22 May 2015

it's a little secret, just the robinson's affair

got a secret, can you keep it, swear this one you'll save

In a completely unsurprising turn of events, I fell asleep while writing this blog post and now have a very small window of opportunity - more like a mouse-hole of opportunity, or perhaps a fissure of opportunity - to get it done before I have to take off for work. In fact I have no real proof that I'm not still asleep right now, so please keep this in mind as you read on. What I'm saying is, I coolly absolve myself of any need to make any sense as I try to finish this thing without falling asleep again.

Speaking of cool absolution, I am so chill with being inspired by my own self, which is honestly kind of practical - I mean, I should theoretically like and use the recipes I've created. Last Sunday I was invited to my girlfriend's flatmate's fundraiser potluck for local charity Kaibosh, and with cheerful self-absorption I turned to my own cookbook to browse it for suitable recipes. The recipe for Secret Centre Mini Pavlovas caught my (probably half-asleep) eye, as it is both elegant and awesome yet easy and inexpensive to make.

gonna lock it in your pocket (I'm quoting the Pretty Little Liars theme song here btw)

I was absolutely correct about these chocolate stuffed meringues being easy to make, and for the filling I used Whittaker's caramel chocolate, partly to be obnoxiously excessive and partly because I thought it would taste wonderful. 

However! Diligently I walked from my house to the potluck venue at In Good Company, and about halfway through the journey I came to a long set of concrete stairs. A set of concrete stairs that I once fell down. Aha, I thought, my old foe, we meet again. Luckily I'm going up, not down this time, hey? HEY? And then I fell up the stairs. 

While I was totally fine, with little more than a delicately bruised knee on top of doubtless another bruise that had only just barely healed - the container of meringues that I was carrying dropped and they got all banged up inside. They were still edible but the edges were all ragged and shattery and some of the tops were a bit crushed and essentially they weren't particularly photogenic. So, I decided to forgo my own photos altogether and just use the ones that go with this recipe in my cookbook. I can't remember whether it was Kim or Jason who took these, so a huge thank you to them both just to be safe. 

secret centre mini-pavlovas

a recipe by myself from my cookbook HungryandFrozen: The Cookbook. I just wrote out the instructions from memory rather than copy-pasting what was in the book, even though it's all my own words (I don't know why I did this) but either way the recipe is a lot simpler than the length of this recipe would make it seem - I just kind of overexplain stuff a bit. 

two egg whites
a pinch of salt
100g sugar
filling of your choice - in this case I used caramel-filled chocolate but dark chocolate is a good starting point

Set your oven to 150 C and line a baking tray with baking paper. 

Whisk the egg whites (or use an electric beater if you're more sensible than me) with the pinch of salt till they're white and a little fluffy and when you raise the whisk the fluffy egg white raises up with it and falls down slowly (this is known as "soft peak stage" but in case you needed an expanded explanation, there it is.) At this point slowly whisk in the sugar, initially about a teaspoon at a time, until the mixture becomes thicker and shiny and gorgeous. It should get to the point where it's really very stiff, and if you raise the whisk up out of the bowl the mixture will be thick and dollopy instead of falling in ribbons off the whisk. God I hope these descriptions make sense! 

Place heaped spoonfuls of the thick, gleaming meringue onto the baking tray, leaving a little space in between to allow for expanding. Top each spoonful with a piece of chocolate, and then spoon over a little more meringue mixture, so that the chocolate is entirely encased in white. 

Bake for thirty minutes, although check them at around 20 - 25 minutes in, just in case your oven is more grunty than mine. They should be a delicate pale brown colour on top and appear firm. Allow them to cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar, and then carefully remove them from the paper, peeling it away from their fragile bases, and then all you have to worry about is eating them.

never not dazzled by fairy lights

While my falling asleep constantly or falling up stairs or generally being involved in some kind of falling is barely news, these secret centre mini pavlovas are, at least, notably spectacular. Crisp, dissolving meringue gives way to a burst of chocolate that you wouldn't otherwise know what there unless someone forewarned you. While it's sweetness upon sweetness, something in the mix of textures keeps it fresh - whether the chocolate is still warm and gushes into your mouth or cooled and firmed and crunchy under the brittle meringue. The potluck dinner was so fun and fortunately no-one minded the mini-pavlovas being a little smashed up, and there was a ton of delicious food and lovely people and a very decent amount of money was raised for Kaibosh, an outcome sweeter than a meringue secretly stuffed with chocolate.

Am about to fall asleep again but before I spatula my tired self out of bed to get ready to go, I wish to impart two more pieces of crucial information to you:

Kate and Jason (the stylist and aforementioned co-photographer for my cookbook, but also like, wonderful people in their own right aside from their relation to my cookbook) GOT A BEAUTIFUL DOG and I got to hang out with him today. He's blindingly white and fluffy like a freshly laundered towel and so friendly and silly and I'm quite in love.

 this is Ghost, also a good name for me because I am dead after looking at his face

Secondly, I had another Crush Cake story published in The Toast! The Toast is probably the very best website on the internet, if I was pushed to choose one, and little makes me prouder than being able to contribute to their spectacularly high quality accumulation of writing.

This is a crush cake dedicated to Drake. If you're not intrigued and inspired to immediately find out exactly what this is all about, then...I mean I can't blame you, but that's kind of a bummer. 

bonus! dog! so! blessed!
title from: Mrs Robinson, that cheerfully weird song by Simon and Garfunkel. I love the punchy yet thoughtful guitar chords. And also the lyrics which sound like they were written by a committee passing notes to each other. 
music lately:

Ummm so the video for Beyonce and Nicki Minaj's song Feeling Myself is still only available via subscription to Tidal but this 30 second teaser alone is giving me more life than literally anything else right now. Watch it and feel yourself become a better human. 

King Kunta, Kendrick Lamar. Yeah, still can't stop listening to this on repeat eh.  
next time: I made ice cream so amazingly nice that I literally ate nearly a litre of it in one sitting. Maybe you'll be able to make it soon too. 

14 May 2015

you know that i'd do anything for you, we should have each other to dinner

miso marinated salmon and pea puree

Let me tell you right now, the photos I took for this week's blog post are objectively horrendous! It looks like something out of a microwave gourmet book from 1982! But like, you could go literally anywhere on the internet and find beautiful food photography, where else are you going to get the innovation of fizzingly good writing paired with completely disgusting photos that do a total disservice to both the quality of the writing and that about which I write? Honestly I nearly considered not posting about this recipe but if I learned anything from doing ballet since the age of three it's that the show must go on. There's only one word for my actions here, and that is: so brave. 

proof that I at least tried to take these photos and didn't just cut them out of a 70s cookbook that had been not particularly recently dropped in a puddle (also: the perils of me cooking for you - having to wait for me to photograph everything.)

