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Taking a breather

It's been much quieter over the last few days. I had a good time at Edy's mince pie evening on the 13th, and got to say Christmas wishes to a few friends. Gary came over last Wed. We talked, ate and played cribbage and Crazy Eights, and I won both games, so quite happy about that. I popped in next door to say hello, and meet baby Edgar for the first time. He's about six weeks old, and was sleeping in Kate's arms during the 20 mins or so I was there. I've seen him being carried in and out of the house a couple of times, and had brief exchanges with his parents (Kate and Andew) but this was the first proper visit. I did drop in a card just after he was born but thought I'd leave the family (they have two others under five) to recover quietly for a little while. As I was popping out to the shops yesterday, I met the other neighbours I visit, who live across the road. They have a Christmas carol party every year, but I've not been able to make past ones for various reasons. This year it's on Sun 29th, so I can go across for an hour or so before going on to D&D later.

I was going out to the shops to get eggs, as I wanted to bake a cake for Sunday. I don't always have great success in getting sponges to rise evenly in this oven; they tend to rise more in the centre, and much less so around the edges, which tends to indicate the oven is too hot. I know mine cooks on the hot side, and tend to set it 10C lower than suggested. The sponge mix was rather stiff, and although I put it slightly below the centre (it's an electric oven with the element at the top), it still rose to a peak in the centre, and very little around the edges, so it was a bit heavy. I flavoured the sponge with vanilla, and made buttercream icing, which I coloured light pink and flavoured with rose. I'd bought some pink and white mini marshmallows, and stuck a load of those over the top. It wasn't the best sponge I've made, but the icing helped - wasn't too thick or sickly, and the flavours worked well.

I made a cake for D&D by way of celebration, as I got my copies of Darrow's Gamble this week. It's my 14th western, and the fourth Darrow novel. I was sent the image they intended to use for the cover a while back. I replied that although I like the painting, and there is an attack on the stagecoach in the book, it's a holdup, not a chase. And the attackers are a gang of white outlaws, not Indians. In face there are no Indians at all in the book, so their presence on the cover is a touch misleading. I didn't get a reply to this, but when my copies arrived, I found that the same basic picture had been used, but with the Indians airbrushed out. So there's a stagecoach at full gallop, with a man clinging to the root, and his gun out, all for no readily apparent reason. Still, the background is a non-specific blur of dust cloud/sunset, so you could assume the enemies are obscured in that. It's a lovely painting, anyway.

As a Christmas bonus, have a flash game about scanning your butt at the office Xmas party.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
23rd Dec, 2013 16:40 (UTC)
A stiff mix that rises to a dome, especially if it cracks a bit too, indicates a too dry mix. Try using bigger eggs (most recipes are for large eggs even where not stated), less flour, or adding a little milk next time.

Americans tend to favour a dry mix in cake recipes, it's a cultural taste thing I suppose. Does mean that the majority of web recipes are a bit too dry and heavy for Brits ;-).

I find the best thing to do with accidentally-American cake is to drizzle it full of syrup and pretend it was planned to be like that ;-D. I must admit marshmallow-cake sounds awesome too.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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