We survived the first quarter of school, friends! Faith of our Fathers combined with Shakespeare is definitely rigorous and leaves you feeling rather breathless--but breathless in a good way, if that makes any sense. I'm incredibly blessed to have an amazing tutor and wonderful peers, both in and out of class, who make me think harder than I ever have before. All of my classmates display an eagerness and willingness to learn that never ceases to both inspire and humble me. Thank you, dear classmates, for never allowing me to stop thinking or caring. (And thank you for putting up with me even when I'm being a pill.)
I wonder if we continue learning even when we rest? (How very silly that sounds!) Even when we're not actively reading something or trying to formulate arguments and string sentences, maybe our mind continues to process and sort through all the different ideas and thoughts. I find that the "epiphany moments" come more often when I'm not actively looking for them. Perhaps resting and playing gives us time to absorb everything we've been taught.
In light of all this, I think I'm going take a moment to catch my breath by spending the evening with non-school books, some scarps of fabric and a sewing machine, and Rachmaninov's (or Rachmaninoff's) Vespers.
There really is something incredibly comforting about baking. Maybe it's the knowledge that there is something yummy is in the making, or perhaps whipping eggs and beating butter and sugar together somehow gives some kind of odd, sadistic satisfaction--though I have no idea how that is at all comforting and I doubt that this is the source of any comfort. Perhaps the comfort is all in eating.
Either way, after spending the morning slowly reading my way through Ignatius' letters to various churches--which, by the way, has been very interesting--I knew, just as Pooh often does, that I needed something sweet and deliciously rich to beckon me to hurry with my reading.
(Well, Pooh just eats his honey. I would eat my honey, too, but I really do enjoy honey with toast, and there is no toast in this house. :( )
In between paragraphs, I pondered what sort of pudding would deliver top-class comfort on a reading-filled, rather gloomy day as today. Then I found this website with a recipe for vanilla pot de creme and crumbly chocolate shortbread. This sounded suitable--creamy, vanilla custard accented with the dark tones and crumbly texture of the shortbread.
The pot de cremes were surprisingly easy to assemble, and after baking, I set them in the fridge to cool. They had plenty of time to chill, since I promised to abstain from eating them until the majority of today's text had been read.
Some hours later and some chapters later, I made the chocolate biscuits to go along with the custards.
And here is where I make my confession: I was going to try to finish all of the assigned letters for Ignatius, but I gave into temptation at three chapters left and went downstairs to indulge in the sweet pleasure of dessert. I fear I do not regret this, since I probably would not have finished those three chapters until eleven or so this evening, and I never like to eat right before bed.
The custard was quite divine, if I can dare say that without being too heretical? When baked in the waterbath, it had formed a bit of a thicker crust of cream on the very top, which cracked slightly as I dove in with my spoon. It was very reminiscent of creme brulee, sans the crispy sugar topping, of course, and a tinsy bit less extravagant since I had used half cream and
half whole milk. The biscuits were wonderful with the custard, as well. Crumbly, buttery dark chocolate biscuits with the cool creaminess of the custard.
This was pudding well worth every minute spent away from my reading, and it definitely delivered much comfort in each spoonful. :)
(Sorry for the poor quality of the photo! My camera was missing so I used the camera built-in my laptop. Cameras in computers? What will they think of next? Built in showers? That might come in handy while on the road.....)
While browsing wedding cake ideas on..er..*hides behind couch* Martha Stewart.com, I came across her series of Woodland Wedding Cakes and was very much intrigued. A mushroom laden wedding cake? Having an odd fear of those real-deal, spongy, watching-you-in-the-forest-mushrooms, I couldn't quite decide what to think of the cake. However, after a bit of thought, I finally decided that it must be a Hobbit wedding cake, and is therefore not so very disturbing! (Although something makes me think that Hobbits would put real mushrooms on their cake instead of meringue mushrooms, and it probably wouldn't be a white-frosted cake. Perhaps more like this?).
While Martha Stewart seems to have some conspiracy (along with Starbucks) for taking over the world, I have to admit that her website and magazines are very helpful when it comes to ideas, recipes, random house-keeping tips and tid-bits. Plus, the photography is amazing! Her wedding cake ideas are phenomenal, too. Of course, there are some not-so-great cakes out there, too. (The kind that make Martha Stewartians shrivel up and die [of laughter]. ...Not that I'm promoting the death of Martha-Stewartians, since I, er, myself might be one of them. Eep!) Heh, most of my cakes end up looking like this. (Please browse this site with caution, since some of the cakes are a bit on the scandalous side. :-( )
Hurrah for the glorious, refreshing rain after a week of incessant heat! Gloomy, rainy days seem to add to the coziness of a restful weekend following a whirlwindish week of term papers and tests. April showers in May? It works for me! Hot lentil potato soup for lunch and chocolate bread pudding in the oven--it's a bit reminiscent of the hearty stews and puddings of wintertime. However, I am ready for summer. Summer is the time for lighter fare--fresh and simple, yet full of flavour. Summer is the time for alfresco dining. Summer is the season for cherries and peaches, vine ripened tomatoes and sweet basil, and spontaneous picnics. There's nothing like packing a picnic basket full of cheeses, fresh fruit, some nuts, and a crusty baguette and heading to the park to read, paint, and eat. (Don't eat paint, however, or else you might start doing odd things). I used to dislike summer because of the hot weather, but I'm starting to realize that summer brings so many wonderful and good things that far outweigh the heat. So hurrah for the coming of summer! And hurrah for the good food!
