kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
Something I've cooked recently: Yesterday I cooked a fava bean and potato puree from a recipe in Lynn Rosetto Kasper's The Italian Country Table. Naturally I mucked about with it by adding in some Greek loukanika sausage that I bought on sale a few weeks ago; it turned out to be too strong for me to want to eat it plain, but it seemed just the thing to flavor a pot of beans, and indeed the result was pretty nice. It turns out, though, that cooked dried fava beans taste a lot like split peas. I like split peas well enough, but it was a bit disappointing to pay for favas and get split pea results.

Also yesterday I made a batch of lemon curd, and then baked some eclair shells to put the lemon curd into. I used an actual piping bag to shape the pastry, and the results weren't too bad considering I've never piped anything before in my life, but there's room for improvement in that and also in making sure they're baked enough. Nevertheless, even less-than-perfect lemon curd eclairs are yummy.


Something I'm going to cook in the near future: Today I'm using up the egg whites left over from the lemon curd by baking mini-pavlova shells. While googling around for recipes I discovered a nifty-sounding trick: using toasted sugar to make the meringue more complex and less sweet. So I currently have two pounds of sugar toasting in my oven. I'll let you know how it works.

I'm also going to roast the quail that have been hanging around in my freezer for a while (the ones I bought thinking they were boneless, but they weren't). I'll make a sherry-mushroom sauce for them and some roasted potatoes.


Something I'm vaguely thinking about cooking eventually: Many many things, as always. There are still a million savory pies I want to bake before the weather gets too warm. And I have a jar of fermented bean curd in my cupboard that I've been nerving myself up to use. (Er, not in a pie. I have trouble committing myself to cooking just one cuisine, even for only a week or so, so my pantry always overflows with ingredients. I'll probably use the bean curd in stir-fried pork and greens.)
kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
Somthing I've cooked recently: Tonight I had the dinner of Good Shopping Luck. I treated myself to a pork chop from the fancy butcher, and then when I was in the supermarket I found some beautiful asparagus, seriously the nicest asparagus by far that I've ever seen in a supermarket, and on sale, too. So that plus some oven roasted potato wedges was dinner. The pork in particular was amazing, even though I overcooked it a little. I'd forgotten that pork actually has flavor. Om nom nom.


Something I have concrete plans to cook in the near future: Tomorrow I'm cooking a bean soup with escarole and garlic, and on Sunday there'll be mushroom risotto. I may also bake some spice cookies from the recipe in Ottolenghi and Tamimi's Jerusalem--I've been wanting to bake these for ages but I could never find currants anywhere.


Something I'm vaguely thinking about cooking someday: It turns out I bought the wrong kind of quail for the sweetbread-stuffed quail from the Hannibal cookbook--I needed de-boned quail and I bought bone-in. I did watch an instructional video on You-Tube about how to do it myself, but if it takes Jacques Pepin five minutes to de-bone a quail, it'll take me half an hour and a lot of swearing, and I have four of the little beasts. So I'll use the current batch of quail for something else, perhaps pan-roasted with a sherry and mushroom sauce, and see if I can find boneless quail anywhere.
kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
I didn't manage to make this post on Friday, so today will have to do.

Something I've cooked recently: I cooked the things I mentioned in the last post. The chicken fricassee with anchovies and olives turned out salty, as I ought to have expected, but it was nice when eaten with lots of polenta. The meatball soup was delicious even though it was made with supermarket chicken stock and supermarket frozen meatballs (also a tin of tomatoes, a bunch of chard including the chopped-up stalks, some barley, and a couple of minced cloves of garlic cooked briefly in olive oil and stirred in at the end of cooking for a nice garlicky kick).

Today I cooked some lentils (the nice little French green ones) with lamb merguez sausages. It was very simple and turned out well. I browned the sausages in olive oil, then set them aside and briefly cooked a couple of finely chopped shallots in the oil, added three minced cloves of garlic and a pinch of whole cumin when the shallots were ready, then added the lentils, some chicken stock, and half a bay leaf. I added water as needed as the lentils cooked, and once they were pretty much done I put the sausages back in to simmer for ten minutes or so--that way the sausages weren't overcooked and the lamb flavor didn't take over the whole dish. At the end I added some parsley and mint--I can now advise you not to bother with the mint unless you have a cheap source for decent quantities, because it didn't do much--and finished the dish with feta crumbled on top and a bit of harissa.

