Sunday, May 31, 2009

Replace One Book With Another

You may have noticed that there has been a slight increase in recipes and food posts over the past few days... the reason? Well, I enjoy baking, but essentially it's because I can again.

As uni work slows down with first semester holidays within close sight, my "Journalism Ethics" books are being replaced by Bill's cookbooks, Donna Hay cooking magazines and many internet recipe print outs...

Cooking is my calm place, my de-stress place.
It's where I can look at something that begins on a piece of paper, then as a bunch of random ingredients and finally as a syncronised finished product. It's pretty lovely.

Me to a T: Tea and cake, my fuel of choice.

Anyway, other news?

I went to my first "Twitter Meet-Up" this week. I wrote a story about Twitter for my Feature Writing class and went to a coffee with a few other Twitterers on Friday morning, got some great interviews and met some lovely people.

I'm really blown away with the possibilities of this new social media site. Are you on it? Drop in on mine and say hello.

How was your weekend? Do you have any delicious recipes to share?

Hope you had a nice one.

Saturday Antiques and Sunday Cakes

Well it was lovely weather here over the weekend, so P. and I took advantage of it. Took my doggies for a few walks, walked around Paddington (a nice suburb in Brisbane) and popped into a few antique shops.

Then today, I made something that I thought you'd all enjoy...

Bill Granger's, "Apple Fruit Cake"

To make this cake, you will need:

75g raisins
3 tablespoons warm tea
3 apples (I left the skin on, cored it and grated it - lovely, moist product)
250g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teasppoon ground cloves
180g brown sugar
60g white sugar
250g softened butter
3 medium eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
85g chopped nuts
2 teaspoons grated ginger

P. Cutting Some Slices: P. and I couldn't get enough of it at lunchtime today (it was our lunch after 2 slices each!)

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Leave the raisins to soak in the tea while you make the rest of the cake.

Grease and flour a bundt pan (approx 25cm).

Sift the flour, baking powder, spices and salt together into a stand mixer bowl, and add the sugars, eggs, butter and vanilla. Beat the mixture, (either by hand or using a mixer) starting on low speed until the ingredients are just combined then increasing the speed, until the batter is pale, smooth and creamy.

Drain the raisins. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir the apples, nuts, ginger and raisins into the mixture by hand. Place the batter into the prepared bundt tin and
smooth the top.

Place the cake in the preheated oven to bake for approximately one hour or until cooked through.

Remove the cake from the oven, and leave it to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before unmoulding it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Finally, top with icing sugar (I mixed some cinnamon in with mine to add s
ome extra spice!)

NB: a trick learned from watching P's mum bake, if the top begins to brown too quickly whilst the cake's in the oven, place some alfoil loosely over the top.

I have a soft spot for Bill, because my lovely friend bought me a ticket to see him in his latest recipe book launch last month; it was so great!

I got him to make out my recipe book to both of us so I'd always remember how lovely that night was :-)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chez Panisse Gingersnaps

Well I've currently been on a quest to find a cracker ginger biscuit recipe and I think with this one from Baking Bites, I'm well on my way there.

Voilà the final product;

The method was different, making the batter and freezing it overnight, but it couldn't be done any other way.

N.B: I substitued "normal" molasses for pomegranite molasses (couldn't find a normal one in the shops, I know, but they had pomegranite - what the what?). They ended up giving them a bit of a tart taste, lovely still!

Also I recommend being a little more generous with the ginger if that's the kind of taste you like.

Chez Panisse Gingersnaps (from Baking Bites)
8 oz unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 small eggs or 1 1/2 large eggs
1/3 cup molasses
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Cream butter until soft; add sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs, and beat until fluffy. Add molasses and beat until well-mixed.

Sift the dry ingredients; add to the mixture, 1/3 at a time. Mix only until the dry ingredients become incorporated.

Line a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with plastic wrap, so that some hangs over the outsides. Press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Pack it tightly, and try to make the top as level as possible (you could try making a rectangular log if you don’t have a loaf pan). Cover the dough with the plastic overhangs. Freeze until very firm, preferably overnight.

Unwrap and remove dough from the pan. Slice brick into thin slices, no more than 1/8″. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (space at least an inch apart) and bake at 350 degrees (180 degrees celsius) until the edges turn dark brown, about 12 minutes.

Another N.B: make sure they turn dark brown on the edges, this helps them to be lovely and crispy when you take them out of the oven.

P.S. They're darn more-ish; I stress ate 4 large ones this afternoon! That's a lot when you look at their size.

She's Back!

Heart-warming, spirit-inspiring, joyful chanteuse Regina Spektor is back on the scene! Her new album "Far" is set to be released on 23 June this year.

These two lovely songs have got my ears flapping in excited anticipation.

