The cake I sent with Rhys for his birthday. Delicious and was devoured to rave reviews, despite its’ flaws.
So, I made a Filipino-style mocha cake for Rhys’ birthday, that he took to work. It was delicious; but because I kept getting interrupted (by external reasons, lots of phone calls, etc) it ended up a bit denser than normal. Apparently everyone got excited seeing the cake and thought it looked at tasted ‘absolutely amazing.’
However, both Rhys and I knew I could do better. So I made a devil’s food cake, (2 layers, 8 inches each) and decided that it should have a marshmallow meringue frosting, and dark chocolate drip ganache topping it, that he will take with him to work.
Better effort, with Rhys decorating it this time.
Rhys got keen on frosting the cake to be brought along, so he did the frosting on this one that I’ve taken a photo of up top. The chocolate ganache is pooled at the bottom ‘because yum.’ I love that man. ^_^
I had Vincent make a cake for practice a few days ago, to teach him the correct order in which one adds melted butter into a cake, versus accidentally cooking the egg added into a cake and it tastes awesome, but was very crumby (it’s also devil’s food cake). The leftover marshmallow meringue frosting is slathered on top like a fluffy sugar cloud. Kiddo’s learning a lot this school holidays; baking cakes, cooking dinner, assembling a whole workstation class computer from scratch with very minimal help (only putting on the liquid cooler and the thermal paste) – and it worked perfectly!
Son’s practice cake, now with frosting =9
But, as you can see, it makes a lot of frosting (that’s a 10 inch single layer cake) so it probably has enough for a 2 layer 9 inch cake.
I like using a little bit of cream of tartar to get the egg whites started on frothing before I put them in the double boiler, but other recipes don’t include it, so you may omit if you like.
Marshmallow Meringue Frosting
Use as a frosting, or as a layer on top of a cake and then cover with ganache, use on top of a mousse or top and sear with a kitchen blowtorch, or pipe, or blop on for a casual, fluffy but engaging frosting style! Makes enough to frost 2 layers of a 9 inch cake, with enough to spare.
Start by boiling water in a large saucepan, enough to heat the bottom of your bowl. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer.
Mix together the egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla, until lightly frothy, in a bowl, using a handheld electric mixer with the whisk attachments. For ease and sanity, I tend to use the same mixing bowl that my stand mixer uses. When slightly frothy, place bowl in the water.
Moving the speed of your mixer to high, mixing all the while, add the sugar, either shaking it in gradually from your bowl or 1/8 cup at a time. Make sure it is dissolved.
Mix for 7 minutes, on highest speed, moving your mixer's whisks around to make the marshmallow white and silky.
Immediately move the bowl to your stand mixer, tapping out the leftover meringue from your whisks into the bowl. Beat on the highest speed your stand mixer can do for 10-12 minutes.
Use as desired; on your cake, sear with a kitchen blowtorch on top of your pie or mousse, etc.
So, my son Vincent decided that he was tired of playing the XBox One, XBox 360, the PS2 and the Nintendo 64 and the DreamCast, … and he had a Christmas gift card he hadn’t used yet. He decided on a new game console, suitable for 2018 gaming.
So, I finally got around to making a chicken aspic, inspired by the second episode of Shokugeki no Soma. If you haven’t seen this anime, here’s the particular segment I’m talking about.
This isn’t my recipe, but I’ve been wanting to try this ever since I saw that segment above. The recipe is included in the manga and has been posted on the Internet; and other people have tried doing it before me.
I’ve been busy RL with things; one of them is making my son Vincent a Minecraft themed cake. It’s not Pinterest worthy; but eh, he was happy with it and considering that I’ve never worked with fondant before, or done anything with fondant other than eat it, I’m okay with the way it turned out. The cake itself was yummy and fluffy and the children were greatly entertained by the fact that the sparklers were set into the TNT block’s ‘fuses’.
The other thing I did was to rearrange my workspace again. I’m rather pleased with how it looks so I took pictures.
This started out originally as part of a comment over in Mad Genius Club which grew into a rant, which the little Rhys-chibi in my head looked at and said “My darling, that soapbox doesn’t go there.” So it has it’s own blogpost where I natter on because I can.
