Thursday, August 28, 2014

I Wanna Be British: Eton Mess

I am a major Anglophile.
Most of the TV shows I watch are British. Many of my favorite bands and musicians are from England or are based there.
So what is a better way to show my English love than trying out some recipes.


Eton mess is a type of dessert that I have seen around the internet many times and thought: Yum!
I looked at a number of different recipes and adapted them for this experiment. Luckily I had my mom to assist in this culinary venture.

First, the day before we planned to make the actually dessert, I made a batch of meringues.

They do not look perfect but they taste great and anyway they get crumbled.
I used the same recipe that I made for the Les Miserables meringue cookies for the Tony awards. I just didn't use a bag to form them, I just plopped them onto a baking sheet with a spoon. I used this recipe.

After watching CupcakeJemma's Eton Mess video we planned on making a raspberry sauce.

We made the raspberry sauce first so that it would have time to cool
After cooking down the raspberries and sugar the sauce needed to be strained to remove the seeds. I only had this small strainer so it took a little time. Honestly I did not care for the raspberry sauce but my mom loved it. I guess it all depends on what you like if you want to add it to the final dessert or not.

Homemade whipping cream
This is my mom's specialty. It is basically heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla whipped together for what seems like ages. She doesn't even need to measure the ingredients which makes it difficult to share her recipe.
The recipes I read online for Eton Mess kept calling for double cream. I have never seen double cream in any store around here so heavy whipping cream seemed like a good substitute. Plus we use the homemade vanilla that we started a few years ago. Its a bottle of Vodka and split vanilla beans that sat in the dark and was shaken once a day for a few months until it became the best vanilla ever.

The other ingredient for Eton Mess is strawberries. Most recipes called for these strawberries to have sugar added and let sit until they became a sugary syrup. Some recipes said to smash the fresh strawberries.
We just bought a container of frozen strawberries already in sugar and called it good. We only had a few hours that she could hang at my house that day so some skimping was required.

Gathering all the ingredients together we started layering them in our glasses. A layer of crumbled meringue, some whipping cream, strawberries and repeat. Mom also added the raspberry sauce where she pleased.

The verdict: Delicious
 I do not know if this would be considered authentic Eton Mess. Regardless they came out so good. Sweet with just a hint of tart from the berries and a satisfying crunch from the meringues. Now I want to try out other recipes. ButterBeer I'm looking at you. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Birthday Wish List

Let me first say I totally got this idea from the amazing Nerd Burger. She made a list of some of the things she wants for her birthday. 
My birthday is next Monday.

Here are some of the fun things I would love to get, but probably won't.

1. 1960's series Robin Funko Pop!- This one might happen if I can find one in store. Robin was my imaginary friend when I was growing up. I was always destined to be a nerd.
2. Two new series of Doctor Who blind boxes are coming out next month from Titan Merchandise. Including Rory, Amy and yes Capt Jack. I want these badly.
3. My Alice obsession never wavers. The Disney Store has this Cheshire Cat plush that is so adorable. 
I would also like to get my hands on some American Mcgee Alice merchandise but they are so hard to come by.
4. Living Dead Dolls- I love these beautifully creepy dolls. The one I really want is also one of the hardest or most expensive to get: Lizzie Borden. Ever since I watched the tv movie with Elizabeth Montgomery as Lizzie Borden I have been fascinated with the strange story.
There is also a Countess Bathory doll I want : )

I am not completely toy crazed. I want some practical things as well. Guitar strings, brita water filters and most of all a new sofa. Currently I have the most uncomfortable futon in the world. And it is so low to the ground that when I try to use it as a sofa my knees come up to my chest, so I mainly keep it in the lounge position with as many pillows on it as I can find.

I am also sketching out this years cake design. It was supposed to be Hitchhiker's Guide themed but I could not find any dolphin candy molds in time. So Hunger Games it is.

Friday, August 22, 2014

August's Loot Crate: Heroes

This month's Loot Crate is here.
Loot Crate is a monthly subscription box for all your geeky and gamer needs.
As a counter balance to last month's Villains crate this month's theme is Heroes.
Loot Crate is pretty good at giving hints to what may be in the crates each month without really giving anything away. It was announce early on that this month's crate would feature and exclusive Funko Pop!.
It's Groot!!
 A Groot bobble head with a glow in the dark hand. The glow in the dark feature is what makes this an exclusive for Looters only figure. This is pretty perfectly timed with all the Guardians of the Galaxy love going around now.
This is my favorite this month.
Staying with what is popular right now, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A pair of Michelangelo sunglasses and a Leonardo figure.
I like the old Ninja Turtles. In fact as a small child I stood on the seat in a movie theater and screamed "I Love Being A Turtle!" Much to the embarrassment of my mother.
The new version just doesn't appeal to me, I'm not sure why. At least these are more in line with the older versions.
Also included:
A Sonic air freshener.
Winged accessories for your shoes.
These are pretty fun. In fact my mom has already called dibs on the wings and Ninja Turtle sunglasses.
And to finish off this month's crate:
A magnet with Deadpool's cereal of choice.
Digital codes for Doctor Who Legacy, Defense Grid: The Awakening and Gauntlet.
And of course this month's theme in button form.
Also something to make a note of: this is the second crate to feature a custom box design on the inside to go along with the theme. With the Villains crate last month the boxed looked like the Joker and Harley Quinn graffiti-ed it. This month the inside is made to look like the sewer home of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
I really like this idea and hope they will continue it.
Over all I am giving this crate a 6/10. The Groot figure alone makes it worth getting. This crate suffers from having to follow what I think is the best crate so far: Villains. Still the Heroes crate is packed with some pretty fun goodies.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

IGGPPC Camp 2014: Solo Scavenger Hunt and Jane Austen Letter

This week the International Geek Girl Pen Pal Club is having a virtual summer camp.
Here are my Solo Scavenger Hunt photos.

