• Daily Life

    holiday prep

    Yesterday we went to Dublin to do any shopping that could be done in the real world. I was moderately successful; Ted was not. He was, however, very, very tired after tromping all over hell and breakfast without finding anything. Poor guy.

    I had some kind of story I was going to tell about the shopping, but I seem to have forgotten it. Unless it was the fact that when I stood to get off the bus, coming home, the bottom fell out of one of the bags I had, and everything in it fell to the floor. The woman in the seat next to me, trying hard to be helpful but not understanding that the bottom had fallen out of the bag, started picking things up and putting them back into the bag, so they kept falling on my feet.

    I am not, I confess, feeling wildly in the Making Goodies mood this year. I have a few friends who have Special Food Needs for whom I wish to cater, but overall my enthusiasm is pretty low. Possibly I have too much on my plate, or maybe it’s just that I’ve made 23402958659 jars of apple stuff already this year and am sort of fooded out.

    But I’ve just made my first batch of vegan fudge, primarily for the dairy-and-egg-allergic son of a friend. Five seconds after I poured the last ingredient in I had Several Ideas on how to improve it next year, but it should be fine for a six year old (and the other egg-allergic adult friend I have who is also benefiting from this experiment will likely be more discerning but not complaining :)), and while I believe it’ll want keeping in the fridge for best texture, it’s setting up better than I thought it might, so I’m pretty pleased with it as an experiment.

    Because I was getting the ingredients for that anyway, I’m making a batch of dairy-free fudge for another friend, too, and then a batch of regular fudge to send along with the Specialty Fudges so the snowflakes don’t have to share with the rest of their families. :)

    Aside from that, though…meh. It just seems like a lot of work for things that I’m likely to end up eating myself and would rather not.

    (clearly an alien has taken over my brain. i’m sure it’ll return it to me soon, and i’ll get in the goodie-making mood…)

  • Cooking

    worst. cooking. ever.

    I have, in a really stunning run, made two bad batches of fudge in a row and followed it up with pie crust worse than what I made at Thanksgiving, which was, up until then, easily the worst I’d ever made. But that’s okay, because the pie I then made was too sweet, too!

    Srsly. *dies in a pit*

    I’ve now gotten all the necessary ingredients to make experimental allergy-safe fudge for my friend’s dairy-and-eggs-allergic son, and since I was in the market anyway I also got enough to make dairy-free fudge, which is less experimental at this point, for another friend. I will then also make regular fudge for the other members of their families, so the allergy-ridden people are not obliged to share their limited supply of Safe Fudge.

    I just hope it all turns out better than the past several baking attempts, because really, this is embarrassing.

    And yes, if the dairy-and-egg-free fudge turns out, I’ll post the recipe, although the key ingredient is AFAICT impossible to come by on this side of the pond. Still, could be helpful for Americans, or anybody with an America-to-Europe supply chain…

  • Baking,  Kitsnacks,  Recipes

    Kitsnacks: Apple Pecan Cookies

    About 45 minutes ago I said I thought I was going to go invent some apple pecan cookies, and did. It’s possible I should invent baking recipes more often. This is my third or so original recipe and so far I’m three for three…


    Kit’s Apple Pecan Cookies
    1/2 c soft butter
    1/2 c brown sugar
    1 egg
    1 tsp vanilla
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1 1/3 c flour
    1 c chopped toasted pecans
    1 c peeled, diced apple

    Cream butter and sugar; add egg & vanilla. Add dry ingredients. Stir in pecans & apples. Bake 12 minutes at 350° F. Makes approximately 24 cookies.

    Eat. Try to leave some for the other people in the house.

    Baker’s Notes:
    I used 1.5c flour and am out of vanilla; the cookies I’ve made are sliiiiiightly more crumbly than I would like, so I think the addition of the vanilla and the slight reduction of flour are probably key to making them ideal.

