Hi everyone, its been a bit quiet of here of late because i’ve been super super busy recently and havent really had a chance to sit down and properly write. However I will be back soon i promise and i’ll leave you with this recipe which i made on friday. Its very yum but maybe the courgette needed drying a bit before it went into the cake. http://www.riverford.co.uk/recipes/view/recipe/chocolate-courgette-cake
Personally i’m not a fan of e books for my personal reading however in principal I think that they are a wonderful thing. They grant people the ability to have instant access to thousands of books and to carry them on one tiny device. I myself have about 22 free e books on my phone but don’t find it easy on the eye (i have friends with kindles however who think they are wonderful with their special screen which i think looks like that thin bible or prayer book paper you got in church). Another reason I think they are great is it means it is much easier for an author to get their work out there without having to go though the big publishing experience (or self publishing) and production is always linked to demand so you don’t have to over or underestimate your audience.
I dont really want to buy e books but recently there are two out there which are really calling to me. One of them is The New Hunger by Isaac Marion, a prequel to Warm Bodies which I have just finished reading and I am hungry to read more of the world he has created.
The second is Bioshock Infinite: Mind in Revolt, a prequel to the new game giving the reader a further insight into the world of Columbia. I haven’t bought the game yet (as i have to wait till after my wedding when I may actually have some time – can you believe I havent played on the Xbox since January!) but I am very excited to play it. I loved the first Bioshock game as the plot and the graphics are fantastic but I didnt get too far in as it was too scary, so instead i read the wikipedia entries on it but to my absolute joy i discovered a few weeks ago that there is a Bioshock: Rapture Novel which I am so looking forward to reading soon (somewhere in the line of thirty odd books on my to read shelf) as I bought the paper book as soon as I saw it.
I havent decided whether to buy these e books or not yet but I will just see what happens. It is unlikely Mind In Revolt will ever become a paper book but Amazon is promising a paper version of The New Hunger in October… can I wait that long.
A while ago I did a tasting at Independent Spirit of the the Wild Beer Co range of beers. (sorry im a bit late with posts at the moment) They are a relatively new company based in Shepton Mallet. As with coffee, what i really enjoy is discovering new flavours in a drink and the Wild Beer Co have some really exciting ones. According to their website “Our beers are brewed with a combination of ancient and new techniques, with the aim of producing a beer for people who want to discover and understand new tastes and flavours.”
The tasting consisted of 6 beers and one rather exciting combination in a champagne bottle. Below are the tasting notes which I took at the time:
Epic Saison. (Belgian style) = Hoppy. Apricots. Tropical fruit. Very nice summer drink
Scarlet fever with toffee caramel and citrus hops = fruity orangey black coffee
Bliss secret spices roasted apricots and wild yeast = light fragrance of curry. Moroccan curry flavour. Spices subdue and fruitiness comes more out when warmed
Fresh. Fresh hops = very very hoppy
Wildebeest (500 vanilla pods in every batch) and chocolate and crushed espresso and = smells of coffee. Fizz on your tongue then aroma of coffee. Perfect for after dinner you’d drink it like port. Aged in a 12 yo highland park barrel
Madness ipa = Very fruity hops sweet fruity floral toffee. Small bit of bitter on the tongue but hardly noticeable (not my thing)
Ninkasi. Bubbles apples wild yeast. New Zealand hops Somerset apples and wild yeast. Champagne bottle = apple aroma lots of fizz. Not so apply taste
The Bliss and Wildebeest were my favourites
On Sunday some friends and I went to the Bath Artisan Market in Green Park Station. There was a variety of crafty made things and some rather nice cheese. One thing I loved but didn’t take a photo of was the carved wood jammy dodger brooches. Other highlights were these teacup bird feeders and this rather quirky teacup set sporting classic cars. There were knitted children’s clothes, hand made lampshades and i really liked the ceramic herb labels.
The best part of the market was the tote bag screen printing run by Happy Inkers which 2 of my friends did. They cut out templates which were placed over the bag then the frame was placed over this and the paint is pushed down and dragged across and hey presto you have a print!
Ive been quite fortunate with the library recently and come across quite a few books that i’ve been wanting to read. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is something i’ve been wanting to read for a while, but by random chance I saw Warm Bodies on one of the displayed and snapped it up immediately having seen the movie trailer a couple of days before and not knowing it was a book.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2011) first captured my attention not just because of the name but the story is inspired by (and includes) collections of strange vintage photography. These photographs belong to collectors and have inspired some of the events of the story. Jacob’s Grandfather used to tell him stories of an orphanage on a Welsh Island full of magical children, but also stories of monsters. When Jacob goes to find this orphanage, things on the island are not what they seem. Its hard do describe this book without giving too much away but its and excellent story and one that I can barely put down. Im only about 20 pages from the end!
Warm Bodies (2010) is a narrative by R. R is a zombie and thats all he can remember of his name. He cant articulate much but he thinks a lot. He lives in an abandoned airport with his fellow zombies who shamble about and sometimes go on hunting trips for the brains of scattered surviving living people. One day he meets Julie and instead of eating her he is compelled to protect her. This book is just a brilliant concept, that there is more to the zombie that what we see on the surface and also hilariously funny. I’m about a third of the way through currently and excited to see how things progress. I know a little of the plot from seeing the movie trailer, something i cant wait to see when it comes out of DVD.