And I did end up making a Bailey's cake of sorts. It turned out that I didn't have any eggs and didn't feel like going out to buy any, so I modified a recipe for a very 1960s retro dish called "chocolate pudding cake," which has a cakey layer on top and a gooey chocolate sauce/pudding underneath. Its chief virtues are simplicity and not requiring any eggs. In its original form it's absurdly sweet and not very interesting, so I reduced the sugar, upped the cocoa powder, added some espresso powder, and used 1/2 cup of Bailey's in place of the same amount of water and milk. These changes improved it a lot, but one of these days I'll have to make a proper cake. I thought about making one today but I turned out to be almost out of sugar.


Something I have concrete plans to cook in the near future: I don't know how near, but I seem to have committed myself to cooking the quails stuffed with sweetbreads, in that I have bought some frozen quails. And I found an actual local butcher shop that can readily supply sweetbreads, as well as house-made charcuterie and all kinds of other treats, including the lamb merguez I used in today's stew. Not sure what I'm going to have with the quail, but I'm thinking about a mushroom risotto. I feel a bit ridiculous and a lot extravagant, cooking such fancy things just for myself, but on the other hand there's something to be said for the Hannibal Lecter philosophy of treating oneself as a most honored guest. This would be TV Hannibal, obviously; other versions of the character are (even more) terrible role models.


Something I vaguely intend to cook someday: I've got a recipe for a chicken pie stuffed with chicken livers that I want to try. I should probably make other pies too in the next few months, as this cold weather is far better for most pastry-making then summer heat. And I'm still craving soups and stews. This is part of the reason I'm using commercial chicken broth: my need for broth/stock has far outstripped my consumption of chicken and thus my accumulation of chicken bones, and I can't quite bring myself to buy chicken just to make stock from it.
kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
Seen in various places on DW, but originally from [community profile] thefridayfive.

1. How do you like your coffee? I'm only an intermittent coffee drinker, and often I'm just drinking it for the caffeine. But there's one local coffee shop where the coffee actually tastes good, and I will go there sometimes for one a latte. I always take coffee with lots of milk (or better still, half-and-half) and no sugar.


2. How do you like your tea? It depends on what kind of tea. I drink green teas and certain black teas, such as lapsang souchong and good darjeeling, unadulterated. Same with iced tea. Cheap black tea, such as the "English Breakfast" blend I drink in the mornings to wake up, I take with milk and sugar. Oddly enough, I use the same blend of tea for iced tea, which I drink straight, but chilling the tea seems to tame the bitterness. I put sugar in most herbal teas, but my dream is to discover some that taste good without it, and I've finally found one: the chamomile and lavender tea from The English Tea Shop. It is the best herbal tea ever.


3. What's your favorite late night beverage? In warm weather, water. I drink lots of water all the time. I have to for medical reasons but I also really like it. In the winter I like something warm at bedtime--herbal tea or occasionally a hot toddy or hot whiskey.


4. If you could only drink one thing for the next week, what would it be? Let's assume that water is allowed regardless. So: lapsang souchong. I can drink it when the thought of almost anything else turns my stomach, which is important because I am not a natural early riser and I often feel gross in the mornings.


5. If you were on vacation, what would be the first thing you'd drink to celebrate? Assuming "on vacation" implies travelling, probably a local beer of some kind. Or wine if it's really a wine place and not a beer place, but I'm not a wine fan on the whole. If I were in Japan I would set out to drink all the gyokuro, because it's my favorite tea.
kindkit: Hot dog walking hand in hand with mustard but thinking of ketchup. (Fandomless: Hot dog/ketchup OTP)
Something I've cooked recently: Not a lot. On Sunday, while I was opening up a tin of tomatoes for a pasta sauce, I cut my thumb open pretty deeply on the lid. It still hasn't entirely healed, and that's put a damper on cooking and other activities requiring opposable thumbs.

However, today I'm planning to cook a chicken fricassee with anchovies and olives from a recipe by Marcella Hazan. And right now I'm frying delicious bacon for a delicious bacon sandwich.


Something I have concrete plans to cook in the near future: I'm going to make a soup with meatballs (store-bought in a moment of weakness, and there's half a packet left that I need to use up), chard, and barley or maybe farro or maybe Israeli couscous, depending on how I feel about it on the day.


Something I'm vaguely thinking about cooking eventually: I recently acquired Feeding Hannibal, the cookbook by the show's food stylist Janice Poon. Some of the recipes are far too ambitious for me, but I'm tempted by the quail stuffed with sweetbreads and hazelnuts, which is meant to mimic the flavor of ortolans (real ortolans, not the ortolan-shaped marzipan the actors actually ate during the scene). Quail are easy to find and not too expensive, and while getting hold of sweetbreads may be difficult, at least (unlike tripe) I love to eat them, with no ambivalence whatsoever.

