Chocolate and apple cake

This week’s cake is chocolate and apple cake. Very nice and egg free. Thanks to Emily and Donna for the recipe.



  • 4oz butter (softened)
  • 8oz caster sugar
  • 1lb stewed apples (so about 1 1/2lb uncooked before  peeling and coring)
  • 8oz self raising flour
  • 1/2 oz cocoa (I think I doubled both cocoa quantities!)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Some cinnamon and nutmeg (I just guessed)

The original recipe also suggested raisins, but the person I got this from said that it is better without but it is personal opinion


  • 5oz butter
  • 4 tbs cocoa (again I used 8!!)
  • 5oz icing sugar sifted (I used fondant icing to make it smoother)
  • 3 tbs milk


  1. Preheat oven to 170C.
  2. Grease a tin (doesn’t really matter what size or shape, but you may want to double quantities if it is a big tin).
  3. Peel and core apples and put in the microwave until stewed (about 6 mins in mine).
  4. Cream butter and sugar.
  5. Add flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg to butter and sugar (don’t think you need to mix this particularly but it can go in the same bowl).
  6. When apples are stewed and have cooled slightly, add bicarbonate of soda to them and stir whilst it grows, then add to the other ingredients and stir until smooth.
  7. Bake for about 30-40 mins (I would check it isn’t getting burnt at 30 mins).
  8. Slowly melt butter in a pan.
  9. Add cocoa to butter, turn up heat a bit and cook for about a minute.
  10. Add icing sugar and stir so there aren’t any lumps.
  11. Very soon the texture will go yucky and you will think that it has gone wrong. Don’t worry – this is where you add the milk.
  12. Stir until it is smooth and remove from heat to cool.
  13. Don’t ice the cake until it has cooled as the icing is quite runny and it won’t stay on the cake!
  14. Om nom nom nom

Bank holiday bonus cake

I forgot I had today off, so I had time to bake another cake. Carrot cake:

New year’s resolutions

This year’s resolutions are: go to the gym and bake more.

I will start with the baking. This week it is a plum & almond crumble slice:

Melting snowmen cookies

The snow outside is finally melting. This inspired me to make some melting snowmen cookies. Since I was talking to a Calvin and Hobbes fan recently, they are “prophets of doom” themed. First step: cookie dough. Sugar, margarine, flour.

Chill in fridge till a bit more solid and slice-able.

Cut into slices (I was attempting some non-round cookies), and cook in the oven for about 12 minutes. Don’t put them as close together as I did here because they will merge.

I forgot to take photos for a bit, but it is pretty simple. Make some icing. Make a separate tiny ball of icing with orange food colouring (3 drops yellow + 1 drop red). Turn the orange icing into small cone shapes in your fingers. Cover a cookie with icing apart from an area where you place two stacked white marshmallows. Place in microwave for about 12-15 seconds until the marshmallows start melting. Take out, dip the flat end of the orange cone in the now melty icing and attach to the head.

Take a tiny bit of left over icing and add a few drops of black colouring. Use a cocktail stick to twirl up a ball and deposit it for the eyes and buttons. For the hands, I drew then by dipping the stick into the colouring. In the background you can see the originals from the comic.

Add some pieces of paper taped to cocktail sticks and there you go.

Happy winter thaw.

Life in Cambridge

I can has cat?

After three weeks in Cambridge I am settling in nicely. Last weekend I had a nice surprise when I returned home from some shopping. Sitting on the couch was this creature. My house mates call her “Bandita”. She comes around often.

ARM Christmas party

The ARM Christmas party is a rather special occasion where people dress up rather nicely. Here I am wearing my best attire.

The actual party is incredible. There were three rooms, each with a different theme. Japanese room had sushi and geisha ladies on stilts. In the Chinese  room there was Shineese food and casino tables you can loose the £10,000 of money you are given at the entrance. Thanks to some good luck I managed to get that up to about £90,000 before loosing it all. In the Indian room there was more food and Bollywood dancing.

Above is Andreas and Matt’s (now pregnant) wife, Laura.

The drink was insanely plentiful. Champaigne available all night long, wines, beers, cocktails, vodka shots through an ice sculpture…

I suspect I will get some stick from friends in Manchester for becoming a Champagne Socialist, but it was worth it.


Mine is not the only bike in the back garden. Thanks to some spectacular frost today, I now realise was how many spiders there are using bikes as construction frames.

(sorry the photos are from my phone which isn’t the best)

Day 2 at ARM

So, day two. Today was the 20th anniversary of ARM so it was a rather special day. Morning, received a free iPad. Afternoon, got free beer, cake and fireworks. Was a reasonable day I think.

It is a lot heavier than the Newton, but I think I will upgrade to it.

Day 1 at ARM

Survived the first day at ARM today. People seem fairly friendly. Apparently the first few days, on a new job, are spent reading reference manuals. Cycling around Cambridge is pretty pleasant. The house is nice, and now I finally have a new bed. No more sleeping in a sleeping bag for me!

Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of ARM celebration day, so very little work will be done then.

The move

I have now boxed up pretty much all my belongings ready for the move next week.

There is quite a bit, even after the purge in which I threw away many things I no longer use.The things that turn up are incredible. For example a Red Hat7.0 CD (didn’t work, too scratched)

Here is the bag I am taking for the first week. Just the bare essentials. It really looks like forever alone guy. As well as that, I am also taking my bike, on the train.

Before I left, the APT group said their goodbyes. This was kind of emotional for me as it will be my first time away from the University for 12 years. There was a whip round. I was kind of shocked at the scale of the parting gift. This is an Asus EEE (my fav laptop range), but it is actually the really posh Nvidia Ion, dual CPU and high res 12″ screen one. I have never received a present this nice in my entire life. Thank you so much to everyone. I am using it right now and it is fantastic.

As well as the computer, there was a crate of chocolate cherry beer I like.

As usual there was the visit to the pub where I bought the traditional first round. The turnout was incredible, not to mention expensive.

I will miss everyone in the group very much and hope I find friends as good as them in my next job (which starts on Monday).

Old chips

I don’t know why, but for a couple years, I would remove the memory and processors from the machines we scrapped.I collected them all thinking about grouting them together to make nice floor tiles.

Last time I counted, there were 130 processors. Mostly Sun Sparc and Pentium.

And here is 1.2 GB of RAM spread across over 300 memory modules. Mainly 30 and 72 pin SIMMs.

And this is what they look like when spread all over Matt deChav’s desk. You can’t see the keyboard and mouse which are buried under them all. I don’t want to take them to Cambridge, so hopefully he will be able to find a good home for them.