well, I am happy to say that there is fruitcake in my oven.
up above we have some of the boozy fruit pulp I made in the food processor. the recipe called for me to pulverize all my fruit, but I couldn't bear to lose some of the texture of the individual currants, raisins, apricot pieces, cherries, and candied peels. so about half got pulverized and half stayed intact. the recipe also called for almond meal, made from blanched almonds that are ground up in the food processor. after all the trouble I went to making my own candied citrus (which was not required in the recipe) you wouldn't think I would be pissed off about being duped into blanching and skinning my own almonds. but I was a little annoyed.
in order to keep myself out of the boozy fruit, I distracted myself with one of these pumpkin spice cupcakes.
it didn't work....
there was this..... stuff left at the bottom of the fruit jar after I poured it out and the jar sat for a few minutes. a delicious little bitty pool of rummy fruit syrup.
my fruit, waiting to be mixed in...enjoying the view for the last time. time to sample another cherry!...
I also helped myself to the leftover goo in the food processor
my fruitcake. my rules. and I also discovered a little more goo in the jar after it sat a while longer *hyssop* .... I mean *hiccup*
I gotta make more of that boozy fruit AESOP....I mean ASAP....
so, the other day I borrowed a hand mixer from my friend Jackie so I could make frosting for my cupcakes. the reason I had to borrow one is that this piece of plastic is my mixer, which I discover doesn't even have a brand name on it. it was purchased over 6 years ago when I got married and hadn't a clue about kitchen gear. it has mostly sat dormant because it can't seem to get through anything thicker than cream. I should have just thought ahead and remembered that I might want to ask to borrow Jackie's mixer for another day, but I didn't.
I had some angry outburstsissues creaming my room temp butter and brown sugar. the poor thing just kept stopping and choking on the beaters that had accumulated all the contents of the bowl and didn't have the power to dislodge them again. eventually we got through it.
ooh, and another boozy raisin has been located! but it's sitting on the floor. wait, is there a debate about whether I will eat it? pffft. *hyssop*
5 eggs from my farmer went into the fruitcake batter.
who really measures their spices? if I can't fit the teaspoon into the jar of spice, it isn't getting measured.
oopsies *edited to say* I also put some cocoa powder, mixed with hot water into a paste, into the batter. I'm anticipating a nice depth of flavor with that subtle chocolate note.
the fruitcake is in the oven at 250º
now I clean up the mess and wait for them to be done. after that they get sprinkled with some more rum on top and wrapped up to age until the party, where I will be crowned victorious in the great fruitcake throwdown of 2011
is anyone at this party an owner of a nice stand mixer? identify yourself so I can feed you copious amounts of my fruitcake and then talk you out of the mixer.
we were having fun with pipe cleaners today, and I made her some accessories - like these very trendy glasses. I also whipped up this little short sleeved tunic for her. for the basic pattern I used my "easy linen shirt" pattern from Sewing For Boys, and added some of my own changes.
the sleeves have been shortened from full length, and I increased the size of the shoulder so I could gather them up and make them puffy. in my mind's eye I saw the sleeves coming out shorter and more cap-like, but I'm no pattern making expert.
I also shaved some width off of the back piece at the shoulders so I could gather the front. And I tried out doing a bias tape neckline. Technically it isn't even bias tape since I just across the grain of some leftover kona cotton I used in the girls' quilts.
Originally I ran elastic through the bottom to make it a bubble top, which I thought was adorable, but Clover had other opinions. So we took it out. She is much happier now. I might put some just in the back to gather it there though.
and now for some more pictures of my sweet little nerd
my candied citrus peels are done! I washed and hand peeled all the fruit, and then I used a paring knife to get most of the pith off. after that I brought the peels to a boil in watertwice. then made a simple syrup of 4C water/3C raw sugarbefore tossing the peels all in to simmer for about an hour. ok, maybe I forgot about it and it was more like an hour and a half.....
the great surprise at the end is that I wind up with this beautiful bitter orange simple syrup (It's pretty condensed after reducing that much, actually....) that will go well in something. Coffee maybe? or maybe some of that RUM??
about 1/3 C went into the jar of happiness to soak soak soak until next Thursday.
these little guys are delicious too! I popped a few in my mouth once they cooled and they are a yummy blend of slightly bitter, citrusy, and sweet. they are also beautiful! my brain loves the colors of citrus fruit. something in there feels happy when I look at them. I think I was on a little citrus high last night too when I was doing all my peeling because the oils in the air were making me giddy.
the mythical food that seems to be passed around from generation to generation, uneaten
image via pinterest
some of my friends are having a holiday fruitcake throwdown at a Christmas party. some of us adventurous individuals are attempting to make an edible fruitcake to be entered into a semi-farcical (is that a word?) contest. the remains of the fruitcakes are rumored to be destined for a trebuchet, fruitcake launcher, or skeet-cake shooting practice.
image via pinterest http://pinterest.com/pin/321879975/
I have never made a fruitcake. the thought of one of those neon green and red speckled bricks of recent tradition is an appetite killer. while researching the poor little cake, I realized that the traditional fruitcake is nothing like what we've made of it in recent times, and that there was a glimmer of hope that I might be able to make something at least mildly palatable. given enough booze anyway...
that's when we get to this:
what's left in those bottles is what I didn't use to begin making my fruitcake. actually, fruitcakes. the recipe really made 4 cakes which seemed excessive for my purpose, so I cut it in half. now I get to figure out what to do with 2/3 bottle of rum. invite Jack Sparrow over? make some eggnog?
these dried fruits in the jar here are what will make up most of the cake. we have raisins, currants, apricots, and cherries in there. you won't find any radioactive cherries in there...just delicious dried ones.
those lucky little fruits get to marinate in a bath of dark rum and ruby port for a week before I move on with my operation.
for size context here is a coffee mug next to my jar.
the next step I'm still working on is making my own candied citrus peels for the cake. there will be extras since I am making a huge batch. there are grapefruits, lemons, and oranges going into the jar of happiness once I get them candied (hopefully today). last night I was busy paring the pith out of my peels while watching The Big Bang Theory.
having already tackled the Oliver + S sailboat pants, the skirt was smooth -er- sailing...wow, no wonder people on Project Runway always opt to make dresses and skirts over pants.
so I got this jacket at a thrift store a while ago. it's a Lord and Taylor women's linen casual suit jacket. the wrinkliness of it probably should have discouraged me from buying it, but that would be too smart for me
I had it laying around, waiting to become something else, and as I poked through my fabrics for this project I decided it was a particularly good nautical color.
and I really tried to use something besides my sarah jane balloon fabric, but I held a bunch of other things up to the linen and nothing else was as good a match, and would go well with some of Clovers tops. so I guess with the sailboat pants and skirt both having the balloons we have the makings of a collection. lol
I took a closeup picture that is further down on this post, but what you can sort of see in this shot is the cute kick pleat detail. I think it adds something sweet to the skirt, besides just giving her better range of motion. you might also be able to see the splotch of peanut butter on her left butt cheek
for the record, this is not the shirt I actually wanted to be taking these pictures with.
but it isn't that bad now that I look at it. the pink matches the balloons at least
had to throw this one of Violet in there
my beautiful blueberry baby
in case you couldn't tell (right) Clover is Angelina Ballerina....her latest toddler obsession.
if you could just ignore the mangled buttonhole, what I was REALLY taking a picture of was the bias bound interfacing piece. the pattern calls for finishing it with a zig zag stitch, but linen is so sheddy (not a real word) that I opted for the little skinny bias tape I scored at a thrift store a while back.
I'm starting to get fussy about how the inside of the clothes look.....
and here is the little kick pleat. what you might also notice is that I finally found the energy to thread the top of my machine with matching thread. not so much with the bobbin though. it was already wound with white thread, and it's the only one I have so I had to make sure all my hems were sewn wrong side down.
I really like how this little skirt turned out. there will be more of these in the future! not terribly logical for winter approaching, but I guess that's what leggings are for