Condensation ... a tropical subject in the middle of winter

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It's the time of the year where you wonder why you get so much condensation on your windows. 

Condensation happens when warm moist air in your home hits a cold surface.  It turns from a water vapour (water as a gas) and becomes water droplets on cold surfaces. Windows are often the first place you will notice it but it will also be on cold uninsulated walls, metal window frames and sometimes even door-handles.

Armenian Nutmeg Cake

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My mum made this cake in the 80's. It's got a bit of magic about it in that you make a crumble-like mixture with the sugar, flour and butter then press half of it in the bottom of a tin to make a delicious shortbread base then with the other half you add freshly grated nutmeg milk, eggs and nuts and pour over the base. It is a winner all around ... and to my knowledge contains no Armenians nor has any link with Armenia!

Electric Dreams - How a heated throw rug had me heating my words.

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I’ve always found comedy in the excessive production of utterly useless electric appliances. The butterfly tin opener replaced by the electric can opener, ugg boots replaced by heated slippers, a trip to the pie shop replaced by a pie making machine and only a few years ago rug-crocheting grannies were trumped by the introduction of the heated electric throw blanket.

It's just like an electric blanket but instead of being restricted to your bed, you can use it anywhere there is a powerpoint! 

Oh, how I mocked the early adopters of that technology.  What would our pioneering grand-women make of such folly?

Windows - A pane in the glass to insulate

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Windows are panes (owwwww, the pundamonium) when it comes to trying to make your house energy efficient. They are the weakest 'thermal' link in your house and account for a huge amount of heat loss and heat gain. 

If you live in a cold climate, you know you have to insulate your windows to keep your house warm in winter.

Double (or triple) glazing works well but is often expensive to retrofit but there are some really simple ways of trapping a layer of still air using plastic window insulation film.

Floriade Recipes: Mandarin, chick-pea cake, blueberry spelt muffins, homemade buttermilk and homemade baking powder

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I'm doing a few shows at the fabulous floral festivos of Floriade again this year. In the 'Tasting Plate' kitchen under the theme 'The other flour festival' I cooked up some treats. Here they are. Good luck with them and let me know how you go.

 

MANDARIN AND (SNEAKY) CHICK-PEA CAKE

Here is the fabulous recipe from Chrissy Freer's book 'Super Legumes'. If you like the idea of incorporating the super vegetable into all manner of recipes, this is a great book.

Floriade: Baguette recipe: The bread to bake when you think you can't bake bread

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"You made this?" is usually the response when I turn up with a few crusty-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside baguettes tucked under my wing. Truth is, I did make the bread, but it is almost easier than going to the shops. And people will be your friend with this bread. Really.