December 2007


Last Wednesday seemed like it was not going to be a very good day for me. I arrived at school on time, but my students only started writing their papers more than an hour later. I decided to grade everything in one go, with the chance of coming in later the next day, but found out that all my hard work was for nothing and I still had to arrive at the usual time.

I arrived home from work thirsty, hungry and cold (our office is an over air-condition little cavern). I was in a foul mood and did not feel like being friendly.

But I had no time to sit around and sulk because I had an unpleasant day. While I was grading papers, Alexander went out and prepared a surprise gift package for me. On the couch was a brown paper bag from Habitat. And it was for me!

Inside were the most wonderful assortment of gifts, my bad mood disappeared immediately as I lifted out three mixing bowls of varying sizes and in bold and inspiring colors, a new set of retro metallic measuring spoons and two packets of cupcake sprinkles from Vanilla Industries!

No more mixing in a pot, no more worrying about breaking the plastic measuring spoons and way more fun cupcakes from now on!

As you can see, I wasted no time in trying out my fantastic presents.

This is my first attempt at baking scones. The recipe said to roll the dough into an 8 inch circle, cut it into wedge and bake. I shaped it into some circle-like form and then tried cutting, but the dough was too sticky. I suppose I should have used a little more flour. So I baked it for ten minutes, and then took it out and cut into not-wedges. I broke out into a fit of giggles and then baked it for another ten minutes.

It came out okay, mainly because I added lots of chocolate chips I think. They look like freaks though, all misshapen.

I think I’m going to open a bake shop and just create crazy looking, yet yummy baked goodies.

I’m being a bit lazy at the moment. Just a bit. So I decided to post this video of Pumpkin Soup by Kate Nash. It makes me silly happy listening to it. Enjoy.

I have been very bad at making or doing anything that involes sewing for a while now. The reason for this is that despite several sewing lessons from a friend, a sewing and design course, and a year at fashion school I still feel like a complete novice when it comes to all things sewing. So when I encounter a problem I am easily thrown completely off and put a lot of distance between myself and the sewing machine.

My latest project turned out to be one such a problem. I persisted for a while, especially since I thought it should be quite easy, but after the umpteenth time that the stitches got all messed up and I had to unpick everything again I had a silent fit and hid all evidence of the project plus the sewing machine and everything related.

Five days later, after no new attempts I admitted defeat to Alexander and a friend. I felt pretty depressed about the situation. These things have a way of really getting to me.

Almost two weeks later I realized that if I did not start doing something soon, my machine will turn into a white elephant, hidden in a cabinet underneath the television set. I had to start working on something, anything, just as long as I do something.

In an effort to lift my spirits I stopped by a fabric store on Friday and bought these cute pieces of fabric.

I have no idea what I will do with it yet, but it felt good to have something for a future project again. Something that will hopefully inspire me to get back to sewing again.

And last night I decided to start on a little project, turning a too big fitted sheet into a single fitted sheet and flat sheet for guests. It’s baby steps and going slow, I am fairly nervous about moving in behind the machine again, but it is a start. Again.

As a child I used to hate beet. My parents always pickled it and I just could not stand having to eat beetroot salad on Sundays. Years later I’ve developed a taste for the pickled variety and even later for raw beetroot. The earthy taste and bright red flesh and juice intrigues me endlessly. A while ago, I bought beets to try out a new soup recipe, which I never got to. I’m not exactly sure why, it just did not happen.

Yesterday I remembered that I still had some beetroot in the refrigerator and decided to try something with it. And it was delicious. Really.

To make a beetroot pasta sauce you need to get together:

1 beetroot, top and end cut off and washed

3 cloves garlic

4 tablespoons thick cream

1 teaspoon tomato paste

1/4 teaspoon oregano

salt and pepper to taste

Make:

Wrap the beetroot and garlic in aluminum foil and roast in the oven at 150C for an hour. Remove and let it cool, be careful that the beetroot juices don’t spill. When it has cooled for a bit peel, chop and throw the beetroot and garlic into a food processor or blender. Add the cream, tomato paste, and oregano and puree. Add some salt and pepper to taste and serve over any cooked pasta you prefer.

I was genuinely surprised about how well this came out. I was concerned that it might be too weird and earthy for a pasta sauce, but the cream and the other ingredients toned down the earthiness to a delicate hint in a really yummy pasta dish. Oh, I served some chicken and broccoli friend with a bunch of freshly chopped parsley with the pasta. And there was enough pasta for about 4 helpings. Now go try it, no suggestions. If you have any though, let me know.

I left work yesterday with the intense desire to bake cupcakes again. I see pictures of pretty cupcakes and then I just want to bake some myself.

Alas, I am not a food decorator or professional baker, so my cupcakes always come out looking a little unstable and even a little drab. Poor things, I doubt they will ever look as pretty as the ones we sometimes bought at Queen of Tarts in Obs.

But, they’re good. Oh yes, they are very good. Now I hear you say, “Come on Bordeaux, you said yourself they look drab, certainly they must taste a bit drab too.”

Not at all. And the reason for this is that there is a surprise hidden in each of them. In a couple there are Toblerone triangles waiting to be discovered and in others, delightful peanut butter balls. And you have no way of knowing which surprise you’ll get because they all look so uniformly plain.

So even though Amy Sedaris might look at them and think they look a lot plainer than hers, I am certain she would enjoy the gooey goodness hidden inside.

Walking home from dinner at a Laos restaurant last Friday we noticed a small nursery. We decided to take a quick look at what they had, seen as our apartment was in desperate need of some greenery.

We left with a large orange heliconia, a banana tree, a plant with big hart-shaped leaves and three orchids. All of this cost less than US$20, including the taxi we had to get to take us and our jungle back home. I feel much better now that I am almost sleeping under a banana tree.