Chuck It All Together Chocolate Cake

“If you give me chocolate cake, I’ll be your friend forever.”


1 2/3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
100 g (3 1/2 oz) melted butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F)

2. Grease 20cm springform pan, line with greaseproof baking paper.

3. Put all ingredients into a processor and mix.

4. Pour into baking pan.

5. Bake for 50 minutes, time measured the same way in other parts of the world or do you have to convert according to time zones?
(Centre should spring back, and skewer comes out clean)

6. Cool, and ice… (frost whatever ya call it..)

100 g (3 1/2 oz) butter
250 g (8.81849 oz or 1 cup) icing sugar…(powdered sugar)
1/3 cup of cocoa
Milk to mix
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat butter and dry ingredients until combined, add milk, teaspoon by teaspoon, until you have a thickish, soft, spreadable, delectable icing. Use 1/3 to fill sliced cake, and the rest as icing. Refrigerate till set.

*OK I can’t claim this recipe, but this is the stock standard chocolate cake that my wife bakes, and it is an awesome chocolate cake, rich, dark and handsome… opps moist..

Pizza Dough

What is this?   A cooking blog now…?  Eh, whatever…

Anyway… here is my pizza dough recipe that you might like to try… well it is not actually ‘mine’ I got
it off a wood fired pizza guy… but his pizza’s were totally kick ass awesome, so I asked him if
he would share his ‘secret’ recipe… it turns out the best food often uses very simple

2 Cups Flour (I use white high grade … bakers bread flour… dunno what they call it in the
1 Tablespoon Yeast (I use granulated)
1 Teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Oil
190 mls Warm Water (OK that is 6.42466 fl oz… or 0.803083 US cup… heh)
1 Teaspoon Sugar

1. Mix sugar into warm water, and then sprinkle yeast on top. Set to one side until it starts to
go all foamy creamy on top…

2. Combine sifted flour, salt, and oil into bowl… or better still food processor with plastic
kneading blade.

3. Make a ‘well’ (yeah whatever) and add water yeast mixture… if you are using a food processor
just pour it down the spout, while pulsing. Keep pulsing until it forms a nice round ball and it
all leaves the sides. If you are using a bowl just mix it with a wooden spoon until you can’t
stir the sucker any more… then it is time to knead.

4. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface… like the counter top… there is prolly a
Youtube thingie about kneading, but basically pull the back half of the dough over the front half,
1/4 turn and repeat… oh about 50 or so times… depending on whether you used a food processor
or not… apparently the ‘science’ is that the gluten molecules of the flour need to be
stretched or something… (yeah whatever)… just need the crap out of the dough until it is
smooth and elastic. Use a small amount of extra flour, if the dough starts to get sticky…
but you definitely don’t want it too dry… (yeah whatever..)

5. Set the dough in a greased bowl, cover (I just put a tea towel over it)…  place
in a warm place, and let it rise… patience grasshopper…

6. Once it has risen, punch it down and you are ready to make your pizza. I don’t use a rolling
pin or anything fancy, I just push the dough down with my fingers until it is a reasonable circle.
This quantity will make one large or two medium pizzas. I reckon you can work out your own

7. The next trick is the baking… a blazing bloody hot oven, basically max it out… oh and a
pizza stone… it is important to pre-heat the oven and pizza stone to blazing hot… don’t rush
it and try to cook before the oven is up to temperature.

8. Now the tricky part is getting the pizza from the bench to the oven and onto the pizza
stone… you can’t exactly pick up a loaded pizza and put it in a bloody blazing hot oven with
just your hands.. the whole thing will fall apart and you will get burnded… pizza places have
fancy shovels… I get around this by making the pizza on a sheet of baking paper, on a baking
tray… and then slide the loaded pizza on the paper from the baking tray to the stone, you can
then use the corner of the paper to pull the pizza back onto the baking tray when done. If you
don’t use a pizza stone.. (but seriously… you like, so need one…) …slide the pizza from one baking tray, to a preheated one in the oven.  Did I mention that the oven has to be bloody blazing hot? What you don’t want to do, is put a cold baking tray with the pizza on it into the oven, you don’t wanna waste heat, heating up the tray and the base wont be crispy.

