Tag Archives: baking

What’s really happening

Good to see you again. I’m popping in here, hoping that writing this blog post will get my brain juices flowing so I can finish a proposal for my internship supervisor. Someday I hope to stop just “popping in” here. I really want to get into the habit of writing about things as they happen. Meantime, here are some updates.

1. I switched from LibraryThing to Goodreads. I feel kinda bad about it. It seems that LibraryThing is a bigger advocate of actual libraries, and I liked that the site had an organic, home-grown feel to it. But more of my friends are on Goodreads, and I really enjoy seeing what my friends are reading. So if you’re on Goodreads, don’t be a stranger!

2. I went to my first ever book club meeting. This book club is comprised of librarians and library school students in Orange County. Each month we vote on a different genre and book. August’s genre is biography and we’re reading The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington by Jennet Conant. Apparently Roald Dahl was kind of a mischievous bastard. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m having a hard time getting into this one, though.

3. I finished The Hunger Games (book #1). I wasn’t totally obsessed with it, but I really enjoyed it and I’m eager to read Catching Fire and Mockingjay. Also, my new mantra is “what would Katniss do?” Before I read the next two, though, I’m trying to read through the Harry Potter series. I only read the first four books as they came out…that was a long time ago. I don’t understand many Harry Potter references as I haven’t seen the movies either (well, that’s not true. I’ve seen #1 once, a long time ago). So with all this hype about HP7.2 I’m extra tired of being left out!

Peach cobbler

4. My peach cobbler recipe is up at The League of Evil Baking Librarians.

5. I joined Spotify. I’m making a monstrous summer-themed playlist and subscribing to my friends’ awesome playlists. This is the only cloud-based music player I’ve used so I don’t have much to which I can compare, but so far I really like it. Sharing music with friends (especially if you link your account to Facebook) is super easy, and that seems to be making up for the lack of discovery-related features.

6. I went on a short trip to Lone Pine, CA for Father’s day with my mom and dad. Lone Pine is this little town off the 395 that everybody passes through coming from SoCal to Mammoth. I’d never stayed there longer than a few hours, so it was interesting to see what goes on there throughout the course of the day. We ate breakfast at Alabama Hills Cafe, played 9 holes of golf at Mt. Whitney Golf Club, drank beers and read in the shade next to a creek, drove around the Alabama Hills (of which I am still astonished), ate Chinese food and called it a night (I get my earlybirdedness from my parents). Unfortunately, I was kind of in a funk through the whole trip. Going up to Mammoth/anywhere in between tends to get me really down for some reason. I’m trying to correct that…I hope to make GOOD memories there again someday.

7. I sewed a skirt.

8. Some SJSU SLIS friends and I did the Munchathon in Oak Canyon Park out by Irvine Lake. We walked the 5k course and ate at some gourmet food trucks afterward.

9. I made the tough decision to quit volunteering at the Orange County Public Libraries Irvine Heritage Park branch. I have fond memories of that place. They were my foot-in-the-door to the library world, and for that I am incredibly grateful. I just felt that it was time to move on to new adventures. So here’s to letting go and moving forward…

I think that should cover it…see you again soon!

Holiday Baking

I had big plans for the day. Volunteer in the morning, hop on a train to Solana Beach, meet up with Julia, and go with her to Pacific Beach to get her tattoos. I was so excited, but it wasn’t in the cards. I got to the train station only to see that the trains aren’t running because it’s been raining for days (flooding, slides). But by the time I was dropped off at the station I was in a total fog from the Dayquil I had taken so I couldn’t drive. I’m still in that fog and it’s still raining, so here I am.

Here’s what I made over the weekend.

Grandma Violet’s Welsh cakes (without the currants). I don’t think I’ll be using the snowflake cookie cutters again. The snowflake “arms” were a little too fragile.

Welsh cake dough cut into snowflake shapes

Cooked Welsh cakes

Brandy balls. These were aMAZing, if I do say so myself. The recipe’s here. I used brandy instead of bourbon because that’s what Grammy had on hand.

How To Be A Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking by Nigella Lawson

How to be a domestic goddessMy Aunt Carole gave me this book this past Christmas, and I keep grabbing it off of my bookshelf in my bedroom. That’s right, it’s in my bedroom. Perhaps it’s the cupcake on the cover that puts me in a trance, causing me to lay down on my bedroom floor and pore over it for hours. Most likely, it’s Nigella’s writing and sense humor and the rest of the pretty pictures. I haven’t even tried any of the recipes (yet), I just like to read her commentary for now.

Nigella Lawson is one of my favorite people on this planet. She’s Oxford-educated (she has a Master’s in medieval and modern languages!) and she loves to eat. One of my favorite episodes of her show Nigella Bites ends with her grabbing a bar of chocolate out of her pantry and some warm milk before going to bed. Whenever someone shames me into eating a salad, I think of Nigella, and I ask myself if I really want that salad. I have a total woman-crush on Nigella.

Please ignore the gender-specific title. The contents of this book will appeal to men as much as it appeals to women. Nigella divides this book into the following sections: cakes; cookies, scones, and muffins; pies; desserts; chocolate; children [haha! Maybe it’s the wine talking, but listing this chapter seems to imply that she is baking children, which she is not, obviously, but it’s funny nonetheless, OK? Ahem.]; Christmas; bread and yeast; and the domestic goddess’s pantry. These recipes are for those who have access to a well-stocked grocery store. For instance, I don’t know where the heck to find fresh white currants to make the Black and White Tart. And some recipes call for lard, which is almost impossible to find in Southern California outside of the Mexican grocery stores. Not all recipes call for such hard-to-find ingredients, though. I think this book is intended for a mostly European audience, because she includes a recipe for “American Breakfast Pancakes” (which I will promptly make, but I am not looking forward to being taught how to make pancakes by a British woman). Americans who love to bake, however, will find this book just as drool-worthy. It’s a great (and pretty) asset to any kitchen bookshelf.