So, because of the hours I keep at my recently-acquired job, I never ever get to cook dinner anymore. I love my job! But also I love cooking dinner. So much. When I first started flatting nine years ago I used to kick up such a fuss if I missed out on one night of cooking dinner, because apparently I was an enormous brat, but at least in a way that reaped useful dividends. Now I'm lucky if I get to cook dinner once a fortnight. I know it's more or less a chore and as such a weird thing to complain about, but as Selena Gomez said, the heart wants what it wants. On Sunday night I was able to combine my love of cooking dinner with another favourite activity, cooking dinner for other people: in this case, my excellent and marvelous girlfriend. Since I was spiralling this disproportionately into such a high-stakes occasion, I turned to my desert-island book, the seminal text How To Eat by Nigella Lawson. 

I latched onto a recipe for homemade beef carpaccio but when I went to buy the required piece of tail-end beef the price made me scream repeatedly, so I went with a second option, which was an entirely more affordable miso marinated salmon with pea puree (combining bits of two separate recipes from different chapters of How To Eat, based upon what I had already in the fridge.) 

the alpha and the omega-3  

I love salmon fillets, all tender and pinky-coral and oily, but the oiliness can be disconcertingly, lung-cloggingly present. Fortunately this marinade not only cuts through that, but it also adds layers upon layers of vehemently meaty yet subtly sweet flavour, in the form of miso paste, that magical and mysterious stuff, and coconut sugar, which has its own elusive, deep-toned caramel vibe. Lemon juice and vinegar lighten it up and briskly stop it from being altogether too much of an intense onslaught, and all you have to do is flash it under a hot grill for the skin to turn crisp and chewy - like pork crackling but thin and delicate as rice paper - and the flesh below to become utterly tender.

seriously this lighting is so bad, I need to remember how to take photos under regular lightbulbs again since it's dark 90% of the time these days, thank you for continuing to read this far

I have a tendency when I get the opportunity to cook for people I hold dear to be all pending-apocalypse about it, like, let's eat a vat of pasta big enough for a moose to comfortably nestle in and then we'll have seven different puddings and also here are several side dishes all involving fried potatoes and toasted nuts. This time around I wanted something that wouldn't bring on that frantic feeling of having consumed twelve kilos of food, so went for a weightless pea puree alongside, made luscious with butter and mascarpone. It's billowingly soft and creamy and works quite perfectly with the salmon, honestly I could eat a whole bowlful of it on its own (and in fact I did the next day with the leftovers.) 

when even instagram can barely embiggen your lighting situation you know you're in trouble

miso-marinated salmon with pea puree

adapted from a couple of recipes from Nigella Lawson's important book How To Eat

two salmon fillets, around 150g each
one heaped tablespoon white miso paste
one heaped tablespoon coconut sugar (if you can't find it, use brown sugar or better yet, palm sugar)
one tablespoon apple cider vinegar
the juice of a lemon

two cups frozen peas
150g mascarpone (or use creme fraiche or even sour cream or a little actual cream)
50g butter
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the miso paste, sugar, vinegar and lemon juice together and smear across both sides of the salmon. What I did was roughly mix the stuff together in the dish I was planning to marinate the salmon in and then kind of schmeered it on the salmon from there before just leaving it in said dish to sit and absorb the flavour, this saves on dishes but is admittedly kind of hard to explain. Leave this to sit for at least half an hour.

Set your oven to grill (broil, I do believe it's called in America?) and turn the heat up high. Meanwhile, bring the peas to the boil in a pan of water, and cook until they're very, very tender. Remove the salmon from the marinate and wipe gently with a paper towel. Place the salmon onto a baking paper lined oven tray, skin side up. Drizzle over a little oil (I used olive) and put them in the oven, grilling them for around 5 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain the peas and blitz them in a food processor with the butter (the heat should melt the butter sufficiently) before adding the mascarpone and blending again till it's a smooth green puree. 

Serve the salmon alongside the puree with whatever salad leaves you fancy. Serves two.  

if I wasn't supposed to make this obnoxious caption then why does pea puree rhyme with bae?  

It was so, so delicious. And incredibly simple. A combination I appreciate. And now that I've overanalysed it a few times, these photos aren't thaaaat bad. They are in fact, unequivocally hideous. Location-based discomfort aside, I feel like maybe I should take all food photos in the bathroom from now on, since the light in there is so good for selfies.

I mean really.

guess which one of us is genteel and which one of us is a plate-licking heathen (for the sake of not slandering anyone I'm the heathen, it's me, but in my defence spatulas are not considered to be cutlery so what's a gal to do?)

Cheers for bearing with me during this difficult time, people, clearly I need to cook dinner more often so I can remember how actually to take photos of dinner. But I got to cook dinner at all and it was ridiculously delicious and made for a dreamy evening, and despite everything, that is actually what counts. 

Yesterday on another rare night off I went to my friend Pinky Fang's first solo art gallery opening with said excellent gf, and met lots of other swell friends there and ate the most amazing candy and drank wine from plastic cups and it was all very very fun. But more important than wine and candy (it's true) is that Pinky's artwork collection is incredible! I'm so proud of her! If you're in Wellington you should absolutely definitely go to Thistle Hall this week while her show is running and if you're not in Wellington you can at least access some of her massively rad works from her online shop (I have the "shut up" cat print on my wall and can highly recommend having its presence in your life.) Yay art and friends and good times! 
title from: Lovecats by The Cute. Uh, I mean The Cure. But if you're gonna write a song this wilfully adorable you're gonna have me to deal with. 
 music lately:

Zendaya, Replay. This song is so great with such a head-swingingly big chorus and I love a dance-in-front-of-the-mirror music video to be quite frank. 

Scritti Politti, The Sweetest Girl. This 1981 song is unsettling but sweet, dreamy but sinister, I adore it. 
next time: I mean I very rarely cook dinner these days so the chances of me having to deal with unruly nighttime light anytime soon are slim but I'll work on it either way, promise. 

8 May 2015

let's just make this part go faster

mugging for the camera

Comfort food can take many forms. For me it's usually something that gives you the masticatory impression of gently sliding into a warm bath, like a slowly-stirred risotto or a bowl of soft, butter-saturated polenta or an enormous pile of mashed potato, but sometimes comfort food is more about the act itself than whatever form the food ends up taking. Sometimes it can simply be like, it's 2am and I just finished work and it's too windy to stand up straight and you're sad and I'm sad and I bought you this bag of crisps from a 24/7 dairy because the line at BK was too long and also I didn't know what else to do but this $3 gesture represents a lot more than merely just crunchy sodium goods...y'know? 

