21 February, 2012

Cakes and clean kitchens.

Things are pretty good.

I cleaned our kitchen from top to bottom (literally) this weekend. This would be between holding and feeding Madam while Himself painted a wall in the living room. Our house is looking good. We chose a lovely shade of duck egg blue for the wall, which has done an admirable job of covering up the patch job Himself undertook to fill the holes left by the previous owners. Not sure why there were so many holes in the wall over the fireplace, maybe they couldn't decide how high to hang the mirror...

I didn't necessarily intend to spend most of Sunday in bleach up to my elbows. All I started out to do was clean the glass hood over the hob, but to get a good angle on it I had to get up on the ladder... that's when I saw the tops of the cabinets. Once seen, they could not be unseen. Out came the bleach and multiple scrubber pads, not to mention most of a small rainforest's worth of paper towels. (I know, I know, shame on me. I stick with reusable as often as I can, but sometimes only a paper towel will do.) That led to a total re-org of all my kitcheny bits, including barricading Sophie's regular perch on top of the pantry in an attempt to stop her from hanging over my shoulder like a grotesque while I cook. Yeah, I said grotesque. Because a gargoyle has a spout in its mouth. I learn things from Stephen Fry.

The other highlight of this week was the opportunity to cook a proper meal for a change. As I'm sure you're all tired of hearing, Himself doesn't eat. I mean, he eats, but he doesn't want me to have dinner ready for him when he gets in at night. He says if he eats a big meal in the evening he can't sleep well. (Yes, he's a bit of a granddad about it.) So he eats toast, or cheese and crackers, or a bowl of cereal. Skinny bas...ket.

Our next door neighbours are fab. I chat with the mum regularly, the dad has helped Paul out with numerous household jobs, and the sons are both perfectly nice guys. I had momentary thoughts of matchmaking the older one with one of my sisters, but I couldn't pick which one to set him up with so I finally gave it up for lost. Anyway, the mum and the younger son share a birthday. Let's face it, I'm skint, so I decided that instead of proper gifts I'd cook them a meal. I waffled around with choices, but didn't want to freak them out with anything too exotic, so I settled on chicken pot pie with new potatoes. The fun part came with dessert. I pinned a cake months ago that I'd been looking for an excuse to make. Thus the journey to fourteen layers began. Yes, fourteen layers. Well, it was meant to be fourteen... it turned out more like eighteen or twenty. I just kept going as long as there was batter left.

I'll say now, this was the second fiddliest cake I've ever made. It's only second because the most fiddly cake I've ever made requires a candy thermometer for the icing. This narrowly escapes the title, though. It's no joke. It probably wouldn't have been so bad if I'd taken the advice of pretty much every person who'd tried it and posted online, which would have been to buy a load of the disposable aluminum cake pans from the pound store. No, I decided to just cycle my three silicone pans through the oven multiple times. Three hours later, I had a cake. *lol* No joke. Between taking one out of the pan, cleaning it and the non-stick liner, waiting for it to cool, filling it again and getting it back in the oven, it was a long process. Even so, it was very fun. The meal went over very well, apparently they all ate so much they were having a hard time walking afterwards, which I take as a compliment of the highest order.

Next on my list are the curtain's for Madam's room. Maybe I'll get a start on those this weekend and continue with the productive trend. Or maybe I'll bake some more, as Himself's sister and her husband are coming up to stay over on Saturday. She's a sucker for anything chocolate... maybe I should make the monster cake again? We'll see if the pound store has those pans, that's going to be the deciding factor. For now, I'll leave you with this. When the neighbour saw the cake for the first time, the first thing out of her mouth was "Have you seen the movie Mathilda?" *grin* Rock on with the massive cakedom. And a good night to you all.

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