I also plan to make brownies or cupcakes or something using some of the Bailey's I bought at Christmas.
kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
I threw the tripe away.

This would be the tripe I was cooking last week for a stew. After ten hours in the slow cooker, the tripe was still rubbery. It also had a slight but distinct unpleasant smell and a dank taste. I stuck it in the fridge for a couple of days, but couldn't bring myself to go back to cooking it. I don't like wasting food, but it seemed better to waste the tripe before I added chickpeas and sausage to it, so into the bin it went.

I ended up making a similar stew, only without the tripe. I browned some Spanish-style chorizo and some garlicky smoked sausage, added a chopped red onion and cooked it for a few minutes, added several cloves of minced garlic, then added cooked chickpeas along with their cooking water and a bit of crumbled dried sage. It was delicious. (The water from cooking dried chickpeas is very flavorful and can replace broth; if you're using canned chickpeas, I'd drain and rinse them and use chicken broth.)

At the moment I'm making a Thai-flavored vegetable soup. By which I'm mean I'm using the vegetables I had that really really needed using up--some zucchini/courgettes, some spinach, and some tomatoes--plus tofu, cooked in a combination of coconut milk and chicken broth with Thai red curry paste.

Soups and stews are about all I've really wanted lately, because it's been so cold here. Anybody have great recipes to share? I'm especially interested in ones without a lot of meat, or at least with the meat in the form of sausages or meatballs (or broth, of course), because I've been getting weird lately about the texture of wet-cooked meat.
kindkit: Rupert Giles drinking a mug of tea and reading (Buffy: Giles and tea)
Something I've cooked recently: Since the election it's been all about the comfort food. Yesterday I cooked polenta with a creamy mushroom sauce, and today I made a mediterranean-ish soup (beef stock, tomatoes, onion, lots of garlic, a little barley, a little kasha, zucchini, spinach, chickpeas, and small meatballs made of ground beef and grated onion; bay leaf and a bit of Greek oregano for seasoning; a squeeze of lemon and a little crumbled feta cheese to finish). It was very loosely based on a recipe from Jerusalem by Yotami Ottolenghi and Samir Tamimi, and it was yummy.


Something I have concrete plans to cook soon: oden, the Japanese fish and tofu stew. I adore it but don't make it often because the ingredients are costly, even if you cheat like I do and mostly buy the less expensive fish cakes and tofu products manufactured elsewhere in Asia, rather than the authentic Japanese ones. But when I was in Albuquerque on Friday, the siren song of the big international grocery lured me in, and I bought some fried tofu and several kinds of fish balls, and proper Japanese kamaboko (a sort of shaped fish loaf) and konnyaku (a sort of extremely firm flavorless jelly/jello made from taro root--it doesn't taste like much but you can form it into cool looking twists). I'll add in some daikon, some boiled eggs (the eggs are the best part of oden!), and maybe, inauthentically as far as I know, some fresh squid. Normally oden is eaten with rice but I confess that I often eat it with soba noodles instead. I think the earthiness of soba is a great match for oden. Apologies if I have just horrified any Japanese people or connoisseurs of pure Japanese cuisine.


Something I have vague plans to cook eventually: I'm supposed to bring a pie to a friend's house for Thanksgiving, but not a pumpkin pie because the friend's making that one herself. I think I'm going to go for a chocolate and orange marmalade tart that I found in one of my cookbooks. Almost everybody loves chocolate, and the recipe is easy but not uninteresting since it calls for you to make your own marmalde filling.
kindkit: 'A man in WWII-era military uniform drinks tea in front of a van painted with "The Soldiers' Drink: Tea" (Fandomless: Soldiers drink tea)
If it's autumn where you live, this is a great seasonal cake. I brought one to a work potluck last week and it was a big hit. It's easy, though a bit time-consuming because of peeling, coring, and chopping the apples, and it freezes fantastically well.

The recipe comes from Susan G. Purdy's Pie in the Sky, a helpful book of baking recipes adjusted for various altitudes. I'm giving the sea level version under the cut, since it's likely to be the most generally useful, but if you'd like to know the adjustments for 3000, 5000, 7000, or 10,000 feet of altitude, just let me know.

recipe )

In other food news, the supermarket where I shop seems to be experiencing a bounty of very good late-harvest heirloom tomatoes. They're been selling them (organic ones at that) for $1.99 a pound, so I've been eating all the raw-tomato dishes I was craving earlier in the summer. This paradise cannot last--on my most recent shopping trip, most of the tomatoes were obviously under-matured--but I'm enjoying it.

