Friday, 3 August 2012

Bakeware, books and blankets...

All our 'stuff' has arrived - our worldly belongings are once again ours! Seven breakages in total - three of which were wedding presents. Boo. On the plus side, blankets and our goose down duvet arrived - bliss on these cold Perth nights! AND our bed is here and it is beautiful, oh so comfortable and very adult-like. I can't help smiling like a crazy person whenever I see it. I heart it so much.

It's very French looking which obviously equals sophistication and, well, grown-upness. Currently, it is let down by the non-matching packing box bedside tables that flank it. Very student digs and decidedly un-grown up. It may take some time to find suitably chic furniture to accessorise it with. For now, the packing boxes stay. 

If you have read this blog recently, you will know that I was very much looking forward to getting my kitchenware back - I had visions of myself whipping up batches of brownies and chocolate chip cookies, maybe a dense chocolate loaf cake or two... I quite like chocolate, you see.


BUT, the sweet treat I actually made first was a rosemary loaf cake. I know! Rosemary! Not a whiff of chocolate. I even made the Chardmeister go and buy a rosemary plant which cost us $16! For a tiny plant! Later that day, we discovered that a neighbour has an entire frigging border of rosemary. This is our life.

 So, yes, a rosemary cake. Anyone who knows me but at all will be shocked by that. I am shocked by it. But also very glad because I would have been rigid with anger if my brownies had burnt on top or cooked too much or my cookies received too much heat in the oven because, previously unbeknownst to me, this oven runs hot. And the fan does not appear to work properly. Cake tops burn but remain silkily batter-like inside. Cookies would have been incinerated, brownies would have been cooked properly throughout - God forbid. 

Source:http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/better-homes-gardens
Until I get used to the oven and figure out it's Australian oddities, chocolate related baking will have to be held off. Which would totally suck if it weren't for the deliciously warming, sweet comfort of the Brown Sugar Pudding (courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens - thank you. So much) below. Arm yourself with some thick cream though, you will need it to cut through the sugary goodness!

Brown Sugar Self-saucing Pudding  serves 4 (generously)

1 cup dark brown sugar
200g self raising flour
2 tspns ground allspice (or a generous tspn of vanilla extract instead. Delicious)
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
125g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 tbspns treacle (I used molasses - not sure if there is really any difference!)
2 tbspns cornflour
  • Butter 4 individual ramekins or one deep pie dish
  • Combine 1/3 cup of the sugar with the flour, allspice or vanilla, egg, milk, butter and two tablespoons of the treacle/molasses until it becomes a smooth batter
  • Pour into prepared dish(es)
  • Thoroughly mix together the remaining sugar and cornflour and sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter
  • Stir the rest of the treacle/molasses into one and a half cups of boiling water until dissolved and pour over the pudding(s)
  • Bake immediately at 180C for about 30 minutes - I can thoroughly recommend putting a tray underneath to catch any sauce that bubbles over the side although if you didn't, cleaning the oven the next day might help shift some of the many calories consumed...
  • Serve with whipped or very thick cream (creme fraiche would be pretty good too, I think)
  • Do some extra exercise the following day when you can move again (or at the very least make your bed extra vigorously and push the hoover round rather more enthusiastically that you normally do)

 And, as well as making this beautiful, stodgy, sugary, saucy pudding, I also made curtains. Curtains! They are nowhere near professional quality but I made them and they look okay. They are wide enough and long enough and they hang (pretty much) straight. They are super colourful and block out light. What more does one want from curtains?



See that funny little book shelf thing in this photo to the left? That was bought very cheaply from an op shop and, although you can't see in the photo, is painted a particularly nasty shade of pale greeny-blue yuck and trimmed in harsh black. I plan on sanding that mo-fo down this weekend and painting it but what colour? If it stays in Lady M's room, it will need to be a bright primary colour really - blue? Maybe green to match the trim of the curtains? Either that or white. White like our fantastic bookshelves from, duh duh duuuh, Ikea, where else?

 Bookshelves that stretch across the whole wall and are filled with all our books. And then covered in all manner of animal ornamentry and way too much pretty crockery and glasware to look good. The search is on for a dresser that will fit in with the rest of the decor (shouldn't be hard, it's all very mismatched really. Vogue worthy it is not).

See? Crowded with photos and cups. Could look better, right?

And, just so you know, the shelf in the middle could be filled up but is strategically left almost bare because Lady M is a curious sort of child (as they are all wont to be, right?) and likes to pull things off the shelves to destroy play with. Hence the clutter of crockery and rammed in books you see in the top half of the shelving.

Anyway, I have long dreamed of having a library wall in a house I lived in and now that dream is realised. Oh Australia, how I love thee! If only your books weren't so damned expensive, I could create another wall of bookshelves...

And speaking of buying new books - here's some I won't be purchasing any time soon. Particularly after this hilarious and very clever GoodReads review
 
Has anyone read any of this trilogy? Would you admit to it if you had? I'm not a literary snob at all. If you look at  those shelves above closely, you can very much see that for yourself but these books just look badly written in every single way - no character development, weak plot, lots of repetition, apparently unlikeable protagonists and, worst of all, not very good sex scenes considering it's supposed to be erotica.

I bet if I read it, I could take away lots of pointers and tips for things NOT to do in my own writing. Kind of like a writing how-not-to. A How to Lose An Agent In Ten Pages kind of thing... For £3, might it be worth a read just from that point of view?

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