I'm a PhD student in Musicology (what is musicology? Yeah, I get that all the time...) who manages her stress in healthy ways that definitely don't involve starting to bake at midnight, finishing at 4am, then remembering all the writing she has to do and eating cookies to cheer herself up.
I’m currently travelling around Europe with my twin brother, and so today’s post is a conglomeration of different snapshots rather than a recipe.
Some vignettes from the last few weeks…
My niece’s birthday cake! She turned 6 right after the whole family adopted two wonderful kittens, so the cake was kitten-themed. Her mother and I worked together to make the cake (and my other niece made the black cat’s body!)
Chocolate chip cookies cookies cookies cookies cookies (that I then froze). Check out Sunaina’s Quest for Chocolate Chip Cookies for her own thoughts on the thin chocolate chip cookie (mine were chunky and a little too round for my liking from having been in the freezer)!
Balloon flowers! (Somehow I remembered how to make balloon things…)
Piroshki and some very silly hedgie wine!
Leftover piroshki filling made into fried potato-cakes with sriracha-chili mayonnaise dip
Sherry banana bread muffins with raisins
The dear friends who are travelling with me 🙂
(I made this tiny little one because my friend handed me yarn and a crochet hook, but for a crocheted octopus of your own, check out Kisses or Stitches on Etsy)
Sailing in the black void, accompanied only by the humming sound of your own failing engines, you see one distant piercing light. Could it be salvation? Your crew, gaunt and mutinous, eye you hungrily. The violent thoughts you sense in their gaze send a shudder down your spine. Your ship’s light flickers, then fails, and your heart leaps in the hope that the faraway light is another ship, a lighthouse, a desperate beacon of deliverance. You approach as your fuel drains away, making guttural noises in the dark, drifting ever more slowly forwards. Suddenly, fear grips like a vice over your heart, as all becomes clear. One giant glowing eye rises from the watery abyss. This is no lighthouse. It is death.
Sunless Sea is not a computer game known for its kindness to players. A vast dark map, set in a claustrophobic underground cavern, is the playing field for your tiny vessel, which navigates such horrors as cannibalism, bloody secret rituals, monstrous sentient icebergs, crimson nightmares, sacrificial victims, drugged dreams of chitinous insects, and violent corrupt courts ready at a second’s notice to tear you limb from limb. The gameplay is frustrating. Without a physical notebook by your side, keeping track of quests is nigh impossible. Your “Terror” bar is always on the rise, and when it hits the maximum, your character careens into permanent insanity. When you drift too far in the black ocean, to die alone and afraid, you stay dead. You must start over.
Naturally I thought this all was an excellent theme for a cake. 🙂
The internet– which you must know because here you all are, on it– is a terrible place. It’s insulting, disappointing, petty, ugly. And that’s why I like The Fry Up Police. In an online world of hatred, swearing, infighting, and incredibly irritating memes, this group stands as a shining beacon of love, support, and welcoming comradery amidst the chaos.
Before I start: I don’t have a name for this drink yet besides BEAUTIFUL MISTAKE. If you have a name suggestion, please post it in the comments!
A few years ago, I got a new bartender set for free. It had all sorts of shiny things in it: a shaker, a muddler, and many other contraptions ending in -er that I hadn’t ever seen before. Me being me, I decided to use it for everything in my life. For a little while there, every drink I had needed extra mint leaves, just so I could muddle them. I shook drinks that never should have been shaken, adding in way too many ice cubes and shaking so long my fingers lost feeling. I am nothing if not over-enthusiastic. Most of the drinks were… undrinkable. But my enthusiasm finally paid off, when one day I made my favourite drink. Continue reading The Best White Russian: A Mistake
As some of you know, I’ve been studying Russian for (mumbledymumble) number of years (it’s more impressive if you think I just started…). Besides Cheburashka and other adorable Russian cartoons, the most exciting aspect of learning the language for me has been exploring Russian cuisine, a kind of cooking that– I thought– was completely unfamiliar to me. But as I started researching recipes and learning some of the staple flavours of Russian cooking (mmmm dill), it suddenly started to seem pretty familiar. Continue reading Pel’meni and Blini
I am, as you may have figured out, very lazy. Well, I alternate between very lazy (out of milk for tea and the store is a whole block away? Please pass that sweetened condensed milk) and incredibly perfectionistic (Why yes I will spend 4 hours frosting that cake, thank you).
This is one of those times I prefer to be very lazy. I first saw this salad in a Cooks’ Illustrated magazine. By now it’s been years and I’ve mostly forgotten their exact recipe (I no longer have website access), but what I do remember is being terribly offended that they would dare to ask me to spend an extra 5 minutes roasting corn for better flavour. I mean, of course, they’re right, but that’s besides the point. I have pride in my laziness, after all. I’ve got a reputation to uphold. And when it’s hot out, the last thing my lazy self wants to do is turn on the stove. Continue reading Black Bean Corn Salad for a Beach Picnic
I was banned from making this recipe by my former roommate (she who Travels to Istanbul and Brings Me Things, if you’ve been following previous posts). You might think that makes sense. Simple, you say. Maybe she didn’t want this sweet banana bread to tempt her. Maybe she’s allergic to bananas. Maybe I make messes in the kitchen (this last point is obviously blatant slander and has no connection whatsoever to the truth).
No, it was because of what I did with the bananas. Most banana bread recipes call for spotty overripe bananas, but I found that I never had more than one of these at a time. So scrolling down into the comments’ section of Smitten Kitchen (whence I adapted this recipe), I found the suggestion to freeze overripe bananas as they happen, then simply thaw them out when you need them for a recipe. “Brilliant!” I thought. “What a remarkable idea!” I thought.
Hey, did you make that Tomato Cucumber salad I posted the other day? Do you– unlike me, a clear fan of ordering the same thing always always always at restaurants– get tired of eating the same thing for more than 2 days in a row?
Speaking of gardens, it just started cooling off here, and my basil plants are doing well. It reminded me of my favourite summer salad to make, a fresh and happy glowing mess of tomatoes and cucumbers, feta, and basil, with a generous drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Of course, it helps to have some lovely summer ingredients.