4 years ago I made a baby and he was the chubbiest sweetest thing in the world. Now he’s a big boy who still wishes he could wear nappies, who loves food and cars and pink. He’s quick to scare (Santi the cupboard!!!) and also quick to console. He loves his big brother probably more than anything else, and also to twirl his fingers around my hair, especially at 3 in the morning.
Since next year we’ll be in England, who knows if we will have time for a party, and since he’s seen Damiano’s party, a bash of his own was mandatory.
The invitation was a trace for a paper plane, of course.
The cake was a whipped cream cake base from the usual book, layered with strawberries and strawberry compote and frosted with 7 minute frosting. It’s a slight variation on the one cake my grandmother used to bake when I was little. For the lettering, I piped his name with melted chocolate on a piece of parchment, froze it for a few minutes and carefully placed it on top of the cake.
We had around 18 kids so we sealed our parking lot with construction tape.
He got a ton of presents. His favorites? This (he will go to sleep hugging it), and this. (yep, that’s right) oh, and this.
And tattoos. (I don’t think I’ll ever throw a kid’s party without them)
Besides folding around a hundred paper planes, mostly taking inspiration from this kit, I folded tiny ones to put in the favor bags. Very relaxing. My favourite pen (White ink!!!)
tic-tacs in the favor bags=happy kids.
For the bags I used my tracing paper and I sewed them into pyramids, which was very satisfying.
I don’t have many photos of the actual party because I was too busy taking kids to pee, making sure nobody threw themselves in front of a car, and keeping the wind from blowing all our cheese-puffs away, but my friend Chrissy did so I’m waiting…
These winter holidays have been lovely, and I’ve found myself enjoying each moment almost effortlessly: this is a good thing. (I credit all the exercise I’ve been having: skiing cross country and running, mostly. Moving is my antidepressant, and it has no side effects! Well maybe some sore muscles here and there but hey).
I’ve also been quite tired and I think that’s not because of all that exercise but rather due to all that cooking, starting on the 24th, with the traditional Christmas’ Eve dinner at our house, when I decided that making antipasti, spaghetti with scampi, a yule log AND cleaning out the fridge all at once was a good idea. The yule log was delicious and a big hit, and all the rest was great, too. And the fridge? Spic and span!
(Black forest yule log with chocolate swiss roll, black cherries and chocolate frosting: here showing that the thing DID indeed roll without cracking, big success)
For Christmas we got a new, bigger bed because the standard “french” size one that we have is one that I bought 12 years ago when I was convinced that I’d never marry or have children, especially children that would sleepwalk to my bed at night, every night, and things get kind of crowded now.
The kids got very lucky, since Michele feared they would be disappointed and ran to the store at the last minute to get them more
plastic crap presents.
They loved their fleecy new jammies. I bought them in London in August, and they’re already on the small side, so I’ll have to modify them already. sigh.
Sleeping bags! Also a great present. The kids slept in them for a few nights in a row and now they can’t wait to go camping. (and I can’t wait to have the house all to myself)
After Christmas Michele and I threw a party, partly to celebrate his birthday and partly just for the fun of it, and it was really great. I made sushi, falafel, pigs-in-a-blanket and tons of other stuff and there was plenty of booze to go around. Unfortunately we were all too busy having fun, no one took photos. I foresee more of these parties in the future.
Skiing cross country: my favorite thing.
And Santi’s first winter on skis. He seems to
like it be oK with it.
New year’s Eve: we tried. We tried to stay awake until midnight, but we just couldn’t.
I made paella and we invited friends over, who like us, had no babysitters.
We even tried to have a sleepover, but they were all like: yeah right. In the end everyone went home before midnight and Michele and I said goodnight at 11.55 and crashed so fast I barely heard any fireworks.
Anyway, happy new year! Who knows what this 2013 will bring!!
My resolutions this year are very simple:
2.Finish all my exams
3.Win the lottery.
What are yours?
(watercoloring gone awry)
I have a shitload of things to do for Uni, the boys are home from preschool the whole week because of something new this year, namely Autumn holidays. Thank you very fucking much. So, I have to entertain my heirs and also to complete like 34 assignments because of course, every single professor thinks these days off are wasted if we’re not given reams of work to do… arghhh
Anyway, that’s not why I came here today.Two things: I’m redesigning this website completely, so it will take some time. I’ll go back to my long lost friend, CSS.
Second, and most importantly: We found the perfect cake.
Let me tell you the ways this cake is perfect:
2.5 year old boy made it, easy peasy.
6.Did I mention ONE BOWL?