So, waiting the 30 minutes before New Year ticked over, we saw a short advert for Silver K Gallery’s current exhibition: Star Wars and Superheroes. So of course, being the huge fans of science fiction and fantasy art that we are, we had to go. Rhys and I took our kids with us, since they enjoy Star Wars and figured that they’d enjoy having a look at the art prints on display. After impressing on the children that they had to behave and not be wriggly energetic things, we paid the entrance fee and went in.
Vincent soon found himself upstairs, with his sister trailing behind, while we parents took a more leisurely look around. There was a delightful little print featuring Kermit the Frog and Yoda sitting side by side, which had me appreciating the meta joke, and several utterly breathtaking pieces that made me wish I had the money to buy the prints and room to display them on. I’m not a huge Star Wars fan, but I can appreciate the art. The pieces on display were limited signed print runs, most of them on canvas, and they’d also be framed for the purchaser.
Contrary to the limitation of Superheroes and Star Wars art, there were some pieces on display that weren’t from those franchises – there was a lone Firefly piece that would have been delightful on any fan’s wall, and a couple of Star Trek items that had my heart going doki doki doki – An Alex Ross signed artist proof’s print run, that had William Shatner’s signature as well. The Star Trek pieces were on the stairway wall, while the Firefly piece would surprise you on the way back out of the gallery.
Finally catching up to the kids, I approached Vincent and started to show him the flyer with the print prices on all of the displayed artworks, saying that people could buy them if they wanted to. He immediately turned to a piece and pointed. “How much is that one, Mum? I like it a lot.”
I looked it up and saw that there were two versions available: the canvas print version, which was on display, and the paper print version, which was much cheaper (more than half), and showed it to him. He was shocked at first, and taking my parental cue, I told him that’s why he has to be VERY careful and not touch or bump into the displayed artwork.
I went to look at a piece that Rhys called me over to see and admire. After a few minutes, Vincent came over and asked, “Can’t we get it? I really, really like it. Even if I gave up my allowance for it?”
I said, “We’ll see.”
Long story short and a lay-by plan set by the delighted curator, Colin, we were given permission to take a photo of a determined soon to be 9 year old who wanted to invest in artwork by Japanese Artist Mimi Yoon, next to the print on display. He is going to get the paper print though, because there was no way he could afford the canvas print.
Rhys and I were able to work out arrangements for prints we fell in love with and were able to talk ourselves into setting down payments for. I simply could not pass up this artist’s proof print of Alex Ross’ The Final Frontier, signed by the artist and William Shatner. (Numbered 14/15!)
Now, prints aren’t really a big thing of mine; but I do understand the value and why people would collect them. My reason for not collecting them has to do with considerations of space and expenses; which is why I prefer to collect figures and art books. That said, I’m very happy to find a place for this breathtaking print. Colin said he was able to request William Shatner to sign the artist proof prints at a convention here in Australia, which is why they’re double-signature prints. Fangirl mode engaged!
Rhys got himself a signed canvas print of Jerry VanderStelt’s Black Heart. Rhys isn’t a very big Star Wars fan, but he really liked this piece and felt that he’d not regret having it up on his wall. (I don’t think he really knows the character either!) But as a work of art it’s well worth having and I was being the bad influence and encouraging him to get it. Colin was very happy to work with us on that as well. I think though, in the long run, I think Colin’s a fan who is happy to work with people in getting an addition to their collection that they will truly enjoy. The impression I got of him was that he really enjoys what he does, and gets pleasure from seeing other people enjoy what he enjoys too.
With the day’s outing though, my greatest joy wasn’t in the obtaining of artwork, but in seeing Vincent carefully think about buying the print he wanted very much. I talked to him for quite a while about it, saying that he’d be without allowance for months helping pay for the print, and that he’d not have money for things like books and other nice things that he might want later on. He would go quiet for a bit every time, and think, then say “I’m okay with not having allowance for a long time,” or “they look really, really cool though,” and repeat that he really wanted the Bad Girls print, instead of say, the various awesome Iron Man ones there (which he is a BIG fan of.) It wasn’t something I expected him to do, and be so decisive about. In fact, both Rhys and I are very proud that he wasn’t bored at the gallery (there’s lots of cool pictures here!) but he lingered the most at the superheroes section of the gallery, and chattered away with the fine lady who was minding the door for entrance fees, who was also quite impressed that Vincent was so determined to own a piece of art. “You’re raising them right,” she said. Well, we are raising the next generation of people who will enjoy science fiction and fantasy; though we’re also pretty pleased with how this one’s turning out so far! (Big thank you for being patient with their chatty friendly selves!)
