Archive | May, 2012

Forget-Me-Not

10 May

On my walk to the train station yesterday I passed through the wood near our house and it was filled with forget-me-nots in full bloom.  It turns out their name is more appropriate than I had previously given it credit for.  As I walked down the path, the air warm, fragrant with the smell of Spring blossoming, the flowers swaying in a gentle breeze, and the sun peeking out behind the clouds, a memory was conjured up from the depths of my childhood in River John.

I am not sure how old I was, but I must have been five or younger.  My mother had gone to the shop and taken us with her for one reason or another (in this particular instance I think it was my brother Ryan and I).  We parked near the shop and she went into the Co-op and specifically told us to stay in the car.

But, while she was gone we sneaked out of the car and into the lot beside the shop.  We walked through the unkept greenery and trees and began to pick handfuls of forget-me-nots; pink and purple and blue… but mostly blue ones.  We gathered our handfuls together into a bunch and placed them on the steering column, for my mother when she got back into the car.  Then we got back into our seats and pretended like nothing had happened.

I am not sure what happened next, but I do have a vague memory of my mother getting back into the car, seeing the forget-me-nots, then presumably (rather quickly) deducing our actions, and turning around to smile at us in the back seat.

What strikes me most about this memory is not that it was so abruptly brought to mind when I saw the flowers yesterday morning, or even that I remembered it happening so clearly*, but the sensation that I get when I cast myself back into that memory; the feelings of being five years old again and taking part in a secret act to surprise my mother – the pure joy of knowing that despite my actions being in direct disobedience to her instructions, it was for the best of reasons and therefore it was terribly exciting, fun, and right.

*And if this memory turns out to be untrue (I am never sure if I can trust the memory of a five year old, let alone the memory of a five year old after twenty years have passed – maybe it never happened, maybe I have got all of the details incorrect, maybe…), it doesn’t really matter to me, because I know that yesterday morning for a few minutes while I walked through the woods I felt like I was five years old again and all that mattered was that I was going to let my mother know I loved her.

Happy (early) Mother’s Day Mum.

I love you.

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Complete: Wedding Cake Test-Run Two

2 May

Alright, so I haven’t posted much about my various cooking/baking adventures lately, but the wait will have be worth it (because in my mind, you’ve all been waiting with bated breath for my next post).  In case your interested, I also have another blog ‘From Here to Here‘, which is a bit more (and I stress a bit more) educational.  Because it seems that here, at ‘Osteo[pun]’ I seem to have diverged rather quickly to posting about various pies, cakes, biscuits, and other edible items, where I said that initally this blog would feature all manner of distraction.  But this is only because baking/cooking is what I most often use to distract my mind completely from my research. And I say most often… because in a few days, I will have another very fun post to share with you.  But right now it’s still a secret!

And now on to today’s post: Wedding Cake Test-Run Two.  You may remember (but if you don’t the link is coming shortly so you can read the back story) that a couple of months ago I performed Wedding Cake Test-Run One, in an attempt to discover if I could successfully use sugarpaste to decorate a cake (and successfully in this context means being able to decorate a cake to a standard acceptable for a wedding).  Well, it turned out to be a great success!  A great delicious success!  I learned a lot in the process and decided that the next test run would be to determine whether or not I could make a tiered cake without it collapsing.  I mentioned to my friend Sara (one of the to-be-weds at the wedding in question for which I am preparing this cake [and I’m aware that was a mega awkward sentence, but I am too lazy to try and figure out a better way to write it]) and she let me know that they had chosen a theme/concept for their wedding, all around the circus/fairground.  What a super neat idea for a wedding!  It immediately brought to mind a lot of really fun things you could do with a cake.  I did a few searches for some inspiration and one issue that immediately came to mind is that if you go too circus-y, it just ends up looking like a cake for a kid’s party.  I decided that I needed to pick out some strong features (colours, patterns, etc) and use this to create the circus-y feel, but still keep the cake looking wedding-y.  And so, Test-Run Two not only became a test for making a tiered cake, but also using sugarpaste on sugarpaste decorations, since I had never done this before.  I even used colours (and nice colours too, not like the mega ugly yellow from my first test-run)!

I learned a lot in the process of decorating this cake, so I know a few things that I would do differently next time, but all in all it went really well.  I drew up an illustration ahead of time and worked out the measurements for the decorations, which was something I had figured out from the last time – go in with a plan!  And then I baked!  I made a mutated Victoria Sponge cake, with blackberry jam.  And then I iced!  I used a simple butter frosting to smooth over the cakes and even up the edges.  And then I covered in sugarpaste!  I rolled out the sugarpaste and covered both the top tier and bottom tier and left it to harden over night.  And then I decorated!  This was the bit that involved the learning curve.  I am not going to go through this test-run step by step like last time – but if you have any questions about the step by step process, just ask me in the comments.  I’m simply going to post lots of pictures of the final results and you can all let me know what you think.  Any feedback is appreciated (but kind feedback is more appreciated).  You can hover over the photos for extra comments, if you feel like you need some guidance!

Huzzah!  Cake!

Look!  Tiers!

I wanted to lick it so bad!

And there's even a star on top!

Ta da!

Tiers

Bottom tier: dots and bunting!

Top tier: stripes and star!

A view from the top.

Huzzah indeed!

I made this sign by hand and I am super proud!

Look!  You can see the inside of the cake!

That is the cut-out for two slices, just in case you're judging.

It wasn't there for long.

Sara came over this afternoon to see the cake (and taste test it too).   It was super yummy.  Obviously the flavour options are pretty much endless for their actual wedding cake, but I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed the blackberry Victoria Sponge instead of the traditional strawberry or raspberry – it was quite different!  We also had a good talk about ideas for the actual wedding cake: colours, decorations, tier styles, sheet cakes, logisitcs, etc!  And now we have a good idea of what I will be doing for the final cake.  The next step is that I am going to draw a few designs out based on our ideas and then Sara and Will can choose which one they like best!  Oh and of course Will gets to taste test the cake too, since I sent a piece home with Sara – so it will hopefully get the full approval by the end of the week and then we can sign the contract (by which I mean, them saying, yeah, go ahead, make our wedding cake).

Can you believe they are trust me with such an important thing!?!

It’s going to be so much fun!!!