Friday, August 10, 2012
DOWN, BUT NOT OUT! FLOORED, BUT NOT FLAWED!
When we’re young - to clarify, I mean those of you who slot into my vintage; we who were young yesterday; and are mature today; now I’ve sorted that out, I’ll return to where I began - when we were young we believed we had a one-way ticket to love. However, it didn’t take me long to think beyond the box; I bought a book of tickets, rather than just one sole ticket. Our tender, innocent hearts were bent or broken more than once. Mine was, but I had a good supply of band-aids and spare tickets on hand to see me through.
There were times I felt down, but never out. Like “Scarlett O’Hara”, I believed “tomorrow was another day”; it still is. And just like Scarlett, I picked myself up; took a look around and realised that a new day invariably brought with it fresh challenges, hopes, dreams; and another, maybe even improved, un-flawed person of interest. Perhaps it was the new boy in town or the tanned Adonis flexing his muscles at the beach who deserved a second glance and closer examination, even if from afar and unbeknown by him, the unsuspecting subject/victim! Feeling down isn’t fun unless it’s the down an Eider duck has generously donated for a quilt!
We soon learn that reality isn’t like the lives depicted in novels or in movies where the scripts are pre-written; and then erased and rewritten to suit; where questions have already been answered on the pages that follow; or when the next scene unfolds upon the screen. If the author or director doesn’t like where a plot is heading, he/she deletes or yells “Cut!” whichever applies; and then starts all over again on a new vein. If that doesn’t work, they delete or cut until the story makes sense; culminating in an ending befitting the plot and the images in their mind.
The hero with his penetrating eyes; an errant lock of hair falling across his broad brow; his teasing, come-hither lips parted slightly with a hint of a sneer seductively tempts his quarry to heed his bidding. His defenseless prey (and reader/viewer) helplessly surrenders to his “come-hither-ing”. If you are a male reading this, change the above to “heroine”; you fill in the blanks.
I’m a “black and white” person, but it’d be un-Christian of me not to notice there’s a lot of “Grey” matter about lately; and I’m not going to miss out on all the fun…and games. I feel like jumping on the bandwagon or bouncing up and down on that down-filled doona.
I thought I heard a strong wind outside; I was floored when I learned it wasn’t wind! It was all the heavy breathing engulfing the mountain at the moment! While out driving the other day, I noticed every second house had fogged-up windows. When I discovered the real cause, again I was floored! The fogging wasn’t caused by log fires! Obviously, there’s nothing bland or boring about having a little grey in one’s life!
Showing great restraint, here are my somewhat grey recipes!
Christian Grey B & B (that's "Bread and Butter", not "Bed and Breakfast"!) Pudding: Preheat oven 180C; grease and line loaf tin. Pour 200ml each milk and cream into saucepan; stir in 2tsp Earl Grey tea leaves. Heat until not quite simmering; leave at this temp for 10-12mins; add 75g sugar and 1tsp vanilla essence; whisk; pour in thin stream into 3 beaten eggs. Slice 6 croissants on shallow angle, getting 4 thick slices from each. Dip slices into mixture until well-soaked. Line bottom of tin with slices; sprinkle over slivered almonds and roughly-chopped dark chocolate; continue layering; reserve some almonds and chocolate to sprinkle over top layer. Carefully pour any remaining liquid around tin edges; bake 40mins or until set.
Grey’s Cupcakes with Butter Cream: Preheat oven 176C; fill 2 cupcakes pans with liners or grease well, Beat 1c unsalted butter until creamy; add 2c sugar; cream until light and fluffy; add 4 eggs, 1 at a time; beat very well after each addition. Beat in 1-1/2c S.R. flour along with 2tbs dry Earl Grey tea; add 1c milk and extra 1-1/2c S.R. flour; stir until just combined. Fill pans 2/3rd full; bake 20-25mins; rotate halfway through for even baking; cool thoroughly. Frosting: Cream 1c unsalted butter until smooth; gradually beat in 4c icing sugar; zest 1 lemon over frosting; add 3tbs lemon juice or Limoncello; stir until smooth; spread or pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Add 1tbs Earl Grey tea leaves to frosting for extra “oomph”, if desired.
Vanilla Grey Tea Cake: Preheat oven 176C. Lightly grease and flour 8-inch round cake tin. Combine 1-1/2c sifted plain flour, 1/4c cornflour, 1-1/2tsp baking powder and 1/4ts salt. In larger bowl, beat 1/2c unsalted butter, 3/4c raw sugar, vanilla essence and 1tbs finely chopped Earl Grey loose tea, until light and fluffy; add 3 room temp eggs, 1 at a time; beat well after each addition. Add flour mixture to wet mixture; pour in 1c full cream milk; mix until just blended - don’t over-mix; immediately pour into pan; bake until inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 25mins. Cool in pan 12mins before serving.
There you go! My abridged version - "Three Shades of Grey"!