The prints we will eventually own will also be framed, and since it’s likely we’ll be back here by the time we finish paying it off, we’ll probably pick them up then too.
If I’d been rolling in pots of money though, I would not have minded picking up this,this, this and this, simply because having them up on the same wall would make for a striking and awesome display.
I plan to save up for this piece at some point though, because the juxtaposition of the classic Japanese themes and style, plus R2D2 shouldn’t work, but it totally does and tickles my brain in good ways.
The Silver K exhibit, at 1092 High Street, Armadale, Victoria, Australia, runs until March 13, 2016. They also have various prints of other popular art pieces, as well as a number of certified original animation cels from Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures. They are open Wednesday to Friday, and on Saturday and Sunday. Check out their site for times (for most accurate and recent updates!)
I’ve been playing Lineage II again, and we’d been chatting about the computer I have, and Aff calls it “A small PC for a small person.” He’s not wrong – I’m only 4’8″ in height, and I have to sit cross legged in my chair because my feet don’t touch the ground.
Aff suggested I take pictures, and since he’s planning to hook up a third monitor for me to use, I decided that I should take pictures while my little system is conveniently displayed and decorated (those figures will be moved.)
Since I was at it, and since I have added quite a few new figures to my display, I took this picture. That’s the Cintiq, and I was working on a practice pic, basically to challenge myself with drawing a complicated pose. I’m not sure I fully succeeded but I’m glad with the effort anyway, since I stepped out of my comfort zones in this piece. There’s plenty of mistakes, I’m sure.
I’m not sure I fully succeeded but I’m glad with the effort anyway, since I stepped out of my comfort zones in this piece. There’s plenty of mistakes, I’m sure. Like I said, this was practice work, and I had fun trying the pose out, playing with colors, etc. It feels good to challenge myself, even if I don’t succeed in all my goals. I want to continue growing in skill, even if it’s little by little.
I got a parcel today – an artbook! It’s the leftmost one in this picture. I happily took a screenshot of my current set. I got really lucky that this artbook came back in stock. Lord of Vermillion III and Rage of Bahamut are games I don’t play (I think they’re Japan only since it seems like a CCG) but the artwork is gorgeous.
I paged through it and was happy to recognize some of Yamashita Shun’ya-sensei’s artwork. Here’s a pic.
I’m very fond of game artbooks; so when I saw that this was available, I scrimped and saved to get it. Art for the Final Fantasy XIV game!
I just heard about the latest odd kerfuffle about the latest Avengers movie via Twitter, with complaints about Disney supposedly not having figures of Black Widow. I don’t live in America, and it’s been a while since I went into the toy section of a department store. Christmas, I think, in fact, when we went shopping for the kids.
I’m not going to talk about that though, but the mention of figures reminded me about something I haven’t done but was planning to do:
Write about one of my hobbies, which is collecting figures (and the related hobby, artbooks from Japan, and artbooks in general.) I originally planned this as an exercise in writing, and since it’s a good idea as well as to keep my mind occupied (instead of constantly missing my baby boys who are now angels), I figure (ha!) I’ll make it as something of a review. I’ll do that next time. For now I’ll just talk about these, because I got distracted by a Skype call between my siblings and mum and myself.
Since the chatter about Black Widow is what kicked it off, here’s my figure of Black Widow, based off of Yamashita Shun’ya’s artwork. (Fantastic artist, by the way; go look.) Released by Kotobukiya, you can purchase them via Amazon (I prefer to buy via a Japanese store; because the shipping is cheaper for me.)
In retrospect, she looks a bit like Scarlett Johansson.
Here’s another one done by him; Kitty Pryde! I had to jump on this one because Kitty was one of my teenhood favourite characters.
This one of Deadpool was a surprise; the figure displayed in the place I buy them from had a sword, or a hand gesture (It’s not flipping the bird and I can’t remember what it’s called – forefinger and pinky raised).
Unwrapping the figure when it arrived, there was a little whiteboard and a whiteboard marker. It was funnier, so I put that in his hand instead of the other katana. Because it’s Deadpool XD
I have him on a shelf, looking like he’ll pounce on Briareos.
Unlike most other figures, Deadpool is held in place by magnets; and his base is a metal plate. Out of curiosity, I stuck him on the magnetic whiteboard to the right of me.