sophofbread’s Five Favourite Drinks

Hello all!

sophofbread here with a quick, thirst-inducing post about my five favourite drinks of the moment. It’s summer here so four cold and refreshing drinks and only a single warm and cozy one made it onto my list…

I couldn’t have chosen simpler drinks really! Two you just buy from the shop ready-made, one comes from the tap and the other two contain only three ingredients each. This list is in no particular order.

1) Earl Grey heated milk

‣ Soya Milk

‣ Earl Grey teabag

‣ Ground Cinnamon

I’m not sure what to call this one, I heard about it from one of Sadia’s videos (Pick Up Limes) but I don’t remember which one it was in or what she called it. To make it you simply heat the soya milk and mix it with the teabag and cinnamon. I leave the teabag in for about 5 minutes and then press it against the side of the mug to get as much earl grey flavour in as possible. The amount of cinnamon I put in varies and I never measure it, I just shake it upside down over the milk a few times. This a gorgeous evening drink to have cuddled up in a blanket.

2) Fruit Smoothie/Milkshake/Slushy

‣ Frozen Fruit (I used Co-Op ‘Frozen Summer Fruits’ which is raspberries, blackberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants but you can use whatever)

‣ Soya Milk

‣ Chia Seeds

Not sure what to call this one either! It tastes like a smoothie but with a more slushy (thick, icy) consistency but it has milk in so milkshake? Blend together the 3 ingredients, again I don’t measure it out. Because the fruit is frozen the ice creates a really nice thick texture and makes the drink so cold and refreshing. Add as much soya milk as you want, it you don’t want it so thick add more soya milk and less fruit.

3) Innocent Super Smoothie Invigorate: kiwi, lime, matcha, wheatgrass & flax seeds

pteroturtle has loved Innocent smoothies for years but I only recently started trying them and this is by far my favourite flavour so far. It’s sweet, tasty and a perfect summer drink.

4) Pink Grapefruit Juice with bits

If I buy a fresh grapefruit I will often squeeze the juice into a cup so when I discovered they sell grapefruit juice at the shop I was very excited to try it and was not disappointed! This tastes like you’re eating a fresh grapefruit. Yummy.

5) Water

And finally…water! I have been trying to drink more water for years and go through phases of doing well. This summer though it’s going brilliantly so far. I fill up a bottle with tap water then leave it in the fridge so it’s cold. I should really have thought of it before but I drink way more water now I use a bottle rather than a glass. I can take it with me wherever I’m going and always have it on hand when I’m thirsty. I have noticed the healing effects of drinking more water, in the past the sun usually left me feeling sick and tired and (now obviously) I have realised that was because I wasn’t drinking enough water. Multiple days I’ve had a headache only to have it cured by drinking water. I feel less tired and more enthusiastic. Also I love the taste of cold fridge water! *this post is not sponsored by water 😉

Those are my five favourite drinks at the moment. What are yours? Thanks for reading and have a nice day.

 

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Volcanic Biscuits (from CBBC’s Junior Bake Off)

Hello everyone, sophofbread here. I’ve been really enjoying watching Junior Bake Off on BBC iPlayer recently. It’s the children’s version of The Great British Bake Off and I enjoy it more than the original! The recipes they choose look much tastier (and more fun to bake!) than the ones they make in GBBO that often take 6 hours and include ingredients you’ve never heard of. Sam and Mark are great presenters, Nadiya and Allegra are fantastic judges and the contestants are talented, calm and funny.

After watching one of the Junior Bake Off episodes I was feeling very hungry and dying to make something yummy. I decided on these Volcanic Biscuits. I love ginger beer and chocolate and these biscuits didn’t look too hard. I’m very happy with the result, they look and taste amazing and they were very fun to make. I do admire the people on Bake Off that do it with a time limit and get them all looking identical, mine were various sizes.

If I made these again (which I’m sure I will) I would cook them for slightly shorter because mine were a little overdone, I’d also weigh out all the ingredients before starting because I ended up rushing parts of the bake. The chocolate, texture of the biscuits and the chewy bits of crystallised ginger went so well together. Washed down with home-made Ginger Beer these are quite the treat. Find the recipe here… http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/thingstodo/jbo-volcanic-biscuits

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Happy Pancake Day!

Hello peoples!! sophofbread here,

Hope you’re all feeling superb! Today is Shrove Tuesday (also known as Pancake Day). I’m not religious so today is just a great excuse for me to eat pancakes but do you know WHY today is known as pancake day? Christian’s believe Jesus made a sacrifice and fasted for 40 days in the desert. We honour his sacrifice by fasting or giving up something for 40 days (the period known as Lent). Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (tommorow). So today (Shrove Tuesday) people use up all the ingredients that won’t last for the 40 days of Lent. The main being eggs and milk (and sometimes butter) – the main ingrediants of pancakes. People can make pancakes with those ingredients needing only the addition of flour. Here’s a great and simple recipe for pancakes…

Step 1: Measure out your ingredients. You will need.

