Monthly Archives: October 2011

Wakey Wakey!

Standard

Does anyone else have an unreasonable hatred of their alarm tone? I do. I had the misfortune of hearing my alarm, courtesy of my phone, while wide awake. Boy did it make me want to kill someone. I’m not sure if that is due to the annoyingly high pitched cadence and whiney undertones that it posses or simply due to the fact it pulls me out, way too early from my much needed sleep. The fact that I set it for that time and I go to sleep at that time is neither here nor there in my eyes.

Perhaps one reason why very little money appears to be spent on creating an attractive alarm tone is because we will always intrinsically hate our alarm whatever happens. I think that this is why I could never have my radio as my alarm; I’d come to hate the song or show that woke me up. That said you can’t really hate the Chris Moyle’s show any more than I already do… (don’t get me started!)

I did once have three alarms, although I’m not quite as bad as this:

Croque – en – Bouche or Tales from a Mutinous Kitchen

Standard

Inspired by our great love of culinery adventures and The Great British Bake Off season two, my friend and I (Also called Hannah!) decided to tackle that great monument of choux pastry and french weddings – the Croque – en -Bouche (also spelt croquembouche!). For those who have not yet met this esteemed delicacy, it is quite literally a mound of profiteroles, filled with a creme patissiere (in our case chocolate flavoured) and bound together into what is hopefully a cone by using caramel. After all, its name literally does mean crack in the mouth. Delish.

I started off with visions such as the following floating before my eyeballs:

The other Hannah did eventually manage to talk me down from such dizzying heights but not before showing me this gem of a photo:

Yep, one whole wedding dress made out of croque-en-bouche. Now thats dedication. Especially from the lass in question – she wouldn’t have been able to sit down the whole time!

So, having decided on a more modest sized croque-en-bouche we found our recipe – we used this one – and got going. Disregard the 35 minutes prep, 15 minutes cooking time frame. Believe me, this sucker is an all day project! Feeling fresh and prepared, having picked up some ingredients at saisburys which we never actually used, we cracked on with the choux pastry. Inside out piping bags, gloopy mixture and over acheiving profiteroles were to await us.

As my scales weren’t working, we had to do a bit of an internet translation job into cups which took a little bit of brain power, but thankfully we suceeded a happily decided to pipe the profiterole idea Bad idea. Slightly too runny mixture had me with a finger up the piping bag nozzle (no euphamisms please 😉 as my friend desperately tried to fill the rest of the bag up. Only to realise it was inside out. Whoopsie. not to be deterred we womanfully continued on with the perilous job. With rather fewer than expected, we sat down to discuss interrailing and waited for the grand profiterole reveal. Well, the profiteroles were certainly grande if not quite grand! They had clearly had a bit of a rebellion in the oven and decided that profiterolling wasn’t for them – no they wanted to be yorkshire puddings!

The Mutinous Profiteroles - so mutinous that they wouldn't even sit still for a decent photograph on their own

Taking a few deep breaths to calm ourselves, we moved swiftly forward. The making of the creme patissiere was when the internet conversion really to a dislike to us. It translated 30 grams of flour into 4 tablespoons. Unfortunately we were half way through before we decided that might not actually be correct. We rectified the problem in a suitably slap dash way – just add a bit more milk and another egg and it chould all be fine. Maybe even a little bit more chocolate for good measure. It was thankfully and we actually created something quite tasty which had the resemblance of chocolate custard. As we piped it into yorkshire pudding look alikes the piping bag decided to divorce the piping nozzle. Not that I like to interrupt private affairs but waiting a little bit longer wouldn’t have been so bad. We resorted to teaspoons.

Anyone want beef with that?

Now for the caramel. I think the food gods were against us because the caramel prroved to be the most devilish bit of it all! Who would have thought that melting together a bit of sugar and water would nearly defeat us in the home run. Our first batch wanted to run before it could walk, turning golden well before all the sugar was melted. That said it would probably have been all right if it hadn’t turned on us. The second bacth tried my non-stiring patience to the limitl. It was just so hard to resist the urge to stir (which apparently causes crystalisation); I think I need to invest in some handcuffs!

The two batches

It worked in the end though!

It spread the whole length of the kitchen! Do you like my crazy flowery apron by the way?

And so, the profiteroles were assembled, the caramel set and the spung sugar adding just a leetle bit of height. *Drum roll please* TADAAAAAAAA!!!!!!

Look! It turned out pretty - we tamed the mutinous profiteroles!

Spun sugar - working just like a hat on a short person!

And so the adventure ended. The kitchen was finally tamed (if not cleared up). And all that was left was devouring. And then. Well, then, there was none.

Wacky Wednesday

Standard

One seriously talented guy decided to draw the Salon by Picaso on his basement wall. In Sharpie. And then it just got a little bigger. And soon the whole basement was covered in sharpie drawings all over his bedroom wall. It is seriously awesome, seriously wacky.

For more images click on the pictures and for a panoramic around the room sweep and the full story click here.

I don’t think I’d dare touch my walls, even if I was arty enough. I’d be too scared I’d mess up. I wonder how much practice he put in before he did the real thing? Would you dare?

Three cheers for Molly Weasley!

