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Friday, August 31, 2012

Market with Me at the Shoppe?

Tomorrow is the party.
Am I ready?
Do I have a plan and the energy to execute it?
 For those of you who have escaped my rambling,
tomorrow is Ms. Savannah's 18th Birthday Soiree,
and she has chosen a British theme.
Fortunately, I live in a metropolitan area and have access to ANY ethnic
cuisine you could imagine.
Miami is a fantastic melting pot of cultures, food, art, festivals, and shops.
Within walking distance of our house are four Asian markets,
from Korean to Thai.
English fare?
 No. Sweat.
 And this shoppe has a fantastic tea room with ornate plumed hats you are free to borrow for effect!
They do regular tea, along with birthday parties.
However, my besties, we're here for the food.
 And the selection here does not disappoint!
This tin doubles as a bank, by the way, with a slot for change in the top.
 As does this one.
 Oh, the decisions!
 I think we should start with a nice honey comb from the farmer's market 
next door to give the table a touch of OOMPH.
Not a problem!
A nice red, white and blue floral arrangement with a Union Jack
should set a formal tone.
We have to have a banner.
Definitely a necessity for our refreshments!
I was told tea is a must for the day's menu.
Oh know the strawberry hound wants this.
If you've been to Club Cool, formerly known as Ice Station Cool, located at the Innovations Pavilion at Disney's Epcot, you know that you can buy the world a Coke...

...but you can't make them drink it.
 What could be crazier party food than zesty honey???
What a kooky food!
Oh, wait...
Haggis is a savory pudding containing sheep's pluck (heart, liver and lungs); minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal's stomach and simmered for approximately three hours.
My husband eats this at Scottish Festivals.
Not even on a bet, mind you.
I have to buy some of this, just for the faces.
I seem to have forgotten that my daughter is a vegetarian?
 Au contraire.
The senseless brutal murder of innocent carrots is afoot!
If that's not enough, I think really salty canned fish with the heads
on them ought to do it.
No offense to my besties in London, but...
 Let's get to the tasty stuff, shall we?
 Candy made out of tea?
Someone is taking this whole thing too far.
 Same island, right?
Look, she gets her red highlights from my side.
She can do some Scottish on her scones.
 I might eat these.
In the car.
On the way home.
And smuggle the box to the trash in the side yard.
Ever done that with a Burger King bag?
Oh, shut up, you have too.
 Absolutely, without question, on the menu.
I can see a Victorian parlor now.
Oh, my bad...
Doctor Who fans, relax!
We'll have these AND Jelly Babies for the premier!
I make amazing shortbread;
I used to bake wedges dipped in chocolate every Christmas for my grandfather,
a Thomson from Edinburgh.
(Ever wonder where Thom got his name? It's Thomson, not Thomas.)
Alas, mine is not in the shape of, and I quote,
"OMG, those are the squeeeeeeeeeeee cutest puppy cookies ever the feels I have
 I want them because of REASONS!!!"
I'll be purchasing a box.
I was unaware sophistication came in a box.
Tea would hardly be complete without lemon curd and a jar of
wild, sexy, out-on-a-limb jam with champagne!
 I may need to get a tiny gift or twelve...
 We don't watch soccer, but we could claim they have a spot on curling league, right?
 Hey, at least I knew who Manchester United was, okay?
 Perhaps a puzzle?
A room full of teens concentrating for hours on a scale model
of the SS Titanic!
Yeah, I don't see it either.
 I loved the card selection.
"You're 50, Dowager, stiff upper lip and wax that hump!"
 Tell me there's a euphemism in there somewhere.
 Add this to the list!
 Let's make our Welsh/Mohawk grandfather happy, shall we?
No, not THAT happy.
I'm buying her things she can't use right now
 for her first apartment.
Why not something for a car she doesn't have?
 I like them.
But they don't look like clubs.
So right now, I'm shifted into high gear,
listening to traditional British music for inspiration.
I keep sliding my bra off under my shirt and hurling it at the wall for some reason.
After I've gathered my underwear, I'll commence with slicing 
cucumbers paper thin and spreading unsalted butter on white bread,
an item never before seen in my home.
It said to right here in this book.
Next week, tea cake recipes, lemon bread, decoupaged pumps 
and mustache pictures.
I can't show too much with the birthday girl stalking me!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fancy a Spot of Pudding?