Also, comice pears continue to be amazingly good. I was eating one earlier, while reading, and when I reached out for another wedge only to discover that I had already eaten the entire pear, I made a small but audible cry of disappointment.

I've read that comice pears are excellent with blue cheese, though it's hard to imagine them being better. But I want to give it a try.
kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
Sorry I haven't posted for ages. At first I felt there was nothing interesting to say, then there were too many things to say and yet I still wasn't sure any of them were interesting. So I'm just going to post, regardless.

1) I keep reading everybody's Yuletide posts with envy and ruefulness. I'm not doing Yuletide this year, because I defaulted last year and I haven't managed to finish a story in a painfully long time. I'm looking forward to reading a bunch of new stories come Christmas, though.

2) Still not king feeling very fannish about anything. I continue to love most of my more recent fandoms (e.g. Hannibal, all the world wars-related stuff), but it's not an excited, "I want to write and read all the fic" sort of love. I guess this is just a fallow period for me. I'm trying not to worry about it.

3) The Great British Bake Off has got me baking again (the onset of autumn and cooler weather has also helped) but I don't feel the same intensity of interest in the competition as I did last year. Those who've made it to the semifinals all deserve to be there, but I'm not as impressed by their baking as I was by last year's semifinalists, and I don't feel the same attachment to any of them as I did to Ian, Nadiya, and Tamal last year. Still, it's fun to watch.

4) What have I been baking, you ask? In recent weeks I've made a (semi-successful) Victoria sandwich filled with strawberry jam and lemon curd; a rather good apple, walnut, and raisin cake; a savoury sweet potato pie; some very nice pumpkin cream cheese muffins (brought to work for potluck--I want to make another batch to keep for myself); some anadama bread made with cornmeal and molasses (horrible--I ended up throwing half of it away); and some proper cornbread with bacon, cheese, chipotle chiles, and no fucking molasses, which was delicious. Today I've got the dough for a four-grain pot boule resting in the fridge, since I want to start baking my own bread again instead of buying it like I did over the summer.

5) much, much more food talk underneath, including discussion of past weight-loss attempts, body shame, and disordered eating )

6) I've been reading Mark Billingham's series of mysteries featuring Detective Inspector Tom Thorne, and just finished the most recent one today. It's a series I like a lot despite often wanting to give the protagonist a very hard slap. The early books are fairly standard serial-killer stories, but they have enough character development that they kept me interested anyway. The later books are much more driven by the characters and by an interest in the social and personal aftereffects of violent crime. My favorite, The Bones Beneath, features no detective work at all. Don't start with that one, though, because it refers heavily to things that happened in earlier novels.

There's a recurring queer character who gets good development, and a number of interesting women (though I'd note that the two women Thorne has romantic relationships with during the series are much more compelling when the relationship stuff is backgrounded and they're doing their own things).

7) I acquired the first two series of Penny Dreadful for very cheap ($6 for both) and will probably start watching today.


Comments are welcome, unless they're concern trolling about weight/food issues, in which case I will delete them with extreme prejudice. I'd love to hear what you've been cooking/eating/watching/reading or whatever--we almost all seem to post less these days, and I miss you!
kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
I'm back again, after an unexpected hiatus. The touchplate or whatever you call it on my laptop stopped working, and I had to buy a mouse.

I'm feeling somewhat disconnected with fandom, especially since I've been away for so long. About all I've been doing that's remotely fannish is watching the new series of The Great British Bake Off. (As always, I've love it if you pointed me towards books/movies/TV you've enjoyed and think I might too.)

Some thoughts under the cut )

As usual, the Bake Off (and the onset of cooler weather) has got me baking again. Today I made a peach pie, which turned out rather nice despite some trouble with the pastry. I used the tricky-ish recipe for Flaky Pastry from Paul Hollywood's Pies and Puds. It's about halfway between a normal flaky pastry and a puff pastry: you rub some of the fat into the flour, but you scatter most of it over the dough and then do folds and turns, and I had trouble with the butter wanting to come through the dough each time I rolled it out. Also, I discovered too late that the recipe doesn't make quite enough pastry for a covered pie, so I had to roll it worryingly thin.

Besides the pie, I made a potato salad dressed with anchovies, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and chopped olives, based on a recipe by Marcela Hazan. I also cooked some broccoli until just tender and tossed it with a similar dressing of anchovies, garlic, olive oil, lemon, and some grated pecorino cheese.

