Sunday, July 24, 2011

Empire State of Mind

Picture from Wunderground

Today the first gay marriages took place in New York state. Nothing thus far like earthquakes or the world falling apart, although our fridge did break yesterday. I'm not sure if there's any link between those two events. But this rainbow-Niagara Falls is rather appropriate and wonderful. Let's hope that, among all the sweating in record temperatures, some people are made very very happy today. Good luck to all the couples. Let's hope the DOMA hearings knock some sense into the U.S. politicians at some point soon. Senators Al Franken and Patrick Leahy are doing their best.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Figs & Lilies

This post is horribly contrived, but as I was working out a way to plug a glorious bakery near my house, it occurred to me that the last few weeks have brought me great joy in the forms of lilies and figs.

The garden's lilies have been something of exquisite wonder. Because the weather has been, thus far, less brutal than last year's summer, we've enjoyed a lot of lily action, and this year some featured a glorious deep red through orange contrast that we just didn't see last year.

Yesterday also brought this fabulous cake, a deep, rich red velvet that a) tasted chocolatey, wonder of all things, and b) was moist and rich without being too heavy for what was a blazing hot Saturday afternoon. It's from a bakery two blocks away. My intentions to check it out were finally prompted by the combination of a groupon coupon, and a bridal shower that I was helping to organise. I probably didn't need the two cakes (ahem!) but it was definitely a hit.

I've also discovered that one of the fruit stands near work sells boxes of figs. I sat and munched my way through a couple of boxes this week and realised that fruit can be bearable. I'm trying to up my intake of fruit & veg - the veg part isn't usually hard for me, but I do have a fruit block issue. I don't know why, but it just never appeals to me. I'd much rather eat savoury food. On the other hand, if I force myself to purchase it for work, then I do eat it rather than just munching on crisps all the time; I do love crisps. (Yes, this insightful and profound commentary is why you read this blog).

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lush Life

Not that I’m a lush, but there have been some monumental cocktails in my life of late.

First, when Must Own More was in town, we had two of the most spectacularly good versions of old-school, classic cocktails that I’ve had in a while at the hotel in which she kipped.* She had a fabulous Hendricks martini in a gloriously elegant martini glass (I coveted it a great deal); I, somewhat tired and, perhaps a tad hungover, had a spicy, tasty bloody mary that perfectly balanced tomato and vodka – I find quite frequently that a bloody mary errs too much either way. This was great. And pretty.

Then over the Treason Weekend/Independence Day Bank holiday weekend TOH and I went to the Cocktail Culture exhibition at RISD. Not only was it ace – interesting, funny, remarkable shirts and dresses everywhere - we saw a perfect, six-glass set (plus ice cube bowl and tongs) of our cocktail shaker and glasses (only four, sadly) that we had purchased about six months previously from What Cheer!. What Cheer! is not only the Providence city motto, it’s a fun, jam-packed basement of treasures that has amazing old postcards, glassware, and many, many twelve-inch remixes of LaToya & Jermaine Jackson records. I could quite happily spend a fortune there. I suspect, somewhat fortunately for us, that the price of the cocktail shaker would have been considerably more had the purveyor known that a full set would end up in that exhibition. As it is, we know now that it was made probably between 1933 and 1940. Very exciting indeed.

That weekend we also made Jameson Whiskey Sours using this recipe from one of my favourite cocktail blogs (and from where I discovered the Murricane, joy of my life). It was the first time in my life I’ve really enjoyed a [Name Your Spirit] Sour – making it from scratch with one’s own simple syrup, freshly squeezed lemons and with a beautiful curl of orange peel creates a concoction a world away from the grim, processed sour mix that often comes from a place that is happy to serve you a Midori Sour (bleurgh and yes, I have drunk one of those. Not recommended).

* We also saw Patrick Viera who, unsurprisingly, is a) very beautiful in real life (footballers, unlike actors, are always considerably larger height- and muscle-wise when you see them in person) and b) had a very pretty wife. Sadly, almost no one in this country could get quite as excited as I did but bloody hell – that made my star-spotting year. There was also excellent Euro-rich type spotting.