7.Works fine alone, like a breakfast cake, or layered, like a birthday cake.(we wanted to layer it with cream cheese frosting but we couldn’t resist and just scoffed it down while it was still warm)
Here you go:
2 cups flour: we used cake flour. My guess is that you could use any flour.
1 ¼ cups sugar.
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup softened butter (115 grams)
Combine the above in THE bowl and beat until the butter is all over the place, then add
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
and beat for a while (Damiano was having fun with the mixer so I let him beat the thing for about 2 minutes), then add
one at a time.
Divide the batter between two round 9″ pans (next time I’ll try it in the loaf pan though). Bake for 35 at 180°C or until the famous toothpick comes out clean.
Santi reminded me today: “Mommeeei, it’s raining. You said that when it was raining we make fish biscuits”. Well, that is true, I promised. And I had managed to avoid them for a couple of rainy days already. This was the day. Since the vegimals (go ahead, I’ll wait) are not here to help me, I decided to take the matter in my own hands. The closest thing to fish biscuits I know are fish crackers. Orange greasy and sometimes rancid atrocities but that’s besides the point. Those fish crackers taste, if somewhat remotely, like cheese. I checked the fridge:
A little dried up remnant of red leicester of my last trip to London; a recently (more or less) expired pack of cheddar from LIDL. Butter, check. Cheddar fish shaped shortbread? Why, that sounds great!
250 grams grated cheddar (the red leicester made it into the first batch and the cheese flavour is much more delicate, but of course the color is more fish-cracker-like; the second batch (yes, they’re that good) is 100% cheddar and the taste is tangier)
110 grams butter
1 + 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly, coarsely ground black pepper
1 pinch of cayenne pepper (in the first batch I ditched it fearing that the kids would find them too spicy. In the second batch I put a generous pinch of it and they’re not spicy but really superior in taste, I’d say more grown up, if it not were for the fact that even the boys preferred them)
Bake at 180°C (350°F) until they’re done (I have no idea how long, but not too long… maybe 10 minutes? I don’t know. You see it when they’re done, because suddenly they look irresistible).
I put my Octonauts to work this time around. Damiano decided fish biscuits could be dachshund biscuits, too.
Santi let us know right away that the dough was tasty.
Now, someone come and take them away because I cannot stop testing them.
Here’s the new, and definitive (in case I manage to pull the prints on Friday, if not I might tweak the design further) version.
Here’s a little something I made while locked up in the hospital.
I digitized my typecooker sketches from typo Berlin (a monospaced-no descenders-short ascenders-slab serif-flared stems kind of thing) and made a little conversion chart for bakers like myself, who prefer to weigh ingredients and who own books with ingredients listed mostly by volume. I’ll clean it up when I have time (when kindergarten starts next week! HURRAAAAH!) and then I’ll screen print some tea towels with it. Let me know if you’d like one. Also, when I have time I’ll make a proper font and I’ll put it here for free downl0ad.
Ok, so I don’t blog, like, forever, and now I do it two days in a row. This morning I came home from the hospital, feeling like a million bucks. Seriously, if there’s something I do well, that is healing.
It was a gorgeous day so after lunch we went to our local mountain, and that sounds funny. But less funny than “our mountain”, because of course, it’s not ours. It’s, you know, public domain.
Anyway, as we walked we noticed something blue glistening on either side of our path:
oh, how nice–we thought–let’s have a little snack.
But we suddenly realised no one else had been there to reap…
So we kept plucking and plucking (We might have scarfed down the cake in order to have the box free to stash them away) [I love this photo, the shadow of my legs makes it look like my whole body is a bowl].
After a short break in the tepee…
And a quick ride in the cable car… we got home, washed them, mixed with sugar and lemon… cooked them, and… ta-daaaaa:
Olympic Steeplechase 3000. Please! That’s nothing, compared with what life threw at me this summer. But I’ve been winning, so far. (fingers crossed).
Things done this summer, more or less chronologically:
1.Took the kids to the lake:
2.Took the kids on a hike, by myself, they both walked for 1 hour both ways. Heroes.
3.Made a couch! Here’s the frame once I finished it. Now it’s all set and it’s great.More pics to follow.
4.Got accepted into university for an amazing Master’s Degree
5.Attended a lovely wedding (Santi wasn’t having it)
6.Avoided widowhood (recommended).
Michele’s bill of health isn’t clear yet and we’re keeping our fingers crossed. I never thought a broken leg could become so bloody dangerous (see: thrombosis).
7.Made sushi with Nahoko.