But sometimes comfort food is very obvious and straightforward, in this case: a chocolate peanut butter cake that you make in a mug (the most comforting vessel!) microwaved briefly so that quite instantly you can reward yourself for existing with a piping hot, warm, rich cake. Just for you. I'd never made a mug cake before but I'd sure heard of them: in my completely unresearched experience mug cakes started off as the sort of thing that an enthusiastic relative would email you accompanied by sparkly gifs of puppies and a phrase along the lines of "This is the most dangerous cake in the world.....Because now chocolate cake IS OnLy five minutes away!" A few rotations of the earth and the very simple recipe is now a staple of pinterest and has morphed into such things as "choc chip cookie in a mug" (why would a cookie be in a mug though) and "red velvet layer cake in a mug" (this does not sound comforting or fast tbh.) However you come to it, and whatever your opinion on microwaves, there's something thoroughly charming about going from point A - you standing there with no cake - to point B - you eating a small cake from a mug - within about five minutes. And so, in the mood for sugar and immediacy, I recently made my first mug cake. 

 stay inside, drink more coffee, make cake really suddenly

I made this recipe up based on ingredients I already had in my possession, basically just whatever dusts and pastes I could find that might together form a half-decent cake. A little cocoa, a little coconut sugar (included for its extraordinarily deep caramel flavour, but just use brown sugar or plain sugar if you like) a little peanut butter for those this-is-a-fun-cake vibes...and after a long 90 seconds it transformed into a soft, meltingly chocolately, utterly delicious brownie-type thing, which I poured cream all over and ate in a chocolate-scented haze of beatific calm. All of which could be yours really, really quickly if you make yourself this.

chocolate peanut butter mug cake

a recipe by myself

two tablespoons butter (around thirty grams)
one tablespoon coconut sugar or brown sugar
two tablespoons cocoa powder
two tablespoons peanut butter
quarter of a cup milk
a pinch of baking powder
a couple of squares of chocolate, roughly chopped

Place the butter in the mug that you're using and soften it in the microwave. Stir in all the ingredients - a teaspoon with a long handle or a narrow whisk is good for this - and add a little extra milk if it seems toooo stiff. It should come to about halfway up the mug. I microwaved it for a minute on high, then another thirty seconds, by which stage it was firm enough on the surface for me to decide it was ready to eat. 

Plunge a spoon into the cake, pour cream or milk into it, and eat all by yourself. 

It doesn't rise very much, mind you, but I was astounded at how filling it was, so what it lacks in height it makes up for in cellular density I guess? Also for the work of minutes that you can count on one hand it's a pretty tidy result. In fact pretty tidy is underselling it: it's really, completely, wonderfully delicious.

This blog post is also going to be fast and mug-sized, but to distract you (and indeed, myself) from this I will leave you with Wednesday the silly beautiful tiny dingus of a cat being a literal loaf.

loaf cat (the demonic glow is coming from my heater/the camera on my phone not being able to deal with said glow)

Wait, one more thing! If anyone out there could please recommend a rad web designer that would be excellent. I'm thinking about refreshing this old blog here since it currently looks thoroughly ancient and un-cute. I don't know anything about anything so am hoping to go by personal recommendations for people who do good work like this, and am also hoping that my blog can undergo some kind of movie makeover transformation to the effect of a stunning brunette removing her glasses and undoing her ponytail and suddenly everyone gasps and notices how bodacious she is. 
title from: mate, it has been a while since I've quoted RENT on here. This song that I quote today, I Should Tell You, is so fragmented and tentative and nervous and beautiful. Jonathan Larson could really, really write. 
 music lately:

I don't know why Anna Kendrick's voice in the Don't You Forget About Me bit of the final number in Pitch Perfect makes me feel emotional, but there you have it. (I saw Pitch Perfect 2 last night, there is wonderful singing and Anna Kendrick is great and it's so weirdly racist and many other bad things! That's my review.) 

Shazam, by Spiderbait, from one of my favourite music genres, "bratty".

Lorde, Royals. I hadn't listened to this song in forever and ever and wow it is still such a tune.  
 next time: roast chicken in a mug! I'm kidding.  

29 April 2015

if green pears you like, if old chairs you like, if back stairs you like, if love affairs you like

Poire Belle Helene - pretty Helen pear - man, everything sounds so much better in French, but then do the French sit around being like man everything sounds so romantic in English? I, uh, I doubt it. 

Because I am heedlessly whimsical and waggishly adorable, when the notion strikes me to make a classic French dessert for my lunch in its entirety, I indulge that whim. Hard. Some might describe that as not providing one's body with enough necessary nutrients or a lot of work for a small result or even simply annoying, but I've said the magic word - whimsical - and as such am exonerated from all such opinions. For what it's worth though, later that day I was later horribly ill and had to go home from work but I refuse to blame this poached pear in chocolate sauce. I don't actually know what I'm blaming - it was all very mysterious and came out of nowhere, but I've eaten both pears and chocolate since and been utterly fine, so who knows. I hate going home sick from work - firstly when you're a bartender you have to try and find someone to cover you at the last minute, secondly you miss out on hours, thirdly there's this sense I have with hospo instilled from my ballet days where like, you can be coughing up blood and yet the show must go on - but maaaaan I was sick. Fortunately I have a marvelous girlfriend who was able to immediately administer panadol and cold flannels and such, but wow it was horrible. Um, anyway, this recipe is really delicious and you should definitely make it without fear of incapacitation. Definitely.

There's this scene in the musical Company where the lead character, Robert, is recounting a story to a woman that he's trying to sleep with, about another woman whom he tried to sleep with - in this story they had just met and were thoroughly into each other and rented a motel for the night, she then suggested that he go buy champagne, he drove to the nearest shop and bought all the champagne he could carry, sped back to the motel and - he says devastatingly - I could not find it. He then drove around for three hours looking for the motel before leaving. This was me, but with a block of Lindt dark chocolate that my mum had sent me. I was like, this would be perfect for the Poire Belle Helene whim that I've been taken with, and then I could not find it. I then ransacked my bedroom for twenty minutes. I don't know how a person loses a block of chocolate in their room but I'm sure I'll find it somewhere ridiculous when I least expect it, like in my sock drawer or on my head or melted and dripping down the mirror. I wanted some damn Poire Belle Helene though, so scooted to the corner dairy and bought some milk chocolate to use instead. A fascinating story, I know!

