A creature was stirring   1 comment

Cake to ice by the bike head-light.

Christmas Eve! A day I don’t have to try to cram both the day’s name and number into a sentence without making it look horribly unwieldy! Hurrah!

There are only two activities permitted on Christmas Eve: wrapping presents, and icing the cake. Hopefully getting them both done before 3am because you always have to be up early on Chrimbletide Day because it’s a roast turkey dinner for breakfast at about 2pm or so.

But today’s breakfast was a porridgey treat, and as I ate I browsed the web, and received an email. An old friend had bought me the Paradox Complete Pack on Steam.

If you’re not aware, Paradox are a game developer and publisher, and they tend to favour long, in-depth, hardcore historical strategy games. Many of their games could keep you occupied for hundreds of hours if you let them, so an entire pack? It is an awesome thing, in the true sense of the word.

It’s also brilliant, because I’ve wanted to try a lot of their games, but have been too scared/miserly/busy to take the plunge. Now I just have to have an entire year off work to do them justice.

Of course I fired up Steam to check that this was a real thing, and to accept the gift, and wound up having a nice long conversation with my friend. I don’t speak to him often enough, and should go down to London to visit…

Eventually he had to get a train, and I had to get on. Presents were wrapped and iPlayer was watched; topical comedy is the best source of news. About halfway through the wrapping it was time for dinner, so that (some simple tomato not-pasta-sauce stuff with some bread) was had, and washing up was done.

Then I thought I’d better ice the cake, as it was getting late. I made three quantities of the White Chocolate Frosting recipe that would be my republican icing (ie. 150g chocolate, 210g butter and 210g icing sugar). Just as I was pouring the melted chocolate into the buttercream, it went dark.

It remained dark. I remained standing, chocolate bowl in one hand, spoon in the other, both hopefully over the icing bowl, for some time. Ten to two on Christmas morning and the electricity has gone away. And it looked like it wasn’t going to just be a few-second hiccup. Carefully I put the chocolate bowl down, and felt my way out of the kitchen to my bike, found the handlebars, turned on the headlamp and extracted it from its holder. Sometimes I’m glad I’m a cyclist. I opened the kitchen blind to see how much of the electricity had gone away, and it looked like most of it had; in the distance, a single tower-block shone, and to the left, there was a faint glow that might have been emergency lights at the school down the road. All else was pitch black. So I went outside.

It was mostly a cloudy night, but out the back there was a gap I could see stars through. And not just stars; a single, bright red point glared at me from the south. Was that Mars? I’d never noticed it glow red before, despite knowing that that’s what it’s supposed to do. My ‘phone’s Starchart application confirmed that it was indeed the god of war. Looking around to the East I spotted a star flickering red and blue; my ‘phone informed me it was Arcturus, an orange giant about thirty-seven light-years away. I spent several happy minutes admiring stellar and interstellar objects, pleased at this present the power-cut had accidentally given me, before I remembered that I’d just poured melted chocolate onto cold buttercream, and probably ought to mix that in before it congealed.

Fortunately it hadn’t set yet, so I beat it up and spread it on the cake. The lights came on just as I was finishing.

And here it is. Click for Big-O-Vision™ as normal:
Cake, finished.

To prove that the marzipan and icing quantities weren’t disproportionate to the cake itself, and to show you the innards of the monster:
Cake, cut

That wasn’t my bedtime, sadly; there were still plenty more presents to wrap, so I set about them with gusto and a couple of small glasses of liqueur. A second power cut (this one only lasting five or ten minutes) just after four AM persuaded me that I should give up and go to bed, so I was asleep by about five. Christmas day is the one day of the year you can absolutely guarantee you won’t get a decent night’s kip.

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One response to “A creature was stirring

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  1. Looks like a very tasty cake. Next year I’m definitely making one.

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