In a little while I'm going to make up a sort of coleslaw dressed with oil, lime juice, and cumin, which I plan to eat tomorrow alongside roasted pork tenderloin with an orange and chipotle chile sauce.

My cooking, like the local weather, is hovering at the edge of autumn. Usually I look forward to colder weather and heartier dishes, but about a month ago I became obsessed with watermelon and crave it all the time, and I'm not ready yet for it to go away.

On the other hand, soups. Lovely, lovely soups.
kindkit: 'A man in WWII-era military uniform drinks tea in front of a van painted with "The Soldiers' Drink: Tea" (Fandomless: Soldiers drink tea)
1) Today I baked a pie, very very loosely based on one of Yotam Ottolenghi's recipes for a roasted vegetable tart. Said tart, while delicious-sounding, uses lots of flavors I associate with late summer and autumn, like sweet potato and roasted bell peppers, and I wanted springlike veggies. So I used spinach and arugula, artichoke hearts, and chives as well as the onion, garlic, feta, and ricotta called for in the original recipe. It turned out quite nice, especially the pastry (I used Paul Hollywood's shortcrust recipe), though unfortunately I didn't entirely think through the consequences of substituting very mild ingredients for strongly-flavored ones. So, yes, a little bit bland, but not bad. I want to make it again, with its original ingredients, in September or thereabouts. Anyway, I feel a sense of satisfaction at having achieved Proper Cooking--as I define it for myself--for the first time in ages.

I have a little steak thawing in the refrigerator for tomorrow, and I also intend to make an Amalfi-style potato salad from one of Marcella Hazan's cookbooks: small boiled potatoes dressed with anchovies, garlic, capers, and olives. This combines several of my current favorite things, so I'm looking forward to it.


2) I've finished my binge read of (almost) all of Dick Francis's novels. Reactions and such under the cut )
kindkit: Man sitting on top of a huge tower of books, reading. (Fandomless--book tower)
I'm feeling about 75% better now after most of a week on antibiotics. My sinus infection has cleared up, cough isn't as bad, and my ears don't hurt, although one of them is still a bit clogged and therefore my hearing isn't quite what it should be. I've only got two more doses of antibiotic and I'm a bit worried that everything will get horribly worse again after that, but I'm probably being silly.

My appetite is still low, which in a way I have welcomed. (Some weight/food talk follows, encoded in ROT13; go here to decode if desired.) Jura V jrag gb gur qbpgbe gurl jrvturq zr, orpnhfr urnira xabjf lbh pna'g qvntabfr na rne vasrpgvba vs lbh qba'g xabj ubj zhpu fbzrbar jrvtuf. V nfxrq gurz abg gb gryy zr gur erfhyg, ohg vg jnf tbqqnza CEVAGRQ ba gur "ivfvg fhzznel" guvat gurl tnir zr gb gnxr ubzr, fb V fnj vg. Naq fvapr gura V'ir unq gung ahzore ebyyvat nebhaq va zl urnq, znxvat zr srry onq nobhg zlfrys. V'yy trg bire vg, orpnhfr V xabj sebz rkcrevrapr gung qvrgvat znxrf zr sbbq bofrffrq naq penml naq V nyjnlf tnva onpx rirel cbhaq naq gurz fbzr, ohg vg'f tbvat gb gnxr n juvyr gb or noyr gb fgbc guvaxvat nobhg vg. Va gur zrnagvzr V'z shyy bs gur hfhny erfbyhgvbaf nobhg zber irtrgnoyrf naq jubyr tenvaf naq yrff whax, naq va trareny sbe zr gubfr ner abg onq tbnyf. V srry orggre jura V rng yrff cebprffrq sbbq, naq V rawbl vg, gbb. Ohg evtug abj V'z gverq nyy gur gvzr naq qba'g jnag gb pbbx, naq nyzbfg nyy gur avpr jubyr hacebprffrq sbbqf V jbhyq abeznyyl yvxr qba'g fbhaq tbbq gb zr. V bayl jnag fbsg hapunyyratvat sbbq, be ryfr penpxref, naq pbzovarq jvgu gur gverqarff guvf zrnaf guvatf yvxr pnaarq fbhcf naq Evpr-n-Ebav naq znlor, ng n fgergpu, fbzr cnfgn. Naq lbtheg (fcrpvsvpnyyl erpbzzraqrq gb zr ol gur cuneznpvfg, jub fnvq gur nagvovbgvpf jbhyq xvyy rirelguvat naq lbtheg jbhyq uryc oevat gur tbbq onpgrevn onpx) Ng yrnfg lbtheg vf abg shyy bs fnyg/fhtne/purzvpnyf, ohg sbe zr, naljnl, vg'f bayl na nqrdhngr zrny ol vgfrys vs V'z zhpu, zhpu fvpxre guna V nz abj. V nz qrsvavgryl ybbxvat sbejneq gb gur qnl jura fbzrguvat yvxr n fgve-sel jvyy fbhaq obgu nccrnyvat naq cbffvoyr. (Ol gur jnl, V'z abg nfxvat sbe jrvtug ybff nqivpr urer. Gunaxf naljnl, ohg guvf vf n cunfr V'yy trg guebhtu. V whfg arrqrq gb irag n ovg. Fhttrfgvbaf sbe rnfl, abg-gbb-cebprffrq guvatf V zvtug npghnyyl jnag gb rng ner jrypbzr, gubhtu.)