Honestly poached pears have never appealed to me that much as a dessert - if I wanted a damp fruit I could just open a can of them, thank you, don't insult me with this pretense of a pudding - but cover them in chocolate sauce and suddenly I get it. Poire Belle Helene was a dessert invented by that clever man Escoffier in the late 1800s in honour of an opera (that was what people did for fun back then, I guess, and I'm all for it) and it's a fetching combination - fragrant, sweet pear with creamy, rich chocolate sauce, the gritty yet yielding fruit against the silky, warm chocolate. It's blatantly a good idea for lunch. My recipe here is for one person (hence the flighty name) but the quantities are easy enough to increase.

poire belle helene seulement pour vous  (poire belle helene for you only) 

a recipe by myself. Serves one.

one firm pear
four tablespoons sugar
two cups of water
a tablespoon or so of riesling or sweet white wine, if you have it
one teaspoon vanilla extract 

75g milk chocolate
half a cup of cream
a tablespoon of butter
a pinch of salt

Peel the pear, leaving the stalk intact. If it's a bit wobbly and won't sit upright, cut a small slice out of the base so it's steady, otherwise leave as is. Put the sugar, water, riesling and vanilla in a small pot and lower the pear into it - it probably won't be submerged but this is okay. Bring the pan to the boil and then lower to a simmer, turning the pear over occasionally so that all sides spend time submerged by the hot syrup. Stick a skewer into the pear after about ten minutes, and if it's soft and yielding then you're good to go. Remove it from the syrup and place in the bowl that you're going to serve it in.

In a small pan, heat the cream till the surface is wobbly and it seems like it's just about to bubble. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, and allow it to sit for a minute - the heat of the cream will melt the chocolate instantly. Stir briskly till all the chocolate is melted and you have a smooth, shiny sauce. Stir in the butter and the salt and then pour lavishly over the pear. Drink the rest of the sauce or save it for something else, up to you. 

aggressively autumnal

Obviously this makes a fairly gorgeous pudding to be had at the usual time of after dinner, but honestly, in the middle of the day, eaten contemplatively and reverently at the kitchen table while wearing stretchy pants and a large, soft hoodie and wooly socks...it was sublime. Milk chocolate brings a different vibe than 80% cocoa dark chocolate but I'm such a fan of its friendly, vaguely caramelly flavour. Whatever chocolate you use, try to make sure it's good, that is, that it's actually going to impart some kind of chocolate flavour at all, you know? The pears can be any old trash but the quality of the chocolate is really going to make or break this thing. That said, I used the fakest, cheapest vanilla essence in the syrup because it's all I had, and I manage to sleep at night (that's not true, I'm a terrible sleeper, but it's not from synthetic vanilla guilt at least!)


So the most exciting news in my life right now is that my flat now has A CAT. It's actually so hard for me to type this because just the knowledge that there is a cat in my presence makes me want to do triumphant forward rolls around the room for a good solid forty minutes. Oh sure, you say, cats are nice, but do you have any idea how fervently my heart has been yearning for one? I mean, if you read this blog you should have a decent idea since I go on about it quite a lot, but if not, just imagine the ferocious intensity of a thousand perturbed alligators: that's me. And now, a cat! Just as I was at the pinnacle of my I-have-no-cat feelings, the universe threw me a bone in the form of my flatmate, who was a last-minute replacement cat sitter for a friend going overseas for work for several months. Isn't that wonderful? 

caaaaaaaaaaaat faaaaace

business cat has key performance indicators to think about and doesn't have time for you right now, Bob

Her name is Wednesday and she has a tiny crooked tail and a curious disposition and she's just the happiest little nubbin ever. And so am I. 

In the wider scheme of things there is a lot of terribleness out there right now (well, there always is, but right now it's bubbling closer to the surface) and while I have nothing to say that would change or help, I would just like to draw your attention to the following two things while I'm here: if you're able to contribute to the people of Nepal following the horrifying earthquake that hit them, this FB post has some very useful information. If you are able to contribute to the people of Baltimore in the wake of ongoing police brutality, a wonderful woman I follow on Twitter is doing great, highly transparent work gathering essential supplies for people and can be supported via her Indiegogo account here. That is all. 
title from: the gloriously sassy title song from the glorious musical Anything Goes. Okay so you should absolutely listen to the stridently excellent Patti LuPone sing it on the 1988 Broadway cast recording and then I urge you to watch Sutton Foster breezily belt it out and then tap dance effortlessly at the 2011 Tony Awards, and then speaking of things called Tony, I really truly adore Lady Gaga and Tony Bennet's take on it. Finally Melanie C's version is so gorgeous. Listen to them all or get outta here, quite frankly. It's just one of the best show tunes there is and Cole Porter, who wrote it, is an actual genius. 
music lately:

DVS's brand new mixtape DVTV is SO VERY good, as is he. 

Janelle Monae, Yoga. "Get off my areola" is honestly the best line of 2015.
next time: anything goes! (loooool)

22 April 2015

if you got beef, your problem, not mine

beef: got it

For a while there I was feeling some sizable angst about turning 29, partly because I was like, I've blatantly achieved nothing in my life and am an elderly loser (I know neither of these things are true but when you're already prone to hyperbole it's amazing the distance that your brain will take the existing hyperbole when you're being down on yourself) and I also was like, I'm blatantly too old to achieve anything ever, am no longer an ingenue, am a giant snore in a trenchcoat and hat with a fake mustache on pretending to be human. (Again: the hyperbole! It really goes places, doesn't it?) 

leftover birthday cake for breakfast

And then I reminded myself that Beyonce and Nicki Minaj are 33 and 32 respectively and have released the most fire music of their careers in the last couple of years, and that I have so much ahead of me and 29 is still really young and I should just drink some water and calm down a bit because the passage of time cannot be fought so you can either age yourself horribly by worrying about it or ignore it because it's ultimately meaningless. I mean, Beyonce's 2013 album is honestly life-changing, to put it casually. If she can do that at 32 with all her resources and brilliance, I can achieve something productive as a tired moderately broke but talented 29 year old.  