Top row:
1. Favorite Nerdy Cup : My Tardis mug I made for my bday two years ago with my best friend Regan aka RiffRaff
2. Comic Collection: This makes me sad that I have only one comic book, and I got it in my last Loot Crate. Must fix this.
3. Favorite Candy: All the candy!!! Mainly chocolate
Second row:
4. Favorite Nerd Shirt: This was tough, I have so many, but Whombie wins.
5. Book Collection: My books are scattered in various shelves all through the house, but these are my go to books.
Top row:
6. Movie Collection: I am a dvd hoarder. You cannot see it, but there are at least two rows on each shelf. And a shelf not in pic.
7. Find an Animal: My lovely 21 year old Kristy taking in the sunshine.
Second row:
8. Favorite Shoes: Converse baby
9. Take a five minute walk outside and photograph something you see: I am not entirely comfortable walking around my neighborhood so I rambled in the backyard and took a pic of the old shed that nature is reclaiming. Kinda pretty.  
10. Show off your work-space

Top row:
11. Take a picture of a letter you've received: I have a few...
12. Show off a regional dish from where you are: This is Oklahoma, Meat and Potatoes.
13. Capture your favorite time of the day: Dusk
Second Row:
 14. Figurine based off a movie character: Does TV count?
15. Favorite Button: Big Rocky Horror fan. My nickname used to be Magenta and my friend, Regan, was Riff Raff.


A Jane Austen Writing Challenge?!
Yes please!
For this challenge I wrote a letter to Ms. Austen using a quill and ink. 
Yes, I just happened to have a quill and some black ink. I'm sophisticated like that. : )
My letter basically asked about the lives of her characters after the weddings. That is something I have always wondered about. Did they all live happily ever after or were there issues?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dreaming- Video Games

Have you ever played a game so much that you closed your eyes and still played it?
I've done that with matching games like bejeweled. Also the every clicking mess that is farmville. Yup I harvested crops in my sleep.

I would assume that playing a more interactive, less clicky, game would result in interesting dreams.

I've been trying play Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess whenever I can steal an hour for gaming. I guess I have been playing it enough, late at night, that when I do finally pass out it is still playing on my mind.
I had just hoped that the dreams would be exciting. Fighting some shadow demon. Or even riding Epona through the fields of Hyrule with the Zelda soundtrack triumphantly playing in the back ground.

So what Zelda dream have I been having?
Cutting grass...with a sword.

I'm a bit disappointed.
Is it too much to ask for a wild adventure? Maybe an epic quest to end all quests. At least anything other than the mundane task of virtual yard care.

And yet after having these dreams, I kind of want to dress up as Link, take a sword and go around offer to "mow" people's lawns. For rupees of course. And none of those green or blue ones either. I'm talking red or better.

Does this happen to anyone else?

I am starting to come up with ideas for Halloween posts.
Halloween is my favorite holiday and I want to make this year great. So I am trying to come up with some fun and interesting things for this blog. 
Any ideas are welcomed : )
I have quite a few but I need to get things organized.
Sometimes there is not enough time in the day...probably shouldn't play video games.
Yeah right

Friday, August 8, 2014

Final Austen Literary Fixation: Persuasion

The last Jane Austen novel in my Literary Friday series, Persuasion, is my favorite.
Persuasion was the last book written by Austen and it was published after her death. It is also one of the shorter books she wrote, the other being her first, Northanger Abbey.

Knowing that she was probably dying when she wrote this makes the whole story rather bittersweet. It is a story of hope and second chances. Of true and steadfast love winning out in the end.

Anne Elliott is a good, kind person. Her only flaw is being weak willed where her family is concerned.
Her father and older sister are vain and really do not care one bit about Anne. I imagine if she were on fire they would only put her out because of scorch marks on the furniture. And then they would bitch about the trouble of doing so.
Lady Russell serves as the mother figure in Anne's life and she really does love Anne. Yet Lady Russell is the cause of much grief in Anne's life. Anne's breaking off the engagement to Captain Wentworth years before the story begins is all due to her "persuasion".

Speaking of Captain Wentworth, he enters the story as a charming navy man to everyone except Anne, to whom he is reserved and standoffish. They meet again due to Anne staying with her younger sister, Mary, who is vapid but not a wholly bad person. In many ways she provides comic relief with her fussing with her husband and his family, the Musgroves.

Eventually as the story goes on the reader begins to understand that Anne and Wentworth still love each other. Wentworth is hurt by the past refusal. He initially doesn't want anything to do with her but he never stopped loving her. 

What I really enjoy about this book is the pacing and the nervous feeling I get as the book progresses. Austen didn't put as much detail in the surroundings in the book compared to others so the story flows easier. 
As it goes along Wentworth and Anne have many obstacles to get through. The Miss Musgroves, Anne's family, Anne's cousin, Mr Elliott.
But above all, Anne and Wentworth themselves.

After Wentworth writes Anne the letter in the later chapters everything comes to a head. In those moments no matter how many times I have read this book I dread something will get in the way of their meeting again.
Yet they meet, they share their feelings and explain their actions. Finally seeing everything clear.

Why I love this book:

This is the one Austen novel that I feel like nobody really thinks about. It is not as famous of some of the others but in so many ways it is better. 
Anne and Wentworth are no Elizabeth and Darcy. Pride and Prejudice is about falling in love. 
Persuasion is one of lost love found again.
The idea that good things can happen to good people.

I think this will be my last literary Friday post for awhile. That is unless I read something amazing.

Faux Foodie- Eton Mess

Since life is strange right now, I have nothing relevant to post right now... so instead a re-post/edit of one of my favorite desserts ...