    These aren’t super sweet cookies, which is what I was going for, but I immediately considered the possibility they needed a powdered sugar glaze/drizzle. Alternately, I might add a quarter cup of white sugar next time, to see if I can get a slightly chewier rather than cakier texture. But they’re pretty darn good. :)

  • Actual Manor House,  Food,  Gardening

    a fruit problem

    We discovered we have a crabapple tree in the front garden. Chaos immediately ensued, resulting in this:


    I may have a fruit problem.

    Today I washed and chopped and boiled and strained all EIGHT POUNDS of those, and by the time I was done I was too tired to make jelly even if all I had to do was pour it all into a pot and boil it with sugar for fifteen minutes. And actually jar it. That was the part that seemed too hard. But the juice is an amazing shade of red and it’ll be interesting to see what color (and flavour) the resulting jam is. I hope it’s nice, because chopping all those up was a real you-know-what in the ass, as a teenage friend of mine once said to her mother. (“Honey,” her mother replied, “it’s all right to say ‘pain’.” :))

    Yesterday I made more wild blackberry jam and apple jelly with cinnamon. The cinnamon apple jelly is a completely different color than the other two batches, and I don’t know if that’s because I boiled the others longer or if the cinnamon had some kind of dramatic effect on its gelling (because it seemed to gel a little faster) and color or if the two or three not-Bramley-apples that are more yellow-skinned than the Bramleys affected it or what, but it’s very pretty:


    It’s got a faint pinkish tint I can’t get the phone’s sensor to register, but it’s very pretty, anyway. :)

    The other day I found an apple dessert recipe that I thought looked good, and then I made it and it wasn’t so much good as “I think you could probably get out of a prison sentence with this stuff” delicious, so I made a second batch and yep, it’s that good.


    I’ll post the recipe in a couple days. I’m too lazy to do it tonight. :)

    I’m down to the last half basket of apples to process. I have about 12 pounds of frozen apples, four pounds of frozen apple pulp to turn into jam (because after overhearing me mumbling to myself about whether it was worth saving to make into more apple jam, which is what gave me the napalm-style burns, Ted got a spoon and tried the apple jam that was in the fridge, then left the room eating it straight from the jar, implying to me that it was worth saving…!), currently about 8 cups of crabapple juice and probably four pounds of crabapple pulp to turn into jelly and jam, another batch’s worth of wild blackberries, and half a batch of strawberries that I need to get rhubarb for so I can make one more batch of strawberry-rhubarb jam.

    The weather is supposed to remain unseasonably nice for the next few days, so on Friday I’ll probably go out for a last foray into the blackberries because


    there are still some ripening out there, and a lot down in the park where I got a couple of other big hauls. And then I’ll be done with the berries, I think, but we’ll have another apple-picking party soon and I’m going to have to figure out what the hell to do with all of them then. Like find out if there’s a local cider-maker or something…

    Oh, I also got a new Old Races short story finished for the Patreon patrons, and should get that posted tomorrow. :)

  • Food

    I got words this week.

    I got quite a few words this week, actually. Twelve or so thousand, which is a whole lot more than I’ve done in a long time. I even had a 5K day yesterday, which lent some faint hope that I’m actually getting back into the habit, swing of things, and stride. I reached 30K on REDEEMER, which is probably the 25% mark (it could be the 1/3rd mark, but probably not).

    It feels like that’s about all I’ve been doing, though. I’m trying to figure out how to store more frozen apples, because I have really stupendous numbers of them to freeze, and although I have at least twice as much freezer space as Irish houses usually have, it’s not…nearly…enough. I’ve got more jam jars incoming and plan to make at least two more batches of apple jelly, although I probably won’t follow it up with apple jam because I’m still healing from the napalmjam burns from the last batch. And also it’s not worth straining without a food mill.

    OMG, Rescue Bots is so awesome. They keep having pop culture references. 2001 (“I’m afraid I can’t do that, Cody,” spoken by a virtual reality video game; Skyrim (“…until I took an arrow to the knee…”), and just now, best of all, Back to the Future, spoken by Optimus Prime himself: “Where we’re going, we don’t need boats.” <3 <3 <3 <3 bahahahaha <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 :) Ahem. Where was I. Talking about apples. So many apples. I'm going to go figure out what to do with some apples...

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