"Rosie, dear Rosie, there's a rose in my heart for you" 

So yes, I had a birthday recently, and it was honestly quite perfect. My boundlessly marvellous girlfriend cooked me a Full English Breakfast with about seventeen different kinds of protein (including black pudding - seems somewhat gothically appropriate to start one's birthday consuming literal blood) and we sybaritically clinked glasses of whisky to go with it. I dyed my hair purple, I had a beauteous dinner and follow-up drink with my very best friends Kim and Kate, and then said girlfriend and I went to the St James theatre (above) to see the musical Singin' In The Rain, which I swankily yet utterly serendipitously had scored free tickets to. It was just wonderful and I urge you to see it if you have even a passing interest in musicals, old movies, tap dancing, and singing in and/or rain. The costumes were spectacular, the dancing was brilliant, the singing was on point - Gene Kelly casts an unfairly long shadow but the guy playing his role was ideal - and it was just so joyful. The night finished with cocktails and fries at my work and some general reflection on how completely good my birthday had been (and on how funny it was that I had reflexively replied "Happy birthday!" several times that day when someone had said "Happy birthday" to me.) 

sausages/beans/tomatoes/egg/mushrooms/black pudding/bacon/fried bread/whisky/hashtag blessed

Winding back to a couple of days before my birthday though, I made myself this Mediterranean-ish eggplant and beef dish. Since it was so simple and good I thought I might as well try to blog about it, and five million days later I've finally got around to it, with my usual efficiency and haste. 

this bowl makes everything look rustic and nice, thank you bowl 

It's vaguely Mediterranean insofar as it includes some flavours of that (vast, varied, unable to be generalised and yet here I am) area, but since I just made it up based on what was in my pantry I hesitate to label it anything more specific than that. What I can confidently tell you is that it's rich yet sharp, with spiky sour sumac and lemon zest lifting up the crisply fried, melting cubes of eggplant and tomato-y beef, with thick, creamy spoonfuls of Greek Yoghurt dropped here and there adding to that rich-sharp contrast. I love thyme so much, so that's what I scattered over this, but oregano or mint would also be splendid in their own way. The only real change I'd make is using pine nuts instead of sesame seeds - they're just a bit more exciting and lush - but as long as you have something nut-like there it's all good really. If you can't find sumac - a beautiful sour, lemony powder from sumac berries - then just add more lemon zest or simply leave it out. I mean, I love its flavour but probably the main thing you'd lose is the way it somehow ties the dish together visually and stops it looking like "beef that yoghurt got tipped on".

fried eggplant and beef with sumac and greek yoghurt

a recipe by myself, serves two 

one large eggplant
one red onion
one garlic clove
300g beef mince
half a cup tomato passata/puree
one lemon
to serve: 
thick Greek yoghurt
sesame seeds
thyme leaves

Dice the eggplant, and fry in plenty of olive oil (around three tablespoons) in a large pan. Allow to get properly browned and crisp as much as possible before setting aside, and in the same pan, fry the onion, garlic and beef until everything is thoroughly browned and cooked through. 

Grate the zest from the lemon, then squeeze the lemon juice into the beef along with the tomato passata and allow to come to a brisk simmer. After about five minutes return the eggplant to the pan to heat through, then transfer it to a serving dish (or serve straight from the pan), finishing with spoonfuls of Greek yoghurt spooned over at random, a generous blanket of sumac (she says, not having intended to put that much on but got a shaky hand, so we're going with it) a scattering of dried thyme and toasted sesame seeds. I also add plenty of salt. Because I love salt.  

The yoghurt I use is Zany Zeus which is so thick, thicker than sour cream - if all you have is runny, slightly chalky stuff then I would not personally go putting it on this, but you do you. I do maintain though, that it's the intensely thick, satiny texture of the yoghurt which makes this. I really haven't cooked meat in forever but in the last two weeks I made ribs (for my girlfriend's birthday, which also fell in April) and now this. I can go weeks without eating meat, even though I do love it, but I'm glad I dazedly purchased this mince in an overtired haze and then even gladder that I worked out something so completely delightful to make with it. If you want to though, you could just double or triple the eggplant and leave out the beef, since the vegetable's buttery softness and golden brown crispness after being vigorously fried is entirely enough joy for your tastebuds on its own.

go big or go home

My birthday didn't stop when the clock struck midnight on the 17th though, as my flatmate and dear friend Charlotte and I had a joint birthday party the following night. (Her birthday is a week or so before mine.) There was dancing and punch and disco lights and a noise control notification (less fun! Unimpressed tbh! But uh, it happened) and cake and candy and a little tequila and so many good people and very importantly: I had an incredible yellow shaggy fluffy cardigan.

look the part be the part as I always say (the part here being someone with a super cool fluffy cardigan who is very happy with their birthday)

So now that I've had a wonderful birthday and spent some time in solemn pious meditation on the achievements of Nicki/Beyonce, I'm completely ready to enter my 29th year full of thrive and bliss. 
title from: Mary J Blige, Family Affair. This song is nearly 35 years old but still sounds fresher than toothpaste and is so upbeat and positive in a gloriously instructive way. Leave your situations at the door, so when you step inside jump on the floor...
music lately: 

Ben Folds Five, Army. Oh man has Ben Folds done some terrible music, but this song is incredible, one of those ones that I get stuck listening to on loop for hours. It's got that perfect late 90s horn section going (I used to get it mixed up with Flagpole Sitta back in the days where you might hear your favourite song on the radio once every six weeks, so if you like that song you may well enjoy this.) Am a particular fan of the rollicking piano on this. 

Sia, Elastic Heart. This song is brutal and gorgeous and the dancing and storytelling in the video is utterly compelling. Thick skin and elastic heart, such imagery in those words! Oof. Also as one who would likely livetweet brushing their teeth if the notion took me, I admire Sia's commitment to being mysterious and anonymous. 
next time: I bought some pears and kinda dig the idea of making Poires Belle Helene! (Vanilla poached pears with chocolate sauce. I mean.)

14 April 2015

now my life is sweet like cinnamon

muffins! (I say this every time I hear a doorbell and I don't know why but it's some weird Pavlovian response possibly from something I saw on TV many years ago?) (That got deep, huh)

I continue to be an utter slattern at being organised and a regular blogger, and the only thing stronger than my conviction that I'm not going to slide out of blogging regularly, is my overwhelming need to nap hard during the day when I'm not at work all night. I mean, I started this blog in 2007 and it's pretty much the only thing that has remained the same in my life since then, with only a tiny bit of exaggeration. But also being angry at myself for not being organised enough is not going to stop me being tired and making like, toast or something instead of having the time and energy to make real food. I'll get there though! This blog has been there throughout all manner of tumultuous and/or tired times, and just because I am not as good at burning the candle at both ends as I used to be, doesn't mean I can't relearn that (albeit rather terrible) behaviour once more. 