 Ahhhh, those Brits.
"Pudding" refers to any dessert, but let me assure you,
this is not just any dessert.
This is a wonderful, sweet, cake and fruit concoction that's tangy, sticky, gooey,
and deceptively easy.
We decided to preview it as the star of Savannah's 
18th Birthday Buffet.
 My children like cake, don't get me wrong, but the Minions are extremely adventurous
foodies willing to veer off the beaten path.
If you've ever wanted something versatile you could whip quickly,
this is your recipe.
I don't think I'll ever even need to look it up again;
yeah, it's that easy.
Now preheat the oven for 350 degrees.
That's Fahrenheit.
I can't do Celsius.
I've never baked in England.
Go ahead and grease a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray.
Again, this is in inches. 
I think meters would be stupid huge, right?
Who can eat that much?
You'll need 6 cups of fresh or frozen berries;
we used blackberries for this, but I think peaches, plums, pears, blueberries,
or just about any bakable fruit will do.
You'll also want 12 ounces of a jam that will blend with the fruit,
and what says summer like blackberries and raspberries?
I mean seriously....YUM!
 Two cups of all purpose or self rising flour.
Frequent baker's tip: keep a measuring implement in your ingredient bin.
I use a half cup measure in here, which works for almost every recipe,
alleviating the need to mess up a measuring cup.
Two and a half cups of sugar.
 Two cups of low fat milk.
 Dump those three things unceremoniously into a bowl.
Leave the $300 stand mixer on the shelf, babies.
 Whisk it until blended.
Microwave one stick of butter (half a cup) until it's melted
and slowly pour it in, whisking constantly.
 Rinse the berries and drain them well, then glop the jam in.
Yes, glop.
It's jam.
It doesn't pour or anything.
It comes out in roughly it's original form with a SCHWUMP sound.
Yeah, you know it.
 Mix it up gently with a rubber spatula.
This is crucial.
If you use anything else, there will be a small explosion, followed by a break in the time/space continuum that will destroy this universe and all parallel universes,
including the one that features a version of you on the cover of This Old House
with Martha Stewart.
And we don't want THAT to happen now, do we???

God, I need to lay off the diet green tea and late night sci fi on cable.
 Pour the batter into the baking dish,
then spoon the fruit over it.
 It's going to sink into the batter.
You actually want this.
Remember, it needs to bake first.
Do not eat it. 
 Oh, yeahhhhhhhhhhh.
 Scrape out the last of it.
Pretend this is not a gratuitous bracelet shot.
 Sprinkle a fine dusting of sugar over the top.
 This will crisp up and give you a nice, crunchy finish.
 I suspect this recipe was written by an evil dentist.
 Allow your imagination to take you into the future.
 The succulent, mouth-watering future.
 Have a bad picture taken of yourself in which you simultaneously look drunk and pregnant,
neither of which is possible, as well as vaguely like a beaver, and pop it in the oven.
 Bake for one hour until brown and bubbly.
 I think that was a metric hour;
I actually had this in the oven for an hour and a half.
 Enlist a little help in getting it out of the oven so you don't strain
your frail self.
Frail because you were stampeded over when you uttered the fateful words,
"It looks like it's finally done!"
 See if you can find ANYONE willing to try it.
The fruit just oozes into the cake, making it a tangy bursting treat
with tons of fresh taste that required almost no effort.
I've opened boxed mixes that were harder to make.
Saturday, this will follow high tea with a lightly sweetened whipped vanilla cream.
Why lightly sweetened?
I'm running out of sugar.