allana: (hot day)
Photos from our trip to Devon can be found here:

We had an amazing time and I'd thoroughly recommend Coombe House Hotel on many, many levels. I had two wonderful nights' sleep there, which is worth more than diamonds to me right now. (Of course, if anyone was to offer me a diamond or two, I wouldn't complain about that either. I believe that they're traditional after giving birth....) where was I? Ah yes, fabulous food. The menu is deceptive in its simplicity and brevity which left us initially feeling diappointed, but when the food arrived... wow.

Everything was prepared and cooked perfectly. I've eaten a lot of scallops in my time and the ones I had on Tuesday evening were the juciest and sweetest ever. Dave fell in love with his duck and fois gras terrine and luckily for him, I was too busy swooning over my scallops to make puppy-dog eyes at his plate. (I look forward to devouring fois gras, pate, mouldy cheeses, home-made ice-cream etc etc when I'm no longer pregnant. I would kill for some Stilton right now.)

The foodie highlight for me was the Chocolate Mousse with frozen raspberries and hot white chocolate sauce. Aside from the beautiful presentation--how exactly do other food bloggers manage to take photos in restaurants? It would feel so awkward to have a camera on the table--the mousse had the most amazing texture and the hot/cold combination of raspberries and sauce was sublime.

Breakfast was pretty damn good, too. Porridge with thick Devon cream and maple syrup is the way forward. I've never been the sort of Scot who demands porridge cooked with nowt other than a hefty pinch of salt, so I thoroughly approve of any sweet combinations for it. Treacle instead of maple syrup would perhaps have been more British though.

We did some touristy things in Totnes and Dave got very excited over the Arcturus Centre--geeky Simpsons moment, I'm told--before driving around the edge of Dartmoor. Alas, I fell asleep before we got to the really wild bits so I missed out on some great scenery. No matter, I'm sure we'll have plenty more holidays in this area while Speck is growing up :)

I'm sure that I've forgotten loads. I know I haven't talked about the horses but the photos Dave took of them are better than any babbling from me. Or the bees from the hotel beehives. (If anyone knows why bees like to sit on cars then please do let me know. Getting in and out of the car became very scary...)

We had a fantastic time and I'd definitely go back!
allana: (trifle!)
I've just done my first solo-with-car trip to the supermarket. I managed to park neatly there and outside the house, too, so I'm very proud of myself.

My trip was in aid of making a summery trifle for Chris and Vicky's 10th anniversary party on Saturday. After much debate and discussion with my fellow trifle-lovers [ profile] glammetalkitten and [ profile] rockfic, I'm going to do layers of lemon curd, custard, booze-soaked cake, blueberry/raspberry/strawberry and finish off with a mound of whipped cream on top.

If I had any energy or nerves left, I'd go make the lemon curd just now while Dave's out babysitting. (Our almost-niece was wide-awake and determined not to sleep when we arrived earlier on and she's still awake and demanding more stories and songs from Dave five hours later. He won't be eating any dinner at this rate.)

Trifle preparation shall commence bright and early tomorrow morning, I think. Must remember to get Dave to lift down the bowl....
allana: (foodie)
Well, that's weird.

I just updated my food blog for the first time in months, and the LJ feed has gone insane and spewed out ten or so entries. Very odd.

Those of you subscribed to the feed--I'm hugely sorry for the spammage!!
allana: (chocolate breakfast)
Making icing on a hot day is like swimming upstream.

I am hoping that it will set up in the fridge but as I am using evil soya margarine I have no idea how it will behave. The original recipe using butter would have been fine, I think. This is very nerve-wracking.

We have to go and pick up C before the party and I am dreading driving around Bristol with a chocolate cake on my lap!! I may wear a binliner until we get to the party and the cake becomes someone else's problem.

Also. Am having weirdness with my left leg. Periodically the front--from the top of the thigh to the knee--goes numb when I've been standing up for a while. It goes away within a couple of minutes of me sitting down. According to Google this is relatively normal and is either the weight of the uterus pressing on nerves or sciatica. Definitely something to mention when I'm at the consultants on Friday, although since it's driving me mad I might try and see the GP about it.
allana: (chocolate breakfast)
I may have bitten off more than I can chew....

In a moment of madness I agreed with Dave that it would be nice to make a cake for a friend's girlfriend's birthday on Saturday. (I quite fancied doing some baking.) A few moments later sirens and flashing lights went off in my head. She's wheat intolerant. Five minutes later and I'm on the phone to her boyfriend--she's actually wheat, gluten and lactose intolerant.

How does she live???

I've never googled so much in my life. I think I've narrowed it down to a chocolate cake made with gluten free flour, presuming I can get hold of gluten free baking powder, and oil instead of butter. The icing could be interesting though. Apparently soy margarine does work to make buttercream but I'm not sure how it will react if I dump some warm melted chocolate--apparently expensive organic dark chocolate is lactose free--in there too. I have visions of it curdling or doing something insane.

