No no no, no-no-no, no no NOVEMBER

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Hello grumplings, how’s it is hanging? Yes? Good! No!

I have been thinking about my blog a lot the last few days. Been missing it really. Missing the little community of cool-ass bloggers, and their cool-ass blogs that I usually spent my mornings reading. I miss rambling in broken english and mortifyingly poor grammar. I miss telling you all about the latest food ingested and outgested. The only cure for this kinda blues is to write a blog!

Today is a wet sort of cold that gets into your bones, so we are curdled away inside like squirrels. There is a steady shower of rain that every so often turns to snow and then back to rain again. We have a more temperate little mini climate in Gabarus, and the rest of the island is having a fun-time blizzard today so no complaints here. CB has a fire roaring away, and we’re spending the morning in the kitchen cooking together and watching all the Harry Potter movies. We started last night and have just finished the second one. Its a good background movie on such a Novembery day. I forgot how dark they were, Harry P just straight up murdered some guy. And then got awarded school points for it. Wtf…

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Life is pretty great right now, but one of the top 5 best things has got to be visiting the library regularly. Libraries are the best places on earth. Last month we took out books on compost, solariums, gunsmithing and the first volume of Hellboy. FOR FREE. FOR NO MONEY! It feels like stealing. And stealing feels exhilarating like driving a race car. And driving a race car feels awesome like doing cool drugs. And doing cool drugs feels like visiting the library. I like to get high, on imagination.

This month I grabbed Mastering the art of French Cooking by Julia Child, an ancient old book of Nova Scotian cooking and a book about Scottish baking. We haven’t gone grocery shopping in a while so the Scottish baking book is great, every recipe only has about 5 ingredients, one of which is usually oatmeal. And we never run out of oatmeal…

The first recipe Ive baked from the book is for “sour skons”, to use of the last of the sour cream in the house. This recipe originated in Orkney in the late 1700’s.

ORKNEY SOUR SKONS

200g flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
25g medium oatmeal
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
142ml sour cream
2 tbsp milk

Mix into a soft dough, pat into a 1″ thick round and cut into 6.
Bake at 425F for 15 minutes.

I have to admit, I did not put the caraway in these. Instead I added nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon because I wanted a vehicle on which to shovel tablespoons of apply jelly into my face. And caraway.. I dunno. But I think that would be nice with cheese maybe! Like a fine aged Cheezwhiz perhaps. This recipe took, I shit you not, 17 minutes from when I stood my lazy butt up to when I was eating a softy warm scone. It was super light, with a fluffy texture and I liked the addition of a little oatmeal. They tasted, however, like the 1700s. I’d make these again but probably add a bit of sugar and maybe a pinch more salt to balance it out.

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Sweetpea was hoping I would hate them and dump them all into her dog bowl in a fit of disappointment and rage. Instead I just ate three, covered in jelly. Actually I put mayonnaise on one. Don’t you dare judge me!

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This spider has turned my window plants into his very own apartment complex. I like him, he can stay. I haven’t seen a single fruit fly since he moved in.

I have lots to write about but I should pack it in now and go help CB with the pork dumplings he is making for dinner. EXCITING! Dumplings are the #4 best thing in life by the way. I’ll tell you about the others later. Peace out!

Spring Sprungler

Well hello there, March!

Where’d you come from, you sneaky little devil!

Can’t say I’m going to mourn the passing of February, the seemingly longest month of the whole fucking year. Ready for some wet Marchy spring time now! There’s still snow, but there’s buds on the trees and sometimes, sunshine! I feel so greedy for it! I find patches of it beaming into the house and stand there like a lazy cat. Rubbing the sunshine onto my skin like some kind of ethereal lotion. Need those happy suntime rays on me!

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This has been a really strange, amazing month in the life of CB & Karalalala. So much good stuff, we are starting to get paranoid that some kinda Big Bad must be on it’s way. The universe likes to even us out like that. But so far it’s all sunshine and pizza parties. Crazy. Our days have been filled with family, lovely meals together, day time naps and cupcakes. So nice. This is us leaning into our Old Peopleness with a quilt-slipper-nap combo.

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This is the view from the second floor window of OUR HOUSE!

That’s Dr. Lutz’s house across the way. He is a german doctor, who is one of the best people Ive met in life. He is so curious, and warm. And he shares my intense love of chocolate so we get along pretty well. Behind him is the ocean. It smells fantastic here all the time. Outside all you can hear is seagulls and wind chimes and I feel like I should tape it and put it on youtube for people to listen to while trying to fall asleep at night.

These are some random pics Ive taken of life stuff in the last month. Some crazy good pizza, a weird fencing painting in Corys uncles house, molasses raisin bread dough, ma po tofu and pork with preserved veg from our favourite Chinese restaurant here, and some stuff Ive been making at work. I’m finding that people here are obsessed with French macarons, and anything filled with whipped cream. Those are coconut cream eclairs and pistachio macarons, and a gigantic guitar cake I made. I always thought I hated making cakes, but I’m actually really enjoying it. My lovely Boss Lady says I get real quiet and zen when Im making tiny fondant owls & corals and what not for cakes.

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SO MUCH FUN.

I also have started working on my Get Better At Life List to great success!

  • Ive been calling my family way way more which is something I really was bad at, and thusly so nothing in this blog will be new or interesting to any of them haha
  • I have read 7 books! I have time to read! READNG IS COOL U GUYZ.
  • CB dyed my hair mermaid colours one sunday night, and it was beautiful for a week and a half. Purple magenta, royal blue and turquoise. Because why the hell not.
  • I have been eating better, and lost about 10 pounds since christmas. Just 1081292809 more to go! But I do feel a million times healthier, in my bod, and also my brains. Yay, vive le fibre!
  • Im doing very good at not working so much and its making everything in our life so much better. Also, our regular customers are little girls, grandmas, and Klutzy the Clown so thats pretty fucking great.

 

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We finally got down to the Farmers Market on Keltic Drive this saturday. It is a fantastic little market! There weren’t any veggies or anything like that yet, lots of sea-shell based crafts as to be expected, but they had something there that gave us emotions. Ethnic food. The smell, of spices, in the air! OH MY GOD! We ate samosas, and my tongue felt like it was bursting with a million spicy rainbows shooting out happiness.

We grabbed dinner from a lady selling African food! Ive never had African food before, and we are now probably her biggest fans. We got “African stew” which was tomato based, with chickpeas and spices. Meatballs. Something amazing with lots of eggplant. Couscous, some really tasty rice, chicken legs, and two bottles of home made sorrel juice. Which tasted like fruit punch. And tasted even nicer, with rum in it.

Rum = Yum. Thats just good old fashioned math.

Then we had some german baking for dessert; bienenstich which is like sweet bread filled with custard and covered in honey & almonds. Also a quark doughnut, which was dense but soft and very slightly cheesy. It is tasty in my stomach, ja?

We also picked up some local honey that tastes like roses and spruce trees, so basically heaven. Some sausages made by a German couple who were hocking sauerkraut and bratwurst on buns. Big Spruce Brewing co had giant growlers of beer which gave me troubling lust feelings. They also had a mysterious dark bottle the size of my forearm with a picture of Rasputin on it that I had to buy. Its a dark stout, tasting of vanilla and caramel, and it is also 10.5%, called Ra Ra Rasptin. The guy told me to “be careful” while drinking it, or to share it, because it says 10.5 on the bottle but its more near 12. Soooo that should be fun for CB to have to deal with me one night.

There was a wizard looking dude selling mead, and some goat soap makers, Nova Scotian wines, Caper Crepes, a cupcake stand, chocolates, coffee, naan bread, tons of baked goods and even more hippy shit, and German translations of Clive Cussler novels.. So we have lots to try next time.

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After the market we went by Uncle Blairs house, and started off a batch of home brew whiskey. This is him stirring the yeast into the big buckets of sugar water. Mmmmm, hoooooch-y. As a sugar-based professional I got him the hookup on cheap 25kg bags of the sweet stuff, so in return he’s teaching me how to make booze. Pretty good trade! Seems pretty straight forward, so in addition to cupcaker and fly tier, I might try my hand at bootlegging. Yay!

For our next trick, we are gonna get the garden started out back. Maybe start figuring out a chicken coop for next spring, cause we have left it a little late now to get chickens this year. And yeah.. damn it.. maybe even get a fucking pony. WHY NOT! Why, the hell, not.

Damn it!

 

P.S. Hi Murray! This ones for you..

Winter Baking

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This is what it looks like out our window this morning. 50km/h winds, and the snow is blowing around in particles of ice so fine it just sandblasts the skin right off of your face.  So I’m spending this day off inside! On the internet! I did some baking a few days ago and don’t really feel like typing much description but I wanted to put the pictures on here.

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This is the butter we have been buying, some of the tastiest I’ve ever had. I would be lying if I didn’t say CB and I just cut off slices and ate it like cheese at first….

IMG_6465When spending the day baking you must first prep for success. This includes making a very strong drink.

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And mood music.

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And butter. Lots of butter. Mmmmm… butter. Is there anything nicer than butter melting away in a pot?

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My brownie recipe. Instead of instructions my recipes just have a collection of lines and arrows. It works for me. Not so much for anybody else. I also improvised adding whiskey and sriracha.

I put the recipe and proper instructions up on Instructables if anyone is interested. Here’s the link: Lazy Degenerate Brownies

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My handy dandy NZ spatula!

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This is either my moms, or my nans, but either way this thing is my saviour. It apparently is as smart as a spatula as well! I miss my kitchen aid mixer, but it went to a good home and is probably making matzo balls as we speak! Also its actually nicer and more relaxing making bread and things by hand. MUSCLES!