My friend Chris asked me if I could make some rum truffles and i’m always up for a baking challenge, especially if it means sharing the results with my friends.
I used this recipe
- 200g/7oz dark chocolate, broken into pieces
- 175ml/6fl oz double cream
- 5 tbsp rum
- cocoa powder
Ive only made truffles once before, in that instance I melted the chocolate then added the cream however this method seemed to work better. You bring to cream to a boil then pour it over the chocolate. It does take a while for it all to mix but when it does you get a lovely rich silky ganache. The recipe said to leave it to set at room temp but after a while i put it in the fridge for a little bit to set more. To make the truffles you spoon out small portions and roll in your hands (covering hands in cocoa powder helps but its a very messy job), you then roll the sticky balls in cocoa powder (or other coating of your choice) and leave to set in the fridge.
Im really pleased with the results and they seem to have been well received with everyone who tried one. The only problem with adding alcohol to truffles is that you cant eat too many, especially not early in the morning.
I watched a telly program the other week the home of fabulous cakes, it felt like proper old school cooking telly with the voice over, the detailed demonstration and the listed recipe. In it there was some heart shaped shortbread
I wrote down the ingredients and cooking temperature/time and thought I would have a go, and they were lovely (although the Gentleman of the House says they could do with some caster sugar on top)
- 300g Plain Flour (sifted)
- Half tsp Salt
- 100g Icing Sugar (sifted)
- 200g Unsalted Butter
- 1tsp vanilla extract
I didn’t write the instructions down so I just put everything in the kitchenaid and mixed together (although I had the guard lid on I still had icing sugar wafting out) until it all came together. I then rolled the dough onto a floured surface and rolled to the thickness of about 1 and a hald found coins then cut out the heart shaped. Baked on a buttered greaseproof papered baking tray for 14 mins at 160 deg C then took out and left to cool on the tray for a few mins still they were firm enough to transfer to a wire cooling rack. This is the first traditional shortbread i’ve made (ie no almonds etc) and very yum
Photo via lovedbylauren.com
I’ve been wanting to learn to crochet for a while, I had a go myself with a booklet but got a bit confused and just ended up with some knots that I didn’t know whether they were right or wrong. Therefore when my friend suggested that some of us have a get together and learn I thought this was a great idea. She had taught herself to make a granny square from this youtube video and she (and the video) then taught us.
It was a little confusing at first and I really couldn’t get the hang of the basic knots until i realised that with a twist of the wrist it becomes easier. This square is really easy to make once you get the hang of the clusters and the chains as you just repeat them round in a circle. When you complete a round you can either carry on or switch to a different colour. Here is my first attempt.
Since last Saturday I have got a little obsessed and have been crocheting all the time (even on the bus). Ive started these black, red and pink squares which I plan to make bigger then join together to make a blanket.
Sorry theres a little bit of a gap here at the moment, I have loads I want to write about but have been really tired recently. I have loads of posts in my head so coming soon will be Shortbread, The Gym, Bath Digital Festival, Crochet, The Woman in Black, Goodreads Cardamon and Lemon Biscuits (thanks Hairy Bikers) and Shoes and More Shoes
Wigs on the Green by Nancy Mitford (1935) – Years ago I read The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate (her most famous novels) and decided to read more of her works. I made the mistake of not reading the novels in order and had to give up on Don’t Tell Alfred because I realised I hadn’t read The Blessing yet (currently on the go) and that some of the characters do cross over (in the novels concerning Fanny). Some of her works are stand alone and so any order is ok.
The Nancy Mitford website sumerises the plot very well: “Eugenia Malmains is one of the richest girls in England and an ardent supporter of Captain Jack and the Union Jackshirts; Noel and Jasper are both in search of an heiress (so much easier than trying to work for the money); Poppy and Marjorie are nursing lovelorn hearts; and the beautiful bourgeois Mrs Lace is on the prowl for someone to lighten the boredom of her life. They all congregate near Eugenia’s fabulous country home at Chalford, and much farce ensues.”
I discovered that Wigs on the Green has been out of print for over 75 years as it is a satire on British Fascism, Nancy Mitford declined to republish after the events of the second world war because she thought it would not be in good taste. What is useful to know is that in the 30′s two of the other Mitford sisters were devotees of Fascism and did not recieve the publishing of the novel well.
Pigeon Pie by Nancy Mitford (1940) – I read this last year but forgot to write about it. Its quite a funny, not too complex story about wealthy Sophia Garfield who during the war works at a first aid post but dreams of being a glamourous female spy. Need I say more,larks and misunderstandings and much excitement ensues. Although I would not say this is one of the best of her novels it was thoroughly enjoyable light reading, and I do intend to read all her novels.
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (1991) – I read this as a teenager, and having forgotten most of the details of the plot really enjoyed reading it again. The Antichrist has been born (although there may have been a bit of a mixup in the hospital due to a scatterbrain nun) and Armageddon is neigh (well in 11 years anyway). Aziraphael (angel) and Crowley (demon) however don’t really want the world to end as they rather like it. Newton Pulcifer has been enlisted into the Witch Finder Army and Anathema Device is trying to follow all the coming events prophesied by her ancestor in her book The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch. Also there’s a delivery man doing his rounds for four very special people.
All images from amazon.co.uk