Apple Pie success

Yesterday I got my frontier girl on and made an apple pie from scratch. Recipe?

I started by not following the first instructions in the recipe, which involve making everything you’re using cold, like chilling the bowl and the flour and all. I didn’t do that. I made a double recipe of “everyday family paste” which means I put a bunch of flour (2 1/2 cups) in a bowl and rubbed butter (siz tablespoons( through it with my fingers. Then, once it was pretty much uniformly coarse I added tablespoons on iced water until it made a dough. Then I realised it was meant to have salt in it, and I added that too.

The dough wasn’t smooth. I want it to be smoother next time. I cut it into two equal lots and put them in the fridge to be more cold.

After that I got Lee to peel apples so that I could then core, quarter and slice them. This took a while. I think I used something like ten apples. I sliced them and put them into a bowl in which I had zested a lime (I forgot to buy a lemon) and then squeezed the juice in.) The lime juice covered the apple pieces and it was all nice.

Once that was all done, I took one lot of pastry and rolled it out a lot. I put it into my new pie dish (pyrex-type, not ceramic) which I had buttered earlier. The dough was a bit fally-aparty, and I had to patch some holes with bits that had fallen off the edges. Then it was a matter of layering apple slices with a lot of brown sugar.

You’re meant to go apples, 1/3 cup of brown sugar, teaspoon of flour, apples, 1/3 cup brown sugar, teaspoon of flour, apples, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of flour. Then on top you put a pinch each of nutmeg, cinnamon and ground cloves and sprinkle on whatever’s left of the lime zest and juice. I was worried about the amount of sugar I was putting in, so I didn’t use the full 1/3 on the top layer. We didn’t miss it.

Finally you roll out the last bit of pastry and make a pie lid. I was getting excited by the turkey at this point, because it was ready, so I didn’t roll it out as much as I should of and had to stretch the pastry to the edge of the pie, but that’s alright. Cut some vents in the pie top and bake for about 40 minutes.

The pie was delicious. The pastry came out bland but surprisingly crisp and good. The blandness was good because the pie filling was incredibly sweet and juicy so it was a good counterpoint. Lee wanted icecream with it, but it didn’t really need it. Too much sweet!

We have leftover pie. Enough for me to have a piece at lunchtime and for Lee and I to share after dinner tonight. Mmmm. Pie.
Next time I make it I’ll put in a little less sugar but add raisins.

PoF: stars
CO: baking

planning fun times

Stuff I plan to get done before my holiday starts:

  • Clean the house! – actually this is muchly done, since Lee went mad and cleaned the lounge and kitchen on Tuesday afternoon. I did the mopping and bathroom on Wednesday morning, picked up my clothes on Wednesday night as people arrived for movie night. I still have to do the dusting (all over house) and vacuum the bedroom.
  • Finish my school assignment. I just have to write 1000-1500 words comparing two picture books on a similar theme and decide which is a better book. (I’ve chosen death for a theme and the books Haere, Farewell Jack, Farewell by Tim Tipene and All the Dear Little Animals by
    Ulf Nilsson.) – work wise this is an hour or so making notes and then an hour or so writing the damn thing. That’s a pretty conservative estimate, it’ll probably take longer.

  • Buy a ceramic pie pan and ‘blinds’ so I can make crispy pie crust. This is happening tomorrow. Lee wants a silicon bake sheet. Our lives are this exciting.
  • Bake apple pie from recipe in the Little House cookbook. I am such a Little House fangirl right now, I am considering buying a dress pattern and making myself an everyday dress that I will never be brave enough to wear in public.
  • Go to Nick’s 21st. Yay yay. Although, man. It’s been six years since I last went to a 21st party. I wonder if I can remember how to act at one?

Stuff I intend to get done on my week and a half of nothingness.

  • Nothing. I have a whole scheduled day of nothing. I may not even get out of bed.
  • Save Mart. I want to go to Save Mart and buy tshirts to modify and then try and sell on trademe.
  • Visit the art gallery and Te Papa. I love going to Te Papa by myself, but I like accompaniment to the gallery. Problematic.
  • Go see a movie during the day? Something Lee doesn’t want to see?
  • Write the novel. Write write write.
  • Visit Mum for scrapbooking.
  • Practise walking to trademe so I know how long it will take me in the morning. This may coincide with ‘visiting Te Papa’ day.
  • Patchwork. I have a bunch of squares that need making into a thing. Yes.

Aaah delicious weeks broken up by Public Holidays. How I love them.

PoF: same
CO: ate all of potato at lunch. Now I am stuffed and smelling of garlic.

Consider this

Sometimes, I am glad I am not my roleplaying characters. On the other hand, I still have to have the hard conversations that my roleplaying characters have, so it’s not really like I have much emotional distance.

