On Saturday I baked an almond-flavored sponge, and when it was cool I split it into three layers. I made a coffee-almond zabaglione, enriched with whipped cream and stabilized with unflavored gelatin, and layered it into the cake. I tried to make a mirror glaze, but this turns out to be a tricky undertaking. I rushed it and wound up with something too liquid. So I punted, and covered the cake with chocolate ganache instead. Maybe next year I'll be able to get the actual mirror glaze sheen. But I can totally see the candle or the flash or something reflected in my chocolate ganache, so I'm thinking it counts.
He requested Thai iced coffee to go with the cake. He has a whole routine for making Thai iced coffee, but I was not going to be infusing condensed milk with cardamom on a day when I was already washing enough dishes to make an armada for Arrietty's entire extended family and perhaps the fairies from Artemis Fowl too.
Instead I took a mostly empty half-and-half bottle. I poured a can of sweetened condensed milk into it, and then eyeballed an equivalent quantity of half-and-half from a different bottle. I shook like fury and used the result to top off glasses of iced coffee for our guests -- easy and crowd-pleasing.
I spent a big chunk of Saturday trying to coax my sewing machine back to life. Have I ever told you my story of learning to sew? I tried to learn in junior high, but my mother declared me unteachable. (Not that I have any lingering baggage about being labeled unteachable or anything.) Instead I taught myself in my mid-twenties. It was one of my prouder undertakings.
Garment manufacture is an unexpectedly complex art. I've posted before about the mysteries of darts and tucks, armscyes and facings. I don't have the patience to be really good at it, but I love to dabble around the edges. On Friday night I cut out Stella's witch dress, and then I sat down to make a little headway on the sewing. After one seam I needed a new bobbin...only my machine didn't want me to wind a bobbin. I went to bed, thinking it would be an easy fix for Elwood in the morning. His hands are stronger than mine.
In the morning, though, it was like a reenactment of The Enormous Turnip. We hollered and we hauled, we teamed and we towed, and we just could not pull any turnips out of that sewing machine. More urgently, we also could not persuade it to wind a bobbin, and when I took it apart to see if I could find the source of the problem, I discovered that it was a big problem, a problem that had been building for a while. I discovered that I would only be sewing a witch dress in five-stitch increments if I were to sew it on that machine.
I discovered that I could justify spending $120 on a replacement with surprising ease. Once I had a functioning machine, it was straightforward to make a dress and appliqué a bathing suit to its front. I appliquéd a towel to her cloak, and decorated both dress and cloak with gold glitter glue in lieu of actual sand. We rounded up sunglasses and flip-flops and a plastic pail, along with a $2 witch hat from Target. These are the pre-glitter-glue versions:
She couldn't have been any more pleased with her sandwitch costume.
And then, because I am either a badass or an incorrigible procrastinator, tonight I whipped up another black cloak in the same 45-minute window in which I also made dinner and helped a kid carve a pumpkin. (The cloak was for a boy who accepted a last-minute invitation to hand out candy in costume to trick-or-treaters in another neighborhood, except he had no costume. I guess that part is not me being a procrastinator.)
Now I am kind of done with making things for a while.