15 May 2008

"Some Things I Cannot Change..."

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..."But till I try I'll never know..." Argh. I mean, I posted those Tetris photos last time breezily saying how I was prepared for them to be criticised. Heck, I even quoted Back To The Future. But secretly I thought they were cool. The teacher absolutely hated them and told me as much in our interim presentation on Wednesday (worth 20% of the assignment's grade!) I kid you not, I actually started to tear up right there in class. My throat got tight, my nose got prickly, and I could only but sullenly nod at her before racing out of the class to sob in the girls' loo for 20 minutes. Once again; she was well within her rights to say that, also, they probably were "technically awful," but how the heck am I supposed to pick up the camera and carry on with the assignment now? On top of that everything negative that she said about the last assignment in class applied directly to what I had done. I felt like I was twelve years old again. I felt like hugging my mother. I felt made of fail.


So yeah, I hit the butter pretty hard.



Above: After watching a performance on youtube of 'Popular' from the musical Wicked, featuring Kristen Chenoweth and the ever-ridiculously-astounding Idina Menzel, (yes, my fangirl-ness extends to youtubing musicals I've never even seen), I felt like creating some pink and green iced cupcakes. After all, as Glinda says, "Pink goes good with green." I don't know why I thought cupcakes would be a good way of expressing this, or indeed that it needed to be expressed at all, but it certainly filled my baking-as-catharsis brief for the time being...




Above: And looked rather cute to boot, no?
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I've made these so many times and in so many forms that I don't need a recipe, but you might: Take 125g each of soft butter and caster sugar, beat till fluffy with a wooden spoon, add two eggs, (beat beat beat) a little vanilla extract (beat beat) and 125g flour (still beating with your wooden spoon). Finally, you scoop the mixture into a 12-bun muffin tin, (with paper liners in each indentation) or into 12 or so endearingly pretty silicon cupcake holders like mine. Bake at 180 for about 15 minutes. This recipe is courtesy of Nigella, and is actually in every single book she has done, in one guise or another. Double the recipe and add baking powder and it becomes a Victoria Sponge recipe, to be baked for about 30-ish minutes in two paper-lined 20cm springform tins, and sandwiched together with any number of combinations of things...cream, lemon curd, jam, mascarpone, stewed rhubarb, banana slices, dulce de leche...




Above: I've made these biscuits/cookies (choose as applicable depending on hemisphere) and seriously loved them. Just to show how versatile the recipe is, in the book they are called chocolate chip fruit and nut cookies. In the ones I made there were none of these components (apart from a certain necessary amount of cookie!) and instead I doubled the oats, loaded in pumkin seeds, and then threw caution to the wind by adding linseeds (some throw caution to the wind by, I don't know, skydiving. I add linseeds.)


I managed to refrain from eating all the mixture this time.


And yes, I did manage to get some study done yesterday, but I truly had hit a brick wall when it came to the photography assignment and couldn't bring myself to get started on it again. I'll need to harden up soon and get on with it, but yesterday I couldn't help but wallow, walrus-like, in the solace of the kitchen for a little longer...



Above: It just occured to me that if you zoomed in on this picture, maybe upped the saturation somewhat, it might look like an early Pink Floyd record sleeve. This technicolour mix is actually an uber-wholesome combo of ripe bananas and frozen berries, plus a spoonful of brown sugar, which I turned into ice cream. Well, is it ice cream if there is no cream in it? Jill Dupleix thinks so, and I salute her for coming up with such a splendidly delicious recipe, but the finished product has more of a sorbet-like granular, slushy texture. No matter, it tastes pretty incredible and can claim to be gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, almost sugar free (one tablespoon! and it was my idea, not the recipe), and even vegan. Who would have thought I'd ever make something vegan?


This came to be, not only because I had a whole lot of cheaply bought baking bananas that I couldn't get rid of fast enough, but because Tim and Paul (with a little help from the rest of us) valiantly cleaned out our fridge (well, one of them; we are a two-fridge family in this flat) which was so bung that the ice growth on the back wall had literally grown over some of our food and encased it. Anyway, they found a half-bag of frozen berries that I'd bought and were going to biff them (I know) but luckily thought I might want them. And so, to justify their existense, and to get rid of the scary bananas, I made Jill Dupleix' icecream from Lighten Up.



Above: I don't go in for bananas in a huge way, but good grief this is delicious. And not because of all that it lacks, or even because of all the vitamins and potassium it contains (though I believe they do add that extra zing) but because of what it has: a gorgeous, deeply pink hue; an amazing sorbet-like texture, and the intense flavour of fruit, unadulterated and allowed to taste of itself. (I know, I know, I've totally been drinking her Kool-Aid)


I think (lazily) that Dupleix' recipe is a little unnecessarily complicated, so here's what I did: Take six or so ripe bananas (cut away any brown bits) and chop them very roughly into a bowl. I mean, cutting them in two is fine. Tumble in 150g of frozen raspberries (I had a berry mix which gives a lovely purple tinge to the pink mixture) or more if you like, I didn't bother to measure what I had but I think it was actually more than that. I also added a tablespoon of brown sugar to add a little sweetness; Dupleix specifies fresh berries which are sweeter. Leave them for twenty or so minutes for the berries to soften. Throw the whole lot in the food processor, blend till thoroughly smooth. Tip back into the bowl, or an icecream container, and freeze, stirring to break up ice particles at some stage of the proceedings. You won't be sorry.

Whither the dinner in all this?