  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pint of Milk
  • 2 tablespoons of oil

This makes lots of mixture, if you’re not as hungry you can just halve the recipie.

Step 2: Sift the flour into a mixing bowl.

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Step 3: Break the eggs into the flour

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Step 4: Add the oil (2 tablespoons) and 4 tablespoons of milk.

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Step 5: Mix all that toghether.

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Step 6: Add a little bit more milk.

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Step 7: Stir that in then add a little bit more milk then stir then add a bit more milk and stir. Keep doing this till you’ve used all the milk. When you’ve used all the milk keeping stiring till it looks like this and most of the bits have gone. You may wish to use a electric mixer; I prefer doing it by hand though.

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Step 7: Pour the mixture into a utensil for pouring. They may be little bits of flour at the bottom of the bowl.

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Step 8: The fun part begins – cooking and eating pancakes!! Put a frying pan on the hob on a low heat for a about a minute (to let it heat up).  Then put some oil in it (I used a oil spray).

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Step 9: Put a little bit of the pancake mix into the pan and swirl it around quickly so it covers to whole pan. Leave that on a low-medium heat for a few minutes.

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Step 10: There are a couple of ways to check if a pancake is reading for flipping. My personal favourite is to look at it (sounds obvious!).  Using the spatchelor lift the edge up and grab it with your finger. This one isn’t ready. When it’s ready it will have little brown spots or be fully brown (depending on the heat your hob is on).

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Step 11: Flipping! Holding the handle shake the pan until the pancake starts to move around. Flick it towards you and lift it up then catch it. You may need some practice.

Step 12: Leave the other side to cook – it may take less time as the pan will have warmed up by now. Then serve…

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The topping I like is the classic lemon juice and sugar (granulated).

This mixure will make at least 10 pancakes.

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Thanks to artybaker for taking some of the pictures! Hope you enjoy the rest of your day, make it a good one! 🙂

Chocolate Truffle Tart

Hi, artybaker here 🙂

I have a confession to make: I don’t make tarts nearly often enough, considering how tasty they are. In fact, I think this is only about the second tart I’ve ever made. The first was a plain chocolate tart with chocolate pastry. Nice, but a bit too rich (if that’s possible). Anyway, this is my Chocolate Truffle Tart:

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It’s made with sweet pastry, then the filling is a chocolate truffle mixture. It is topped with a layer of white chocolate and then a pattern of dark chocolate on top. Here’s how it’s done…

First, it’s the pastry. I’ve tried making chocolate pastry before by taking away some of the flour and replacing it with cocoa powder, but it tasted too bitter and the cocoa flavour was too strong. True, I could have tried it again and decreased the amount of cocoa, but, I didn’t think plain pastry would be too bad with this tart and I didn’t want it to be too chocolatey. So I stuck with a sweet pastry recipe I got from a recipe book.

Start by preheating the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/180 degrees Celsius fan oven/400 degrees Fahrenheit/gas 6 and greasing  a 28 cm (11 in) round tart tin with butter. Make sure the tin has a removable base too.

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Sift plain flour and icing sugar into a bowl (I didn’t sieve them – and payed for it later with endless minutes of trying to get rid of lumps of icing sugar).

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Tear the margarine into pieces and rub it into the flour and icing sugar until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

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Add one beaten egg and, if necessary a tablespoon or two of water. Mix until a ball of dough is formed and knead this until smooth on a floured surface.

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Place this ball of dough on the base of your greased tin.

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Roll out until the pastry is bigger than the size of the tin base by about 4 – 5 cm.

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Now, fold the edges loosely into the middle.

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Put this inside the tin edging, fold the over hangings over the sides, and press it into the flutes with a spare bit of pastry.

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Line the pastry with some greaseproof paper or baking parchment and pour some baking beans in. These will stop the base rising up and prevent the sides falling in (you will need more than I used; ideally enough to cover the entire surface, I just don’t have enough).

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Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven then remove the paper and baking beans.

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Trim the edges with a sharp knife and return to the oven for another 10 – 15 minutes. Eat or throw away the scraps.

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After the pastry has finished cooking remove the outer rim and transfer to the fridge.

Now for the filling. It’s not baked because it’s a chocolate truffle recipe – hence the name. I got the idea because I was planning to just make truffles, then decided to go one step further and make a tart.

First, melt 450g (1 lb) of dark chocolate with 50g (1 3/4 oz) of margarine in a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water.

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Then add single cream and egg yolks.

