November 25th, 2011


adventures in baking

Well, my instinct on the maple syrup cake turned out to be right. I’d thought, as I was mixing it up, “I should throw some cinnamon and spices in here,” but then I thought, nah, first time, I’ll follow the recipe. And it turned out to be a very nice, mild, very sweet cake with a texture and flavor like a spice cake someone hadn’t put the spices in. :) I also made the maple frosting recipe, which made a truly enormous amount of frosting that was very very sweet indeed. But I don’t think you can put anything else except maybe a vanilla frosting on a maple cake, because the cake itself really is very mild, so a, say, chocolate frosting, would totally overwhelm it. The recipe I used is here, if you want to give it a shot. It’s nice. It’s not exciting, but it’s nice.

I have for the first time made what I considered to be successful scalloped potatoes and ham. :) I didn’t over-parboil the potatoes, I sliced them the appropriate thinness, I made a nice white sauce which I did not forget to put garlic into, I chopped the ham into satisfyingly small bites, and I baked it just long enough to make the top all golden and crunchy and lovely. I forgot to put an onion in, but other than that I was very pleased with myself.

We’re having Thanksgiving on Sunday. No doubt there will be another Food Report then. :) Pies to make (and maybe fudge!), you know.

(x-posted from the essential kit)

Black Friday

You want to shop really truly small-business local for Black Friday? Here are a few options:

Harry Connolly has just e-pubbed the first/last 20 Palaces novel, TWENTY PALACES. It’s a prequel, and also the last 20 Palaces novel for the foreseeable future. Buy it through Paypal at his site (the above link) and he gets the seriously lion’s share of the proceeds, so that’s the best way to get it!

Laura Anne Gilman is less than $1K away from full funding on her Lands Vin novella–and she’s also halfway done *writing* it, so for heaven’s sake, the opportunity is rife!

And since I haven’t mentioned it in a while, the Old Races Short Story Project is wrapping up at the end of December, so if you’d like to get your half-dozen Old Races short stories, this is the ideal time to do it. The final story will be sent to patrons on December 1st, so strike while the iron is hot!

In other news, it was a very exciting mail day. A giant box of 2012 calendars arrived, far more quickly than anticipated! I’m pleased with them, so I’ll be getting those into envelopes and into the mail this weekend.

Even more excitingly, my Brennan stereo arrived! I’ve been wanting what I kept calling a “solid state” stereo, one that was basically just a hard drive wired to play music, into which I could put a USB stick & up-or-download more music, pretty much since the advent of digital music. Last year Charlie Stross pointed me at the Brennans, and this year I got one! I am full of squee! Like so: SQUEE!

Someone asked, so here’s the dinner party of my own characters:

1. Janx, because, well!
2. Daisani, similarly
3. Belinda, though I might want her on the far side of shatterproof glass
4. Rodrigo, who is nearly the only decent human being in the Inheritors’ books, except he’s not
5. Gary, because who wouldn’t want Gary over for dinner?
6. Chelsea, because she’d keep Janx & Daisani in line if necessary
7. Seolfor, whose story I wish I’d gotten to tell
8. Melinda, because she might let slip some of her secrets
9. Kelly, who would just be fun, and
10. Morrison, because I’d like to see what he looks like

(What? you say, not Joanne or Margrit? Well, no, because I know them. I don’t need to have dinner with them, or even Lara. Most of the ones listed have a lot of secrets they’ve kept from me. Maybe not so much Belinda or Rodrigo, but they’d be very *interesting* to have as dinner guests, and the rest of them, well. Yes. I’d like to learn what dining with them could tell me.*)

*yes, yes, writers are crazy…

…who would *you* have dinner with, of my characters? Doesn’t have to be ten, just maybe your top choice. Out of curiosity. :)

(x-posted from the essential kit)