It’s the most wonderful time of the year (and I think it’s almost my anniversary for this site), Pumpkin Spice everything! Reese’s! FreeForm’s 13 Nights of Halloween! Mother nature even gave me some rainy, melancholy days that were delightfully foggy and deserving of copious cups of Earl Grey. I’ve had my nose to the grindstone for the past two months getting ready for this week but Baby Bat and I have managed some seasonal fun as well. We attended Hilton Apple Fest earlier in the month, which always sounds entertaining in my mind and then I get there and my introverted personality is like “yup, never doing this again”. Afterwards we went with a friend to a local orchard and picked our own apples (first time), it was gratifying, fun and cheap so we went back again this weekend!
Last week I also went to see the New York State Ballet’s Production of Dracula at the RIT campus:
I feel really, really critical of this piece maybe because I read the story so many times growing up, maybe because its dance…but I really want to say positive things about it so here it goes: there was no Van Helsing character! No, wait. Stop. That was a criticism, had to get it out of my system. I totally get why they cut him, another character to introduce, another dance to choreograph…would have taken to much time to tell the story etc. etc. Moving on. The best part about this outing was getting out with a friend I work with and having someone who has an appreciation for the gothic genre to enjoy it with. The crazy adventure in finding the theater on an immense and sprawling college campus was just an added bonus…nothing like looking for signs to the event only to find them on the way out afterwards.
I’ve been big on making Dundee Cake lately. This has nothing to do with Harry Potter, oddly enough, and everything to do with Peppa Pig and has become a weekly staple if only for myself as Baby Bat doesn’t seem to care for it.
We were watching the “Pretend Friend” episode and I got to thinking that a) I need to do a baking project with Baby Bat in mind and b) everyone in this television show seems to have the same cake this has got to be a thing? So I did some research. Of course I went to Delia Smith first and looked through all of her cake recipes, it was a choice between the Dundee Cake and the Family Cake but the Dundee cake seemed to look like the show more. It was late spring or summer when I made this the first time and I was quite appalled that no one had orange peel or cherries glace on hand (apparently its a holiday thing). That didn’t stop me then, I just looked up how to make those things and had an awesome and really delicious time of making the candied peel and cherries from scratch (my kitchen needs to smell like that all the time!). The peel was easy, the cherries I’ve got to figure out what I’m doing wrong because the were literally candied cherries with very little fruit crisp to them anymore (not a wholly bad mistake, just not easy store for later and dreadful to cut otherwise. But a couple weeks ago the holiday candied fruit made a reappearance and I got this book out of the library:
I can’t even tell you how weird it is to not have to wiggle a mouse to make sure the screen doesn’t go blank while your cooking. Totally a blast from the past. Anyway, Peppa Pig aside Dundee Cake is significant as it comes from the Scottish City for which it is named. If you have an international section in your grocery store you might find Dundee Marmalade. Dundee is, I believe the birthplace of marmalade although I’m not sure on that as a fact. To be sure, they make a good deal of marmalade there and as such had a great deal of peel left over and started mixing up these cakes as well and I guess had a period of popularity in many homes (may or may not be the case…or might still be the case as it would be). In any event I love it! and am very much shocked by that as I have never been one for fruit of any kind in my baked goods. I’ve also gotten a chance to use my experience from trying to make almond milk from scratch in the process. as it calls for blanched almonds to decorate around the top like so:
The secret I’ve found, as whole blanched almonds don’t seem to be a thing they carry at my local grocery (or am utterly blind), is to measure out 1/4 cup of whole almonds. Either boil a good bit of water or let your faucet go hot and add enough to cover the almond to soak while you prep the rest of the cake. When the cake is mixed and placed in the buttered and floured tin the almond jackets can easily be removed and placed on the cake…now it also says to split them but I had no luck with that and had little patience left after stirring 2 and half…2 and a 1/4 (?) cups of flour by hand so as there were more then enough whole nuts to go around splendidly I gave it no further thought.
Yesterday, after apple picking I took Baby Bat to Mount Hope Cemetery. No matter how hot or sunny it is I always feel the need to keep an eye out walking in there because my imagination runs wild and what is probably a chipmunk or a falling acorn may one day be a zombie or a day walking vampire (kidding…not kidding, my imagination is ruthless and can make me believe the most dreadful things). Even still it is one of my most favorite places to walk any time of year and I love sharing that with Baby Bat:
She is now also in an “take a picture of me!” phase and I love it! I loved getting out with her this weekend and can’t wait to do more and play with her on my breaks as I have finished my big Harry Potter Wizarding weekend Project!!!! TA-DA!!!!!!!:
I’m so excited! So proud of me! Of course there are mistakes, things I would have done differently but for my first big project in pretty much forever I did pretty darn good. I especially love my pockets not only because they make pulling a wand out very dramatic but also because I did them after I had sewed the two layers together
“what a goose!?”
Well, off to Hogwarts on Thursday! Time for bed now. Stay magical!