Saturday, 21 March 2009

something i made and like


this was nice. made with yoghurt, honey, pomegranate seeds and icing sugar roasted pistachio nuts. the Independant Pudding Recipe Success Rate has now risen to 50% (our first experiment being the chocolate and beetroot cake.)

Friday, 20 March 2009

Chaplin called laughter "noise from a hole."

"I find nothing so illebral and so illbred as audible laughter... not to mention the disagreeable noise that it makes and the shocking distortion of the face is occasions."

- Lord Chesterfield, 1748.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

a description of film noir that i like very much. it is by Geoffrey O'Brien.

This is the music of his own world, the one he lives in. It has the same air, the same weather, the same floors and walls and cars, the hot evenings, the eyes glimpsed for an instant looking out from someone else’s porch. This is no dream; it’s the very stuff of reality, as real as the thick paper of the book cover against his fingers. As real as the radio report crackling into the room from another outpost of reality. For sure, it’s happening out there, somewhere in the neon wilderness, in the asphalt jungle. A woman screams. The lights go out. A window breaks. There’s a siren, a shot, a dark figure running down the street. The shriek of the saxophone through the nightclub’s swinging doors, a body slumped over a steering wheel in an empty lot, a telephone ringing for someone who can’t answer, the elevator rising ominously toward the penthouse floor. And he’s in the middle of it somehow, he’s on the ledge, just coming through the door, peering through the latticework, crouching silently in the stairwell as the assassin goes by, his knees poised to spring forward. He reads it as another might read a lyric poem – because its images sustain the life in him.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

who makes these for children? they're creepy enough on adults

we see a girl, about ten years old, wearing one of those FREE HUGS hoodies

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

home on the orange.

I've had an update on the oranges front, and apparantly, even though the Much Ado About Nothing set includes a thousand oranges (yes a thousand, I typed it out so it can't be mistaken for a typo of 100), every single one of those thousand oranges is being used, so I cannot "borrow" one. With that plan scuppered, I will have no choice but to buy one to make my orange cake. Although now I'm starting to doubt my housemate will ever want to look at an orange again after the experience. Would making orange cake save her, or send her over the edge?

the almond spinoffs.

Finally, the end of blog posts about almonds.

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:

When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live until LIMES!!!!!!! (II.iii)

There we have it.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

desperately seeking a joke with "almonds" as the punchline.

I realised I never actually blogged about what I did with all that almond praline.

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:
Kind Person: [gives 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

almost offended.

"What's your stripper name?" he asks. I bristle.

"Is it The Baker?" And all is forgiven.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

best stage directions ever.

"she tries to get over the Wall, and just as she gets hold of the Top the Bricks give way, she falls, and some Bricks which are supposed to hurt her very much."

Friday, 30 January 2009

Joe Browns appears to be mocking me...

... by announcing the new summer collection is out.

Look at all these things it's far too cold for!

Pretty, aren't they?

Look at them.

Aren't they nice?
Aren't they?!

Why, once you're tired from a hard day's surfing, these lovely things'll be just perfect for hanging out on the beach!

Or hey, if you're too tired for the beach, why not just have the volleyball team come round to your pad and have a barbeque instead!

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?

I don't even think those sandles are that nice. It's the principle.

salmon'd: almost an anagram of the infamous archaic fishery past tense

almonds today.

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.
Shopkeeper: Yes.
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 wo
uld be Notlob. It don't work.

The customer's name sure is a good bit of pub quiz trivia. We've had a picture of John Cleese's Praline, so let's have some pictures of my praline. I want to see how many times I can type "praline" before it no longer resembles a real word. Current status: uneasy.

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.

Next the praline after only a couple of minutes in the fridge. It was at this point I realised there isn't actually a rolling pin in the flat, so instead I had to crush it to pieces using the a screwdriver, which fortunately had a handle that was made of metal so it was bigger and in all probability heavier than a rolling pin would have been.

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

Going noirwhere.

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

Containing neither pepper nor cheese.

chocolate chip banana bread pudding.

is there a single bad word in that name?

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Ignore geography for this to work.

So, Hamlet's got a job as a bus driver, and he's taking a coach party to the other end of the kingdom. A puncture rips a tyre and the bus stops. Hamlet looks out, and sees sharp objects and potholes and speedbumps all the way down the road. Hamlet says, "this rotten interstate of Denmark!"

Happy 09.