Friday, 29 April 2016

Ombre pink cake, IT challenges and a 9th blog anniversary

It is 9 years ago today that I started my blog with a birthday cake I made for E.  Hence my tradition of celebrating my blog anniversary with E's birthday cakes.  You might notice that they get simpler as life gets busier but I am still here blogging after 1763 posts and still love to bake birthday cakes.

I kept things simple for his birthday this year.  For dinner I made nachos.  He would have liked vegetarian haggis on it.  I would have liked the time and energy to make it.  But life is busy and he had plenty of haggis in Scotland.  Instead I made refried beans and guacamole.  I layered tortilla chips, cheese and refried beans.  Baked it for 10 - 15 minutes at 180 C and then topped it with salsa, guacamole and plain yoghurt.  It was delicious.  Sylvia got her own little plate of plainer chips with cheese.

E asked for a sponge cake with buttercream.  It was Sylvia who suggested I make an ombre cake.  She does not know the word ombre but she was obviously impressed with the green ombre cake I made some time ago.  I made this into a simpler version.  Firstly spread buttercream frosting and jam inside the cake like this one.  My preference would have been to stop there.  But I am always up for a challenge.

I spread on a crumb coating first.  Rather than piping rows of dots, I used a ziplock bag to pipe a length of icing around the top (trying to stop the piped icing falling to the ground) and flattened it with a spreader (like a palette knife).  I repeated this with the next two layers and neatened up the bottom.  In retrospect I might have made the top layer a light pink rather than white but generally I was pleased with the result.  Sylvia liked the idea but didn't have time to help me and then she decided it had too much frosting and would not eat any of the cake!  Fickle!

As I reflect on the blog every new year's eve, I will leave the lists of bests and stats til then.  I will remark that it always amazes and pleases me that I find time for blogging in my life, continue to meet lovely people through blogging and cook all the better for it.  An anniversary seems a good time to get my (metaphorical) house in order.  (As you will see above, Sylvia is quite into keeping her dolls house in order lately.  I wish I could say that my house is so neat and minimal.)

Nine years is a long time in the world of technology.  I have seen a lot of change, in particular the rise of social media.  I expect the IT fairies to take care of everything.  Mostly they do.  Some days, though, I think they are lying beside the pool sipping fairy cocktails and laughing at my bemusement.  So here are a few of the odd things happening on my computer lately:
  • First and foremost I take too many photos and they take over my computer.  External hard drives help but it is driving me a little batty right now.
  • Delicious is going through some growing pains right now.  I really really love Delicious for keeping track of recipes I want to make and have over 4000 bookmarks.  I was really freaking out when I thought I had lost access to my account recently.  While in Scotland last month I could not use my Save-on-Delicious button and then when I got home I was asked for my password but could not get a new one sent to my email.  I finally worked out my old password but it worries me that I am not able to generate a new one.  However I did finally read that Delicious had changed ownership and the new managers were making lots of changes which might explain it.  I hope so as I could not get in today!  [Meanwhile my mum recently lost all her bookmarks on her computer when it died.  Trying to keep track of online bookmarks is hard.]
  • Pinterest has also changed.  I am using Pinterest less due to limited time.  Rather than just browsing Pinterest I sometimes visit boards with interesting names when emails alert me to others pinning to them.  Then Pinterest changed from Pins to Saves and for a while were not naming the boards others were saving to.  Then it changed again and now I can see the names of boards.  Hurrah!
  • My love hate relationship with Facebook continues.  It is a great way to keep in touch with some people but Facebook annoys me with their badgering ways.  If I am not on for a while they email me snippets to draw me in.  Even worse recently after I had a conversation with someone who had sent a message and finally after to and fro there was nothing more to say.  Facebook painted me as the bad guy for not replying.  They suggested I should turn off messages and told the public I take longer to reply to messages.  It is a bit like dealing with the playground bully sometimes.  Just walk away! 
  • Something odd has happened with emails and comments recently.  Since I have been in Scotland, if I comment on a blog I often get an email on Delivery Status Notification (Failure) from Google.  I suspect I need to go and change some settings but it is just annoying at the moment.
  • As if this isn't enough, the photo book service I have been using since Sylvia was born has now changed hands.  I find that I have old technology and need to uninstall my photo books software and upload a new one and set it up to prompt me to do regular updates.  I really dislike the constant reminders to install updates! 
  • On a more positive note, I really enjoy using Zomato (formerly Urban Spoon) restaurant listings.  So while in Edinburgh I uploaded some reviews to Zomato.  I was amazed at how little it is used compared to Melbourne.  After about a month, I was number 5 blogger in Edinburgh.  (After over 2 years posting in Melbourne I am number 110 blogger).  Seriously I am glad it is used so much in Melbourne as this makes it a much more useful service than in Edinburgh.

