Saturday, December 11, 2010

cookies, spice and everything nice

I love exclusivelyfood so much. That blog has the perfect recipes for the cook that's been making things long enough to know a bit more than the basics, but isn't exactly a MasterChef. That is to say, most of the stuff they have is pretty fool-proof. 

My darling friend was up for the weekend, so we embarked on making a quick Christmas classic. Gingerbread is essential to Christmas, like Polka Dots are essential in 50's vintage, Dean Martin's Sway is essential in the perfect seduction, and Bookdepository to all those poor people who have to put up with Angus and Robertson.

So! Gingerbread! Used this recipe, and it came out mighty fine. I used Raw Sugar instead of Brown Sugar (despite the fact that it's practically the same) and unsalted butter, because I like my gingerbread a bit sweeter. I know it says 10 mins, but if you're like me and like your gingerbread fairly soft and chewy, check it at seven. I take it out when you can see the golden-brown tinges of a perfectly cooked base. Leave it to cool, then ice it. Betty Crocker Icing is always amazing if you can't be bothered to make your own. 

It's the perfect Sunday Morning kind of feeling - nibbling on gingerbread with a cup of Earl Grey in hand. 

Songs for inspiration:
  1. Clare Bowditch and the Feeding Set - Between the Tea & the Toast
  2. Angus & Julia Stone - Babylon
  3. School of Seven Bells - Half Asleep
  4. Goodnight Owl - Verandah * 
  5. Johnny Flynn - Tickle Me Pink
  6. The Decemberists - Red Right Ankle
  7. Iron & Wine - Fever Dream
  8. Jonsi - Tornado

*I think I got this from Triple J unearthed... I'm still hunting for the file. 

Story of the day:

colour her blue

I've finally kicked my first post phobia. Who needs introductions, anyway? Those are for the weak and self-concious who want to set everything off by making the best impressions. I make terrible first impressions, second impressions, third impressions.... So, instead, I will serenade you with my tale of meandering in the sunlight. Or, rather, I wish I was meandering in the sunlight but Summer here doesn't lend itself for that - or anything but heatstroke, for a matter of fact. Yet, at dusk, my pool is all these glorious shades of cerulean, as if it had been set aflame from within, and diving into it provides this immeasurable rush of satisfaction, of hope, of the fulfilment of the wish that I was in Europe all over again...

Christmas Day, 2009, Venice.

Nice - December 2009

Nice - December 2009

Songs for inspiration:
  1. Grizzly Bear - Deep Blue Sea
  2. Miike Snow - Black and Blue
  3. Electric Light Orchestra - Mr. Blue Sky
  4. Noah and the Whale - Blue Skies
  5. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Shade of Blue
  6. Cary Brothers - Blue Eyes
  7. and, just because it's a classic - Feist - Mushaboom

Story of the day: trying desperately to come up with something that revolves around blue, but all I can think of is the Blue Bloods series by Melissa De La Cruz. Think "Gossip Girl" (I know, I know) meets the Mortal Instruments trilogy. Ultimate girly young-adult lead with kickass mythological/biblical references for the slightly more intelligent-than-average reader. I.e., this makes it 103829te8393 x better than Twighlight (gag!), Sookie Stackhouse, Vampire Academy, PC Cast's latest literary eroticism hidden beneath the guise of a teen read, and so on, by far. 

Alternatively, try F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night for the opulent atmosphere found solely in the South of France. The Divers are the centres of attention in the creme de la creme of the local American expats. Rosemary Hoyt, an up-and-coming actress, is the ultimate girl of the 20's: flighty, naive and oddly rational. She, naturally, runs into them whilst seeking those ridiculous pebbled beaches in Nice, and is drawn in by their magnetism and unusual relationship. It gives a hint of the forbidden, of decadence and mindless pleasure - of seeking what you want, taking it, only to have all those loose threads unravelled...

If we're comparing them, then I can say that Tender is the Night has to be my favourite out of all F. Scott Fitzgerald's work - it's so much deeper, darker, liked the edges have been singed and glued back together, than anything I've read in such a long time. It makes you feel. It makes The Great Gatsby look like the rich cousin who's trying to endear themselves to a poor relative, but only succeeds in appearing young and pompous. I'm not even going to try to relate it to Blue Bloods, because there is no comparison: this is in a completely different league above the rest.

The rough, molten heat of warmed tiles pales in comparison to all those pebbled beaches, but is far more amenable to soaking up some sun. In the meantime, I guess I'll just have to be satisfied with dreams of my future villa in Nice, all those intwined azures and cobalts and turquoises sinking into the perfect blue beneath my eyelids.

( Before you say anything,  YES, I am procrastinating. Of course I'm procrastinating, I practically invented that word.)