9. Providing the oven is blazing hot, about 250 C or (heck I dunno about 482 F… do ovens even
go that hot?) the pizza should only take about 7 minutes or so.

10. Smell the deliciousness, and eat when done… but be careful that oven is bloody hot. Just


Road Trip – June 2012

The boys and I took a road trip in the last week of June.

The town of Coromandel is straight out of the ‘Mountain Theme Pack’.

Main Street

Rural Fire Station (Volunteer) – note the siren to alert the firefighters to come to the station for calls.

Original Fire Station and Ambulance Station

The Ambulance Officer, also works at the butcher, and carries a pager, for calls.

Coromandel Police Station

Marmageddon: Crisis in New Zealand


Now I know, that this is not exactly ‘breaking news’ and this crisis has been going on for some months now, but with no immediate end in sight, it is important to get the message out to the interwebs, about the on going national state of emergency in New Zealand, other wise known as Marmageddon.

[Explanatory Video]

In summary, the two earthquakes, in Christchurch in September 2010 and February 2011, not only devastated iconic buildings such as the Christchurch Cathedral, but they also damaged the Sanitarium factory, and the only one in the whole world that makes the New Zealand version of Marmite.

The following thread in the Simtropolis Current Events forum, (started by yours truly) provides a fascinating and indepth insight both into the crisis itself, but also it attempts to explain in simple (Kiwi) English, to the bemused Americans and Canadians, and anyone else who has no idea what the heck we poor Kiwi’s at the bottom of the South Pacific, are going on about.

The Australian’s of course are attempting to be as smug as ever, with their version of the spread, Vegemite… however even Vegemite, has experienced some supply issues of their own in recent weeks.

‘Vege-pocalypse’ fears in spread shortage

First it was “Marmageddon” as Marmite vanished from shop shelves – now Vegemite has been hit by supply problems.

Stocks of the Australian-made yeast spread have run out this week at several supermarkets, including at least two large stores in Auckland.

[Read More]

Naturally the alternatives don’t really bear thinking about…



Prime Minister John Key says he can happily switch to the Australian-made rival spread, currently on special at most New Zealand supermarkets.


Made by Masterfoods, it’s a bit like Kiwi Marmite in that it’s a yeast extract spread.


The UK brand (called Marmite over there) is available here. However, its powerful salty taste may offend those raised on the sugar-laced Kiwi variety.


The internet abounds with recipes, although most are for the British version. Ingredients: brewer’s yeast, sea salt, onion, carrots, turnips and celery.


Bovril and Oxo may not be so good on the breakfast table.

Perhaps it is best to leave this post with the immortal words of Dr King…

I have a dream that one day we will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all bread spreads are created equal.”

I have a dream that all the little children will one day live in a world where they will not be judged by the color of their spreads but by the content of their character and flavour.

I have a dream today!

This is our hope, and this is the faith that we traverse the depths and the distance of the ‘great wet thing’ the expanse of the South Pacific with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair in this grave time of the great Marmite shortage, a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful spreadable symphony of brotherhood, where the lovers of Marmite will with this faith, be able to work together, to spread together, and to stand up for the freedom of all toast and bread lovers together, knowing that one day, Marmite shall rise again!

(I might be paraphrasing just a little.)


Welcome to the Screwpile!

Screw Pile BadgeWelcome to Screw Pile Developments, South Pacific Down Under Division…  or here just Screwpile for short.

Now, I know that all may sound rather grandiose, but you do have to call yourself, and the stuff you put on the interwebs, something, and that something is the name that I use for anything that I make for the city building and simulation game, Simcity 4 Rush Hour made by Maxis / EA Games.

Screw Pile Developments is also a sub-forum on which provides both a workshop for lots under development and also a show-case of my current and past Simcity 4 projects.

Simpeg also hosts my City Journal (CJ), Bean Rock which was started way back in May 2008, and now has well over 100k views, and over 1400 replies…  but who is counting really…?   Me apparently.

Here on the Screwpile, you will find different pages of Simcity 4 stuff, galleries of pictures, a download area for lots, useful links and game tutorials.  Take a good look around, help your self to to a download or three, poke about, but most of all enjoy!

– Craig

(AKA Craig-Abcvs)

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