I'm usually one of those annoying listeners who"ditches" an artist once their lyrics are bopped out of the "mainstream" lips of black stovepipe jean wearing, Kate Moss copy-a-likes; but, no no.

Not in Ms Spektor's case... how could you? Listen.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Gift of Now

"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why we call it, 'The Present'."

~ Eleanor Roosevelt ~

Source: Anaguma on Flickr, Eleanor sitting left-hand side, holding the box.

I found this quote today, isn't it lovely? Eleanor was by no means a "gorgeous" lady, but she knew her stuff...

I hope that one day I say something quotable.

Have a lovely weekend everyone, enjoy our present present :-)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Paris, Stop F-ugging

Australia's creation, the UGG boot, has been soiled permanently by people like this...

And this has irked me for some time, because UGG boots were never ever meant to be worn as a fashion item.

However around 5 years ago celebrities, like the one above, propelled our humble tootsie warmers into the mainstream; onto the streets, into restaurants & general public life.

The boots now have earned a reputation for being "trashy", "unfashionable" and completely "demode" as Lagerfeld would say.

Here in Aus, however, UGG boots are still predominantly winter feet warmers; to be worn at home whilst you're in your trackies (sweatpants) watching Sex and the City re-runs on a winters' day (as I have done so today).

Time for Paris to de-ugg and give these slippers back the credibility they so dutifully earned.

So I want to know lovelies, what is your take on the UGG boot?

And you Aussies out there (Brown Button's Kim) and any other local lurkers, how do you feel about how this boot has been exploited?

Peoples Love Zooey

I stumbled upon this ad for Oliver Peoples featuring Zooey Deschanel on Katrina's blog... a Zooey fan, I decided to depart from my usual "ignore all video posts" rule to give it a play...

I wasn't disappointed!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Me to a Tea

Source: Lost image source, so let me know if it's your lovely photograph!
*Update*: Image is from Jennifer Ramos over at MadeByGirl, she designs these lovely prints and sells them in her shop :-) Keep up the fab work Jen.

I'm an obsessed tea-drinker... I have too many kinds to count, way too many vessels to drink it from, but I am not ashamed.

My father is British afterall, so tea-drinking is in my blood.. right?

Are you a tea-drinker or coffee person? In a Starbucks world is there room to be both?

It Never Rains but it Pours

Well what an eventful time we're having here in Brisbane this week.

Since Monday it has been raining very steadily and heavily, the result? Flood-like conditions, terrible driving weather!

Brisbane: Under that bridge lays a commonly used road, to the right of the photo is a completely submersed shopping centre carpark, crazy right!?

I managed to haul myself to uni today throwing on my gumboots, jeans, thick cashmere jumper and lovely wool scarf, but traffic was bumper to bumper.

Brisbane: Boo bad traffic. We're bad rain drivers.

Two coffees have fuelled me through the gloomy weather. But something about crazy weather really excites me, it's kinda scary I suppose.

How is it going around your side of the world? Anything to report?

18 Year Olds Can Run for Office?

I caught sight of this film trailer on baratunde's posterous, and I'm so glad I did! What an amazing concept, I had no idea that 18 year olds could run for public office in the U.S.

Looks like a great film... has anyone seen it, or heard about it?

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Whole Truth or Everything But?

I was speaking with my friend Lizzie the other day (who always has lovely things to say about my blog) and I confessed to her how I ate an entire packet of biscuits in a day a few weks ago... (It was uni work stress-induced)!

Image from Flickr: Framboise

Anyway soon after the conversation lead onto my blog and she said that I should share that kind of stuff with you all... Not my mundane daily activities but the truth.

When I click on a blog to find the blogger gabbing about how swell and great their life is, how excellent their healthy, muscley 40kg body is and what great work they're doing I can't help but think, "Screw you"...

And yet most of the time, I really only highlight these parts of my life too...

So I'd like to know what you think? Would you like to hear about my guilty pleasures (eg. the biscuit story) as they happen? Or do you want to hear the happy stuff?

The "C Word"

Dined at the greatest little cafe today "C Word"... They specialise in great coffee and delicious bagels.

After hearing about the cafe this morning from my brother, I stole myself away from the laptop (doing French work) and tottered down.

It had a funky but not frou-frou decor, kind staff and great service.

I had a delicious lunch bagel it had; salad, a delicious salsa, beef and cheese on it.. mmm, lovely and fresh too. Also I ordered a coffee and then another after my meal (a rarity for me) but the coffee was just so good and it came with a free freckle!

Had a long lunch and am now home, brain switched on, ready to work.

How has your day been? I love the feeling of finding a great cafe with great food and lovely people, where is your favourite cafe?