While it sounds like a list of complaints, it is a tribute to how useful I find these systems that when they don't work it niggles.  If you have any illumination on the IT challenges I am facing, I would be glad to hear your thoughts.  Meanwhile I have a few more Edinburgh and Paris posts and then I will be done with holiday posts.  You see, the joy of putting holiday snaps on a blog is that sometimes I look back at them and can show others.  It is so much easier than digging out dusty photo albums.

So soon I shall be back to more regular blog posts.  That means that I expect to spend a bit less time on writing blog posts and a bit more time on responding to comments again.  And I will be back soon with E's second birthday cake.  Stay tuned ....


  1. Happy Blogoversary! The cake looks really beautiful :-)

  2. Happy blogiversary, I am so please that your blog continues to go strength to strength and peaks my interest always. I love the Ombre cake, must give it a go some day. I don't engage much with IT stuff/social media much these days as my blogging is becoming more and more infrequent and that world doesn't interest me much, Belated Birthday wishes to E too.

  3. What a lovely birthday cake Johanna! And Nachos, well, you can't go wrong with nachos, lol...I'm sure E had a wonderful birthday even if Sylvia wasn't happy with the frosting, lol...She sure does keep a neat house though:)

    And, happy blogoversary to you! My word, 9 years that's amazing! I haven't been blogging as long but I do see how things have changed since starting. Some good, some not so much.

    I don't do FB, very rarely do I use twitter these days and as for Pinterest, I haven't enjoyed it as much since they made the changes where pins are not as current as they once were on the main board.

    The constant reminders for updates drives me batty. I can't stand it!!! I'm sorry I can't help you with the IT challenges. There was a time that an easier life was touted as the reason to work on the computer. I'm not sure that has come to fruition. But, the world of blogging has enabled so many people to connect in ways never thought imaginable and that's wonderful!!!

    Happy Blogoversary, Johanna, may you have many more years of blogging fun and less IT worries:)

  4. Congratulations! My blog turned nine in April, so we've been around for the same amount of time! I am super happy I discovered your blog, I think it was through Vegan MoFo years ago.
    Google and Blogger are driving me crazy, too. It's not you. I get all these weird delivery failure mails from Blogger, too. And Blogger blogs like yours won't load. Annoying. It's not to late to switch to Wordpress:)

  5. 9 years - that is really impressive Johanna. Happy blog anniversary and congratulations on nearly a decade of impressive and thoughtful posts (and happy birthday to E too!).

    It's interesting you mention those delivery failure emails as whilst your comments still appear on my blog, for some reason I don't get emails with your comments at the moment, and the same is true for a couple of other Blogger commenters. Odd. Those IT fairies are obviously having too many cocktails ;)

  6. Happy birthday to E and happy 9th blogoversary. Mine turns 9 in a month's time. Pink ombre cake is gorgeous - what a great way to celebrate.

  7. Happy Blogiversary. I am always amazed at your prolificness in amongst such a busy life. So pleased you got home safely and that you managed to cram so much in to your Edinburgh and Paris trips.
    Here's to another 9 years!!!! xx
    PS - the cake looks fab! x

  8. Happy Blogiversary!!! You are one of my favourite blogs and I'm so happy to have met such a wonderful blogger and friend =)
    Such a pretty cake!! E is a lucky guy. And the nachos look great too - sounds like a great birthday meal.
    I have absolutely no light to shed on your IT issues as I repel technology. I still have been adding naked photos to my blog... I need to get a photo editing program. I only use Pinterest to upload things from Healthy Vegan Fridays... I really should use it more actually.
    And as for facebook - my goodness. What ridiculousness!!! I also have a love hate relationship with it, this is making me lean more towards hate.


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