I house-sat and cat-sat for friends over the weekend when they went on a mini holiday, and it was so lovely and blissful, like escaping to a cabin in the woods somewhere (a nice one, not the horror-movie kind, way to ruin cabins in the woods, Joss Whedon.) I've been weighed down by such cat-longing feelings lately, I mean, I always am, but it has been stronger than usual, so I was excited about the thought of having a cat roomie for a few days. Unfortunately the cat in question was hellaciously skittish and I only saw her for a grand total of twenty seconds over the four days I was there, but she ate her food and didn't cause trouble so it could've been worse. In happier news, the house was just darling, and it was more than enough to gaze rapturously around at it all. I decided on Sunday to make some muffins, since I just felt like baking a damn thing, but also they seemed like the perfect house-sitting foodstuff to make - easily made and consumed, not too taxing on the house-owners' ingredients or infrastructure, able to be frozen and eaten later (not that it came to this since all but one were eaten by the time I left.) 

suspect was catless, repeat, catless 

When the weather turns extremity-stiffeningly cold my thoughts turn to cinnamon: how can I make everything around me scented of it? Baking is the obvious way (although if anyone knows of an amazing cinnamon-scented candle that won't cost as much as a pet pony please give me details) and so I made some cinnamon-orange muffins, inspired by the sight of an orange in the fruit bowl that I could nick for this purpose. I swing wildly between finding muffins dull and basic and finding them tears-makingly comforting and delightful, and I guess over the weekend was a time when I was swinging towards the latter, because I could not have been more content with myself: being in a tiny, adorable kitchen, shaking clouds of cinnamon into the batter, melting butter, flinging flour onto the ground (that bit was not fun), dropping heaped spoonfuls of orange-tinted batter into the muffin tin, waiting around while they briefly baked in the hot oven and the room filled with the smell of warm cake. Muffins! They're honestly so great.

cinnamon orange muffins

a recipe by myself - makes 12

75g butter, melted
one cup milk
two eggs
the juice of one orange
two and a half cups flour
two and a half teaspoons baking powder
half a cup brown sugar
a teaspoon or so of ground cinnamon

25g soft butter
quarter of a cup brown sugar
half a teaspoon or so of ground cinnamon
the grated zest of the orange
three tablespoons flour

Set your oven to 180 C/350 F and lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tray. Or put little cupcake holders in them if you like, this will certainly save on a lot of washing later. 

In a large bowl, mix the butter, milk, eggs and orange juice till everything is well-dispersed and you can't see any one ingredient floating about being all individual, if that makes sense. I mean, just mix them all together, that's all, really. 

Tip in the flour, baking powder, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Very, very gently mix it all together - just turn it around and over a few times with your spoon, not worrying if everything's still all lumpy and the flour isn't 100% incorporated. Drop heaped spoonfuls of the batter into the muffin tin until all the batter is used up and the muffin tin is evenly filled. 

Quickly mix together the remaining ingredients - you can either bash it with a wooden spoon or use your fingertips to work in the butter, either way you want to end up with a dusty, crumbly, floury mix. Sprinkle a little of this evenly over each of the uncooked muffins. Bake for about 18 minutes, then allow to sit for about ten minutes before removing and eating, preferably sliced with more butter spread across. Because of the crumbly topping, you'll probably need to run a knife around the edge of each muffin, but they should slide out easily. 

Look, muffins are so excellent. They take hardly any effort to make - in fact, if you put too much effort into stirring the mixture together they'll toughen up like an old sponge. A mere gentle prod is all you need to bring the ingredients towards each other, then less than 20 minutes in the oven, and you have freshly baked goods. Isn't that wonderful though? These are as winningly cinnamon-y as I'd hoped they'd be, with the pinpricks of orange zest in the crumbly topping and the juice of the orange in the batter giving gentle citrussy sweetness. If I had to sum up these muffins in one word it would be: snug. They tasted snug.

by this point I was literally just carrying the muffin around the house being all "here are more pretty things that I can photograph, I'll just put the muffin on it and not care about whether you'd actually normally consume a muffin amongst a trolley of succulents") 

It's my birthday this Friday! Oh my gosh! How audacious of me! I've decided that my birthday treat to myself is going to be to break my general mood of grim austerity to buy myself a way cool outfit to wear to the joint birthday party that my flatmate and friend Charlotte are having the following day, and frankly I'm so excited about going clothes shopping. I saw this ridiculously amazing fluffy yellow oversized cardigan in a shop in town which in my daydreams looks incredible on me, so I guess that's what I'm going to make a beeline for (and may end up looking like a literal bumblebee, or perhaps a small Big Bird, but we'll see.) But what do I really want for my birthday, I conveniently imagine you asking? My needs and wants are simple, I simply want the following:

~ A pair of Victorian-ward-of-the-state-esque black boots for both work and frivolous times
~ more tattoos, or at least one more tattoo, singular
~ more hair dye in pastel blue, purple, peach, pink, whatever
~ Maldon sea salt and excellent coffee beans
~ a pet cat (c'mon universe, you know I deserve this)
~ the makings of a mighty liquor cabinet - perhaps a glamorous bottle of gin, some thoroughly decent peaty whisky, and a bottle of dry vermouth. Also some Disaronno and port and dark rum and I guess I've thought about this a lot.
~ a fake fur coat
~ a little record player so I could finally play all my records again
~ a cinnamon-scented candle, or something similarly glorious
~ some crystals for doing witchy deeds
~ Marc Jacobs Oh Lola perfume, I've run out and am utterly too broke to buy more, this is entirely my own fault for repeatedly using it instead of my Nivea roll-on and calling it "baller deodorant" but still
~ a facial but where someone pretty much just pats your hair and rubs the pressure points above your eyebrows and tells you that everything's going to be okay and makes your skin smell incredible
~ to be financially chill enough to go to brunch more often (slash: at all)

So simple, those needs and wants of mine! I will report back after my birthday as to how successful I was with this list. Fingers crossed! But also I like to think I make my own luck. But fingers crossed as a back-up, in case that's what the universe arbitrarily requires from me.
title from: Lana Del Rey, Radio. I just love her so much, quite frankly. 
music lately: 

Crucial Conflict, Hay. I found a "top 20 songs" list I made in 1996 and this song was on it, I am pretty sure I haven't listened to it since that very time? It still goes hard though and honestly should be having its own No Diggity type revival (No Diggity was on the list too, haha)

One Direction, I Would. Don't talk to me about Zayn leaving, okay? It's still too soon (but honestly, who could blame him, all that relentless touring must've wilted those boys down like a three-day-old bouquet of flowers) (I love this song so so much still though)
next time: I'm gonna try so hard to cook stuff more often and take photos of it more often! Y'know, like, be a blogger. 

