Friday, February 10, 2017

Snow Day

Yesterday's snow day was spent – what else? – shoveling snow, cooking, and knitting. On the shoveling side, the snow was powdery broken flakes because of the strong winds. We got a good seven inches, a surprise after the dry and warm weather of most of this winter.

On the cooking side, I used January's blood orange marmalade to make Nigella Lawson's richly fragrant Pantry-Shelf Orange-Chocolate Cake (in How to Be a Domestic Goddess and also scattered around the web). It's easy to mix up, appealingly lumpy from the marmalade peel (the lumps look a bit like raisins), and super sweet and sticky good. Here's the elevation view.

Marmalade cake, elevation view

Apparently the cake is so named because every proper British household has the necessary on hand at all times. The author suggests making it after a trying day and eating it in front of the television instead of dinner. I like the cake, but think the sugar load of a dinner-sized portion would render me comatose. Next time, I'd reduce or even eliminate the sugar – the marmalade is sweet enough – and consider substituting cocoa for the chocolate for a lighter cake. Like many chocolate cakes, this one went from too damp in the center when tested with a skewer to scorched on the bottom and sides very quickly. The scorched parts were hard and bitter at first, but unexpectedly absorbed moisture and flavor from the rest of the cake and became soft and interesting. Huh.

In the struggle to get a decent photo of the cake, I discovered that to get a nice elevation view of a slice, one needs to push it off-center on the plate, as revealed in the plan view. Another huh.

Marmalade cake, plan view

The marmalade cake was not the only cooking going on. For the February FIJ Challenge (salt), I made soup base. It seems to be vaguely trendy, a mix of vegetables and salt ground to a paste, ready to be used like bouillion cubes or miso paste. Alas, that effort turned out to be such a disaster it requires its own blog post to do justice to the enormity of fail. To be continued, sigh.

As consolation I knit a bit on a shortie sock I started on Inauguration Day, Send in the Clowns by Adrienne Fong, using recycled Ballooney yarn. The symbolism? Why ever do you ask? It's entirely coincidence, coincidence I tell you, that I stopped knitting this colorway eight years ago and am recycling it now. Unsurprisingly, the yarn flashed strongly at the gusset, chili red on on side...

Send in the Clowns, red flash

... and lime green on the other.

Send in the Clowns, green flash

I was thinking about putting tabi toes on the sock. On a boat red is port (left) and green is starboard (right), so were this sock a boat, it should be a left sock. Does that make sense? No? I'm too tired from shoveling snow to explain. Then there's the knotty question of what to do should the second sock flash in the same way as the first. Not that has ever happened, but still.

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