Above: On Wednesday night I put sausages, potatoes, onions (love roast onions) yellow peppers and beetroot into a couple of roasting dishes, shoved them in the oven, and came back maybe an hour later to find dinner ready. Although Tim likes his sausages fried, they are so much easier done in the oven and I admit I rather like the hard, crispy exoskeleton they acquire after roasting. You probably already know how I feel about roasted beetroot; if not: LOVE IT.


This weekend is going to be instensely busy, what with extended family driving down from home, old-but-not-forgotten flatmate Kieran showing up on our doorstep yesterday with several bottles of hard liquor, creative differences with my photography teacher to sort out, tests to study for, mini-essays to write, and The Food Show. You can guess which of these things I am excited about. I have been practising for the Food Show (Hello, I'm a food blogger in the Wellington region. May I take a photo? Hello, I'm a food blogger....)
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Oh and I booked a ticket to see Rent in Palmerston North next Friday. Am very excited, even if I'm going alone. Tim wouldn't be tricked by reverse psychology ("didn't want you to come anyway!") and there was no pending birthday to use an excuse, in fairness to him he was a very good sport about it last time. As luck would have it our recent flatmate Stefan has moved to The Palm so I have a spare room to crash in. All's I am saying is, they'd better not kill off Mimi like Levin did...that's right, I'm still not over it.

14 comments:

  1. OK, I have no idea what the parameters for your photography assignment are, but if limits allow I think you should do food photography! Your pictures look mouth-wateringly gorgeous as always.

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  2. Laura

    Congrats on getting Tastespotted. Lovely pics, I love those cupcakes!!

    Maria
    x

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  3. Glad to know the silicon cup cake thingies have been put to good use. Am going to steal the recipie and make a batch (or two) for the girls when I next have a creative moment. I bought six bottles of food colourings two weeks ago to do different coloured icings LOL. for when I finally do bake something. Just remember re the photos - you are meant to learn more by your failures than by your successes - (tuis) Yeah right - tell that to someone who is prancing away with an A- whilst you are clinging on by your toenails to finish the course - just remember - a C is a pass. I agree about the food photos, if it wasn't near midnight and I wasn't at work - I would feel the urge to start baking immediately after looking at them.
    Say hi to Keiran and enjoy the whanau visit. There is a special $39 to fly from Ak to Wtgn on until Sunday night (only cheap one way) the ad came up when I was looking at the NZ Herald headlines - HOuse of Travel I think - just in case anyone else is thinking of travelling down.
    Thanks for yr comments - glad to know you are checking in from time to time.
    Love Lynn

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  4. i want buttercream! :)

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  5. You poor thing! I'm in agreement about the food photos--you're great with those! The ice cream sounds great, as do the cupcakes! Not to mention how cute they are.dupclkjo

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  6. Hi there,
    Not sure what happenened to my last comforting-mumsy comment I posted, it seems to not have made it past the "publish" button and has not made it thus far. I'll try again.

    Can you incorporate the same elements required for your photography assignment into your food photography - and use that as your assignment? We love seeing Tim *waves to Tim*, including his support role as roast pork-bearer, but maybe cupcakes and creme fraiche are becoming your forte. (Perhaps you could top Tim in butter-icing - now that's juxtaposition!)

    I am reminded of a certain young 4 year old who was going to give up ballet because she couldn't skip....

    It's very foggy here and I'm hoping the Lees get airborne (and safely grounded in Wellington). Hope you manage to cover all your commitments this weekend - there' s nothing like an impending god-parental visit to motivate a tidy-up...

    Looking forward to seeing your review of the food show. Maybe you could print out cards with your blog address to hand out so people can remember where to look.

    Be impressed - I made a wonderful pumpkin soup last week and was so inspired (and immodestly pleased with family response) that I'm going to have another go. Made up the recipe as I went but found a generous slosh of green ginger wine made a pleasantly subtle difference on a cold night.

    Good luck with the assignments.

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  7. Boffcat: Thanks so much :) I wish the brief was about taking photos of cupcakes!

    Maria: Thanks, was fun to see myself there! The cupcakes are such a great recipe.

    Lynn: LOL @ your advice. Kieran says hi back to you :)

    Diva: It's soooo good!

    Elle: The ice cream is awesome, so fruity and delicious.

    Mum: Ginger wine in the soup sounds fab. Not foggy here at all. Funnily enough I came up with the printed cards idea too :) Great minds etc etc...no idea how I'd do it though. I suppose I could handwrite them but would look a bit low-rent. XO

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  8. Sounds like your teacher is a pompous ass. Rather than tell you how bad your photos are, she should be *teaching* you how to make them better.

    Glad to see the kitchen therapy worked though:-) That's the first place I head when I've had a bad day.

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  9. Those cup cakes look good. I was thinking that a photography class would be fun but it is not sounding like it is...

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  10. Okay, your teacher? Gonna have to come over there and kick her a$$. How demoralizing.

    Aren't cupcakes oddly healing? I think they secretly channel endorphins. Love them. Love those 2 colors together as well.

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  11. Marc: Kitchen therapy is exactly the right name for it :)

    Kevin: I don't want to put you off, I'm sure all photography courses are not created equal!

    Ann: If cupcakes aren't the answer, I don't want to know the question ...

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  12. Cupcakes....the ultimate comfort food.

    I agree, your foodies photos are great.

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  13. Congrats on tastespotting, those food photographs look amazing :)

    I'm so sorry the teacher made you feel so bad again, horrid! Sending you a big hug Laura xxx

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  14. I LOVE Haribo gummy bears, used to scoff them all the time in Denmark!!! Your pictures are seriously getting heaps better Laura, great to see you are getting the hang of your new camera!

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