I am, of course, talking about Slayers East last night was my character (Candy, the slayer)’s spotlight episode in which I had decided I wanted her to sort her shit out. What this boils down to is she had to start being honest with people and not run from her problems any more.

The ‘episode’ ran roughly like this for Candy: Candy running, flashing back to bad stuff. candy meets the Big Bad, who sees that she has made herself weak, causes her immense pain and steals the main magical artefact this season has focussed on. Candy goes home, tells her step-father Brian who gets very angry with her, she is unable to cope with this and goes to see Zak her step-brother who reveals he has magic and uses it to see into her psyche.

School the next day and Candy is sent to the school counsellor, and spends the entire day offloading to him. After school she goes to Nick’s house for combat training and finds him doing magic over his comatose father. They have a talk, and end up kissing. The others have worked out that the wellspring of power is at Nick’s mansion and head up there.

When they arrive, Lex is awake again and kind of evil. Langbourne (Big Bad) arrives and encourages him to be more crazy. Lex decides to kill Candy, and then everyone else. Langbourne magics a snake out of an NPC and Cass and Cynth battle that while Candy and Lex duel. Candy spent a lot of time ascertaining how evil he had become and Nick eventually nodded his assent that his Father had to die. Candy beat and killed Lex.

Langbourne set fire to the mansion, the characters run out, Nick runs off into the forest, Candy retrieves him, everyone goes home and Candy speaks to her family.

One awesome scene involved me as Candy and Morgue as Nick, the boy she loves but never managed to get anywhere with after she’d discovered him trying to do magic. We were walking in the woods and trying to get what we felt for each other out in the open. It was an incredibly difficult scene to play, because both of them have been denying it for so long, and were so scared to open themselves up to each other.

There were lots of long pauses, full of tension and uncertainty. Finally (after another character had interrupted) Candy burst out with “Nick, I really, really care about you, and all that stuff that Petra* said wouldn’t have hurt so much if I didn’t” Morgue didn’t seem to know what to say…there was a long pause, and Candy became worried that she had said the wrong thing, so I followed up with “and I know you’re really busy at the moment worrying about your Dad and everything so if you want to..” and Nick kissed her. And it was awesome.

That kiss is the payoff that me and the fans have been wanting for so, so long.

That aside the whole session was incredibly emotional for me. Following all the flashbacks at the start to the ways Candy is messed up and a scene with the Big Bad where he exploited her weakness to steal back an essential magical item I was physically shaking. I had to really work to keep my breathing regular and deep. I have mused before on the level of connection I feel for Candy, I think it’s a combination of length of time playing her and a reaction to the awesome work the entire group puts into their characters.

I haven’t been able to connect to any character so deeply, and that is due to the supportive nature of the group and the way everyone is willing to just dive in, mess up their characters and rely on each other to pull the group together and succeed. I really dread the end of the series, because I love this game so much.

So, at the end of last night’s session when Candy had killed Nick’s father (he’d gone bad. Real bad) and then brought him home to rest she went into her family and friends and tried to explain the weakness that the Big Bad had been exploiting. It was really hard for me to say, and when Blair said supportive things as Brian and Morgue as Merryl and Scott as Zak spoke up too, I did in fact cry a tiny tear.

Hard stuff. But very worth it.

*Petra Nick’s girlfriend from the start of the season who yelled at Candy at a party for ‘leading Nick on’, on a stage, in front of everyone.

Entry 1000 – Good works

I’ve learned a lot from reading the Little House books, simple, obvious little lessons about being a better person.
Today’s one is “Better to be rich in good works” which is what Caroline’s mother Charlotte (whom I have also read about as a little girl) is fond of saying when the children complain about being poor, or marvel at someone rich.

It’s a simple thought, based on the idea of doing good with your life rather than the pursuit of money.

The thing is, I’d rather spend my life being happy than making money. I’d rather do things that make me happy, but if some of those also make other people happy then I feel my time and effort isn’t wasted.

For example. I spent an hour or more yesterday making chocolate cupcakes. I used a good, reliable recipe and once they were cooled I iced them and put hundreds and thousands on top. It was a simple and easy task, although time consuming but it was fun to do and the payoff when they were presented to two different birthday people was well worth it.
The single cupcake I gave to Nick for his 21st even got its candle lit and we all sang Happy Birthday to him and he blew it out and had a wish and everything. We also totally outclassed that other birthday table at Flying Buritto Bros!

I want to spend more of my life doing good works, and less time feeling scared, angry and negative.

So. On my 1000th entry I’d just like to thank everyone who reads me, lurkers and commenters alike. I’d really like to steal a leaf from Morgue‘s book and ask you all to leave me a quote in the comments. It doesn’t have to be anything important or interesting, just give me something please!

*throws streamers and confetti* Happy 1000 entries Talula!

PoF: party hat
CO: good works

a rock star made me do it

Best people to play eye-spy with, while waiting for a concert to start?
Sass and her sister Zippy.

