montage monday: backstreets five

backstreets fiveThis is the follow-on Montage from last weekend's Sidestreets adventuring... this one being all about the colours, rather than the previous monochromatic effort.

Sweet Georgia Brown... I'm so VERY glad that Christmas only comes around once a year... out of the last three weekends, I've spent two of them down at Ma's and haven't gotten home much before midnight both times... actually last night I didn't get home much before 12:30am...

Yesterday was the ritual "Making of the Goodies"... and by "ritual" I mean "the second time I've been involved, but the process has been going on every Christmas since what feels like forever".

However, before I'd even left the house yesterday morning I realised that we forgot to get the makings for my "self invented" Rocky Road... and if the shops opened at a reasonable hour on Sundays instead of 11am, then I could have called off on the way to Ma's to get the stuff, but alas our shops are stoopid, so I'm going to have to go out at some point today and get the Turkish Delight (since it was the only thing we couldn't get when we did go out for more supplies around lunchtime).

I also decided, after Saturday's little "conversation" with the random guy about his dislike for the street art around his building, that I should probably make a brief detour into the city and snap some shots of the blue bird Ma and I had seen (that's a bird painted in blue... not a "bluebird") before he destroyed it. And I'm glad I did...

After I snapped the bird, I managed to find another Benzobot in the little maze of alleyways... then, because I'd caught sight of a very rough Benzoface in one of the streets on the opposite side of the road as we drove by on Saturday, I swung the car down a couple of streets looking for the piece in question. What I ended up finding, after I got out of the car again, was a whole new mural wall that I'm SURE can't have been there last weekend... although it was opposite the Benzobot in the previous link, and maybe I was so focused on that that I didn't see the other piece. Which, given the size of it (it took up the WHOLE wall) is pretty unlikely, especially since I had my "Street Art Spider Senses" cranked up to about 103 at the time.

I can tell that I'm going to have to keep my eye on that particular little section of town... maybe head down that way every couple of Sundays or something... see what's what, what's new, what's been painted over.

Anyway, after I snapped a bunch of shots, I got back in the car, cranked the stereo and headed northwards to Ma's...

And pretty much the rest of the day was spent "cooking"... by which I mean occasional use of the stove, but mostly the construction of vast quantities of goodies involving desecrated coconut, condensed milk and a food processor...

On the plus side, unlike last year I didn't overload on chocolate at any point... which was a bonus... post chocolate making barfy feelings are never good.

hullo... little mince tart sleepy face manOn the right there we have Exhibit A concerning what happens when I start getting a little bored and/or creative while making mince tarts (oh Robinson's Fruit Mince... how I love thee!)... it started because Ma was cutting out the pastry and I was putting it all together in the trays, including cutting the two little vent holes in the top... except she's bought, in her words "good pastry" and "crappy pastry"... and so we could tell the difference once they were cooked she asked me to cut three vent holes in the crappy ones...

Which led to me kinda making them in a little circle/triangle... and then after making one of the cuts a little longer by accident, I got little "sleepyface" mince tarts... some were more successful than others after they were cooked... but the one in the photo was my favourite... so CUTE! And I just ate him for "morning tea"... hehehe. So I just need to remember next year to make little faces on ALL of the mince tarts.

Unless of course people have some sort of aversion to eating something with a face when it comes time to hand out the tarts this year.

Other than the seemingly endless run of mince tarts (I have no idea how many dozen we made in the end) we made the usual Christmas suspects... Chocolate Balls, Sherry Truffles (now with extra sherry, because I was measuring... which is funny because I don't drink), Rum Balls (ditto for the extra rum in these ones), Hazelnut Delights (I love a recipe that has three ingredients in it, plus a chocolate coating and a hazelnut for decoration), Chocolate Puddings (these only have two ingredients... Christmas pudding and brandy... although the decoration stage is more fiddly) and a new entry this year (which I don't actually remember the exact name of), White Chocolate Apricot Brandy Truffles... which turned out really pretty, what with the white chocolate coating and the little grey/silver sprinkles we put on top of them. And as a double bonus, since they're white "chocolate" (which isn't chocolate by any stretch of the imagination, since it contains no cocoa) and neither Ma or I will touch them with a bargepole, they'll pad out the sets we're giving away to people, make everything go further... plus they're completely visually different from ANYTHING else we've made, so that will work nicely too.

We did just seem to have time vanish on us at some point though... and I don't know why. We were doing really well, and it was only about noon, and then suddenly we lost all this time and it was nearly 4pm... granted we did go out for more ingredients (for the puddings and the apricot things and the hazelnut ones), and wander around the shops a bit, but I could have sworn we weren't out for THAT long... but obviously we were.

So by the time we'd done all the making of, and some of the chocolate dipping (note to self for next year: the small end of a double ended melon baller makes a PERFECT truffle chocolate dipper/extractor) it was time for the Bill Oddie episode of Who Do You Think You Are (which I'm LOVING... although at the same time I'm kind of dreading when they switch over to the Australian version... oh, and Tom, too bad you're in the UK currently, next week it's Nigella!), so we had to stop for an hour for that... then finish up the stuff involving white chocolate, and tidy up...

Which made it at least 9:30... and we still had to finish wrapping the last of my presents for Christmas... including J's hamper... which, I have to say, got seriously out of control at some point... and the poor little Bart Simpson shopping bag is not only bursting at the seams, but is also filled to overflowing. That's partially my fault, because I wanted all the little things wrapped in cellophane and tissue separately so that I could put appropriate, amusing and sometimes esoterically worded gift tags on them all. I did forget to take a photo of it all spread out before we wrapped it though, so I'm either going to need to do that after he's opened it, or just take a shot of all the wrapped stuff... I dunno... we'll see.

So that took us what seemed like forever (and with about sixteen individual items, is it any wonder)... then there were the things for Sheeba's kids, which didn't actually take that much fiddling (although I did dress up the little bag for RubbaJelly's present with some ribbon and one of our random Christmas decoration things, since it looked a bit meagre otherwise)... it's "interesting" though... the presents actually go in reverse size order to the age of the child in question... Showgirl is getting the biggest gift, and RubbaJelly the smallest...

But by the time we'd finished all of everything, cleared up a bit, packed all the stuff I had to bring home into the car, etc... it was pretty much midnight... then of course when I got home again I had to unpack everything and wind down before I could go to bed... so it was pretty much 1am by the time I rolled myself into bed.

Which was then followed by my usual 6am alarm...

And now I think I'll head off to buy Turkish Delight...

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