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Take off the heat and pour into the pastry case. Smooth down with a palette knife.

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Chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

The topping is white chocolate with a pattern of dark chocolate on top. It looks a bit like a spider’s web, which wasn’t the best of planning from me, seeing as it’s about as far away from Halloween as you can get. But, I did it because I wanted to finally get the ‘feathering’ effect right. I’ve tried it many times and have never had much success, until now! Woo hoo!

Melt 200g (7oz) white chocolate like you did with the chocolate and butter for the filling.

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Spread this evenly over the top of the tart.

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Now melt some dark chocolate and drizzle or pipe over the white chocolate in a pattern of circles getting bigger from the inside out.

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Use a cocktail stick to make the decoration look like a spiders web. Start from the dot in the middle and drag the stick towards the outside slowly.

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And that’s done! You can eat it straight away or leave it at room temperature for a while for the chocolate on top to set slightly. If you put it in the fridge the chocolate will crack when you try to cut it.

I was going to write the recipe here, but honestly, I just want to get this post done and out of the way! If you want me to post it please comment and I will happily do it 🙂

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Thanks for reading 😉

Spiced Biscuits

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Hi, it’s me artybaker, once again! And once again, it’s time for a baking post. So, this recipe is one of my favourite recipes, and definitely one of my favourite biscuit recipes.  I adapted my iced biscuits recipe from a shortbread recipe, then this recipe from my iced biscuits recipe, although it’s nothing like the iced biscuits really. These spiced biscuits are not iced, filled or decorated; just totally simple and quick! And, sometimes, that’s just what you need. They are insanely more-ish, and if you need proof, this is the reactions I got from the rest of the family:

Pteroturtle came in and took a bite from one and immediately asked me which was the biggest one, so he could have it!

Sophofbread walked in a took a giant handful and came back for more within minutes! Even plumble pie seemed to like them, so if you think these look nice you must make them; you won’t regret it! And make sure you eat them warm, with a mug of tea or milk because it’s simply heavenly.

When first came up with the idea, I was skeptical, because I’ve never really had anything with mixed spice in and had certainly not baked with it before. But now there’s no doubt in my mind that I love mixed spice and LOVE baking with it! 🙂 This is the recipe:

Start by creaming margarine and light brown sugar (or you could use dark brown; I find in these biscuits, it doesn’t really make a noticeable difference).

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Then measure out 125g (4 1/2 oz) of plain flour and 50g (1 3/4 oz) of wholemeal flour.

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Sift half into the mix and stir in slowly. (The brown granules are remnants of the wholemeal flour that were left in the sieve; just pour them in after all of the lumps of flour have fallen through)

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Now add 1 1/2 teaspoons of honey or golden syrup and mix briefly. Sift in the rest of the flour and fold in to form a dough.

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Then tip onto a floured surface and sprinkle over the mixed spice. Knead in until combined, but as soon as it is, stop kneading; you don’t want to overdo it.

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Use a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1cm.

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Cut out as many biscuits as you can with your chosen cutter and place them on a large baking sheet lined with non-stick baking roll or greaseproof paper.

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When you have done as many as possible, gather up the remains and knead back into a ball, roll out and cut out more biscuits. Repeat until all of the dough is used up.

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Bake for 20 minutes until darkened and spread a little.

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This is the recipe:

Spiced Biscuits

Ingredients: 140g (5oz) margarine, 100g (3 1/2oz) light or dark brown sugar, 125g (4 1/2oz) plain flour, 50g (1 3/4oz) wholemeal flour, 1 1/2 tsp honey or golden syrup, 1 tsp mixed spice.

Method: 1 – Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Celsius fan oven, 350 degrees Fahrenheit, gas 4) and line a large flat baking sheet with some non-stick baking roll, grease-proof paper or baking parchment. 2 – Cream the margarine and sugar in a large bowl with wooden spoon, or in an electric mixer. 3 – Sift in about half of the flour and mix in slowly. Add the honey or syrup and stir that in too. 4 – Sift in the rest of the flour and stir in to form a dough, then tip onto a floured surface. 5 – Knead in the mixed spice and roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1cm. Cut out as many biscuits as you can with your chosen cutter and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Gather up the remains of the dough and knead into a ball again. Roll out as before and cut out the biscuits, as before. Repeat this until all of the dough is used up. 6 – Bake the biscuits for 20 minutes and serve warm (they are also nice cool).

Thanks for reading!!! 😉

Banana and Chocolate Chunk Loaf

Hi everyone, it’s me artybaker. Today I made a Banana Loaf Cake with Milk Chocolate Chunks. Here it is:

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It’s a Mary Berry recipe that I added chocolate to. I got the idea when eating a banana and chocolate flakes yogurt and thinking how well the chocolate went with the banana. This is how I made it…

Firstly, grease a loaf tin with butter and line the base and two sides with greaseproof paper or baking parchment and preheat the oven.