I saw Brooke Fraser in concert last night. I originally said I’d go because Sass didn’t want to go alone, and I’ve been meaning to get to more live performances and Brooke’s music is very pretty.

Brooke is adorable. I love her singing voice and all, but her manner between songs was what really drew me to her. She’d tell weird stories and then get embarrassed about it. She talked about her ovaries. She sang us the song she sang on that same stage when she was nine and performing in the Buzz O’Bumble show. (“Greta Whetu Weta in the Macrocarpa tree”) She laughed and got overwhelmed by the home crowd and by the end of the night I felt like I was watching a friend perform a concert. I felt like I could go up and give her a hug afterwards and it wouldn’t be weird.*

I don’t really know Brooke’s music. I’ve heard both albums but never really thought about them, or listened to the words or anything. I liked hearing it live, although I found her Christianity a bit confronting. I liked hearing the lyrics and smiling and appreciating the power of the rockier songs and watching her move about the stage between instruments.

All of these things combined with the song “Albertine” and when Brooke asked me to sponsor a child via World Vision I found it hard to resist. After all, I am a bleeding heart liberal who is trying to save the world. When she mentioned we’d get a free signed album if we signed up at the concert she had me. Bribery works!

So. I have a Cambodian child called Net. He is one of six boy children and lives with both parents on a farm.
Like everyone, I’ve heard the rumours that most of this charity money goes to line the pockets of CEOs, but Brooke has been to Rwanda and seen the money make a difference. I also reason that if it were true and it was a rip-off, wouldn’t World Vision have been exposed by now?

So. I’m putting my money where my heart is. I’m giving it a go. It’s $18.50 per fortnight, which is not much more than I was paying my union. I don’t think I’ll miss that money, especially if I am very good and stop buying DVDs and books that I don’t really need.

I’ll keep you updated about Net. I am excited to see if he writes to me. I might write to him first, and make sure he’s real. Apparently I’ll get a Christmas card from him!

PoF: first Polar Fleece of the year
CO: Albertine

*I didn’t see her afterwards, so I don’t know if I really would have done it.
Lyrics to Albertine c/- Brooke Fraser’s official website.
I think of Angelique
Her mother’s voice over me
And the bullets in the wall where it fell silent
And on a thousandth hill
I think of Albertine
There in her eyes what I don’t see
With my own
Now that I have seen
I am responsible
Faith without deeds is dead
Now that I have held you
In my own arms
I cannot let go `til you are
I am on a plane
Across a distant sea
But I carry you in me
And in the dust on, the dust on my feet
Now that I have seen
I am responsible
Faith without deeds is dead
Now that I have held you
In my own arms
I cannot let go `til you are
And I’ll tell the world
I will tell them where I’ve been
I will keep my word
I will tell them, Albertine
Now that I have seen
I am responsible
Faith without deeds is dead
Now that I have held you
In my own arms
I cannot let go `til you are
I am on a stage
A thousand eyes on me
I will tell them, Albertine
I will tell them, Albertine

Copyright Brooke Fraser
(It’s the “Now that I have seen, I am responsible” that really gets me.)

calls to the abyss…

Have you ever had that feeling that the interwebs are eating your output? Emails go out and aren’t responded to, blog posts go up and no one comments, forum threads sit idle and unwatched…
I suspect it’s just that everyone is very busy, but when it comes to trying to organise a 48 hour team, I kinda need responses!

In other news, I finished Little Town at the Crossroads and although the Little House books are all getting a bit samey samey I still enjoy them. I like imagining living so simply and wearing the same dress all the time.
I am living in a strangely busy stasis at the moment. I am nearing the end of my days at the library and I want my holiday. My dreams are getting very vivid although perhaps not meaningful. Lee is on holiday this week and enjoying himself I think.

I have an idea for a blog post, but it is potentially controversial and I hate making people angry. I will let it stew and tomorrow post another in the ‘things with people’ series.

PoF: tiger
CO: I want to sleep, but must go and see Brooke Fraser instead.

you ain’t played til you played with the playas

So, Modern Art. The game, not the y’know. Art.

Modern Art the game is a simple card game involving bidding for artworks by fictional people. Each player takes the role of an art gallery in a major ‘modern art’ city. I like being Paris, Tokyo or New York. Bilbao and Berlin(?) are also available.

The game has four rounds or ‘seasons’ in which you use the cards (artworks) you have in your hand to drive prices up, and make money from artworks you’ve bought from your friends. The game has little screens so you can hide your money from the others and pretend you’re doing worse than you are. If an artist is very popular one season, it drives their value up for the next one, and if they are consistently popular well. It gets exciting.

That was all preamble. I really want to say that this game is fun in and of itself, but it’s the most fun when I play it with Seraph.