Standard

My friends 18th birthday is going to be a Harry Potter themed party. As a bit of a potter fan myself I greatly approve of the plan. Fun fact for you all: My birthday is the same day as Harry Potter’s (and J.K Rowling!) Anyway, she has assigned us all characters and I have been given the great task of being Molly Weasley. Yes, the line that does come to mind is: ‘Not my daughter you bitch!’ I hope to make great use of that at the party, although perhaps not in quite the same format. I was thinking more along the lines of ‘Not my vodka and coke, you bitch’ although ‘Not my lemonade, you bitch’ is probably going to be slightly closer to the truth.

Mrs Weasley is a pretty cool character I’m not going to lie. She can come across as a bit of an old dear but in reality she is quite fierce and fiery (oooh, just realised I get to die my hair red for this!), has got humungous piles of delicious food stashed about and always has her knitting needles on the go. Oh and she gave birth to the twins. Enough said, I think.

I’d quite like to be like her I think. I was initially hankering after Luna (I am quite like her ditzy, silly, fabulous character but in different ways methinks) but I’ve come round. I love the way The Burrow is portrayed and well, its just so homely.  I can’t wait for the day when I have my own house, hopefully quite higgledy piggeldy with lots of stairs (you’ve got to keep the weight off somehow) and where I can always welcome anyone who needs to rest, rejuvenate and feel the love. And that, I think, is just what Mrs Weasley manages to do.

So here’s to skirts, knitted jumpers, red hair and Mrs Weasley!

Stir up Sunday!

Standard

Well, you may have noticed that its not atually Sunday or indeed Stir up Sunday but it seemes to be a fitting title for todays post. I’ve just nipped back to bed (it is the first day of half term after all!) after a quick stir of the christmas pudding mixture. It smells absolutely divine (unfortunately the camera isn’t charged so i can’t show you a picture of the mixture)!Anyway, traditionally speaking Stir-up-Sunday happened in the Anglican church, the sunday before advent started. The opening words of the service (the collect) was: Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

This phrase then became connected with stirring up the christmas pudding and children were often heard chanting on the way home:

Stir up, we beseech thee, the pudding in the pot;
And when we get home we’ll eat the lot.

I think I prefer the childrens version myself; short and to the point 😉 Then the chritmas pudding would be stirred from east to west in honour of the wise men, while everyone made a wish! So yes, we are a tad early but making the christmas pudding and the mincemeat etc. is always a half term tradtion in my family and of course, family tradition takes precedent.

For those of you who want to stick with this tradition, Stir up Sunday is on the 20th November this year.

Feeling Happy :)

Standard

I’ve just arrived back home from my sewing course. I started it several weeks ago and I absolutely love it. I’ve always wanted to be able to sew properly and this forces me to do all the steps (normally I’m a, ‘So what if its not quite straight, I’ll just bungle on anyway!’ kind of person) and actually make samples etc. Hopefully by June I should have made either a pair of trousers or a skirt. Probably a skirt knowing my dislike of clothing of the trouser variety.

And do you know what, I just feel so light, so happy. I’ve been feeling a bit down these past few days after I had a bit of a rubbish start to the day yesterday (was already late – don’t actually think I’ve been on time once this half term but I digress – then left my bus pass at home and had no money, walked home, had a bit of a meltdown and arrived at school – for my ONLY lesson- half an hour after it started) and I’ve just been getting a bit caught up in a pointlessness vibe. Being able to go and do something I find really relaxing (and the fact that its half term tomorrow YAY) has just pulled me right back out of that rut.

In a land far far away…

Standard

Creeaaaak!

*A short, plump figure pushes her way through a turquoise door, scratching herself on the brambles that had begun to grow up the around the archway*

Gosh, there does seem to be an awful lot of dust in here and that door could do with a little bit of grease. I’ll have to see if I can find some of my bubble magic to help sort it out.

*The figure starts to walk gingerly across the room until…*

Achooooooooooooooo!!!!!

*She sneezes dramatically (she has a dust allergy, the poor mite), lurching forward. As her eye level drops dramatically she notices something on the floor*

What’s this? A quill?

*Surprisingly enough, it is a long, feathery affair. It sways precariously, as she holds it up to see nib. The nibs not the thing worth looking at though. The feather is astonishing; an iridescent ray of pinks, purples, blues and greens.*

Amazing. It fits perfectly in my hand.

*She stands confused. Memories are coming back to her slowly. She wants to see the quill more clearly so she wanders towards the windows. They are round and set back from the wall. There is a little seat in one, with a cushion and a few discarded books.

Eugh! These windows are so disgustingly filthy. It’s so annoying I can’t see it out of the window properly.

*She wipes a shirt cuff on the window. It comes back black. But she can make out the rolling hills, the pink sky, the candyfloss clouds and lollipop trees of the beyond. Her heart begins to beat louder and faster. Her breath catches in her throat.*

Can it really be…? It looks so familiar. Just like one of the worlds from my imagination.

*She turns around. Dazed. And there it is. Her desk. She can’t understand how she missed it before. Its big and white. There is a design on the table legs which twist upwards in a complex and never ending patter. She is home.*

My desk. Ah, my lovely desk. I have missed you.

*She rushes forward, pulls out the neatly tucked in chair and half sits, half falls into it. She looks at her desk and bursts out laughing.*

As if I ever thought I could desert your dear book. Dear, scary white paper. Well, you’ve caught me up again now.

*She holds up the quill, dips it into the ink (which of course was sitting right where she needed it and begins to write….*

 

And hopefully won’t stop again soon. I’ve missed you blogland.