So, flist, does anyone use soy margarine? (And soy milk?)
allana: (winter)
Dave, I, and the Christmas Trifle hope that you all have a most splendid Christmas! May your food be bountiful, your friends friendly, and your family less onerous than usual.

The trifle turned out well, btw: )

We've had a wonderful day, and I'm now contemplating a second bowl of trifle :D
allana: (trifle!)
Or indeed, a trifle bowl.

After much searching in amongst a sea of opaque and chipped bowls, Dave and I triumphed and bought a bowl with the tiniest chip out of the rim. (Yes, I know. Chipped bowls are unhygenic but I have a trifle bowl, and now I can make trifles for every family event! Especially now I've discovered that the rest of Dave's family are of the trifle-loving persuasion.)

So, the Great Christmas Trifle of 2005 is on!

Chocolate cake, cranberry compote, chocolate cream, chocolate sauce, and lashings of whipped cream. Everything will be liberally doused in whatever booze I deem suitable to tie together the flavours. At the moment, mandarin liqueur looks a strong possibility since the cranberries will be cooked with orange juice....

If I get bored I may make some sort of sugar sculpture for the top. Maybe a Christmas star!

(You'd think I was hopped up on sugar, wouldn't you? Alas, no. I really am this excited about a trifle bowl and the certainty of trifle on Christmas Day. [ profile] glammetalkitten will understand. She's famous for her trifle love.)
allana: (winter)
In case you ever have cause to suspect that I've been replaced by a Pod Person--reasonable grounds for this would be me saying, "Wow, I am way too hot"--please consider the following:

Only the Real Ang would think that making rhubarb sorbet in the Depths of Winter is a truly fabulous idea.

It's about -2C outside, and the ground is covered in some spectacular frost. Indoors, interested viewers can watch the crazy woman ladling tiny spoonfuls of rhubarb puree through the incredibly small aperture of an ice-cream maker. Yes, that's right. We've been living here for three months and I still haven't managed to unearth my measuring jugs. (I've been relying solely on US measures.)

Ten minutes later, and my insanity is rewarded by delicately scented, rose-pink sorbet with an intense rhubarb flavour fading to a warming ginger at the end. Now, if only the weather would warm up a little--it's too damn cold for ice-cream!
allana: (foodie)
Rockfic Cupcake.

I said that I'd make some cupcakes for the anniversary, and here's a picture of one. Alas, the icing guitar was completely unphotogenic, so I've put up a picture of a star-topped one instead. Much prettier! If anyone wants the recipe, then just ask--it's an orange cupcake, with lemon-curd filling, and orange buttercream topping. Basically a St Clements Cupcake.
allana: (foodie)
Today, I made butter. *beams* Alas, no photos--I should have checked the camera batteries before messing around in the kitchen. It's quite wonderful: sweet, creamy, pale yellow and gorgeous. Obviously more expensive than just buying a block of organic butter, but this way I get to feel excited and virtuous :) I also have a nice big loaf of wholemeal bread rising, so that I have something suitably yummy to slather the butter onto.

I have a sudden urge to try making my own cheese next.
allana: (Default)
We saw Constantine this morning. Now, before [ profile] madandy scratches my eyes out... I should point out that I've only read one Hellblazer graphic novel :P It was okaaaay, I guess. But even from the little I've read, it was clear that they'd raped the canon extensively. And poor Rachel Weiss--her attempt at an American accent was horrible. I hope they don't do a sequel... (unless they stick a Brit in the lead-role and do it properly). Still, the effects were good and I didn't scream or hide too much at the actual film. The trailers beforehand were horrible. I shan't be watching The Cave or The Amityville Horror, or indeed whatever film it was where everything was made from wax. Is it too much to hope that people won't stick a bunch of needles in trailers?

Andy had a look over my challenge fic today, and I'm feeling much more positive about it now. It almost works as it currently stands, but I've thought of a few additions which should perk it up even more :D Thank fuck for that, I was about to bin the damn thing.

Aside from going to the cinema and doing a little writing, today has been mostly been a cooking day. Have just popped some stuffed peppers into the oven, and either later on, or tomorrow, I'll be baking Makowiec, a Polish poppy seed cake. I buy one every so often from the local deli and while they're good, they've been going downhill recently. Hence me attempting it myself. If I make another one, then I'll have to invest in a poppy seed mill--I've spent all afternoon grinding seeds. The food processor can't cope with them, and a mortar and pestle isn't much better. Still, it smells good so far!
allana: (Default)
Food porn, taken to a whole new level. Don't worry, no vegetables or weird products inserted anywhere. Just the most bizzare thing I've seen this week.
allana: (Default)
Interesting... I see someone has set up a LJ feed for my food blog: [ profile] spoonful_sugar This could be handy for those amongst us who are very attatched to their friends pages ;)

Up early as all the traffic noise woke me up. Whine, whine, bloody whine. Still, by dint of having all the windows open upstairs, the house was a much better sleeping temperature! I really don't understand it. Dave is off to Bristol today for some work thingie (I forget what, I'm sure I'll remember later), and I am going to experiment with putting meringue on top of some of the remaining cupcakes. Not an original idea--I've seen lemon meringue cupcakes online, but certainly should be yummy!