All I've done for about the last two and a half weeks is work, sleep, and read Dick Francis novels, so I'm up to 1980 in the Francis oeuvre, having just finished Reflex. I'm liking Francis more and more. The omnicompetent tough guys have mostly disappeared from his novels now, and instead we're getting Stoic Woobies and even Iron Woobies, who are more my type. And Francis does have the perception to suggest, sometimes, that ultra-stoicism is maybe a symptom of psychological damage rather than a marker of courage.

More about Francis, including women characters, queer characters, and slashiness )
kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
When I got home on Friday evening I thought, "Screw it, I don't want to cook or bake or do anything this weekend."

Naturally, I baked chocolate & peanut butter brownies and a big batch of bread rolls. I also made a version of this Korean vegetable stew (mine included potatoes, zucchini, daikon, and tofu, plus half a packet of Vietnamese-style pork meatballs I had left over; I made the broth with konbu and my last packet of instant Japanese anchovy stock, because I can't find dried anchovies where I live). And today I baked the ham that I bought on sale the week before Easter. I didn't end up cooking the cauliflower with hollandaise sauce that I had intended to go with the ham, because I wasn't hungry enough. Maybe tomorrow.

There's a bunch of stew left over--because I made about a quadruple batch--and of course a ton of ham. Mmm, sandwiches and potato soup and bean soup and potato gratin and I don't know what else. Leftovers = opportunity.


The most recent episode of Grantchester spoilers )

I finished Jon Ronson's The Men Who Stare At Goats, but I think it's my least favorite of his books. I'm sort of out of books now and have resorted to reading bits of Jane Austen's juvenilia and unfinished novels. Lady Susan is fun if formulaic, and I enjoyed the setup of The Watsons, which is a sort of comically exaggerated Pride and Prejudice, and would have liked to see more of Mr. Howard. I should try to read what there is of Sanditon, but it will make me sad. If I had the power to change literary history, I'd give Jane Austen twenty more years of good health.

I've now been reduced to reading Lawrence Miles's Dead Romance, which I'm enjoying all right despite its being by Lawrence Miles. Miles has a lot of talent, but like Grant Morrison he gets too enamored of his own weird ideas. And Miles' seething need to demonstrate that he's intellectually and politically superior to every else who's ever written a Doctor Who tie-in novel quickly gets tiresome. But Dead Romance is fine so far.

Book recs welcome.
kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
Yesterday I took the risk of improvising a bit with my baking, and made dried cherry and blood orange rolls with cardamom. They turned out rather nice, so here's what I did.

Details under the cut )

I spent much of the weekend binge-reading books by British journalist Jon Ronson. I started with The Psychopath Test, in which Ronson explores psychopathy, other mental illnesses, and what he calls "the madness industry." He's especially interested in the flattening of nuance, whether that's the way the ever-expanding DSM labels more and more human characteristics as illnesses, or the way media such as reality TV shows focus on the more extreme, "madder" ends of people's personalities. Ronson has a healthy but not excessive skepticism; he's critical of the DSM, for example, without claiming that it's worthless or that psychiatry is nonsense, and he beautifully exposes the lies within Scientology's anti-psychiatry rhetoric.

Ronson is sometimes called a "gonzo" journalist, a label I thought was unfair after reading The Psychopath Test. His earlier Them: Adventures with Extremists deserves the label more, but it's not gonzo in the way I dislike. Ronson isn't putting on a show of machismo--the opposite, I'd say--and his approach is rooted in an interest in truth, not in thrill-seeking. The book is, again, surprisingly nuanced, though that doesn't stop Ian Paisley from coming across as a wretched bully in ways that aren't even directly related to his politics.