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Yom.

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A little CC for me, a little CC for you.

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Yom YOM.

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Oh Robin Hood and your Tout Usage Farine, how I love thee.

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Chocolate Chip Chookies!

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CB always requests these the same. Salty, chewy and burnt on the bottom, just like mom made!

Kumera Doughnuts

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Remember my promise to be healthy.. well.. ignore it for the next few minutes, because we did something bad…

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DOUGHNUTTTTTTTTTTTSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!

And then.. we made it worse..

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It all started off with one of my favourite lazy morning day off activities, a brainstorming session over coffee about fine french desserts. We talked about beignets. Then we talked about kumera beignets. And then I bought a kumera.. and then I made doughnuts with it.. and CB made pork patties with garlic, salt & pepper, smoked paprika and marjoram like a breakfast sausage burger. And we put on the doughnut… with cheese.. and an apple.. and we ate it.. and we ate another one.. and another one.. we ate 6 of them… and then, we gave eachother fat greasy high fives while crying.

And then, while CB was on the couch with doughnut burger induced paralysis, I snuck into the kitchen and made the worlds fastest doughnut glaze, glazed the rest, and had a couple more for good measure.

In America, a cheeseburger made on a Krispy Creme doughnut is called a Luther Vandross. In New Zealand, I think it should be called a Che Fu. CB knows Che Fu, so maybe this weekend he’ll ask him if that’s okay. He’s a White Lady regular, soooo I have a feeling, he’ll be cool with it.

These little bad boys are soft, tender and sexy inside and crispy outside. They aren’t greasy at all, and have a gorgeous kumera flavour with a soft background flavour of coconut. Kumera is like a sweet potato, the only difference I can see is that its not as sweet and cooks much faster. So you can eat your doughnuts and still get in a serving of veg!

Kumera Doughnuts

Time: 30 minutes prep, 2-4 hours rising time, 30 minutes frying

Yield: 2 dozen 3″ doughnuts

Cost: < $5

1 medium kumera, or sweet potato, or about 2 cups of mash

1/2 cup brown sugar

Squirt of lemon juice

1 cup coconut cream

1 egg

3 tbsp butter

1 tbsp yeast

6 cups flour

2 cups of canola oil for frying

Chop the kumera into pieces about 2cm large and put them into a little saucepan. Cook them on medium along with the brown sugar and lemon juice until soft and squishable, about 10 minutes. At the point either puree or mash them up real well with the back of a fork. Transfer to a large bowl and pour on the coconut cream. This should cool the mixture down to about blood temperature. If its still quite warm, leave it sit for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until its about 90-98 degrees.

Sprinkle the yeast over the kumera mash mix and stir well. Add a beaten egg and room temperature butter and stir. Sprinkle your flour over, about a cup at a time, while mixing with your hand. Once all the flour is mixed in, you can start kneading your dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface for at least 10 minutes.

Transfer to a well oiled or buttered bowl, cover with a tea towel, plastic wrap or in my case, Avengers t-shirt and place in a nice warm place to rise. My house is freezing right now so Ive found a spot of sun for it to sit in. Let it double in size.

Punch it down, give it a couple of good kneads to redistribute the yeast. Roll it out about 3/4 of an inch thick, and cut out ya ‘nuts. Put them in a warm spot, covered with a clean tea towel and let rise about 30 minutes until fat and fluffy. Meanwhile, heat your oil to 180 degrees. If you dont have a thermometer, you know its ready when you drop a wee drop of water in it and it sizzles instantly. I always make a few rough little balls of leftover dough to test the temperature of the oil. You want it to start to brown and bubble around the edges of dough almost instantly, but not to get too dark. Usually the first one is too light or too dark but good for snacks.

Quick Coconut Glaze

2 cups icing sugar

4 tbsp hot melted butter

All of your leftover coconut cream– you want to add just enough to make it thin enough to dip, but stay thick enough to stick to the doughnut.

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Sausage Powered Bake-a-thon

Here’s a few pictures from my Day Off Holiday Baking Extravaganza! We got up early and fueled ourselves with sausages and ketchup. This is me watching CB perform his sausage eating technique in all it’s glory.

Saying good morning to our peacock. Shortly after we were treated to the sight of John racing out into the yard in his housecoat, chasing him away with a rake. Priceless…

Mmmm chocolate chip cookies straight outta the oven.

Pouring lemon curd into mason jars, like thick, fatty sunshine.

Prepping brioche for it’s pretty braided hairstyle.

Rollin little fat logs o’dough!

Fat stacks o’ gluten free orange shortbread.

Date squares, with orange and coffee.

Jars on a windowsill, I’m such a baking O.G.

Gluten free brownies for Yvonne. Made up for the lack of gooeyness with a quarter inch of milk chocolate ganache!

Stretching out my cracker dough so you could see sunshine through it!