8.Travelled to London during the Olympic Games, and I haven’t a single photo because I also managed to trash my iphone the day before leaving.
9.Got a deferred entry for said Master’s Degree: YAY, we’re going next year!
10. Made elephants (from this book)
10.Had breast reduction surgery (I’m currently in the hospital): no photos of that, that would be gross.
*ushhhhh* I’m blowing off the dust of this blog (and emptying the shit out of my iphone as you can see)… sorry I’ve been rather busy. We had a bumpy summer start this year, my husband breaking a knee playing football on no other day than summer solstice, and all that endless fun that follows:
Today we got the results of the MRI, and basically it’s pretty broken and we have to decide on a date for surgery. Three weeks in and Michele already took a couple of steps without the crutches. It’s going to be a long summer for him. Children, learn the lesson: don’t play competitive sports.
The amount of gadgetry in this house is ridiculous, but ensures that there’s something for everyone when this mama’s had enough.
Ice-cream makes us all happy. And moustache-y.
And sushi, even more so.
When Santi was serving his last days ever at the nursery (the boy starts pre-school in Autumn), Damiano and I splurged and hit the posh sushi place in Innsbruck one day. The boy is crazy about makis.
Lately it’s been raining ALL THE TIME, but two weeks ago the only thing we were doing was hanging out at the pool. Last year I bought these terry cloth robes (dresses) for the boys, and they loved them. You might have heard me say to someone asking why the BOYS have DRESSES: they’re boy-dresses. We love them.
Damiano does this and it cracks me up. I never thought of doing that. I was too fat.
I love this photo. Damiano looks a lot like my father in it. And Norah is happy, Damiano finally decided he wants to marry her.
We’ve been also celebrating. Nothing in particular. Just that it’s summer and we can be together all the time. Which is nice.
Some guys prefer the batter.
We made vanilla and chocolate cupcakes from this book (which I fully recommend because everything just turns out fantastic) and the kids helped out. It was messy but fun. Also, dinner.
Santi, scientifically proving that I and I only am his mother, ate off all the icing first. (powedered sugar, butter, that’s it). We used liners from Ikea that were wide and low, so more than cupcakes they looked like boobs.
Oh yes, let me show off. I’ve been sewing quite a bit lately (and much much much more to come), and last night I whipped up this skirt. The photo sucks but the light is what it is during our frequent cloudbursts. I’m very proud because: a) it fits like a glove b)I didn’t use a pattern, just improvised. c)the waistband is 100% shirring d)it’s black silk taffeta, so it’s comfy, has a lovely texture (and sound), goes with everything (you just need to pretend you’re a J.Crew model and suddenly the most bizarre combinations look glamorous) and it’s fresh in summer and great in winter with a pair of tights. Seriously, this fucking deserved a blog post of its own. Oh well. oh and it cost about 25€
Ok, that’s all for now. To infinity, and beyond!
Let’s cut to the chase:
Bake a LARGE sheet cake.
I used the biggest roasting pan that I could fit in my oven. I also measured the inside of my fridge and I cut a board just as big, to keep the cake cold until serving it and I wrapped it in freezer paper.
I used Nick Malgieri’s recipe for a Whipped Cream Cake from this book. It was a very good choice because it’s moist and dense at the same time, and very easy to maneuver, slice and put together.
Cut one large rectangle, around 14″ x 10″ for the body and another one 12″ x 5″ for the head.
With the rest, cut out arms and feet (or wheels or what have you). Keep the edges for breakfast.
I sliced the pieces in half and filled with chocolate ganache.
Then I frosted the whole thing with slightly sweetened whipped cream. The letters are made of colored marzipan, and the decorations are mainly m&m’s and the eyes are licorice wheels.
I thought it was a cool cake, but I would have sworn that the kids wouldn’t eat it. Especially when I started slicing it and it felt hard as a brick. But…
It was really delicious! and the kids loved it. They all wanted slices with m&m’s (next time one could forgo all the trouble of making the shape and serving a round cake covered in them).
From now on this whipped cream cake with chocolate ganache and whipped cream will be my choice of birthday cake.
I hope you have a good one! In spite of everything, 2010 was a good year, and I’m really believing 2011 is going to rock. I will be blogging less because I’ve lost my inspiration and what used to be fun now is not. I think this is quite evident since my posts are boring lately. So there. You can see what I’m up to on twitter on a more regular basis.
Anyway, I’m extremely happy with my new toy and it also happens to be the best compact camera I’ve owned. Here’s a photo of our new year’s eve dinner: