Returning Gingerly

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

We now return you to regular* programming... A long time ago, there was a visit by the Other Penguin's Mum. So long ago, now, that she's since been and gone again. And there was baking. Much baking during, and probably even more since.

The baking included ginger biscuits. I'm not sure that I ever met a baked good with ginger in it that I didn't like, and the Other Penguin's Mum's enthusiasm for the look of ginger biscuits was a very welcome thing indeed - especially given it's a liking that potentially isn't a dominant gene. The Other Penguin is, at best, ambivalent about baked goods containing ginger. And while I try (a bit like a bear trying to use an ottoman as gym equipment, but trying all the same) to abstain from the vast majority of eating of baking (other than the bowl, which has a permanent exemption... what was that about the ottoman again..?), the prospect of ginger can be quite alluring...

These ginger biscuits came from the increasingly dependable Australian Women's Weekly Mix recipe book. Here's how they turned out...

And how they're made...

90g butter (or low fat pretending-to-be-butter substances)
½ cup (75g) packed brown sugar (dark brown's always good, I find)
1⅓ cup (115g) golden syrup
¾ cup teaspoon baking soda
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground gloves

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C for a fan forced oven, or lower still for a temperamental Smeg)
2. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper
3. Place butter, sugar and golden syrup into a medium saucepan and stir over a low heat until smooth and combined
4. Remove melted syrup mixture from the stove and allow to cool a little; stir in dry ingredients
5. Arrange rounded teaspoons of biscuit batter onto prepared trays, shaping into domed balls (don't flatten them too much as they do spread while baking). According to the recipe, it should make 32 biscuits - I think we ended up with more than that, without them being measly either
6. Bake for around 10 minutes and allow to cool on trays**

The cracked tops are actually part of their charm - love a recipe designed for us rustic bakers!

Mmmm... biscuit batter...

* And, occasionally, scheduled... Either way, less waffling and over-sharing, and more things to eat
** Cooling on trays is not recommended if the trifle-eating cat's parents are around, as the trifle-eating cat's dad has a homing device for warm baked goods that can readily be snaffled (although that's all part of the fun)...


Pensive Penguins

Monday, August 30, 2010

How do I make sure that I remember...

  • the leaping feeling upon waking up and realising that it was The Day, combined with the ‘oh...’ feeling that you weren’t there waking up in the same place
  • the sheer ordinary-but-amplified-to-feel-extraordinary-ness of pottering out for breakfast and eating (perfect) porridge at my local. And their amusement at my response when they asked what I had on the rest of the day
  • the pleasedness of having bothered making a Proper List the night before when the time came to make sure that nothing had been forgotten
  • the excitedness to see you unexpectedly, followed by the superstitious horror that I had
  • the colours where the sea and the sky met when I looked out at the ocean from the busy peacefulness at the hairdresser, and the squish-pop of perfect juicy blueberries thoughtfully brought along by those who always think of the importance of snackages
  • the quiet thoughtfulness of a very careful and all-too-brief shower
  • the unexpected hilarity of (other people’s) Hollywood tape
  • the sheer number of times that ‘squeee!’ was uttered during the course of the day
  • the leaping feeling of being ready to go
  • the way time sped up as my friends walked ahead of me, and then slowed down beyond all possibility as I walked in
  • the look on your face and the calmness of reaching you
  • the words that we, and other people, said. All of them. Every single one.
  • the greatest feeling of certainty I might ever have lived
  • the unexpected hilarity of penguins going kerplop and the joy from not knowing everything in advance
  • the clear crispness of the afternoon that balanced on just-barely-not-too-cold
  • the silly faces made by others so that I stopped worrying about looking like a startled marmot
  • the relief of a pair of very small penguins sitting serenely somewhere other than Honolulu
  • the nervous energy of dance costumes, directions and olive pits and realising that not all performances are about the same thing
  • the feeling of we-really-did-this-and-it-really-does-feel-different every time I caught sight of the ring on your finger (and how it made all the skittering madly about beforehand suddenly completely immaterial and entirely worth it)
  • the food, and whether it was really that everything I consumed all day was the best version of itself I’d ever eaten, or whether the day itself made that inevitable (and how many lemon brûlée tarts I might need to try before I can answer that question)
  • the never-to-be-exceeded and completely superlative mirth that a children’s story and a collection of hand puppets can produce
  • the enjoyment from finding that people had Had Fun (in capital letters, no less), and it making all the skittering madly about beforehand even more worthwhile
  • the short-skirt-long-jacketed departure with more stuff to carry than should be sensibly attempted
  • the view from our window of the lights around the bay
  • the guiltless satisfaction of sampling both flavours of cake at some alarmingly early hour of (technically) the next morning
  • the leaping feeling from the day ending with the two of us exactly the same, and also entirely different
How do I make sure that I don’t forget a single tiny second of the best, most important and most unexpectedly fun day I could possibly imagine? How do I stop worrying about the prospect that, little by little, tiny snatches of the minute specificness of it all might slip away and be lost? How do I not let it turn into an amorphous mis-remembered blur?

Picture: returntogodsgarden on Flickr

Maybe by writing these wonderings down they will stick in my mind like pins put snugly into a pincushion, but with the only piercing feeling coming from how astonishing it was that something so many people do could be so much better and so very different in the best possible ways than I’d thought.

Maybe by sending these very small but loomingly enormous rememberings out into the ether like messages in bottles that might come back to me, but that record something just so that the permanence of it existing never disappears.

Maybe by quietly thinking of those moments when something happens to remind me, and by looking for the bits of those days everywhere that can make them resemble it...

How do I make sure that I never forget?

Picture: Lady Hazel on Flickr via Gatekeeper on Tumblr


Slaving Away Over A French Stove

Sunday, August 29, 2010

For anybody who watches Iron Chef*, you’d be familiar with the description of Iron Chef Sakai as “the Delacroix of French cuisine”.

So, when I saw this picture, it made me wonder if this is where Sakai spends his days, slaving away over a bubbling stove, creating a range of gastronomic delights, each more astonishing than the last and involving a more peculiar key ingredient...

Picture: Lesley Sico on Flickr via Flights of Fancy

Although I’m not convinced that Sakai would travel all the way to New Orleans, where the photo was taken, to perfect his kitchen stadium technique. Still, it’s a thought...

I can imagine Delacroix Corp as the culinary equivalent of Acme – a sort of ubiquitous brand applied to every conceivable sort of kitchen widget.

* The proper one, not that ghastly imitation version.


True Love Means Never Having To Say Harrumph (Well, At Least For A Day)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

If you decide to search for “harrumph” in Etsy, you will come across The Big Harrumph. Which is definitely on the list of the best store names ever. Today, while there is highly unlikely to be any harrumphing, it was The Big Harrumph that said it best...

Picture: The Big Harrumph on Etsy

It’s perhaps also a day to share the picture that made me realise that one of the reasons I love Totoros is because of their distinct similarity to penguins. Not sure how something resembling a mixture of an owl, a rabbit and a cat can also look like a penguin, and yet it definitely seems to be the case...

Pictures: Magic Bean Buyer on Etsy (they also have a Flickr)

But perhaps the most appropriate thought to end on is of, yet again, the Fox and the Polar Bear. Whether true love happens despite ourselves, because of ourselves, is born of friendly rivalry, or of a united front against completely bonkers raccoons is perhaps a bit too big a question to answer (especially for a day sans harrumphs). The important thing (as Rose Franken said), is that "anybody can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly."


Sisters Are Doing It (And Eating It)

Friday, August 27, 2010

On the last night of being an officially single penguin (well, unmarried penguin is more accurate – it’s been a while since there was singledom in these parts!), there are few things better than some relaxed time with good friends. Well, hopefully there’s also some chicken soup, but that’d really just be an added bonus.

Back when I first discovered the Fox and the Polar Bear, I found this picture, and it instantly reminded me of an almost-also-married sporty friend. In the days of our misspent youth, we’d end up coming back from whatever we’d been to, giggling madly and eating Coco Pops at some utterly unholy hour before keeling over until a more civilised time of the late morning.

Picture: the Fox and the Polar Bear on Flickr

So it seemed an appropriate picture for today, together with a big thank you and general woo hoo for girlfriends. Not that the blokes should be overlooked, just that sometimes, only Coco Pops and mirth after midnight will doo... tee hee hee hee...


We Interrupt This Broadcast

Thursday, August 26, 2010

For a few months now, this little corner of the blogosphere has been a little repository of penguin-like thoughts, almost always slightly nutty ones, and very frequently food-related ones as well. It’s been a place of distraction from Things That Are Supposed To Be Done – a bit like the online version of a window seat. It’s especially been a procrastination device in relation to – whisper it quietly, so nobody hears – wedding planning.

Picture: Jonas Peterson via Once Wed

Yep, the Blue Penguin and the Other Penguin are (some might say finally) making it official. Which, I figure, justifies a small detour from usual food-ness-and-mad-ness over the next couple of days*.

Much like Santa Claus, there has been a great deal of making lists, checking them twice, and (perhaps a bit less like Santa Claus) skittering about like a thing possessed. On my part, at least – the Other Penguin is far too dignified and organised to skitter. But now, all the lists are made, checked and panicked about in triplicate, and all that is left is to do a few last minute preparations to make sure we can properly misbehave celebrate...

Picture: The Fox and the Polar Bear on Flickr

* Possibly of a scheduled variety, in order to avoid a splat! that Mrs Polar Bear would be mightily proud of!


The Benefits Of Tea Tree

Never mind the infamous BBC spaghetti tree... I would just like to have a tea tree...

Picture: Rural Pearl on Etsy

But perhaps there's the potential for a whole vegetable patch of afternoon teas and elevenses... especially since I discovered the Doughnut Plant...

Picture: David Lebovitz - source of the discovery, and doubtless of much other impending tastiness...


Calling A Spade A... Book?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It could be clear by now that I have a bit of a fixation with Kate Spade. I love the bright colours, the clean, unfussy lines and the perfect balance of slightly-silly-but-not-utterly-mad about many of her designs.

And that was before I came across these:

Picture: Kate Spade (and so are the others below) via Sandra's Closet

These might be the best clutch bags I've seen in ages. Classic, a little unusual, and unlike anything I've seen before*. And they have the blurb on the back, too. Just brilliant!

And they even have a version of one of my favourite books, too...

I bet they don't have them in the Surry Hills library, though. Harrumph!

* Notwithstanding the debate about whether others have seen, and done, them before though...


Snack Hunting (Not Snark Hunting)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The problem with Twitter (other than the creeping realisation that you're not as witty as you thought you were, let alone as witty as everybody else), is that it makes you hungry. At least, it does if, like me, you follow all sorts of food bloggers.

At inopportune moments of time, you can be beset with a burning need for something obscure and unattainable to eat, and the immediacy of Twitter somehow gives it a stronger pull that than the regular food blogs. Ages ago, at an unpleasantly late hour of the night to be studying (although any hour is either unpleasantly late or unpleasantly early to be studying), Helen from Grab Your Fork was sharing her evening snack of malt loaf... unfortunately, not literally! And it wasn't just any malt loaf. It was Soreen*. And it was sliced! Previously only encountered verging on stale, and very much unsliced, I was keen to go on the hunt. Strathfield not being in the direction os the usual stomping ground while in the recent mad skittering mode, I quickly got in the habit of popping into all and sundry other Woollies passed by, to check if they could satisfy the craving... Bondi Junction? Nope**. City? Nope. Yes, while the website says all Woolworths, beware. Otherwise there will be fruitless (and maltless) hunting...

And then... Good morning Neutral Bay... And hello malt loaf.

Waiting results in... overindulgence...

Pictures: me

Not just for evening snacks - it's also handy for breakfast, and little occasional morsels... especially now it doesn't have to be rationed out anymore! And it's actually pretty healthy, too.

It's great all by itself, but doesn't hurt to add butter. Or - I have to see if this is as tasty as it sounds - marmalade... Even better, it could be the source of the next pud.

* Malt loaf is one of those fondly remembered food from childhood. For a very brief time, we lived in a house with a walk-in larder, and it seemed to always be full of all sorts of interesting things we never got to have (I suspect the brevity of living there meant we were keen to eat English food while it was there to be eaten). And the larder always had a wonderful smell, a bit of which was that rich fruity malt loaf aroma... yum...



Monday, August 23, 2010

Cuckoos are thought of for being nest-invading ne’er do wells, taking up others’ valuable space with their unsolicited eggs. Personally, I think they’re a bit hard done by, and think they might be evolution’s way of telling us that sending your children to day care is just part of nature.

Picture: Scrappy Girl Shoppe on Etsy

In Sydney, there is a strange and unique bird. You might at first think it’s related to the cuckoo – but then, you realise it’s totally different. We could call it an ookcuc. But that looks a bit like a typing error*. Or an ocuckoo (like an opossum, which isn’t actually a possum**). And it’s reasonably close to the noise made by others on encountering the bird. But I’m going to call it the gazumping bird. Because that is what it does.

Picture: Alex Wijnen on Etsy

This quiet, unobtrusive coloured bird inhabits urban areas and, unlike many native fauna (perhaps more akin to rabbits), it appears to be becoming more widespread and adapting to new environments. The gazumping bird has keen eyesight and, like a hawk, targets its prey from afar. It doesn’t build nests, but lies quietly in wait until another bird has almost finished constructing a new nest and then swoops in when least expected to occupy its new home. The male gazumping bird has a feathered crest and puffs out his chest feathers in the manner or a robin (but with somewhat less colour, and substantially less charm). The female is larger and louder. Both can be identified by their characteristic smug expression.
The gazumping bird is even less popular than a magpie in spring. It remains to be seen whether it can be deterred by tactics like these...

Picture: Polyvore

A cuckoo clock has a little cuckoo inside which pops out to tell you the time, but a gazumping bird clock is a little more unpredictable, and contains a little bird which pops out after disappointing shopping expeditions. It emits the characteristic call of the gazumping bird, often likened to the sound made by Nelson on the Simpsons...

* One without the potential for mondegreens
** There is Irish possum joke potential here. But in the interests of seemliness, it will be avoided...


Embracing Your Inner Aunt

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I sometimes wonder if I’m mysteriously stuck in a time warp – so many of the things I like seem to be, at best, retro and, at worst, dodgy (and impossible to obtain). But, given how capricious fashion can be, one day’s fondue is another day’s cupcakes. And you know what happens once you get me started on that rant (yet) again. One of these impossible things is marzipan...

Picture:  Wally Gilbert*

Its current associations seem to involve ageing aunts with laborious afternoon teas, or the sorts of wedding cakes that people run a mile from and that give rise to the opposite sort of extreme. Normal cakes with marzipan on under the icing just don’t exist. Which necessitates measures like buying it separately to eat on the side of whatever baked thing is lacking it. After hunting it down in the supermarket (and after explaining to a shop assistant what it is, because it’s always put somewhere highly illogical and impossible to find). The possible exception is marzipan fruit, which appear to be one of those peculiar items that is always available, but nobody ever buys.

So, I’d pretty much given up on marzipan. Which made coming across cakes that involve it not just as a covering, but as an ingredient all the more surprising. And they look lovely. And delicious. And have proper icing**. And are very likely to be added to an ever-expanding list of things to try out... I think it’s time to discover my inner aunt, as it were...

These also caught my eye, more from the wow-somebody-thought-of-that perspective. I can lose track of how much time I spend thinking about baking, but never had it occurred to me to knit with marzipan. Plaited loaves I can understand, but knitting...

Pictures: Vegan Yum Yum - can you tell that I was utterly fascinated by these?

However, it seems impossible to go past Canelle et Vanille (as ever) for the impossibly perfect recipe (and photos). Marzipan ice cream. Just imagine. Surely there's a challenge for Gelato Messina right there! And one they've very probably risen to already...

Picture: Canelle et Vanille

* As marzipan fruit go, these might be some of the prettiest I think I've seen.
** I realise this may appear to be becoming an obsession, but really it’s just a small (though persistent) niggle.


Don’t Let The Bed Bugs Bite

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I have vivid recollections from when I was a little girl of the things that use to scare me when I was trying to get to sleep. The fear wasn’t of monsters under the bed. It was of things that might come to life in the middle of the night and come to get me (small children and reality are clearly not bedfellows).

One of the things that was a particular source of terror was a pair of dungarees. Maroon corduroy dungarees. They had been folded and put on top of a cupboard and, in the faint light in the bedroom, I was convinced that they were creeping slowly along, sneaking up on me by stealth. Long before Wallace and Gromit thought of the potential for trousers to run amok, I was having ideas of my own.

Picture: Ottobre Design on FivePrime - alarmingly close to those fearsome pants of my youth! Except mine were far less cute...

There was also a set of curtains** with a floral print. Just before the room was dark, the pattern in the curtains took on shadowy proportions, and seemed to house lots of little gobliny faces that weren’t apparent during the day. If you ever decorate a room for a child, think of how things will look in the gloom, and what might jump out to overactive small imaginations.

While on the great totoro hunt, I came across this mural. And wondered if it might be a little risky. Much as I love totoro, and think the furry ones are very cute and friendly looking, the thought of a giant one grinning at me in the night is enough to cause a hint of insomnia even now...***

Picture: Crabfu SteamWorks on Flickr

Maybe, for kids, it’s the obvious things that are harmless, though. And the quiet, seemingly innocent things that have the potential to be awful. A bit like the way kids always seem to love films with scary bits (Labyrinth ring a bell for anybody?) and gory fairy tales.

* Come to think of it, they are still a source of terror. Growing up in the early eighties involved all kinds of fashion demons. There was an awful haircut that went along with the dungarees, too.
** A set of curtains? A pair of curtains? As somebody who has avoided having curtains (no, not because of this particular incident, just because I don’t much like them in general), I just discovered I have no idea how to refer to curtains. Probably not as ‘your royal highness’...
*** For some reason, while the pensive looking Totoros are hugely appealing, I just am a little unsure of them when they smile. A little like labradors. You're just not quite sure what they're up to...


Internalising Things

Friday, August 20, 2010

Those random, inexplicable cravings for highly specific food can strike at any time. The strength of the craving seems to have a direct relationship with the degree of difficulty to obtain the particular food. It’s inconvenient, puts you off whatever you had planned or available to eat, and generally bothersome. Why on earth does this happen?

It can happen on a full or an empty stomach. It doesn't have anything to do with pregnancy. Or vast amounts of time spent pootling around the foodblogosphere (that just makes you hungry far more broadly...). Capricious desires for awkward things to eat are something that have been around since I was a mere scrap of a penguin. There’s only one possible explanation...

It’s the tummy wombles.

Picture: Alison's Cakes

Everybody knows that tummy wombles give you the tummy rumbles.

Never mind those penguins in packing cases – the tummy wombles are the ones making all the hullabulloo...


Crepe Expectations

Thursday, August 19, 2010

There are some bands that, try as you might, you just can't get into. Radiohead is one of those for me - I've never understood the hype. But while nothing will convince me to like the song, this is pretty good...

Picture: One Drawing Each Day on Etsy

I’ve been wanting to try making crepes for a while now. I have very fond memories of my mum’s ham and cheese crepes (a rare but keenly anticipated treat), and would like to give them a go. They fall, however, into the category of cooking with a lot of work relative to the risk of things going pear shaped... this tends to be a deterrent.

The other thing I’d love to do if I managed some halfway successful crepes, is a crepe cake...

Technicolour Kitchen, as always, has a gorgeous version - all the character of something homemade, without even the slightest hint of rustic lopsideness! And oh, all that chocolate... But I might be tempted to try this mocha interpretation, as experience has shown Notebook:'s recipes stand up to a little rustic handling

Picture: Patricia Scarpin


Relating to a Dormouse

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

First of all, just to be clear, relating to a dormouse is nothing at all like being related to a dormouse. Sorry, just needed to get that out of the way before beginning. There are times when life might be infinitely more peaceful if I could just crawl into a teapot (preferably not one already occupied by tea) and wait for the chaos to pass. A little like a storm shelter, but cosier and much more picturesque. With a large supply of promising looking books, plenty of tasty things to eat (tea – well, obviously! I’m in a teapot – and crumpets spring to mind, but this now appears to be becoming more Enid Blyton than Lewis Carroll. Now, there’s a literary mash-up I’d like to see – never mind Jane Austen and all those zombies...).

Picture: Apartment Therapy

It’s like a window seat grew a little house around itself... and much more useful than a garden shed. Although it also has rather tardis-like qualities in some ways. What is actually is, is a pigeonnier. And it wouldn’t fit on the balcony, so goes on the list for that alternate reality where there’s an enormous house with a garden... which somebody else looks after...

Picture: Apartment Therapy

But if the real version isn't an option, perhaps you could just have your teapot look the part - this tea cosy caught my eye on Etsy...

Picture (and knitting pattern): Periwinkle Park on Etsy


Who's Running The Zoo?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Australia is currently in the throes of what just might be the least interesting federal election campaign ever. There's a choice between (practically, really only) two options, both of whom seem to lack anything resembling a policy (even if you close your eyes, squint at it sideways, and consider giving it the benefit of the doubt). Except when it relates to something where a practical approach involving - surely not! - common sense would seem to make sense (let's see now... climate change? Gay marriage?), and then they are united in their ability to bury their over-coiffed heads in the sand, stick their fingers in their ears and shout la-la-la-la. 'Nuff said yet?

Picture: via QB Nets

The only part of the campaign that's offered the slightest bit of amusement (other than the joys afforded by Twitter, whether by witty intent or overly serious happy accident), has involved an assertion of... strategic mispronunciation. Accusations were made that Julia Gillard was referring to her opposition without leaving a space between his title and his surname, resulting in calling him... Mr Rabbit*. Her surprised denial (pretty plausible, given her general diction) only made it all the funnier. And now, any reference to him, by almost anybody, sounds positively lapine.

But Mr Rabbit isn't just a politician**. Oh, no. He's far more than that. He has an Etsy shop, for instance, selling sweet little notions and odds and ends. Can't you just imagine him taking his hand and cheese sandwich to Parliament in one of these bags?

Bag: Mr Rabbit, Sir on Etsy

And he's in his own book, too...

Book: from Amazon

What I really want to know is what the lovely present is... the mind boggles!

* Instead of Mr Abbott, in case anybody happens to read this who isn't in Australia and suffering from over-exposure to all parties. Especially the aforementioned Tony Abbott, with his unfortunate tastes in swimwear.
** Doesn't being called a politician require, by definition, policies?


Sweet, But Not What I Meant

Monday, August 16, 2010

No, no, no! I said pineapple lumps!

Picture: via Pink Wallpaper

I know it doesn’t work unless you put on a pretty strong Kiwi accent*, but it still amused me on a Monday...

Picture: If You Could See Me Know on Blipfoto

* Quite appropriate, given where they come from...


Penguin's Patisserie Problems

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sometimes, it's better to look at those beautiful tasty things (or, better, to eat them where you find them) and not to try to take them home with you... *

Picture: Paris Breakfasts

Exlairs... Your (formerly) beautiful and appetising delicate patisseries** which are now a squashed mess stuck to the paper bag. Harrumph doesn’t even come close.

And sometimes, making it yourself just doesn't work...

Picture: Nathalie Derain on Flickr

Macarnons... The ones that just don’t just it. Flat, grainy, asymmetrical or just plain not tasty enough.

* This is a matter very close to my heart, after numerous occasions baking things for others, then realising it's not easily transportable in any container that I possess, without risking it arriving looking as though I sat on it.
** And I mean that in the sense of the items, not the entire shop. Much as it is often tempting to buy an entire shop’s worth of them (but shops don’t get squashed in paper bags... everybody knows that!).


Hundreds And Thousands... Of Shoes

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I might sometimes convince myself that almost everything I want to wear is black... and then sometimes my inner ballroom dancer* escapes. And spies things like these shoes...

Shoes: Kate Spade

Don't you think they'd be good to dress up something black?

There are sparkly Louboutins too, but while they seem a little glitzy, the Kate Spade ones are just like the shoe equivalent of fairy bread. Perfect!

Picture: I Ate Brisbane

* Inner ballroom dancer? Well, maybe it's more the outer one starts dressing like they're on the dance floor. All the time. I occasionally also like to convince myself this justifies a number of potentially questionable fashion proclivities (the line between dresses and tops, for instance, and wearing leggings in a non-gym-related context). I suspect denial may be involved...


Proposing A (French) Toast

Friday, August 13, 2010

While pondering the popularity of penguins yesterday, I made an intriguing discovery via Design Sponge. It doesn’t involve any penguins* but, even better, it’s chocolate. Just when I was starting to think that intriguing flavourings were only available if you went to Japan, and that it was compulsory to include either bacon or peanuts (or, heaven forbid, bacon and peanuts) in anything combining sweet and savoury...

Picture: Komforte Chockolates, available here

This is remarkable on several fronts (and rears, quite probably). French toast, even given the alarming propensity for people to consider it a sweet dish, is something I’ve never seen combined with chocolate in any way, shape or form**. The ramen could be considered to fall within the ambit of any Japanese food being able to have an alternative incarnation in candy, and the tortilla and lime is perhaps along the lines of lime and black pepper potato chips, or the tendency for some Mexican dishes to include chocolate. Not that those two flavours are run-of-the-mill, just that they’re not quite as fabulous as the thought of French toast flavoured chocolate.
Even including cinnamon, it’s finally an admission that French toast really is savoury... Plus, it caters to cravings for starchy tastes, rather than taking the carnivorous path (like all that bacon!) so often seen when combining sweet and savoury flavours.

And it’s beautifully designed and made in small batches, not done as some sort of humorous gimmick. Did I mention it’s French toast? With chocolate! I’m not always convinced that combining two wonderful foods actually will produce some sort of greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts superfood, but I would definitely be keen to try this out.

I wonder if it would taste better with ketchup...?

Book: from Amazon

* Although, if I had my way, it would involve at least one penguin. Ok, and the other penguin as well. But I suspect he might regard it with suspicion...
** Having said which, if I look, I’m sure I will be hit by a veritable deluge of recipes. There should be some sort of collective noun for recipes... a gluttony of recipes? A hunger of recipes? Hmmm – thoughts for another day...


Pop It Like It's Hot

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I love this bag...

Bag: John Lewis via Design Sponge*

I also love the references to a jolt of colour, after all the pops. Pops of colour make me come over all Denny Crane and want to grab a paintball gun (surely, pops should make me come over all Jerry Espensen, but in this case, the ire of an over-popped penguin knows no bounds, and only Denny will do...).

Hmm, it comes in purple as well. Purple popping penguins...**

Bag: Objects of Design

Unthinkable thought – are Popular Penguins becoming another cupcake? Or another Keep Calm? I really do hope not, but it does raise an interesting question of where that demarcation of popular and overdone kicks in. Perhaps it varies depending on the individual thing – the line for moustaches on sticks*** is definitely closer than for cupcakes. Or for penguins (whether popular, classic, Emperor or otherwise).

It’s probably a sign that I’m far too concerned with what other people might be thinking, but I sometimes feel like I should be carrying or wearing some sort of explanation. It’s not that I desperately want to be thought of as some sort of uber-tastic trendsetter, but when the things that you’ve quietly liked (and been regarded with amusement over) for years suddenly go viral (or postal, perhaps?), it’s a little like the taste version of being gazumped.

Picture: Oversoul on Etsy... couldn’t resist, after writing the title for this post. And it’s just how I am in the kitchen – no chefly asbestos hands around here, unfortunately!

Maybe it should be drop it when it's hot? But I'm not sure I'm ready to abandon things I like just because Other People discovered them.
* The bag has the covers of "Sweet Danger" on one side, and "Dangerous Curves" on the other side... this seems rather apt, as indulgence in sweetness can be the cause of those curves. Although whether they're dangerous to the indulger themselves, or to others, is perhaps a matter for the beholder...
** That really sounds a bit too much like something a fifth-rate superhero might say.
*** Moustaches on sticks seem to be everywhere. At least, if you read any wedding blogs they are. The first time, if they meant something to a couple, then they might have been an interesting and individual thing to do (although I still am not sure why you would). But they are all over the place – eep!


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