5 April 2015

the earth will wave with corn, the gray-fly choir will mourn

cornbread cookie squares with maple buttercream: whoever named this was being paid by the word amiright?

It took me so stupidly long to write this post that I'm pretty sure I hit diminishing returns ages ago: two attempts to write were lost to persistent and heavy naps, a jolt of energy from seeing the Blood Moon last night after work had me writing enthusiastically at 1.30am, and then between daylight savings and my body's truculent inability to sleep when it ought, I was up at 7am today determined to finish this damn thing and not let it drag out any further. 

So! It's April! It's Easter weekend! I love Easter so much - chocolate is in season, it's a holiday but you're not obliged to get anyone presents, it's usually kinda cold and snuggly in the weather department, and the days off cut into not one but two short weeks. It's a bit weird that you can't buy alcohol on Good Friday or Easter Sunday, but it's nice that more people than usual get a day off or something close to it. Seriously though, the alcohol thing is so weird. Some American tourists at work asked me why we have this rule and I could not think of a decent reason.

April also means that my birthday is fast approaching, and I hope you're all preparing appropriately (harvesting feast ingredients, staying up late to make garlands of flowers, making offerings to the full moon, attempting augury "just because", praying to Lucy Liu.) I'm continuously baffled that I'm turning 29 entire years of age and it's not just an elaborate Truman Show-level prank where I've been lied to this whole time and I'm actually only turning 24. Like, as if I'm nearly 29. What a ridiculous and vulgar notion. Realistically though, it's...going to literally happen.  

I ate that missing piece, quite joyfully

While my imminent birthday only intensifies my usual "what is my life" and "what does it meeeean" and "what even am I doing" vibes, I am cautiously reckless with optimism on account of my tarot card for April. It is the deliciously full-of-promise Nine of Wands - nine is my lucky number, and it signifies lots of good things like overcoming fear and doubt; achieving things I'm working hard at; letting go of struggles from the past; and just generally thriving and living my best life. So far in April all I've managed to do is go to work and nap and berate myself for not blogging or tidying my room, which is not quite as thrivey as I'd like to be, but I did do some baking and deliver it hither and yon to good people (my girlfriend, my dear Kate, my friend Jen, my own face) so I can ride on the coattails of this small accomplishment for at least another week, I daresay. The thing I baked bears the faintly irritating name of Cornbread Cookie Squares with Maple Buttercream (like, could this name be trying any harder?) but it's so very good, so very easy, and, like all things I make, so very delicious.

I just realised that I kind of named this since I adapted the name to fit my adaptation of the recipe so way to backhandedly mock yourself, Laura

Despite the word cookie in the title it's basically just an iced slice, but tinged with sweet gritty cornmeal, which makes it a little different and unusual without distracting from its comfortingly recognisable cake-ness. I saw the recipe online while undoubtedly dicking about distracting myself from necessary tasks, and it was one of those serendipitous moments where I knew I had all the necessary ingredients on me and could spontaneously make it without having to buy anything. That's a good enough reason for me, plus I just haven't baked in a while, but I was also curious as to how it would incorporate cornbread vibes - cornbread being one of my favourite things to eat - into something sweet. I changed the recipe a bit to suit my needs (example: anything that calls for one egg plus one egg yolk, which the original recipe did, makes me feel very tired for some reason, so I left out the extra egg yolk and added in more sour cream) and threw it together with charming ease and speed on Tuesday afternoon, and insistently recommend that you try it too sometime.

cornbread cookie squares with maple buttercream

adapted from this recipe. Also I used maple-flavoured syrup because I am a monster or something.  

125g soft butter
one cup sugar
one egg
three tablespoons sour cream 
half a cup cornmeal
two cups flour
one teaspoon baking powder

75g soft butter
one and a half cups icing sugar (or so)
three tablespoons (or so) maple syrup 

Set your oven to 180 C/370 F and line a brownie/slice tin with baking paper.

Beat the butter and sugar together till light and creamy, then add the egg and sour cream and continue to beat energetically for a bit till it's well mixed in and everything is even lighter and fluffier. Gently stir in the cornmeal, flour, and baking powder, which should result in a damp, dense, slightly crumbly cookie-dough type mixture. Tip it into the baking tin and press down gently with the back of a spoon or your fingertips until it's evenly spread out. Bake for 15-20 minutes (check at around 18, I recommend) till it's golden and a little puffy. Allow to cool completely before icing thickly.

To make the icing, beat the butter and the maple syrup together, then carefully add the icing sugar (it's so light it tends to get flung out of the bowl easily in a cloud of dust, but maybe that's just me) till you have a thick, lush-looking icing. Spread it evenly over the cooled cake-thing, and then slice into squares. 

It's so cakey and dense and moist, yet firm and cookie-like, yet legit cornbread-ish, with the thickly spread icing jolting you with sweetness and lifting up all cornmeal's sweetness lurking in the base. The original recipe calls for honey in the icing, but I thought something with maple would give it a charmingly smoky intensity, and vigorous researching would suggest I am correct. It was so easy to make and so utterly rewarding and tastes so stupidly lovely, I can see this becoming ever so firm a fixture of my baking repertoire. 

to eat it or to lie down face first in it: that is the more interesting question Hamlet quite frankly

I guess I'd better wrap this up now before I end up taking the entirety of April to write this wretched post; especially when I could be much better put to use doing things like "thriving" and "oh my god do some laundry Laura" and so on. One properly productive thing I've been doing is continuing to put in work on a recipe list for a hypothetical Brilliant Second Cookbook, so I can be astonishingly ready should the opportunity arise. 

also being productive taking many selfies (the grubbier the mirror, the closer you are to...cleaning your mirror hopefully)

Also am being the most productive of all watching Buffy with my former roommate Ariel (and Kate.) Hanging out with a cat (and a Kate) is truly living your best life! Unless you're near a dog too: then you frankly could not be more blessed. April, you're giving me high hopes. 
title from: The Song of Purple Summer from the musical Spring Awakening. This song is so sad and beautiful and the harmonies ache, and if you can stand it/care at all you should definitely try watching the bootleg from Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff's last performance on Broadway, the harmonies go even harder and I for one SOBBED HEARTILY.  
music lately:

The Magnetic Fields, California Girls, I love a good scuzzy scuzzball of a song like this.

