December 21, 2009

Toys... and delusions of grandeur...

Friends, we come once again to that time of year where we throw sanity to the wind and burn many a late night candle in the pursuit of perfect gifts. You will be pleased to learn that Christmas baking has been completed on schedule and we’re very happy with the fare produced this festive season. In the interests of absolute exhaustion and the keeping of surprises however, for as to what these gifts might be, I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait. I do however have a couple of tantalising titbits to tide you over to the Christmas-post proper; and we will begin with girls and their toys…

This year, in the haze that is pre-Christmas, we both bought ourselves little somethings that made us giddy with excitement and brought unadulterated joy in to the kitchens of Team Pretty Bake. I suspect in each instance we will be accused of geeking out somewhat, but when they’re this exciting, quite frankly I don’t care. First up I would like you to meet Miss Rose’s Venus:

Hot and gloriously old school, when it comes to TPB Christmas hampers, this little heat sealer has been an absolute godsend.

As for the new love of my life, let me introduce Otto:

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of spending an evening with Mr Hiron, Otto’s creator, and some like-minded coffee geeks learning all about this little chap. Otto is one of the most beautiful pieces of engineering I have seen in a long time, both inside and out, and can produce a stovetop coffee so like an espresso it’s astounding. While my little man will be staying wrapped up until my relocation is complete, needless to say, once I’m settle in to my new abode I will introduce you properly. As a consequence of an irresistible offer, he may also have a little doserless friend by the name of Rocky you‘ll wish to meet…

As for Christmas baking, attempts to scale back were predictably thwarted by ambition, and a number of sessions spent baking in to the wee hours of the morning have left us teetering on the verge of absolute exhaustion. While you will have to wait for a full run down of the things we’ve created, what I have for you now is the item that nearly brought about our undoing. You see, we don’t like to mess about; we take our baking seriously and do not settle for the simple and everyday. I mean, why do something basic when you can do something that will (hopefully) impress the pants off someone? Well, the honest answer would be because it is incredibly difficult, infuriating, and will almost break you; but Miss Rose had a spectacular plan, and who were we to let the laws of physics and a little honesty get in the way of the potential for being dubbed gods amongst men?

The subject of discussion involves the archetypal Christmas standard (sorry, couldn’t resist!), gingerbread, and our attempts to create something a little more spectacular than your typical Hansel and Gretel abode. The expectation that executing the plan would be a bit of a challenge was spectacularly miscalculated, but rather than spoil the surprise by discussing the lead up, I will first blow your mind, and worry about the details later.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present one of the coolest Christmas gingerbreads ever created. I give you…


Cool, huh?

Now that you’ve recovered from the stupefying awe that is the creative genius of Team Pretty Bake, let me take a moment to explain the near-soul-destroying nature of this beast. I don’t even want to think about how many pieces we re-baked, but once we accepted that of course that bit would break because it’s one of the few fundamentally vital to the construction; and pursued a self-directed crash course in structural engineering, we at least made it through with our sanity intact, just.

(and do note the scale... that little puppy is over 80 cm in length... yup, huge!)

Those of you who have ever attempted constructing one of Mister Saurus’s plywood brothers for either yourself or your children will appreciate the frustration involved, but trust me, doing it with gingerbread adds a whole new level of complexity. Fortunately, our scientific rearing has rendered both myself and Miss Rose rather handy with a scalpel, and so the reshaping of joins was deftly executed without too much ado. Our Achilles was actually the spine (ahem!), but after some intense troubleshooting regarding the textural integrity of the load-bearing components, we managed to pull it all together in what was not bad for a first attempt. I’m not sure that we qualify for world domination just yet (apologies, PinkNantucket, Canada will have to wait), but I will still be sufficiently bold to claim that we have most certainly raised the bar when it comes to gingerbread construction.

So with but a few days left until Christmas is fully upon us, I will simply leave you to ponder… what’s in the box?


Kate said...!!!! It is amazing and I have NEVER seen anything so cool in gingerbread (sorry Linda - I do love your cottages but the engineering in this beastie is sensational). Sheer brilliance! Auntie Kate

Linda said...

OMG Emily, you surely are a domestic goddess!
Imagine my modest little house with Gingersaurus towering above it and gingerbread men dismembered and flung about and little gingerbread women clutching gingerbread babies to their bosoms screaming at the windows and little gingerbread children hiding under gingerbread trees. It could be called "Christmas Nightmare on Ginger St".

Jenny said...

Hi Emily and Rose: The Gingersaurus is gorgeous and unlike anything else (even better than the one of the Three Kings in our nativity play who insisted on coming as Elvis!). You two Pretty Team Bakers are soooooo clever. Have a blessed and bounteous Christmas,
Jenny D (in Aotearoa/NZ)

pinknantucket said...

!!! and furthermore, !!! Also, please just keep the Canada thing in mind for future world dominion.

Anonymous said...

You are amazing Emily!
Susie xxx