P.S. Did my first twitpic upload today (see pic in post) - very exciting! Love Twittersville.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Forgotten Simple Pleasures...

It was a weekend of rediscovered simple pleasures:

From Flickr: KristianGullner
  • A large cup of piping hot tea.
  • Dreaming of a future life in the two cities I have visited and love; NYC and Paris.
  • The final 2 episodes of the Sex and the City series (great because it's not overly glamourised like the film and Big & Carrie end up together still!)
  • A steaming scone with melted butter and sticky, delicious raspberry jam.
  • A walk outside in the crisp air and glimmering sun.
What simple pleasures have you engaged in this weekend friends?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

103? How Can This Be?

So it's my 103rd post today! I'm so surprised that I hadn't noticed when I reached 100! Anyway, it's fabulous be 103 posts old, I owe my blogging continuation to all y'all out there...

I really must say how much I enjoy blogging, a small part of the reason is that it's almost like a cathartic release of whatever's been on my mind, but the largest reason I love it is because of you.

Yes, you the commenters (and even the lovely lurkers) I love having you around, reading your comments, your news, your blogs - it's a great community to be in, if I could buy a house and live in the blogging neighbourhood I would.

So this is a post of thanks, love, gratitude and hope for the future: for everyone's future.

Love Annie

P.S. Check out the blog of my hero in the sidebar, she's lovely and was one of the first people to comment on my blog, ever!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Word to Your Mother

Well today was Mother's day. After pilfering inspiration from the Gourment website all week, I decided to put on a my first lamb roast for the 6 of us... it didn't burn and actually turned out pretty well if I do say so myself!
The table beautifully set by Dad.

My brother tweeted some photos of the afternoon; which I dutifully stole (thanks Cha Cha!)

Actively slicing the cake! (With an eager bystander)

I'd been wanting to give this cake a crack since Easter, so I was glad to get it done today... It was pretty delicious and very unusal; got some lovely grandmotherly and brotherly feedback!

Give it a go - but a tip if you do cook it, put it on a lower heat (say about 140-150 degrees celsius, instead of 180), so that it can get a deeper golden colour on the top; without burning.

So anyway, tell me, how did your weekend float along? Did it float? Or Titanic spiral? I'd been having some Titanic assignment weekends lately, so it was nice to have a sail during this one!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Restaurants, Restaurants Everywhere

Today I have been thoroughly researching for my trip at the end of the year.

Today's research topic has been NYC and oooohh wow there are so many delicious restaurants, cafes, hot-dog stands that I want to eat at! I didn't manage to get to them in the 10 days I was there last!
Image from Mark Wesley.

Woud love to know if any of you have any tips/must-sees/great accom/must-eats for; Paris, NYC, Washington, San Francisco and Hawaii?

Booked our accomodation for Paris, we're 4 doors down from one of the cities best bakeries, shall be 10 times the size I am now when I return!

But I always say that if someone comes back from a holiday skinnier than they left, they had a shit time!

Anyway what have you been up to? Nearly the weekend, my this week has flown by....

Read with envy as the girls from the View tweeted the Time 100 event last night; they won an award and sat next to Michelle Obama!

A Cardboard Sign of the Times

Image from Gawker:

This is a funny photo when you first look at it, then after a few seconds you realise that this young girl is homeless and jobless... sad sign of the times.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Father of the Bride and Weekend Reading

It's so lovely that this weekend is a long one... have had the most hectic few weeks with uni work and from this week onward it thankfully winds down.

Image from here: a relaxing bus stop with a view!

Will be at the beach until early Tuesday morning... So far it's been absolutely lovely. Yesterday just chilled out, read all the newspapers and today (Sunday) we had banana pancakes for breakfast (lovely Donna Hay recipe). Then we walked through the national park; sun shining, waves crashing, crisp autumn air blowing.

It's been magic... What have you all been up to this weekend?

Image from here: I'd love to wait at this beautiful English bus stop!

Here are some things to keep you entertained;

  • The latest New York Diet; I love reading this! It's a little window into people's lives.
  • I love tea, so this tea-cup stool would be perfect for tea parties!
  • Interesting/alarming news about some Aussie trouble-makers: in trouble with the Vatican. Did you know that the Vatican is considered it's own country!? Very alarming!
  • Looking at getting this Yokoo thick, lucious scarf for when I go overseas this August-December! What do you think?
Hope you're all having a lovely weekend, enlighten me, tell me what you've been up to...

Currently: I'm watching Father of the Bride, nineties classic!

Copyright Disclaimer:

This blog is a tracking of my ramblings - however sporadic and "un-meaning" my works may be they are still mine (unless otherwise expressed), not yours! No works may be copied from this blog. All works on this blog; writings, photos and recipes must be referenced back to me.