I also read Lost at Sea, a collection of standalone pieces mostly written for the Guardian. I liked it, and I'd especially recommend "Who Killed Richard Cullen," a terrifyingly prescient story about predatory consumer lending written way back in 2005, and "Amber Waves of Green," from I think 2012, in which Ronson interviews people (mostly Americans) at five different income levels, from a dishwasher making less than $200 a week to a multi-billionaire. (Guess who's the most angry and bitter? Hint: it's not the dishwasher.)

I'm now reading Men Who Stare At Goats, but I've only just started it.
kindkit: 'A man in WWII-era military uniform drinks tea in front of a van painted with "The Soldiers' Drink: Tea" (Fandomless: Soldiers drink tea)
This is Day 2 of my four-day weekend, for which I'm using two of my paltry five days of vacation this year. Is there a word for anticipatory sadness/anxiety you feel at the start of a vacation because you know that it will end? Because I was already sad about this on Thursday night.

I'm not going anywhere or doing anything in particular, just getting domestic. I've got some chickpeas in the slow cooker and I'm about to start some bread dough and probably some pizza dough as well (bread to be baked tomorrow, pizza dough to be frozen). I'll make soup later, one of those "stuff I have around" soups which will have chicken in it, and some little meatballs made of leftover pork mixed with raw rice which I'll simmer in the soup, and some spinach, and maybe one or two other things but maybe not. I tend to put too much stuff into soups so they all end up tasting the same, and I'm trying to restrain that tendency.

I also want to make brownies, and maybe another batch of scones so I can use up the last of the fantastic strawberry jam. And I just remembered I have some tiny eggplants that I'm probably going to roast and then marinate with garlic and oregano, following an Ottolenghi recipe. Some of this will happen tomorrow rather than today, I think.

My only non-domestic plan is to finally go and see Deadpool on Monday, as a bribe for going to the laundromat afterwards.

Recent viewing and reading under the cut, with spoilers for Grantchester S2 )
kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
As usual, I did a bit of cooking and baking. Yesterday I roasted some beets that had been lurking in my fridge and dressed them in a mustardy vinaigrette. I really ought to look into some other things to do with beets. Beets are delish but I'm a bit bored with this salad.

Also yesterday I made an approximation of a paella, with chicken, some Spanish chorizo, red and yellow peppers (capsicums), saffron, and a little smoked paprika. It was very tasty so I don't care how inauthentic it is. Next time I want to add some mussels or clams, though. Or shrimp, but I've been avoiding shrimp because it seems like it's all either environmentally disastrous, produced with slave labor, or both. (I'm sure there's acceptable shrimp on the market, but it's probably out of my price range. Mussels, on the other hand, are both cheap and sustainable, and I like them a lot.)

Today I discovered that I only had enough flour to bake muffins or soda bread (having forgotten to start proper bread yesterday), so naturally I chose muffins--cranberry pecan streusel muffins, to be exact. I used a recipe from the high-altitude baking book I have, but as has consistently been my experience with the book, the result was only okay. They didn't rise the way they were supposed to despite my following directions for my exact altitude, and the taste is a bit meh. The latter was probably not helped by my having to substitute lemon zest for the orange zest called for, and vanilla for the orange extract, but even so. Still, they're not bad and they used up the last of the whole cranberries that have been in my freezer since November.

I also ended up improvising a salad, loosely based on a recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's Jerusalem. Their recipe is for deep-fried cauliflower florets with tahini-garlic dressing and pomegranate molasses. I roasted the cauliflower and an onion in a little olive oil, then when it had cooled I tossed some with romaine lettuce, some garlic croutons I made earlier, the tahini dressing, and some za'atar. Not bad at all, and I still have a lot of leftover cauliflower-and-onion mixture.

