Renovating an old house by a musical couple who want to live there the rest of their lives.
Welcome to The Glade, where the second generation of renovations has just begun and the mania about our home, music and other passions fill our days and nights.
We’re Charlie and Jo in the music world; Mary Jo and Charles to family; and JoJo and Charlie to each other. We are renovating a midcentury house in a Victorian historic district where we want to live there the rest of our lives. It's a 1946 house located in Maryland. We were married in this house.
Thus far (pre-blog) we refinished cabinets, added a window seat (still working on the cushion), rearranged a wall in the guest house due to sink/vanity replacement, planted a vegetable garden, and other quick and not-so-quick fixes. So this latest zeal for construction is the result of my having lived here since 1997 and feeling a need to ready the house for the next chapter and beyond.
To start with I should explain that desserts in England are called pudding. Sticky toffee pudding is actually a kind of sponge cake that is covered with a caramel sauce.
My task today was to make the cake portion of sticky toffee pudding which I would then freeze to use in a week.
The recipe is very easy although unusual is some aspects. Having said that I don’t make many cakes so maybe I just don’t know enough.
The first task is to bring chopped dates to a boil in 1-1/4 cups of water. The recipe calls for 1-1/2 cups or 6 ounces of dates. I weighed the dates because I could have squeezed a lot more than 6 ounces into a 1-1/2 cup measure. I checked other recipes to make sure the 6-ounce portion was adequate.
After the dates come to a boil baking soda is added to the pan and then the dates/water/baking soda needs to cool so I poured the mixture into the top of a double boiler and filled the bottom pan with ice. Otherwise I would have had to set it aside longer than I cared to wait.
Mixing the butter, sugar, and vanilla was as directed except that I had no vanilla extract so I substituted the seeds from 2 vanilla beans. The beans were split and then I used a spoon to scrape out the seeds.
When the remainder of the ingredients were added the batter was more liquidy than I expected.
I poured the batter into a buttered and floured bundt pan and cooked for 45 minutes.
After letting it cool a third of the cake stuck in the pan.
So I made another portion of batter and this time used a very old springform pan with a bundt insert which I was careful to grease well.
This time the final result came out perfectly.
And the cake is delicious even without the caramel sauce which I will make next week.
In the meantime I have wrapped all of the cake in aluminum foil and put it in the freezer. Before using it I will bring it to room temperature and heat it slightly in the oven.
I threw the old bundt pan away. I never liked it and it doesn’t didn’t work well at all.
I have already made 40 meringue kisses. They’re in the freezer and will be taken out on the morning of the party.
I’m going to try my hand at sticky toffee pudding by making the pudding/cake part this Saturday morning. (The party is a week away on Saturday.) This part of the recipe can be frozen and then thawed and reheated on the day of the party.
I have to decide whether to make the recipe in a bundt pan or in individual cups. The caramel sauce will be made in the late afternoon of party day.
I plan to toast the flour tortilla chips on the evening of the party. The salsa will already be made.
We get our local honey from the Sweets — that’s really their name.I have never made baklava before and have heard that it is best within 3 or 4 days of eating it. I was planning to make it this Saturday but have moved it to next Friday, the day before the party. I hope I don’t mess it up.
I want to order either fried dumplings or wontons from my local Chinese carry-out. Charlie can pick them up before the party starts.
We had some fun in England figuring out what people were trying to tell us.
“Take away” is “carry out” as in food. We usually “ate in” at restaurants because we did a lot of walking and needed to rest.
Fringe is bangs. I had my hairdresser trim up my fringe.
Diversion is a detour, specifically for traffic.
Parking suspension means no parking or parking is prohibited.
Free vehicle recovery, as far as I can tell, means road service for one’s car if it breaks down.
“Mind the gap” is the much repeated phrase which means to “watch your step” when exiting the subway, I mean underground or tube.
Busker (a person who busks) or busking is an art form that is practised by professional artists, amateur performers and those who are just starting out. Buskers put a lot of thought and effort into their act, they give a performance, entertain the public and receive tips in return. Generally busking is well-received and legal except where posted.
“What do you fancy?” is asked when we might say “What would you like?” In London we fancied crepes everyday.
“See it. Say it. Sorted.” is like our American phrase “If you see something, say something”. People are encouraged to say something to an official if they see something unusual and the authorities will sort it out.
What phrase do you find unique to a region or country?
I have all the nighties, pajamas, and robes I’ll ever need because I prefer them when they’re soft and comfy.
One of my flannel nighties was made by my grandmother who died in the 1980s but I love it even though it is almost threadbare.
My slippers, however, become so well-worn that I must get a new pair about every 5 years.
This time I decided to get a pair of slippers without stitching at the toe so maybe I won’t create holes again. When I saw these polar bear slip-ons I was hooked since I’ve been using these bears as a winter theme for the past few years.
They have hard composite soles so I can run out to get the mail or hop across the driveway to have coffee with Sug. Hoping they last me awhile.