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Peel and slice two bananas and mash them up with a fork.

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Chop up the chocolate into smallish chunks and set aside about 10g for the decoration.

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Then measure out the margarine, sugar, eggs and flour.

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Mix all of them with the banana except the chocolate chunks, there may be little lumps of margarine, but carry on mixing until you can’t see anymore.

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Then stir in the chocolate chunks.

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Pour into the prepared tin and smooth down as much as possible.

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Bake for 1 – 1 1/4 hours. Towards the end of the baking time melt the remaining chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of almost boiling water.

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When the cake is done, run a knife along the two edges that are not lined with greaseproof paper and lift the cake out of the tin and peel the paper of the base. Now, drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the cake diagonally in one direction. And your done!

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Here’s the recipe for Banana and Chocolate Chunk Loaf

Ingredients: 2 ripe bananas, 100g (4oz) margarine, 175g (60z) caster sugar, 2 medium free range eggs, 225g (8oz) self-raising flour, 250g (9oz) milk chocolate (cut into chunks).

Method: 1 – Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper or baking parchment and Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, 160 degrees Celsius fan oven, 350 degrees Fahrenheit, gas 4. 2 – Slice the bananas and mash them up with a fork. 3 – Break the eggs into a measuring jug and beat with a fork. 4 – Put the margarine, caster sugar, eggs and flour in the bowl with the banana and mix until well combined. Remember to make sure there are no lumps of margarine in the mix. 5 – Set aside 10g of chocolate to use for the decoration and stir in the rest of the chunks to the main mixture. 6 – Pour into the prepared tin and smooth down with a spoon. Bake for 1 – 1 1/4 hours. 7 – Melt the chocolate you set aside earlier in a glass bowl over a pan of almost boiling water. When the cake is done, drizzle the chocolate over the top diagonally in one direction.

Thanks for reading!

Orange Gingerbread

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Hey! It’s me artybaker. I’m not pleased to say that this post is being posted almost a week later than I planned. 🙂 I’m not doing very well with my resolution for one post every Monday. BUT THAT ENDS TODAY! Now that it’s December I’m going to do lots of posts on Christmas-y bakes and crafts!

So today I’m going to tell you about some gingerbread men I made a week or so ago. But, they had a twist. I added orange rind to the mixture hence the title Orange Gingerbread. I wasn’t sure whether I should save this post for after Christmas because this recipe isn’t directly festive buuuuut I think it’ll be fine. After all oranges are sort of Christmas-y and people eat rich, warm sorts of foods this time of year, right? Here’s some photos…

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Cutting the men out of the dough.

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Ready to be baked.

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Mmm smelling delicious.

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Ranging in size.

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Three little men.

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Cooling on the wire rack.

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Tower of gingerbread men.

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Yum!

I would usually say eat biscuits when they’re warm unless you’re going to ice them because they taste better but with these I say DON’T. When I did I thought I hadn’t put enough orange in because the ginger totally eclipsed it. But then I tasted one a few hours later and the orange was coming through. Success! Woo hoo! So, yeah, these biscuits are best eaten day after baking (never thought I’d say that).

In my recipe I put plain flour, ground ginger and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl and rub in margarine. Then I stir in brown sugar and the grated zest/rind of 3 oranges. Next, you put an egg and some golden syrup in a jug, mix and add to the main mixture to form a dough. Knead, roll, cut and bake. Simple! I thought if you wanted to make them more Christmas-y you could cut them in the shape of reindeer or stars etc. And it would be cool if you made a fruit or ginger cake and you put these orange gingerbread men around the sides (maybe two sizes?)!

So to recap, here’s a few tips for Orange Gingerbread Men..

  • To give the orange flavour, simply add the grated rind of 3 oranges to your dough with the sugar.
  • When you stir in the liquid (eggs and golden syrup) it should form a ball of dough. It is likely that you will have some flour-y remnants in the bottom of the bowl. Knead the dough briefly and make a well in the centre, then pour in the dry remains and fold over so they are in the middle. Knead until combined.
  • Always roll out on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Add milk if the mixture is too dry and add more flour if the dough is too sticky.
  • To make more Christmas themed biscuits, use Christmas cutters such as Santas, reindeer, stars or Christmas trees.
  • To prevent ruining the smooth look of the top of the biscuits, test them by inserting a knife or skewer into the base, making sure you don’t go all the way through.
  • For the best orangey flavour eat the day after baking, or least after they have cooled.
  • These biscuits would make a great decoration for the sides of a square or round ginger or fruit cake that is moderately tall.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you very soon with more festive posts! 🙂