Anyone heard of "Easter Biscuits"? Dave asked me if I'd be making some, and I'd never heard of 'em. Still, from the recipes I've seen, it involves currants and candied peel. So, that'll use up two ingredients of which I am Less Than Fond. I'm also going to be making some lemon jellies. Those should help to reduce the lemon mountain in my kitchen--you'd think I had a lemon tree if you went by the sheer numbers of lemons in there. I think I was going to make jam, but then I used all the sugar to make Dave some birthday tablet. Could be mistaken, though. At any rate, they need to be used up pdq, supermarket lemons go mouldy astonishingly quickly!
allana: (Default)
If there is anything better to do with an afternoon, other than filling and icing lemon cupcakes, sneaking the remains of lemon curd out of the piping bag (disposable, I hasten to add!), stealing a spoonful of buttercream, and then admiring the finished result... then I haven't found it.

I love lemons :D

Cupcake under cut )
allana: (Default)
It's been a busier than usual day today, for some reason.

The lovely Dave, fixed my KitchenAid. For some reason the paddle attachment had become stuck on the machine. I don't know why/how but it took him a hammer, screwdriver, hot towels and a copious application of vegetable oil to free it. Very distressing. I also need to buy a new dough hook for it, as the nylon/enamel coating came off. You definitely don't want bits of that dispersed through your bread. Until I buy a new one, I won't be making focaccia or ciabattia. Still, my poor baby was able to take the leg-work out of making shortbread this afternoon.

I made Almond Shortbread, and spent a happy half hour dipping and drizzling chocolate over the little triangles. They're a bit drier than I'd have liked, but that's my own fault for abandoning them to go out for a drive with Dave. Before all road-users panic, I didn't drive :P I'll photo them tomorrow, probably. They'll hit my blog eventually....

What else? Oh, I finished critiquing a story that a bloke from another forum I visit wrote. The basic concept was okay, some paragraphs were pretty good, and there was one standout sentence that I wished I'd written. So, yeah. He has promise. The only problem is that he doesn't have a clue where to end sentences, has a very hazy understanding of commas, and doesn't know what dialogue punctuation is. You can be sure that I didn't write precisely that when I critiqued it. I've never written such a diplomatic email in my life; I knew I should have applied to the Foreign Office for diplomatic service.... Still, he wants to sell the story, so I took the worst paragraph and punctuated it properly, gave him the link to a sexed up basic punctuation guide, and a slew of links to sites which have advice on writing erotica. Still, there was one correctly used semi-colon. Speaking subjectively, he could have used another 20 of them.

Next time I get enthusiastic about helping someone I don't know at all, remind me that I'll want to kill myself half-way through it?

I also found, whilst searching around the Erotic Readers Association website, that Emma Holly has a website. She's the author of several Black Lace books. I once thought about writing one, but after the stress of my recent foray into het writing, I doubt I'll write any soon. Still, she has a workshop on her site: Steaming up your love scenes. Could be useful; it draws heavily from Lars Eighner's book.

And now it's time for dinner!


Mar. 2nd, 2005 07:25 pm
allana: (Default)
Why is it that I can go months without my eyes being affected by onions, only to chop a pair of fairly innocuous looking roots and suddenly find tears streaming down my face?

Damn them.

ETA. The garlic has turned on me too. My poor eyes.
allana: (Default)
The chick I beta-ed for emailed me back today. This is either sod's law at work, or her ears were burning. Anyway, she thanked me very much for all my help, said that she hasn't been put off (interesting choice of words there) and will be posting the revised chapter soon. Cool! I should listen to my devil more often.

In other random stuff. I baked today. For some reason I decided to bake two things, despite feeling a bit ropey. This is a clear indication that someone else should make my decisions when I'm feeling off-colour. The challah bread turned out great if a little oddly shaped - I can't braid dough without ending up with one fat end that looks remarkably similar to a turkeys arse. I'm telling you, the resemblance is uncanny. I'm amazed it turned out so well as I kept forgetting to do things; simple things like oiling the bowl *rolls eyes* The Sweet Almond and Chocolate Chip Biscuits were less successful. Well, I'm sure they were very successful for their type, but not what I was looking for. If you've ever had fluffy savoury American biscuits (those that you would eat with gravy) then these were pretty much that. But with chocolate chips and almonds. Thus, their shelf-life is pretty much nil. Neither are they particularly photogenic. I should have made a cake instead....

I also stumbled over a LJ "Purple Prose" community. I haven't laughed so much in ages. I have a feeling that my "bad sex" challenge fic may be rather leaning towards this once I've done with it. I can't resist the hyperbole!


allana: (Default)

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