Table Trifles

Last month our friend Mark celebrated his birthday at the Grand Cru estate winery . This had also been the venue for his wedding in March, but unlike at the wedding, this time the restaurant had the tables set up with crayons and paper. The only logical course of action was to draw.

Butterfly Cupcakes

Not quite as speccy as these butterfly cupcakes, but delicious nonetheless!

I found this recipe here and although it feels redundant, I’m transcribing the recipe in case that site disappears or something. I was pretty sad when the original blog post with my bacon and choc-chip cookies recipe disappeared…!

Ingredients

Cupcakes

115g butter or margarine
112g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
225g (1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour, sifted (I never bother with sifting)
145ml (1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon) milk

Filling

188ml (3/4 cup) thickened cream
1 teaspoon icing sugar
About 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons jam (about 60g)
Extra icing sugar, for dusting

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius (180 degrees Celsius fan forced).
  2. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in an electric mixer until light and creamy.
  3. Gradually beat in eggs.
  4. Add half the flour and stir in by hand. Stir in half the milk. Repeat with remaining flour and milk. Beat with an electric mixer for just a few seconds, to thoroughly combine the ingredients.
  5. Spoon the mixture into patty pans.
  6. Bake for about 13-15 minutes. The cupcakes are ready when a knife or skewer inserted into the centre of a cake comes out clean. Also, the cakes will bounce back when lightly pressed in the middle.
  7. Allow cakes to cool completely before cutting and filling.
  8. Hold a sharp, pointed knife at a downward angle and cut a shallow cone from the top of each cupcake.
  9. Cut the cone in half to create the ‘wings’.
  10. Whip cream with icing sugar until thick.
  11. Place about 1/2 teaspoon of jam in each cake.
  12. Top with a heaped teaspoon of whipped cream. Position the ‘wings’ in the cream. Place a small dollop of jam between the wings and dust with icing sugar.

Makes 15 cupcakes.

Duck Photos #2

I spotted this huge group of wood duck adolescents one Friday afternoon. In the twenty or so ducks there, only one really stood out as doing parenting and watch-guard duties. Poor guy.

Ticket to Ride UK

During Thursday-night board games at the house of Leaflocker we were introduced to the game Ticket to Ride. Very simple yet very fun, we were hooked immediately.

With John’s birthday come and gone I was torn about getting him a copy of the game. After all, which version should I get? The superior Märklin set with its wonderful train cards, or a new board? Or perhaps purchasing a copy of the game on Stream would do?

The Steam copy didn’t allow hotseat play, however, so to get any play time together we’d have to buy multiple copies. We resolved to make a copy of the game so we could play hotseat on one computer… though inspired by Thom’s home-made Settlers of Catan set I was equally tempted to build a bootleg board.

…Then, while browsing the Days of Wonder website I found links to a number of fan maps. Building a copy of a fan map felt like a great way to celebrate the game and try a map that isn’t the German map without making an investment. And I could absolve my guilt about bootlegging an official map.

Quickly disappointed by the Australia map, I settled on UK v 2.0 and built myself a copy…

It folds!

The folded board is nice and compact, a little under 26cm square.

We playtested on Wednesday night. Alex won on 139 points.

Jimmy would have been on 138 given one more turn, he also had the most trains left by far.

I ended the game with no trains left. I would have gotten 136 points instead of 107 had I placed my last train differently, but it didn’t make the difference between me winning so there will only be minor whining, not incessant whining.

Anyway we had good fun on this map, mispronouncing our way through the UK. My next step will be to make up some proper cards for trains and tickets.

Starface

My computer crashed like three times when I was drawing the right side of the face. Shame, I think I had the skin tones and shading much nicer at one point. After losing it twice I kind of gave up.