Allison Stone's gorgeous Landlocked EP. At first all I knew was that she was excellent on Twitter but it turns out she's also SUPER excellent on singing.

Kendrick Lamar, King Kunta. Indubitably a classic.
next time: my mum sent me some 85% dark chocolate in the mail (tis the season to chocolate!) and so I might try making something cool with that? Also going to attempt to not nap so much while I'm trying to write. 

23 March 2015

we should hash it out like a couple of grownups

hashtag hash

I come to you buried under three layers of exhaustion: firstly I ate a lot of macaroni cheese for dinner and with every passing second the carbs are lulling me into a dopey stupor (well the only pasta I had was risoni and then I was like is this macaroni risoni or macarisoni and then I was like Laura quit being insufferable and eat your pasta. Once you've instagrammed it.) Secondly I had a useless night's sleep last night. And reason the third, I am in the process of leaving my current job and starting another and there is some overlap of schedules and as a result of all these things I am less human and more a tired baby penguin, fluffy and confused and keen to get around by lying down and zooming on my stomach instead of having to stand up.  

(The changing of the jobs is all very jolly by the way, I'm grateful to the first job for teaching me a lot and delighted by the opportunity of the new job, which is also a bartender role. I realise I'm being cagey about what these places are called, but if you have an issue with that then that's kinda weird.)

So it's with all these floaty, veil-like layers of tiredness, that I can't promise that this post is going to be my best work. Just kidding, all my blog posts are amazing. But uh, this one might sound a little strained as my eyes increasingly struggle to remember what their one job is.

oh look, the same thing from a slightly different angle. 

It wasn't on my agenda to blog about this - I made it up on the spot and it seemed too simple and insubstantial. Then I told myself, that what is essentially a two-ingredient dish, which uses those specific ingredients because that's all I had in the house and couldn't afford to run out and buy more, could still be something that other people might want to have in their own lives on purpose.

And well you might, because it's decidedly delicious.

 spot the can of golden pash in the background: very on-brand. Speaking of brands the hot sauce that I have is called Secret Aardvark and it comes from Portland, Oregon, and I just want to say Secret Aardvark again. 

I made this for my girlfriend and myself the morning after a friend's beautiful engagement party, where there was wild dancing and cat-patting and wine-drinking and cake-eating and a general mood of lovely happiness. But yeah, let's not bury the lede: there was so much dancing and wine drinking. I was determined to use only ingredients I had in the house to make something brunchily cool yet bolstering and reviving. Miraculously I had some eggs, which I scrambled, y'know, satisfactorily. This potato and corn hash was a bit of a revelation though, and so I'm sharing the recipe with you here. Quantities can be upped easily, just make sure your pan is big enough and your heart is true. (I'm so tired, okay.)

smoky potato and corn hash

a recipe by me

two decent sized potatoes (kind of the size of a decent-sized tomato, or a small avocado? No smaller than that but feel free to go wayyyy bigger)
about three tablespoons of olive oil 
roughly 20g butter
one cup frozen corn kernels
salt, to taste
liquid smoke 

Finely dice the potatoes into roughly 1/2 cm cubes/rectangles/any four sided shape you can approach a likeness of. Heat the oil in a wide frying pan and once it's proper hot, tip in the potatoes and spread them out evenly. Allow them to fry for about ten or fifteen minutes, stirring and turning very occasionally - the longer you leave the potatoes in one place the more golden and crisp they get. At this point, add the butter and let it sizzle for a little longer, then tip in the corn and stir. Again, the less you stir the better, so that the corn gets a little bit scorched, but you don't want it to get burnt. Basically, use your eyes, see what needs moving around and what needs more time on the heat.

Finally, sprinkle over a few drops of liquid smoke - you don't need much - and stir it in, then add as much salt as your merrily brined wee heart desires, and divide between two plates. 

hot sauce hand model (also you can see in the foreground where we both spilled juice from a truculent and entirely uncooperative tetra-pak)

This would be so good with some chopped up herbs, or diced onion fried with the potato, or some parmesan grated over, or some turmeric and cumin, but on its own it was quite perfect. The potato is cut into minute pieces which cook quickly in the sputtering oil and become darkly golden and crisp in that way that makes you feel weepily grateful depending on what else is going on in your life. The corn is sweet and juicy and slightly browned in places and just wonderfully corn-like (I really like how corn-like corn is.) Liquid smoke has saved me from blandness many a time, but if you don't have it - and it's not necessarily that easy to get hold of - you'll lose some of that standing-near-a-barbecue vibe, but it will still be so good. Just add more butter and salt and keep on truckin'.

what are you trying to hide, parsley sprig?  

Look, I just love brunch so much, it's such a kind meal - you get to sleep in, you get to eat so many rich foods, you get to feel fancy, you get the rest of the day still to do things. Making it for yourself is charming in its own way that going out for it can't replicate (especially if you are cooking for someone else) and while you have to do the dishes at least you can eat while wearing severely ancient trackpants and an insouciantly draped blanket.

I sold my last cookbook today, which was a strange feeling. I'm so determined to write another one, and soon, but also looking at this cookbook, which was written, tested and photographed in its entirety in just three months, I'm very proud of myself. On a wearily capitalistic note, it's also a shame because I was making money from selling them and now I'm not, but I still have a good feeling that I'll be a zillionaire or even a mere billionaire pretty soon. I'd just be so good at being rich!

One last thing, before I leave you, and frankly I can't believe I made it this far, but of course I did because I am good at pushing myself to write when I'm 90% asleep, and anyway: I thought it would be kinda dinky and fun to put all the songs I've listed in the music lately section at the bottom of the blog onto a Spotify playlist. So far I have one for this year, one for the back end of last year, and one that I'm going to put Christmas songs in. My username is Laura Vincent if you want in - sometimes I couldn't find the specific song (damn you Taylor Swift, release your iron grip and let the people listen to you on Spotify) so I'd try to get the next best thing, but it's more or less everything I've been recommending. It's...not coherent, but it's cute! Like me.

title from: so hash is an interesting dish to find a title for...this one is from Drake and Jhene Aiko's dreamy dreamy song From Time. Oh Drake, trust you to come through for me. 
music lately: 

Fiona Apple, Every Single Night. This song is bewitching.

De La Soul with Redman, Oooh. I haven't heard this in so long and it makes me so happy, how compelling is that melody! (very compelling.)

Rilo Kiley, I Never. This song is so beautiful, and sounds like it's from another time, maybe the sixties? I don't know. But I love how it gets so swoony and bigger and bigger the further it goes along.
Next time: I'll have done the groceries and have more to play with, don't worry