Otherwise I've done very little. On Friday I rented two movies with Mads Mikkelsen: King Arthur, which I am assured is the worst movie ever made but makes up for it by the chemistry between Mads and Hugh Dancy, and Valhalla Rising, which I gather from the blurb is mostly about Mads' character and others being tormented and horribly killed. So far I've yet to watch either, though I might try King Arthur tonight.
kindkit: 'A man in WWII-era military uniform drinks tea in front of a van painted with "The Soldiers' Drink: Tea" (Fandomless: Soldiers drink tea)
I have been to the laundromat! This is a chore I loathe, because I have to go out, where there are people, and then I have to sit there near other people while my laundry does its thing. So I tend to avoid it. But today I bribed myself by going out to breakfast first (this also involves being near other people, but there's food and I didn't have to cook it or wash the dishes afterwards). Thus I managed to get to the laundromat and run another important errand before noon. Go me, I guess.

bread, scones, pork roast, pizza under the cut )

I do sometimes do things other than work and cook. Here follow paragraphs about books, only some of them cookbooks )

weekend

Feb. 20th, 2016 01:29 pm
kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
I seem to have spent the morning lazily putting together the components of a salade niçoise, which I am now eating. Well, sort of a salade niçoise, as apparently the real thing does not include any cooked vegetables even though most English-language recipes call for potatoes and so on. Mine has potatoes, green beans, roasted red pepper strips, tuna, green olives, and tomatoes on romaine (aka cos) lettuce, with a dressing of olive oil, garlic, mustard, anchovies, and lemon juice. It's awfully nice, and I wish I hadn't let my nervousness of anchovies hold me back for so long from trying it. (At one point I was un-nervous enough with anchovies that I routinely made puttanesca sauce for pasta. Then I bought a tin of a different kind of anchovies that were fishy and disgusting, and I ended up throwing away an inedible batch of sauce. Somehow my brain decided that meant I'd been wrong and all anchovies were, in fact, horrible. But my brain was mistaken!)

The success of this experiment makes me excited about homemade Caesar dressing, which is next up on the salad agenda. And I still have half a tin of anchovies which should probably be used very soon.

I'm still puzzled by this unexpected interest in salad, but I figure I might as well go with it.

Other weekend food plans include making some bread (I'm going to try Laugenbrötchen, a German bread roll that is boiled like a bagel), cooking up a big batch of tomato-and-sausage pasta sauce to freeze, and baking something sweet, though I haven't quite decided what. I'm craving berries, but alas, despite recent warm weather that has reset my food cravings to "spring," it's still only February. Berries are available in the supermarket, of course, but they're expensive and probably not good. Anyway, I'm still trying to use pantry stuff I've accumulated, so maybe it's time to break out the pecans I bought on sale a while back. And on looking up the recipe for pecan-chocolate shortbread bars which I made a while back and adored, I find that I have all the ingredients on hand. That's a plan, then.


I would quite like to see Deadpool this weekend but I'll probably wait another week or two until it's less crowded. I'd also like to read something new but I'm not sure what. (I'm sure of the general specs--sff featuring men who love other men and get to have reasonably happy endings--but I don't know of anything fitting the bill that I haven't already read.) Also also, I'd like to read lots of really good Hannibal fanfic, but my forays into the fic have been limited. A few times in the relatively recent past, canons have been soured for me by terrible fic, and I love Hannibal too much to want that to happen.

I do have S3 of Endeavour which I still haven't seen. Or I could just rewatch Rejseholdet. I haven't rewatched any of it since I started watching Hannibal, and I'm curious about whether the show will change for me from this new perspective.

BTW my ankle is better-ish. It's still sore and stiff and occasionally quite fussy about the angle at which I hold my foot while taking a step, but not actively painful most of the time. This is a big improvement but I'm looking forward to the not hurting at all stage of recovery.
kindkit: Rupert Giles drinking a mug of tea and reading (Buffy: Giles and tea)
The stew turned out very tasty. Or rather, the chickpeas are tasty, the red peppers are tasty, the little bits of chorizo are gorgeous, and the broth is fantastic. The meat is okay. If it wouldn't feel wasteful, I would take the meat out and get rid of it. It has contributed flavor to the delicious broth, and I ask nothing more of it.

How I made the stew )
kindkit: 'A man in WWII-era military uniform drinks tea in front of a van painted with "The Soldiers' Drink: Tea" (Fandomless: Soldiers drink tea)
My ankle still hurts. Not as badly as it did, and I'm hoping a good rest this weekend will help, but the past week has not been fun. I've especially enjoyed waking up five or six times a night because my ankle has decided that it cannot tolerate whatever position it's in any longer, nope, I must wake up and experimentally try every other possible way to lie. ("Will a pillow under my foot help? Hmm, maybe, that's not so OH NO OUCH WHO KNEW BLANKETS WERE SO HEAVY, let's move again.").

I think of those of you who deal with disability and pain every single day and I know I am a wimp.

So this weekend will be devoted to staying in the apartment and napping and cooking a bit. Which is in fact what I do most weekends.

My cooking plans are a bit random, based on what I have at home that I want to use up + what I feel like eating. Stew, buns, pizza and more under the cut )

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