Have You Got The W Factor!

The W FactorThat’s not a typo and I’m definitely not questioning your singing ability, I’m asking if you have what it takes to be the winner of a brand new historically inspired competition held at Warwick Castle! The W Factor allows budding Horrible History actors to take to the stage in the hope of winning a cameo role in a stage performance of ‘Wicked Warwick’ complete with a Glamping break for the overall winner!

Now that you’re champing at the bit to dress up as Henry VIII or Charles II here’s the full details:

‘The W Factor at Warwick Castle’ parodies a format familiar to prime-time TV viewers, offering an extraordinary opportunity for budding stage stars and history lovers of any age to ‘audition’ for a one-time cameo in a performance of ‘Wicked Warwick’ this half term.

HH_WickedWarwick_logoWhat will it take to nail ‘The W Factor at Warwick Castle’? Participants might take inspiration from the Castle’s role in 1,100 years of English history: founded by a daughter of Alfred the Great; once owned by Richard III; used as a prison for kings and traitors; besieged and burned down; a favourite haunt of flirty Edwardians and even a haven for Hollywood stars, there’s no shortage of gruesome, gory and grotesque tales to tell. Or, maybe their inspiration will come from further afield, as far back as the Savage Stone Age or the Ancient Aztecs. Individuals, families and groups are encouraged to come along on the morning of Wednesday 27 May and present their favourite short gory stories to a panel of three judges. 

Entering is easy, free of charge and registrants will receive a 2-4-1 voucher for entry to the Castle on the day. Eager entrants need simply visit the Warwick Castle website to register their intention to audition live for a panel of judges at ‘The W Factor at Warwick Castle’ on Wednesday 27 May. Entrants are encouraged to upload their practice videos to the Warwick Castle Facebook page with the tag #thewfactor to draw extra attention to their talents and receive priority placement in the audition queue. Last minute entries may be accommodated on 27 May depending on time available.

The judging panel will select four entrants to perform in live shows at Warwick Castle the following month, on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 June. One overall winner will also receive a unique starlit woodland family sleepover in the Mediaeval Glamping Village on 21 June, only 5 minutes from the Castle and located in a beautiful woodland glade.

hh-characterI’ll be taking along some small thespians to try their hand at impressing the judges and it would be great to see you all there, even if it’s just to cheer the entrants on. I’ll be watching (and cheering) from the audience :)

 

Easy Chocolate Fudge Cake Recipe

easy chocolate fudge cake

There’s something quite special about fudge cake, it’s squidgy, moist and ridiculously yummy served warm with lashings of double cream. It almost crosses the line between a pudding and a cake and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a complicated dessert to master. Always keen to share my love of Chocolate I decided to bring you my easy Chocolate fudge cake recipe. It’s filled with a yummy chocolate buttercream and topped with ganache, a cake to satisfy the most serious of chocolate cravings!

The Cake

225g / 8oz Self Raising Flour

225g / 8oz Caster Sugar

2 1/2 Tbsp Cocoa powder

1 Tsp Baking Powder

2 1/2 Tbsp Golden Syrup

3 Medium Eggs

200ml Sunflower Oil

200ml Milk

 

In a large mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients. Make a dip or well in the centre and add the eggs, golden syrup, milk and oil and beat together until smooth.

Pour into two greased sandwich cake tins and bake in a preheated over at 180C / 350F / Gas Mark 4 for approximately 30 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

 

Chocolate Buttercream Centre

225g / 8oz Butter

85g / 3oz Melted Dark Chocolate

500g / 17oz Icing Sugar

3 Tbsp Milk

 

Blend the butter together with the melted chocolate, then gradually mix in the icing sugar. The mixture will become fairly stiff and dry looking. Gradually add in the milk until the buttercream becomes a spreadable consistency.

Sandwich the cooled cakes together using the buttercream

 

Semi Sweet Ganache Topping

150ml Double Cream

80g / 3oz Milk Chocolate

80g / 3oz Dark Chocolate

 

Warm the cream slowly on the cooker hob. Chop the chocolate into pieces and add to the cream. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Cool slightly before pouring over the cake. The cake then needs to be kept in a refrigerator.

Tip 1. If you want to go all out sweetness you can swap the semi sweet ganache for a full milk chocolate ganache.

Tip 2. I pour the entire ganache on top of the cake and let it ooze down the sides to the base. For a neater looking cake you can be more conservative with the topping. For me though it’s all about the taste with this one!

The Here And There Art Walk with Woollen Woods in Belper, Derbyshire.

During the weekend 23rd – 25th May 2015 the Here and There Art Walk is due to take place in Belper Parks wood in Derbyshire. Artists of all kinds have been encouraged to join in with this event and artwork should be popping up amongst the trees for all to see. Rather than getting out my pen and paper I’m joining in with the yarn bomb inspired by the Woollen Woods event taking place countrywide. All manner of knitted woodland creatures will be taking up residence in the branches and it’s sure to be a welcome sight for any families, dog walkers or art trail visitors.

woollenwoodssquirrelUnfortunately my contribution is rather tiny at the moment. I’ve got no excuse really, I just keep forgetting to knit! In fact my knitting has been so slow to progress, that you might be forgiven thinking I was trying to break some kind of world record for the slowest growth of stitches! I have contributed a mouse so far (he’s quite small though) and I’ve been knitting a squirrel forever, so long in fact that I thought he was a fox until I double checked the pattern and realised I’d forgotten what I was making. At this rate I really should be knitting a snail!

If you want to get involved (and you’re faster than me) there’s still time to knit, crochet or otherwise combine textiles to be included in the woods. All you need to do is get in contact with the Yarn bombing organiser Anne Clark of Anne Clark Handmade and I’m sure she’d love to see your efforts.

If you don’t fancy getting involved with making any of the creatures then do pop along to see them all in situ, hopefully the weather will be good but the knitting should be at least partially protected from any rain under the leaves and branches.