Keeping busy in Tier 2: Tiptop icing recipe

Birkbeck student Pav returns with more lockdown baking recipes to get the tastebuds tingling.

Picture of Pav

 

Hello guys, it’s me, your Pav. I hope that you are all well and keeping warm and safe. As Londoners look for ways to keep busy during the Tier 2 lockdown, please see a new addition to your baking adventures.

This time, I’m sharing my tiptop icing recipe, which you can pair with the perfect muffin recipe I promised in my last blog.

What you need:

  • 225g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 450 grams (1pound) icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons double cream or semi-skimmed milk
  • Pinch of salt

How to do it:

1. Mix the butter for 10-15 minutes. Don’t worry about overdoing it – the more you mix it, the better it gets.

2. Add sifted 225 grams of icing sugar (cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel to prevent icing going everywhere) – mix for approximately 5 minutes. The key is to ensure that you sift the icing sugar before mixing it to avoid big lumps of sugar and to make sure that all the icing sugar incorporates nicely with the butter.

3. Include 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and mix for another minute. During mixing, add one tablespoon at a time of double cream or milk up to 2 tablespoons. Don’t forget to leave the last tablespoon for the second part of the icing.

Top tip – the higher quality of vanilla extract you use, the better the icing will taste.

4. Once the icing is coming nicely together, add the second half of sifted icing sugar and a pinch of salt and mix for 2-3 minutes. After 3 minutes, add the last tablespoon of milk and mix for another 5 -6 minutes.

Should I use milk or double cream for the icing?

The difference is in consistency – double cream is creamier, where milk is better for basic icing on fairy cupcakes. However, it does depend on preference and season. I tend to use double cream in winter and milk in summer.

How do I know when the icing is ready?

Try it and if you feel sugar bits, continue mixing. If the icing is too watery, add a bit of sifted icing sugar at a time to change the consistency. If your frosting is too dry, add a tablespoon of milk. The key is in proportion and mixing it all well together.

How to decorate with your icing

Before decorating, be mindful of the current season – in summer ingredients get wet very quickly. That is why in summer, I tend to put the icing in the fridge for 10 minutes to reach a thick consistency for the best decoration. However, not too thick – the best icing is the one which creates strong shapes once squeezed through the icing bag.

In terms of piping and decoration, the world is your oyster – so enjoy your baking and do not forget to let me see your creation on Instagram adding #lifeofpav♈️.

Your Pav.

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The Family Learning Series

Birkbeck’s Access and Engagement team and Brittney Chere and Jessica Massonnié from Birkbeck’s Centre for the Brain and Cognitive Development, have launched a virtual Family Learning Series for parents and children. The series of videos, ‘The Brain Explained’, are short lessons accompanied by fun activities for impactful family learning.

In February, the Access and Engagement Team along with Jessica Massonnié and Brittney Chere from Birkbeck’s Centre for the Brain and Cognitive Development delivered a workshop for children and parents at Stratford library. Over 10 families joined us for an hour of activities which included making your own neurons and building a brain hat.

With more family workshops planned for the Easter holidays and as Covid-19 shut all public venues, we began thinking about how we could bring our family learning programme online – and this is the result!

Below you’ll find four videos led by Brittney Chere focusing on the brain and including activities that you and your child/children can do at home. These activities are best suited for primary school aged children (Year’s 4-6) and we hope that they can play a role in any home schooling you are doing with your children right now.

The Brain, Explained: Part 1

Now you’re ready to get going- watch this video to start learning about the brain!

Activity 1 resource: Trace the Brain (1)

The Brain, Explained: Part 2

 

Activity 2 resource: Brain Hats

The Brain, Explained: Part 3

Activity 3 resource: ChatterBox instructions and activity ChatterBox.

 

The Brain Explained: Part 4

Activity 4 resource: Brain Game Instructions, Brain Game Board, Brain Game Neurons.

Where can I find other learning resources?

If this has sparked your interest as a parent in psychology or the brain, why not take a look at the Centre for the Brain’s virtual coffee mornings where you can hear from researchers about their research. Other Birkbeck events can be found on our events page.

If your child wants to find out more about the brain or how the body works; check out this University of Washington resource which has lots of great activities including these fun experiments you can do at home! This website also has some great science resources.

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Tackling lockdown boredom? Pavol is here to help.

BSc Marketing student Pavol spreads the joy and shares some tips for beating boredom during coronavirus lockdown.

Pavol, BSc Marketing student

Hey everyone!

My name is Pavol, but my friends call me Pav. I am currently in my fourth year at Birkbeck studying Marketing BSc. I decided that I would like to share a bit of joy, happiness and love with everyone who is currently #stayinghome and maybe create a ripple effect on sharing positive vibes.

I am currently sitting home and thinking about where to start. Well, I love baking, but I am not professional. I like exercising, but I am not full of muscles. I do like reading, but I have not read the whole library. So I hope you get what I mean when I say I am a regular guy with a tiny bit of quirkiness, fun and passion. I am 27 years young , and I would like to do something for our community of students. We are like a family, so I would like to share a bit of #LifeofPav with you all. Yes, it is my hashtag which I use on Instagram so please do get in touch and lets share our stories, pictures or drop me a message for an informal chat.

In the first chapter of this adventure, I would like to tell you about a great opportunity which I tried recently. My friend has been talking to me about this for the last six months, but you know how it is. You keep trying to do everything, and you say yes I will give it a go, but down the line, I forgot to do it. Six months ago I heard for the first time about the 16personalities.com website. Well, I finally tried it, and I am still shocked at how correct a few of the attributes are.

There are four main categories, and once you know your type, you can easily find a group on Facebook or research about famous people who are the same personality type as you. I am aware that this may not be for everyone, but maybe you would like to learn something more about yourself while we have a bit more time on our hands. The website is entirely free for the basic test, which will give you more than enough information about your personality. I find it fascinating, and I am eager to learn more about myself. Just in case you are the same and would like to share it with me or discuss your answers, I will be more than happy to do this. 

16 personalities wheel

The 16 personalities.

Until next time please all stay well, try the website, find me on Instagram as Pavol Weiss or under #LifeofPav♈ – I cannot wait to hear from you.

Your (ENFP) Pav 🙂

 

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