Tuesday, April 21, 2015

IOU: 1 of Many

Goooood morning! I'm currently at home while the very fine men of St. John Chimney are making very necessary repairs to our chimney flue and flashing at the roofline.

Since I've got a handful of hours with not much I can do (at least until they move the work outside--at the moment, they're in and out of the basement), I have finally uploaded and organized the bunch of photos I need in order to do some posting on here.

I'll slowly work my way forward, but for now here are recaps of St. Patrick's Day and Easter.

St. Patrick's Day fell right during spring break at the U, which was awesome. St. Paddy's is my Thanksgiving, my Super Bowl, of cookery. I love the chance to try out a new and authentic Irish recipe or two, and so leading up to the Big Day, I spent a few hours faceplanted in my handful of Irish cookbooks, including my latest edition, Clodagh McKenna's new book, Clodagh's Irish Kitchen. While my holiday menu was rather simple (it was just me and John--we weren't hosting this year), because I planned to make everything fresh, it still meant about 9 hours on my feet in the kitchen. Thank goodness for those kitchen Crocs John bought me for Christmas: life savers!

The menu was thus:
Guinness beef pie
Sticky whiskey carrots
Brown Bread
Chocolate Guinness cake for dessert

The feast itself was DELICIOUS and plentiful--both John and I enjoyed the leftovers as lunches for the rest of the week! I'm pretty proud, too, of how lovely it all looked laid out on the table. Like a danged magazine feature:

It was nice to spend more time on savories than on sweets for a change. I'm a baker at heart, but I'm finding more confidence in my cookery as well, and it's fun to sort of let loose where exact measurements aren't as important.

St. Paddy's dessert was probably my favorite, though--the cake was incredibly rich (let's not talk about the quantity of butter...just don't think about it...) and delicious, and of course we enjoyed that, too, the rest of the week! The cake lends itself to look like the top of a perfectly poured pint of Guinness anyway, but I chose to add one small detail: a little shamrock that nodded to the foam art you sometimes see on beer heads. What do you think:

Pretty legit, right?

Easter was an easy affair, as we all headed to John's grandparents' down on the SoJo coast. All we were responsible for were dessert and wine. Well, it turned out no one drinks wine, so John and I each had a glass of the white and just brought the rest of the bottle (and the unopened bottle of red) home for later enjoyment.

For Easter desserts, I almost always err on the side of lemon flavors. It just says, "Yay, spring is here!" to me, and it's also one of John's grandpa's favorite flavors, so I really can't go wrong.

Since the recipe was simple: subtle lemon cupcakes with a tangy-sweet lemon frosting, I decided to mess around a bit with decoration. I bought super fun cupcake papers and tried a new frosting technique (though it's far easier than my usual piping, so not really sure I can brag about it!) and added little sugar icing flowers. They were a huge hit!

I like to keep my decorations just enough to be special but not so much that they become cumbersome to eat. I haven't used fondant yet, and likely won't because A) I don't think it tastes good and B) it often makes things a little hard to eat.

I think for now I'm on the right track. Everyone keeps telling me I should totally do this for a living, and oh how I'd like to. But I worry it'd become a chore and then I wouldn't love it as much. I am doing some more small-batch orders for friends, which is really the best: I get to try new things, make lovelies that I know will be appreciated and enjoyed, and also I don't have to eat them all myself. haha Cuz let's be honest...I can certainly spare the calories!

I'm finally underway with laundry nook improvements, so I'll have a post on that soon, and once the chimney is under control, I can also talk about that with a nice lead-in to what the hell we're going to do about the interior water damage in our guest room.

For now, I'm sipping coffee and listening to the banging and clanging of industry in my basement. (And hoping they're done soon so I can let Hamlet out of the guest room, where I've had to sequester him while the guys are in and out. #mommyguilt


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