Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dr Hitchman & the saracenias

Tonight we had a delightful dinner at Zizzi's in Leamington SPa where we had gone a-hunting trousers (which were eventually successfully purchased!) - we had pollo prosciutto and pork belly - delicious. But what was exciting was that on the walls was a frieze depicting the great and the good of yesteryear, who had been involved in the Spa centres of Leamington. The saracenias caught my eye, though the slightly ghoulish paintings were also interesting. Dr Hitchman, along with Dr Jephson who has a park named after him just down the road from the restaurant, was a philanthropist helping the poor of the town. The park now houses a rather nice subtropical greenhouse, so perhaps that is the link to the beautiful plants depicted. Have a look at The Bench Project for a brilliant bench just outside the greenhouse!

Dachshund UN

We had a super half an hour this morning visiting the Dachshund UN which was set up outside the IKON gallery in Birmingham. The dachshunds had come from all over the country and we chatted with some very proud owners - there were even parties interested in buying dachshunds getting email addresses off owners! But the stars were definitely the charismatic dogs - Jordon was having a jolly good discussion, while Pakistan looked like he could nod off at any moment! We got a sneaky peak behind the scenes too!

They're all truffles Snowy....

A couple of weekends ago Mum took me down to Stratford to make truffles, as her second in command for a very lovely b'day pressie from D. We had a brilliant time shaping truffles, learning about chocolate, rolling the truffles in all kinds of good stuff and eating far too much delicious chocolate! It was a great outing - these little guys, a pressie for my b'day from N, came too and soon were lost in a truffle forest!

Afterwards we drove over to Hay on Wye where we found our husbands ensconced in a bar watching a thrilling rugby match, Wales won, which made the bar a very happy place! We had a super dinner at the Swan Bistro at the Hay Hotel and the following day a thorough browsing through the many book shops - I managed to restrict myself to just one on algae this time round! Lunch at the cafe in Richard Booth's bookshop rounded off a superb weekend.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hazelnut meringue cake

For today I have made a firm favourite - a hazelnut meringue cake! Exceedingly yummy and I think most of it has been scoffed by my co-workers whilst I have been setting up for the Big Bang at the NEC tomorrow! (We'll be at stand 91 if you happen to be popping by!)

Monday, March 12, 2012

A quiet weekend in Bath

Six months ago we got married - the time has flown by! We decided to make a little celebration and went to Bath for the weekend - lots of lovely food (perhaps a little too much) and plenty of meanderings around the town. The sun shone, which was an added bonus! On Saturday we did all the tourist hot spots - the Pulteney Bridge, the Circus and the Royal Crescent, while on Sunday, with the Bath half marathon in full swing (meaning we couldn't escape even if we wanted to), we went to the new Thermae baths which was magnificent and then had to call in on the original ones later on.

Monday, March 05, 2012

My task at the weekend, apart from glueing lots of magnets to the atomic pebbles, was at last to put these 'bacteria plates' through the kiln to apply the transfers. The diagram is sourced from 'An introduction to the bacteria' circa 1950. It shows the profile of various types of bacterial colonies - which is rather fascinating! I also thought it might be fun for cake cutting, though they're just side plate sized. 

Sunday, March 04, 2012

atomic discovery

In my meanderings looking at atoms I also found various websites detailing when they were all 'discovered'. Fascinating to see that the alchemists and gentlemen scientists of previous centuries regularly made discoveries and even in the great ages of science the rate seems to be proceeding just the same.

Friday, March 02, 2012

a periodic table

All the atomic pebbles I have been making over the last month have now successfully made it through both firings - Carbon got a little stuck - thanks heavens for batt wash! I am delighted with how they have turned out! So I have made a little arrangement of the pebbles to look like the very familiar periodic table of Dmitri Mendeleev (1869) on the dining table.The different sizes are in proportion to their atomic radii and the number of 'dots' represent the number of electrons per atom. Its fascinating to see the difference between Fluorine (9) and Francium (87). N was quite surprised at how small the noble gases get with all their electron (on the right hand side) compared with the alkali metals (on the left hand side)  There are 99 atoms represented here as this is as many as I could get data on for the atomic radius - there are approximately 120 atoms in total, though some estimate more. The black ones, before anyone asks, represent atoms that are artificially prepared - more details later. The next step is to attach (superglue) some magnets to them all so I can make an installation (albeit briefly) on the lab whiteboard!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Raspberry & lime cake

fresh from the oven - tonight's creation - too hot to tuck into yet! but smells fantastic!

Sometime later: N has demolished a large protion of it already - I hope we can have some tomorrow night with custard for pudding!

The recipe was adapted from a BBC Good Food recipe - using 250g raspberries and no drizzle as I forgot to buy extra limes. 

Alternative periodic tables

This morning I unloaded the kiln and then swiftly refilled it with a second batch of atoms for the final glaze firing. So I got thinking about how I might align them - the obvious way of course will be to represent the periodic table with which we are all familiar. But there must be alternatives - and boy there are - many more than I expected! The internet database of periodic tables is an amazing resource and I think its going to take me some time to have a look through and choose (by what criteria I don't know) some to make. There are many I like but this ElemenTree looks like you could use it as a cake stand, which is amusing me this morning!
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