The post man left a brown parcel on my doorstep this morning! I was very excited to find it. It's always a lovely surprise, particularly when you're home sick, to find a package with your name on it on your doorstep. :) There is a camel in the box. At least, that is what I think. All of us in the upstairs room are planning a welcome party involving some sort of cake for the supposed camel, since we heard that camels like cake.
As of last Sunday, I have officially started my not-sure-how-long hiatus from playing the violin. (It's not exactly official...I suppose it's simply "decided"? Decided and put into practice?) As much as it feels rather sad stopping something I have done for so long, the relief I feel from not having to worry about violin and practicing seems to outweigh all else--for now at least. I haven't stopped playing violin for good, though, and I hope to play a bit every week or so to keep my fingers from getting too stiff and forgetful. In the meantime, I shall try to focus more on piano. Liszt. Lissssszzzt! I am very, very excited! There shall be much finger dexterity training this summer. March, little soldiers, march! I suppose they must also learn to march lightly? Is that even possible? Perhaps they fly! Wheee! (glissando...buuuurrrrrrrrriiinggg!) Or if it is done badly (from personal experience): *bumpbumpbump"ouchouch"bumpbump"ouch"bump"ouch!"bumpbumpbink!"
Hehe. Speaking of summer, I will also be bridesmaiding as a little yellow buttercup in my friend's wedding this June. Hopefully, sister and I will spend two or so weeks in beautiful NM to take part in the festivities, visit old friends, and breathe the wonderful, clean air of the desert. It is the desert with piercingly blue skies and the yummiest chocolate cake. :-) If ever you visit Santa Fe, make sure to stop by the Chocolate Maven and try their chocolate cake. It is dense and moist, and oh so very chocolate-y. Sometimes they serve it up with dollops of chantilly cream and it's almost a bit like heaven. (Perhaps? Can food taste divine? Well, it's delicious and marvelous combination of flavours and textures, whatever it is.)
I'm also plotting to journey up North with family in July to obtain some pot de creme pots (sans creme, since I will most likely eat before I take them home) from Miette. I'm quite enchanted by their jolly little pot de creme pots...Hopefully they will still be making them from glass by the time I visit.
Enough of silly Goosie's summer plans! Time for bed and a bit of resting before the SAT this weekend. I shall be glad when it is over.. Have a good weekend!
Hello friends! Spring is here! It's time to go outside and enjoy the flowers, listen to the birds, and feast on the delicate yet delicious offerings of the season. How refreshing are all the flavours and textures of spring bounty! The crisp snow peas with delicious cold cream; Sweet Vidalia onions; artichokes, asparagus (baked atop a puff pastry shell with some Gruyere...mmm), the crisp baby lettuce mixes, and even rhubarb and strawberries for pies. This evening I picked up some leeks and new potatoes to make potato soup. I love potato soup--especially homemade potato soup. It's creamy and velvety but not overly milky, and the leeks and shallots add a mild sweetness. (An oniony taste. What is an onion? What does an onion taste like? Gah!) This was my first time cooking with leeks. ...I think I like them... :-) Be sure to smell them before you cook them, and smell them while you cook them, and of course, smell them as you're eating them. I suppose you could smell all your food..But what about raw meats and poultry? Hmm..
I hope you are all enjoying the wonderful things of Spring!
I hope I shall learn to enjoy the things that I ought to enjoy...
Good night! (And be sure to listen for the birds. :-D)
Pooh for silly, rambly, emo-istic blogposts. Do different shapes of pasta taste different? I don't know very much about pasta, or even what it's made of, but I've always wondered why there are so many different pasta-shapes. Perhaps it has something to do with what each kind is used for, such as lasagna or macaroni and cheese (mmm...oooey-gooey-cheese-filled-elbows). I'm very glad that the creative-pasta-shape-inspired folks have developed numerous ways to make and shape pasta. I love pasta. :-)
Hurrah for pasta! Hurrah for orecchiette! Hurrah for orecchiette with broccoli! Hurrah for olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and pesto.
Food is very wonderful. Sleep is very wonderful. This blog is not so wonderful.
After a whole year of squeaking through the first movement of Bruch's violin concerto, I finally had an "Ah-HA!" moment this afternoon and the piece came together for the very first time. I am not entirely sure what made it "come together", or what I mean by "come together", since I most certainly did not play it perfectly. Perhaps it was easier to play? Maybe I could concentrate less on trying to hit the notes and more on expressing them? While I was (miraculously) charging through the double stops, I kept thinking to myself: "This is Bruch! This is music! This makes me feel funny inside!" ...
And then I broke two bow-hairs.
It was very exciting. All of it! (Bow-hair breakage included) So that leaves me wondering: What does it mean to play music? What causes that moment of "Ah-HA!" ?
Hmmm. And what is the Divine and Supernatural Light, eh?