18 December 2008

berry good, part two

The promised Cranberry-Orange Sorbet from David Lebovitz’ The Perfect Scoop:

I’m still an ice cream girl at heart, but sorbet seems like a nice alternative to the rich desserts that predominate (particularly in England) during the holidays.

It’s the most brilliant pinky-red color and incredibly tart. As Adam would say, ‘a party in the mouth!’

17 December 2008

ginger all the way, part two

The ginger theme continues with gingerbread stars:

All ready for packaging and giving...as well as a bit of snacking!

These were actually meant to be gingerbread men, but my cutter has gone missing. I've been through them all--from acorn to zebra--with no luck. A holiday mystery...that will hopefully be solved by this time next year!

13 December 2008

lay-ee-odl lay-ee-odl lay-hee-hoo

This past Thursday, as Persephone Books was offering complimentary mulled wine, mince pies, and gift wrapping, G and I ventured into London for a bit of holiday shopping:

After visiting Persephone, we headed to Marylebone High Street for a peek round the always-stylish Skandium and the quirky, Edwardian Daunt Books, then on down to Moxon Street for a Festive Alpine Supper at La Fromagerie:

In addition to selling cheese, La Fromagerie runs a tasting cafe and hosts a program of tasting events throughout the year. Someday I'd love to attend their annual Thanksgiving Dinner: I imagine it would make being away from home not-quite-so-bad!

The Alpine Supper was delicious: chicken broth with thyme dumplings to start, then sausages with sauerkraut and spaetzle. It was without a doubt the best sauerkraut and spaetzle I've ever had: the sauerkraut had such a lovely mild and delicate flavor. And each course was paired with a gorgeous wine.

Dinner was followed by a tasting of Swiss and Bavarian farmhouse cheeses tutored by Patricia Michelson herself. So I now know a bit about Tilsiter, Boschenkase, Bachensteiner, Alpkase Luven, and Bavarian Blue. Odl lay-hee-hoo!

more puzzling

Another holiday puzzle, this one featuring towers of shiny baubles in blue and green, silver and gold:

I only wish we had a mantelpiece in the Jolly Hockey Sticks clubhouse so we could recreate this oh-so-very-Martha scene:

This is the first Springbok puzzle I've ever done with a decorative border. It made assembling the edge--always my first task--so much easier! 

12 December 2008

ginger all the way

Tis the season for ginger: a warming spice for frosty days. These are the ginger-buttermilk cupcakes from Cupcakes and Fairycakes (part of the Australian Women's Weekly series):

While these little cakes are quite gingery, they're also very light and tender, made with just a few tablespoons of golden syrup rather than the more usual treacle or molasses.

The book calls them Sweet Ginger Aces, and they are indeed ace!

05 December 2008


One of my guilty pleasures, especially when it's cold and gray outside, is assembling jigsaw puzzles. I've loved them ever since I was a little girl, when I used to spend entire days hunched over hundreds, and later thousands, of tiny pieces.

Our new maple floor is ideal for puzzle assembly. Except for the fact I can't hoover until the puzzle is finished. Very difficult as I'm obsessively tidy. And perhaps this is why I like doing puzzles so much. It's essentially tidying the pieces, as this...

becomes this...

becomes this...

This puzzle was meant to the be the 'First in the New Yorker Cover Series' by Springbok but unfortunately seems to have been the only one. A real disappointment, as it's one of my favorites.

And here I admit I'm a bit of a puzzle snob. While I do make the rare exception, I generally only do Springbok puzzles. They're very well-made, with intriguingly shaped pieces and images well above the average. While a few twee cottages have crept into the range recently, I'm still managing to keep my own collection twee-free!

04 December 2008

triple scoop

Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean we stop making ice cream! I once read an article about kitchen organization that suggested putting the ice cream maker away during the winter to clear counter space. I think not!

The reason there haven't been any ice cream posts lately is because the last three ice creams have been, well, beige. So not terribly photogenic. You can see what I mean with the Pear-Caramel Ice Cream:

It's quite tasty, although I think I might use a more intensely flavored pear next time (I couldn't find the two recommended varieties at Waitrose).

The other two beige-y ice creams were Malted Milk Ice Cream in October (G's new favorite) and Cinnamon Ice Cream in November (made using cinnamon sticks rather than ground cinnamon for a more subtle--and really pleasing--cinnamon flavor).

All the recipes were from my favorite ice cream book:

But now with the holiday season here and so many rich treats about, I think a light Cranberry Sorbet could be just the thing...

01 December 2008

winter wonderland

The mornings have turned icy here in Teddington, with thick frost on the ground and more than a nip in the air. So a few days ago, G and I headed out to Petersham, Richmond's very own winter wonderland:

While my Chelsea bun was scrumptious and the coffee was strong and warming, I was far more excited about the myriad baubles, piled high in galvanized buckets and stone pots...

and hanging from every available branch:

Clear glass...

and silvered glass:

Plenty of sparkle to warm the heart on a freezing December day: