What A Difference A Dyejob Does

nov09 264 Meet Percy post-dyejob. That safety vest orange shawl turned into deep, vibrant Wollmeise-esque red shawl. I am very, very, very happy with it.

Some of you have asked how I dyed the shawl. I had a big ovenproof dish into which I poured half my dye solution. I put my shawl (which had been soaking in lukewarm water for 30 minutes) into the dish and poured the rest of the dye solution over it. I squished the shawl gently to ensure that the dye was seeping into all parts of it, and then I put the whole thing into the oven at Gas Mark 1/140C for 45 minutes. Then I took it out and let it all cool before rinsing the shawl thoroughly. It was very easy. I think that I'll use a similar method on all those overtly variegated lace yarns I have lying about.

Speaking of ovens, I baked David's birthday cake last night so we could have some just post-midnight (we are both children at heart). The cake is one of my all-time favourites and it's so easy to make.

nov09 255Meringue Cake (serves four or five)

Sponge: 2/3 cup butter 1 cup sugar 2 egg yolks 1 egg ½ tsp vanilla essence 1½ cups all purpose flour 1 tsp baking powder

Meringue: 2 egg whites 2/3 cups sugar

Filling: Raspberry jam.

Mix butter, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla and egg for about 4 minutes. Add flour and baking powder and fold in gently. Pour the batter into a small, greased oven-proof dish. Put the filling on top (if using jam, try heating it a bit before as to making it more runny/easier to spread - see notes). Whip the egg whites until stiff, then folding in half the sugar. Whip the egg whites again and gently fold in the rest of the sugar. Pour on top of the cake and bake for 1 hour at 150C/Gas Mark 2/300F.

Notes on filling: you can basically use whichever filling you want. I'd recommend using something sharp or tart as the rest of the cake is very sweet. Instead of raspberry jam, you could use tart apples (peel and slice them before adding them) or maybe even gooseberries? One of my friends tried adding banana and loved it, but I found it way too sweet.

(I would have shared a picture of the cake but funnily enough it has all disappeared. So, instead, you get a photo of me freezing.)