Archive | January, 2011

How to save a Boston Cream Pie tottering on the edge of disaster.

30 Jan

A Boston Cream Pie has three components — the cake part, the custard part, and the chocolate glaze part. I decided to make one for the first time with very little time to spare to bring to a dinner party last night. Something went wrong with each component, and YET, I managed to salvage a rather tasty dessert. Perhaps not much to look at, but easy on the gullet.

First mishap: The sponge/cake part. It needed to be baked in a 9″ springform pan. Okay. But mine leaked. So half of the sponge wound up on the bottom of the oven. See photo below: I figured I’d make a trifle or something, and that all wasn’t lost, so I went on to the next component while what survived of the cake cooled. In the end, I was able to slice what remained in half and made two thin layers of cake.

Second mishap: The custard/scrambled egg part. It curdled. I know that an ice cube will rescue curdled hollandaise sauce, but I didn’t have one, so I poured a bunch of heavy cream (cold, from the fridge) in and transferred it out of the saucepan. So far, so good. It uncurdled, but it was really, really hot. So I put it in the freezer. (See photo)

Third mishap: The chocolate glaze part. It was bitter and there wasn’t enough to cover the cake (judging by the looks of it). So I added a bunch of confectioners sugar and shortening to make it into a better glaze (a very good decision).

So, in the end, I managed to make a huge mess of the kitchen, a big pile of dishes in the sink, and a kind of ugly looking cake, but it was a hit at the party. The end.

Free loo!

27 Jan

I have made a big commitment to living frugally in order to finish the home renovations and then set out on traveling the world.

To those ends, I’ve vowed to attempt to install a new guest bathroom and a little kitchenette in the guest sitting room for $1500 total. Thusly, I need to get as much free stuff as possible.

First step — a free toilet. An Episcopalian toilet for free, no less. Found it on Craigslist, it had been decommissioned from a local rectory. Picked it up with the help of Liz, my trusty companion on crazy adventures, and we hauled it up to the top floor where it will one day flush contentedly.

Am now searching for a free sink and bath/shower (fiberglass would be nice, as Liz has refused to help me carry a cast iron tub to the fourth floor. I can’t blame her).

Skunkie’s foray into remodelling

27 Jan

Skunkie has always had some sort of an issue with one particular cushion on the couch in the library. Over the years, she has scratched and pawed at this one area. Now unlike most of my belongings, I bought this one new, from a fancy pants furniture company (in the clearance area, though), so I don’t think a family of squirrels or something lived in it previously (‘tho maybe that’s why it was on clearance?).

Because she has also barfed on it (see: corn-cob incident) and ripped up the fancy upholstery with her razor sharp talons (that she refuses to allow anyone to touch, so her twice-a-year nail clipping requires three people…), I put a slipcover and sheet over it so it’s less visibly horrifying.

But the other day, she decided she’d had enough and had to excise the evil spirits and create a little dog nest in the offending cushion. Voila:

Winter of our discontent

27 Jan

Make it stop!

21 Jan

When will it stop snowing???????

When will this:

Turn back into this:

On cats and boxes. And cats in boxes

21 Jan

There is no easy description of the relationship between cats and boxes. Sometimes boxes are scary. Sometimes boxes must be sat upon. Sometimes boxes must be sat in. Sometimes boxes must be destroyed.

Some cats (Maru, q.v.) cannot resist jumping into any box that has the misfortune to cross their paths. Claudette is such a cat.

Some cats (Bastet, q.v.) are ancient Egyptian deities and scorn the foolish untouchable type cat that would lower itself to romping in a box. Jerome (ss) is such a cat-god.

The dog is, of course, unmoved.

E-bay update

17 Jan

Impeccable taste has its rewards. 🙂

I’m closing in on $500 (also known as half of what I owe for heating oil) in ebay and Craigslist sales. So far, so good-ish. One fellow said that some broken down old candlesticks that he bought that were marked sterling (and that I said were broken down and only good for scrap or repair) were stainless steel and “rocks”. Not really sure what that’s all about, but I’m going to refund his money and bring them to a local jewelery scrapper. They’re definitely silver.

I’m hoping to hit a cool thousand in sales, as I have some more jewelry to list, plus a glass that vase by a famous glass maker (that I picked up for a buck at a junk store).

I’m *very* eager for the things to be gone, as I feel they’re cluttering up my mental space (and they’re definitely cluttering up my visual space).

I’ve decided to abandon almost all high heels, and will likely make a big donation to that group that takes professional clothing for women entering the work world (can’t remember the name of it). Last year’s ankle sprain healed improperly and the high heels are perilous. I’ll keep one low pair. Okay, maybe two. But the skinny high ones are going. Hello middle age and comfortable shoes — I understand now. I apologize for my youthful mocking.