Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Rainy Snail Kinda Day

This afternoon I put on my gumboots

and headed out the door to find this little guy

Later I had a delicious cappuccino

In a Max Brenner 'kangaroo' cup! *

What a lovely, rainy snail kinda day.

Drink your coffee in a decent way (don't forget you are an adult) then lick the chocolate leftovers to keep the child in you forever.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

A Busy Kitchen

I decided to play in the kitchen tonight and make dinner AND dessert, certain I could manage because dinner required marinating for 1/2 an hour and would be made on the stovetop, while dessert would use the oven. Oh-ho-ho, how optimistic I was!

Since finishing work two weeks ago I've been a busy girl - trying to decide what path to take next, planning vacations, writing, reading, budgeting and sending handmade cards to my friends who are getting married and having babies. Things are in flux at the moment and I wanted to spend time in the kitchen, as it always seems to give me a sense of accomplishment and the feeling that some things will turn out, no matter how crazy the rest of my life is.

Several months ago I made Chicken Thighs in Riesling, and tonight it was just as delicious as I remembered, served with a side salad. While it marinated away in the fridge I got to work on a cake I've had my eye on for ages : the Smitten Kitchen Gingerbread Apple Upside Down Cake, henceforth known as Skapple cake (the SK for Smitten Kitchen, although as I look at the original post again it seems she's adapted it from someone called Karen Bates at the Philo Apple farm, and the New York Times). So! Skapple Cake.

It's not a difficult cake, exactly - but there are several steps, which felt a bit beyond me tonight. Do not attempt this cake unless you have several bowls. And enough counter space. And perhaps a helpful roommate. And at least two hours, because it bakes for nearly an hour and takes time to put together unless you're really with it. I most definitely was not tonight. I managed with my loose-bottomed cake tin/cheesecake tin, but a cake tin with a sealed bottom is better. Fortunately I'd anticipated the problem of heated topping dripping from the tin, and had put an old cookie sheet underneath the pan.

On the plus side! The cake was moist and spongey, the house smelled fantastic while it baked, and although it looked very "homemade" it was also pretty impressive. I used Braeburn apples, which kept their shape but still softened. If you feel like something warming that will keep you happily in the kitchen for a while, this is a good cake to try. It turned out beautifully, so at least my hard work was worth it. Smitten Kitchen suggests cider or dark ale to accompany it, and a bit of softly whipped cream.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


Props to the guy I heard karaoke-ing as I came home tonight. Thursday night is generally a big night out in Sydney, and usually I pass a bar with a karaoke stage and have to cringe. The canned music had just hit its intro as I came into hearing range, and I felt my musical appreciation drop to my toes as I recognised Billy Joel's "Tell Her About It."

Aside from a speedy recovery to catch up with the equally speedy first line, though, the guy was good! Now, I love me some Billy Joel, and I was gratified not to have painful memories of bad karaoke etched on top of his voice in my head.

I myself haven't been to a karaoke bar in a long time...which means it's probably time to go again. I remember doing "Going Under" by Evanescence, and a guy in our group kindly jumped in when he realised there was a male part; "Love Story" by Taylor Swift; and "Lady Marmalade" from Moulin Rouge. I am not a soprano so my range falls more in the Tracy Chapman / Amy Winehouse area but I can fake it sometimes.

Do you karaoke? Are there songs you always do, or ones you fastidiously avoid? Does the mere thought of getting up in front of people with an abnormally amplified voice and a backing of tasteless videos and soulless recordings leave you quaking in your stylish yet affordable boots?

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