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Recently: Z's aunt died, and Helena cut her first tooth* after only three nights appearing to be possessed by the Devil and I have developed tendonitis ** and a mild obsessession with Wii Mario Kart*** which was originally Matei's birthday present, but which his father and I have a go on most nights after he goes to bed.****

On the other hand, I'm excited about 2011. I have a feeling that it is going to be a good year. I said as much to Z even though it was 2am and we were taking turns bouncing our inconsolable younger child on a yoga ball at the time.

Aside from that, Matei turned 3 and we took him to Paradise Wildlife Park to celebrate. I think he enjoyed it even though for the first half we'd be all "Look, bunnies/emus/wallabys/meercats/wolves/teeny monkeys" and he'd respond with "I want to see tigers!" and by the time we got to the tigers he had lost interest in fauna and wanted to drive toy buses and cars through the mud instead. Still, I think this is a step up from the time we took him to London Zoo and he spent hours gazing with rapt attention at rocks and chain link fences.

Then back home there was The Hungry Caterpillar Cake, which deserves a mention in its own right because the only thing more challenging than trying to wrangle a whiny three year old, is attempting to make an exciting and delicious cake for one with an egg allergy.

caterpillar cake *****

And in case you want to mangle your own beloved childhood character, here is


400 g tim of chestnut puree
ground biscuit
ground almonds
raisins soaked in water
juice (although you could also use milk, or booze)
fruit yoghurt
dark chocolate and whipped cream (for icing)

In a big mixing bowl mix together the chestnut puree, ground biscuit, ground almond, raisins and juice. I think I approximately use about 200g biscuit and 100g ground almonds, but there is no set rule and it's ultimately a personal decision about how much biscuity/chestnutty you prefer a cake to taste. Juice is added sparingly - a splash at a time in order to help the ingredients blend together into a mixture without becoming soggy. On the other hand, if they do become soggy - no matter - just add more biscuit/almonds.

Once you have the mixture, then put down a thin layer in whatever shape you want and flatten it. Essentially, it's as easily shapable as putty. Delicious, delicious putty. Put banana slices on top of the chestnut layer, then spread fruit yoghurt thinly on top. Put another layer of the chesnut puree mixture on top, to cover and seal the whole thing.

Melt dark chocolate and ice your cake with it.

WARNING! If you are creating a caterpillar cake, then this will make the whole thing resemble an enormous turd.

caterpillar cake midway through creation

Cover with clingfilm, chill in the fridge for a while, then ice with whipped cream. I used Waitrose ready-made one because it's already been stabilised and I was worried that if I whipped cream myself it might run causing my cake to look like a turd in a puddle of green goo. beautiful childhood memories right there.

I mixed the cream with food colouring, sparingly, because I am a cautious sort and had never used it before - but if I was doing it again I'd be bolder to achieve a more vibrant green. Also, I ran out of patience when doing the caterpillar's face, so next time I'd use a separate little bit of whipped cream and food colouring to make it red.

Overall though the cake was a success and we consumed every last bit of it - from its jelly eyes to its little walnut feet.

*A lateral incisor! I think she enjoys flouting convention.

** not related to Mario Kart, since it neither weighs 8.5 kilos nor demands to be carried around when in pain.

*** Z finds this especially hilarious since in real life I have never expressed any interest in driving. As for me, I feel like I'm 11 with my GameBoy all over again.

**** future therapist fodder, I'm sure.

***** I took some artistic license with the detail on account of the fact that Helena was making waking-up noises, and my patience was already in negative numbers.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jan. 5th, 2011 12:38 am (UTC)
I'm so close, yet so far...

always good to hear news, so entertainingly communicated.

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


deep sky, firefly

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