Saturday, 21 March 2009
Friday, 20 March 2009
Sunday, 15 March 2009
Saturday, 14 March 2009
we exchange looks of weirded-out awkwardness
i say, for the sake of saying something,
"that's a bit... wrong, isn't it? in the current climate"
he says, "yes. yes it is. it's far too hot"
and i like this.
Saturday, 7 March 2009
I followed the almond praline cake recipe to the letter, but I think the recipe showed you how to make a cake for 400 people who expected their cake to be served in one big trough. The upshot was, I had too much icing and praline for just the one cake.
I made some swiss roll sponge (that's with no butter remember!) and made an almond praline swiss roll:
And I STILL had plenty of things left so I made some squares out of swiss roll sponge:
We were inviting people round and force-feeding them almond praline for ages.
Next I want to make another orange cake - I made one before and it was without doubt the ugliest cake I ever made. I didn't even want to take a photo of it. It tasted wonderful though - and my housemate is currently doing the set design for Much Ado About Nothing which includes loads of oranges, so I'm hoping to "borrow" one. I think the set has loads of oranges in it because the play is set in the oranges capital of the universe, but also because there is a definite citrus theme to the play which is often overlooked. I would point doubters to this particular line:
There we have it.
Sunday, 1 March 2009
Well just look at that.
I don't make very beautiful cakes, I should say that now. They don't look professional they look positively slapdash. But they taste nice. This is my almond praline cake, you can see bits of the praline in the mixture and on the very top, and the icing is my homemade buttercream icing, which was too runny. So the icing couldn't go all around the sides of the cake but only on the top.
The eggs in the cake were laid by my very own chickens back home. That's why the cakes are so yellow. You can see that more obviously in this picture of the cake just out of the oven:
I made so much icing left over that I was able to make more almond praline things, which I'll blog about soon, but not now. There are too many almonds in this post by now.
This blog is becoming increasingly about my enthusiastic yet inept endeavours as an amateur pudding chef. I don't mind that. Here are some other things that have happened recently:
- I got asked to perform a pun-routine I do (about Shakespeare) at a quiz night that was raising money for a performance of Much Ado About Nothing, called Much Ado About Quizzing. Our quiz team was called The Bad Quartos and we were the furthest from winning you could get.
- My friend then reported she overheard two of our mutual friends swapping quotes from this on the bus a few days ago. I'm in popular culture! Sort of.
- I went to the Drama Ball last night. Its theme was Horrible Histories, and I was dressed as an abtract Marie Antoinette with a red ribbon choker on, and a dress I've been waiting a long time to wear. There's nothing quite like the drama ball, there's such a good mix of breathtakingly elegant costumes worn by beautiful people, who have clearly put a lot of thought into what they're doing, and then there's the downright silly ones which are just as great. You get few instances of plain no effort. I took no photos myself, so I'm waiting for the professional ones to come through. The pudding wasn't a patch on 2008's.
- Having watched The Maltese Falcon recently, out table toasted "to success in crime".
- Having watched The Big Sleep recently (thank you, friend, for lending me the Bogart double feature!) I have a new favourite respone to a compliment:
Response: Yeah, what you see's nothing. I've got a Balinese dancing girl tattooed on my chest.
- Disneyland Paris turned me back into an esctatically happy child for a day. I was worried that, having not been to Disney for about ten years now, all the magic would have gone. It really hasn't; Disney continues to hold exclusively good memories for me. And I appear to have gotten over my fear of rollercoasters!
Thursday, 26 February 2009
Sunday, 15 February 2009
Friday, 30 January 2009
Look at all these things it's far too cold for!
Pretty, aren't they?
Look at them.
Aren't they nice?
Why, once you're tired from a hard day's surfing, these lovely things'll be just perfect for hanging out on the beach!
You could always chill in the jacuzzi - nothing like a quick dip to take your mind off the scorching heat!...
Hey, what's wrong?
What's the matter? Why are you crying?
Almond praline, to be precise. My original intention was to make almond praline cake, which of course begins with making the praline. I ended up making so much almond praline, and so much almond praline buttercream icing, that I had to make two more cakes on top of the original almond praline cake just to use it all up: obivously not literally on top as that would be, though delicious, structually unsound.
The closest I can manage to a pun on the word "praline" is this extract from the Dead Parrot Sketch.
Praline: I understand that this is Bolton.
Praline: Well, you told me it was Ipswich.
Shopkeeper: It was a pun.
Praline: A pun?
Shopkeeper: No, no, not a pun, no. What's the other thing which reads the same backwards as forwards?
Praline: A palindrome?
Shopkeeper: Yes, yes.
Praline: It's not a palindrome. The palindrome of Bolton would be Notlob. It don't work.
I took a picture at the beginning because I wanted to remember the sheer amount of sugar that went into this. Taken near the start of the caramelisation process or, as I like to think of it, SUGAR TURNING BLACK AND ALIVE.
Finally, here is the almond praline post- being put in a plastic bag and pounded for ages.
It tastes pretty good on its own. And now I have mastered praline I feel I would be fairly confident attempting brittle! Maybe even nougat someday! Hurray!
Friday, 16 January 2009
Took me a while to decide the best way to ice a cake for a Film Noir themed birthday party. My humble blueberry-jam filled victoria sponge had to contend with grandma's heavy duty fruit cake, and both desserts were up against the huge bowl of candy sticks I had bought for guests to smoke.
I am reminded of the noiresque monologue I saw Greg Fleet doing in Edinburgh. The best joke went something like this: "I walked up to the airport desk with a dead vulture under my arm. The air hostess said, you wanna put that in the baggage handler? I said, 'No.... it's carrion.' "
Bonus shot of film noir twenty-first birthday party in action. Note expert candy stick deployment:
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
Saturday, 3 January 2009