Sunday, April 8, 2012

I have a theory...it could be bunnies.



It only took me three years, but I've finally stitched, framed and hung my series of Black Apple Bunnies!



Made with Sublime Stitching's Black Apple pattern set and some of those paint-it-yourself frames from the craft store.


I'm really pleased how the set came out, and that I actually finished it in time for Easter. This year's Easter is just a little extra-special (being in a brand-spankin' new apartment and all), so I figured it deserved some extra-cute decor!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Song of Cake and Pie

When you play the Game of Birthdays, you win or you have cake.
Lately, my husband and I have been a little obsessed with George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. The Professor is reading the books out loud to me while I stitch (we're on A Storm of Swords), and we devoured season one of the Game of Thrones TV show as soon as it came out on DVD.

It seemed only fitting, then, when the Professor's birthday rolled around that we throw a little themed shindig. We had a friend bring over his copy of the Game of Thrones board game, and I planned a Westeros-themed dinner to go along with the festivities.

It wasn't hard to pick what would go on the menu. Though the books are filled with exotic delicacies, the ones that made my mouth water were the meat pies. Particularly the beef and bacon pie and the pork pie.


Luckily, there's an awesome blog called Inn at the Crossroads that is a treasure trove of recipes inspired from the Ice and Fire books. These two talented fans not only research medieval recipes that would be at home in the fantasy setting of the books, but also offer recipes more tailored to modern palettes.

I opted to try their medieval pork pie recipe, which was an interesting "sweet" pie with chopped dates and currants. It reminded me a lot of Chinese pork bun filling: fruity and flavorful without being cloying.


To balance out the menu, I also made the modern beef and bacon pie. While it had a great flavor, the meat chunks needed to be cut smaller and cooked a little longer to make them more tender. Also, I'd add more bacon next time (and oh yes, there will be a next time).


This also marked my first foray into homemade pie crust. I'm sure Winterfell cooks weren't using shortening for their pie crusts, but hey, it's what my friends at Better Homes and Gardens called for. With my pie-master friend Abena helping me roll out the crust, they came out gorgeous and delicious!

...and yes, mom, we had salad, too.

What birthday is complete without cake? Inspired by Sansa Stark's favorite tea treat, lemon cakes, I whipped up a lemon cake with lemon curd filling and lemon cream cheese frosting. I researched a few frosting recipes online, but in the end decided to wing it. The result was a delicious frosting that was like eating solid lemonade.


I kind of put the layers together upside down, though. I tried to cover it up by stuffing the crack with blueberries and more frosting. Not too shabby for my first layer cake. I might buy one of those fancy cake cutters my mama has, which would always result in smooth, even cakes.

The evening was quite a success, even if the board game did go until one in the morning (and I lost horribly)! The meal was fit for a king (or five), and everyone went home with full bellies. I call that a win in the Game of Birthdays.