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Christmas of cake & Going Out

The Big Puppy was very, very excited about Christmas. He managed to steal two of his Christmas presents early - one when we went out to see 'the Hobbit' and another when I was actually wrapping up! I stole them back, but we shelved the original idea of letting him unwrap his own presents. It seemed clear that if he were encouraged to start unwrapping, nothing in the house that was made of paper would remain in one piece for long...

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First, we Went Out to Cotehele, where it almost didn't rain on us.
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There was a lot of this sort of thing, in a desperate attempt to tire out the Big Puppy.   You'd think a dog looking so focussed would play fetch for hours, but no.  He lost interest after about 5 minutes.
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Not Raining.  But everything covered in moss and a bit soggy.
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The floods that had been out all along the Tamar had more or less gone down for Christmas day, but they had left a lot of stuff behind them.  All that gravel in the foreground was spread over the meadow.  Normally it is in the bed of the stream behind.
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I got the focus wrong on this, but I kept it anyway because I was so pleased to see Az zooming about again. Pp had just been giving him a back rub.
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Then, dogs suitably tired, we went out for lunch! We've never done that before on Christmas day, in our family, but it does undeniably save on the cooking and washing up.   For some mysterious reason, the cheese course was served on wooden shelves.  I took a photo of the family confronted by this oddity, although I got the focus wrong again.  I had meant to swap in the lens with autofocus, but I forgot.

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When we got home, the enormous dog bed under the christmas tree that really has space for both my dogs in it was occupied by a Festive Bungle. 

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The other Bungle and the hounds claimed the fire instead.
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Cakes
This was the year that we cooked 55 vegan cupcakes on Christmas Eve.  I don't have a photo of them as we were a bit exhausted by the time we'd cooked and iced them all, but they were very tasty.   The original idea was that we would make cakes for my sister and her partner, who are vegan and are in the process of emigrating to Canada, so don't want anything bulky.   But having had the idea, we decided to get more boxes and make lots of cakes all round, with lots of different sorts of (vegan) icing.  

We made custard cakes, which rise OK if you make them with vegan egg replacement stuff and also chocolate beetroot cakes which... don't rise so well when veganised.   Oddly, the beetroot cakes that completely lose their colour when cooking, if you use egg, go a sort of brilliant orange colour if you cook them with egg-replacement.  I blame, in some vague way, Enzymes.

I also made these vanilla cupcakes which rose very well. I didn't make the icing in that recipe though. We made different colours & flavours of icing by just mixing icing sugar with, variously, beetroot juice, lemon juice & zest, and satsuma juice & zest. I also made a coconut icing by mixing coconut oil with a little soy milk and icing sugar, which works quite well and makes quite a nice pipe-able coconut frosting. I also made vegan chocolate icing by melting a little dark, non-milk chocolate with water, mixing in icing sugar, letting it cool and then mixing in Vitalite spread. Not quite as nice as the same thing made with butter, but pretty close.

I think my favorite were these Mandarin and linseed cakes which I made with sunflower rather than canola oil.  The linseed and oats made the texture more interesting, and the juice made the flavour pleasingly citrussy.   I think I'll make those again, and when checking the URL, I also found these plum and custard cakes from the same source, which I have not yet tried, but can see I shall need to experiment with very soon! 

Pp deserves an honorable mention for driving along narrow winding roads with a Very Large Number of not terribly well-packed cupcakes, and managing not to smish any of them!

I tried making some vegan Irish Cream as well - with Jamieson's whiskey and coconut milk, but it didn't really work well enough to be a present. It starts separating out too much, and the flavour is a bit harsh. It'll do to pour over icecream though!

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
wellinghall
27th Dec, 2012 16:41 (UTC)
Off topic, but have you read this book?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/jul/24/in-defence-of-dogs-review

We both have, and I think you would enjoy it.
lindahoyland
28th Dec, 2012 07:31 (UTC)
You look to have had fun. love the animals.
jane_somebody
14th Jan, 2013 10:26 (UTC)
Wooden shelves - how odd indeed! I see T is making a good attempt at hiding, and A has rather a you-expression :-)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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