Monthly Archives: September 2015

An edible ode to London (and an amended recipe).

The cookies were a success! (See recipe with easy British ingredient measurements at the bottom.)

IMG_2175My first baking attempt in the UK — with different ingredients, different measurements, very different oven temperatures (and baking tray sizes!) — and the cookies came out nice and firm. Perfect for decorating. The icing was a bit runny, so my initial plan of writing a few things had to be scrapped. For those struggling to find a Crisco equivalent here, it’s called Trex and is found in the refrigerator section near butter and margarine. This was the only 100% vegetable shortening that I found… some other products seemed to have lard in them or weren’t absolutely clear on their “vegetarianness”.

IMG_2156I ended up going for four iconic British themes: tea, rain, moustache (it has an Indian connotation to it – the Sahib’s moustache. Colonial Britishers, being products of their times, sported impressive facial hair designs that came to be associated with the angrez and the Indian bourgeois.) I used a cowboy hat cutter for this in the absence of a niche moustache cutter.

This book was gifted to us when we moved by our dear friends who’ve lived in London before. It’s R’s beloved copy and after taking the picture, I realized HM’s Guard is pointing right to my cookies! πŸ™‚ These guards are usually quite brusque but I wonder if anyone’s ever offered them cookies while on duty? πŸ™‚

IMG_2161

Since things like butter don’t come in 1/2lb sticks here and instead of trying to slice the standard packing available here to suit my needs, I changed some other measurements for a slightly amended recipe to my original sugar cookie recipe. If you live this side of the ocean, I hope this will help.

Recipe for cookies using British standard ingredient measurements:

250gm salted butter
3/4c or 100gm icing sugar
scant 1/4c or 30gm light brown sugar
2 2/3c or 420gm plain (AP) flour

  • Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
  • Add egg, followed by vanilla, baking powder and flour until dough comes together in a loose ball. When the dough is soft but no longer sticky is when you know it’s ready.
  • Let the dough rest for a few minutes before rolling out on a lightly floured surface. No need to refrigerate.
  • Bake until lightly brown in 200C oven.

Voila! I used the same icing measurements, replacing Trex for Crisco, as this.

IMG_2168

2 posts in one day…

Whoo! Business must be booming! πŸ™‚

So, I have to ask someone’s opinion and I’m going to put this out there. If you visit and have a moment to comment I would love it. Fanks. πŸ™‚

IMG_3368This is my iPhone cover that just broke. Quite convenient since I’ve been itching to do parts of this image as cookies ever since I got it. As people who know me know that I’m not very creative; however, I can be a superb copycat! I’m also quite lazy. I know I can’t draw to save my iPhone. So, although I’m itching, as I said, to cookie-ize these, I want to make it simple. My question to you is: Which of these images would you draw/paint/decorate if a) You wanted to end up with adorable cookies, and b) You didn’t want to work super hard for it?

I would love, love, love to make the “moos-taash” as these Brits call it but I don’t have a mustache cutter. Still doable? Big Ben is out because, you know. If there’s one design on there anything BUT simple, BB is it. Also, the bus, although iconic, is out. Which leaves you to choose 3 out of approximately 4. Sorry!

But please? πŸ™‚

Tate Sensorium

This last week, on an off-chance news bit heard on public radio, I visited a unique art exhibition at London’s Tate Britain museum — the Tate Sensorium. The basic premise of this exhibit was that the visual experience of art is enhanced by the involvement of the other senses. To design such an experience, 4 of the museum’s collection of permanent paintings are displayed in a darkened room with restricted entry for audience. No more than 4 visitors are allowed in at one time. It was all very intriguing.

Once in, each visitor is fitted with a biometric-measuring wristband whose results are then given to us in the end. You spend 5 minutes with each painting in which while looking at the piece you either walk around sniffing from fragrances emanating from the space around it — everything from a Pine-Sol type smell to some rose patchouli perfume — or put your hand under a mild spray of air while listening to dramatic music on a set of headphones provided or chew on a piece of chocolate stuffed with a grainy mixture sea salt, cocoa beans and what seems like sand but is really edible charcoal.

IMG_3364(Because photography wasn’t allowed in there and it was the last thing on my mind anyway, all I have is this shot of my result sheet to show the paintings in question.)

All these various experiences are expected to evoke physical responses to the visual stimulus thus enhancing the effect of the art on a person by involving the whole rather than a part. Interesting. What really intrigued me was the results indicated my strongest reaction was to a piece that I consciously didn’t find as stimulating as the others. Weird!

IMG_3365All in all, a trip worth making into the city for.

On another note, if you haven’t read this book, read it NOW. When they say, “enthralling, endearing, stays with you”, this is it. To think that someone could write this as a debut novel is humbling.

IMG_3363[1]And finally, V is off to his first ever overnight school trip! They’re camping in Oxfordshire where they will be learning survival-type skills amidst the beautiful English country. They’ll be canoeing on open water, swimming in a wild lake, learning to make knots (I think), sleeping in tents, not showering for 4 days, and of course roasting marshmallows ’round a fire. All very fun, I reckon.

IMG_3359It’s the very first time he’s slept away from home for more than a night. He will be fine. Will I?