al, but we plumped for the simplest possible concoction (below), and got stuck in.  As you can see, this is one of those cookfests where it’s all about the journey, not the end result…

Take your 3 ingredients, create a volcano-like pile of the salted flour on your worktop, and pour the lightly beaten egg mixture into the middle.  Watch as the flour sides collapse and spend several minutes chasing egg around the table (you can see why small boys love this bit).

Mix the ingredients together.  Taste periodically if you really can’t resist.  Try not to touch anything else at all.  Once  a dough forms, knead for about 10 minutes.  Abandon your mother after 2 minutes and find something more interesting to do instead.  Do this quietly, dragging your sticky hands along the wall as you amble towards the toy box.

Hard work done, leave the dough to settle.

Roll out with a rolling pin until about 1cm thick, and then start to feed it through your pasta machine.  Of course, it’s perfectly possible to do this with a rolling pin alone and a lot of elbow grease and persistence.

Once you’ve got a long, thin piece of dough about 3mm thick, feed it through the slicer bit to create your chosen shape; we opted for tagliatelle, and draped it over a (clean!) broom handle to keep the strands separate whilst we worked on the rest of the dough.  As you can see, this offered an impossible temptation for a 2yr old and his fire engine, so our pasta curtain took a bit of a beating at this point.

Once you’ve finished making the tagliatelle, curl each strand into a loose ball and save till you’re ready to cook (the sooner the better).  We tossed ours gaily into a pan of boiling water and hastily gathered spoons, napkins and a large bowl each before stirring in some tomato sauce and basil. And you know, here’s the thing; despite starting with gusto (note the two forks used for speed, below), Harry quickly slowed to a halt and carefully extracted a piece of rubbery, part-chewed pasta from his mouth, then paused and asked oh-so-casually; ‘Maybe we can have Cheerios for tea instead, mummy?’ .  Karma. I knew it…

Channeling Martha with a spot of dip ‘n dye

I was lying on the sofa the other day, idly trying to choose which of the few remaining chocolate Mini Eggs to eat first; should it be the pastel pink one, or the soft purpley-blue one? (Note the deliberate use of ‘first’ here; it was clearly never going to be a trade-off).  It reminded me that Easter is just around the corner and that Martha Stewart is no doubt at this very moment engaged in vigorous preparations for her extensive annual Easter home-makeover.  I prefer a rather more minimalist approach myself, saving the creative double-barrels for Christmas, but the one thing I do love doing is dip-dyeing eggs to make a simple centrepiece, or even a colourful addition to picnics when the weather allows.

The one big drawback here in the UK is the distinct lack of white eggs, unlike in the US where white eggs are the norm.  Apparently sometime back in the 60s, the UK government announced that brown eggs are better for you, and farmers and the general public immediately switched allegiance and the white hen egg was quite literally bred out of circulation.  The health-benefits story turned out to be entirely untrue, but brown eggs are now the norm and so for this I used white duck eggs, from Prince Charles’s very own Royal farms, and thus retailing at about £10 an egg.  Alright then, £2 a box.  Even so…

1. Hard-boil your eggs, boiling rapidly for 5mins then cooling gently in the pan for 15 mins to ensure a gradual reduction of heat, preventing the shells from cracking.  In the meantime….

2. Prepare several small bowls with 1 tbsp vinegar, food colouring of your choice and enough warm water to cover the egg completely. I used plain blue and green (above), then also mixed pink and blue food colouring to create a lavender colour, and experimented with different shades and depths of colour as I went along.

3. Add the eggs in turn and check colour regularly – leave for anything from 30 seconds to 5 minutes for deep colour, before extracting with gloves or tongs. Don’t wipe the eggs but instead rest of a piece of kitchen roll or place in egg cups.  Martha’s minimum wage elves apparently build her custom-made draining boards with a grid of nails specifically calibrated for optimal egg drying, but for us mere mortals an egg cup is more than sufficient.

4. The eggs look beautiful just grouped on a tonal plate as below (this one is from Wedgwood’s Vera Wang ‘Chalk’ range and I use it constantly…), or you can experiment with speckle effects using either undiluted food colour (if you’re intending to eat the eggs) or artist’s ink or paint if not.  Be warned that using anything pink/red based could leave your kitchen looking like a scene from CSI, with extensive blood spatter pattern effects across every surface.

The good thing is, once you’ve finished displaying them (no longer than a week after cooking, and keep in the fridge in the meantime), they taste really lovely too, despite H’s obvious suspicion…

The life-shortening joy of Churros Y Chocolate

Whilst the rest of the world was celebrating St Paddy’s day this weekend we – contrary as usual – were having a bit of a Spanish moment and cooking churros for the very first time.  I’d often looked longingly at churros recipes (doughnut mix ? rolled in cinnamon sugar? That you are then actually required to dunk in hot, melty chocolate? Can it even be legal..?), but never before attempted to conquer them at home.

To the loud accompaniment of Catalan songsters The Gypsy Kings, we sashayed around the kitchen brandishing piping bags filled with an ever-expanding dough, whilst simultaneously heating a vat of oil and melting a tonne of chocolate.  It’s amazing in retrospect that nothing caught fire and no-one was sent to call for an ambulance.

My understated photo belies what a truly explosive and messy process this is, at least the first time – no kitchen surface or implement was spared, and none of the pans involved in this enterprise (there were many) looks quite the same afterwards… but oh my god it was worth it.  Eating churros dipped in molten chocolate may be the only time in life that you can actually hear your arteries furring up if you listen closely enough, but in the moment it is impossible to care.  As Harry demonstrates below, you can add fruit into the mix too if you like, but really it isn’t going to make it any healthier.  Still, life is short…

Ingredients:

For the chocolate dipping sauce:

  • 200g dark chocolate, 50g milk chocolate
  • 2 tbsp of golden syrup
  • 300ml double cream.
For the churros:
  • 90g caster sugar (for dusting after cooking, when mixed with the cinnamon)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 125g plain flour
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • a good pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 litre sunflower oil for frying
  1. Mix the chocolate sauce ingredients in a pan over a low/medium heat until melted, then set aside until ready to use; gently reheat once the churros are cooking.
  2. Sift the flours and salt together into a heatproof bowl; make a well in the centre.
  3. Mix the olive oil with 450ml of boiling water. Stir well then add to the flour and mix to make a smooth paste (you can do this in a mixer if you prefer). The dough will be sticky and puffy and will adhere to every part of you it touches; be warned.
  4. Spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and place in the fridge to chill until ready to use.
  5. Heat a saucepan of oil to 170c / until a piece of bread sizzles on contact.
  6. Pipe your churros, snipping each one off at whatever length you’re happy with.
  7. Toss each one in the sugar mix and set on a plate with the chocolate dipping sauce.  Wait whilst each of your friends declares undying love for you before grudgingly passing around the table.
recipe adapted from Thomasina Miers’ book Mexican Food Made Simple