It’s a combination of things, really. Seraph and I both get excited about bidding in open auctions, and are both possessed of a driving need to win auctions we are bidding on. The second part of that is that we both get the giggles from the utter ridiculosity of bidding up a piece of card with a crappy made up artwork printed on it, for no good reason.
So. Imagine if you will, the other night. Seraph, his wife, Conan, Lee and I all getting red faced with the lack of oxygen because someone just paid 20 thousand dollars for a worthless Krypto.

Oh! Or the bit when V and Lee got caught in a bidding war for a double Yoko, that looked like it would make 20 per piece tops. The bidding started with me and Conan laughing offering 1 or 2 thou and they got up to 70 thou!
Ok, maybe you had to be there.

But Conan did say that he’d never enjoyed the game as much as he did when he played with Seraph and me.
In conclusion Seraph + Modern Art = Love.

Coming soon, other stuff that I enjoy most with a particular person: a feel good week of fluff blogging!
Interested in Modern Art? Why don’t you buy it?

entry 996, so close to 1000!

Bringing the funny back.

My friend Jexia lead me to this blog which posts cover art from romance novels and then makes fun of them. My favourite so far is “Wind whispers, shadow shouts” Smart bitches, trashy books.

I found this via Katy a while back, a now-defunct craft website of terrible terrible knitting projects. The archives are all available at You knit what?

Back when I was planning a wedding, I stumbled across Ugly Dress which is a catalogue of terrible dresses bridesmaids all over the world have been made to wear.

A webcomic about people working in a toy shop. I was linked to this specific comic by girls read comics, and it’ very relevant right now because of 300.
Frank Miller.

Oh! And Cleolinda has done a Movies in 15 Minutes of 300. You have to join the m15m lj community to read it, but it is worth it. Join here

PoF: warm
CO: chocolate

can’t sleep

I woke up early today after not being able to get to sleep last night. I think that’s what they call being ‘over tired’.
The doctor was fine, my iron and calcium levels are normal. I don’t have an infection or parasites or anything and my coeliac’s screen came back negative because I’ve been on a no-gluten diet. She gave me some anti-spasm pills called buscopan which I can use if I feel aches coming on.

I spent the weekend away in Waitarere with my Lee and some delightful friends. It was lovely, really warm and sunny and I managed to swim in the sea two times. I even caught some pipis! It was an interesting experience, the waves can move me around quite a lot, so once I’d found a pipi with my foot it was a trial to keep my foot there while buffeted by waves. Then the bending down to grab them with my hand frequently involved eating the waves. Bluegh.

Unfortunately we had so much food over the weekend we didn’t actually eat said pipis. At least we didn’t take many from the sea, so I don’t think it’s too bad ecologically speaking.

Much chocolate was eaten this weekend. I enjoy Easter because it is (for me) a four day weekend in which you celebrate chocolate. We had lots of brilliant food this weekend actually, special mention has to go to Margie’s gourmet gluten-free pizzas. Mouth wateringly delish!

Books read recently:
Babymouse graphic novels I bought the first three of these at the Children’s Bookshop last week, and I just really like them. They’re gentle, cute and funny stories about a mouse teenager trying to solve problems in her life.
Queen of the World is about fitting in with the cool kids, and appreciating what you’ve got.
Our Hero is about trying to survive dodgeball,
Beach Babe is about a family vacation.
The stories are made more complex by Babymouse’s rich fantasy life. Like Calvin in Calvin and Hobbes she is always imagining herself in fantastic situations. It’s neat. The art is simple line drawings in black, white and pink. Very elegant and endearing.

The Extraordinary and Unusual Adventures of Horatio Lyle by Catherine Webb.
It’s a little like Jonathan Strange for kids, but not as good as that makes it sound. Horatio Lyle is a special constable in Victorian London, he has a special interest in physics, especially magnetism and chemicals that explode. He is asked to investigate a crime and manages to pick up two apprentices along the way; a pickpocket called Tess and a young Gentleman called Thomas.

The narrative took a while to pick up speed, and I had ongoing problems with the characterisation of Horatio (i.e. he didn’t seem to have a personality) but about half way through the story gained speed, the jokes started being really funny and the investigation became fraught with exciting danger.

Little House in Brookfield is the first in the Little House books about Caroline, Laura’s mother as a little girl. It’s a bit of a departure from the other series’ because Charlotte (whom I loved so much in the last series I read) is a widow, so Caroline and her brothers and sisters have very little money. It’s pretty sad because they all miss their father and their mother is a bit depressed.

I am now reading River Secrets by Shannon Hale, which is the third in the Goose Girl series. It took me a while to warm up to the main character being the feckless Razo, but I like it a lot now that I’m properly in the story.
Happy first day of the short week everyone!

My Easter-break mini scrapbook is nearly done! Huzzah for Real Time Scrapbooking!
PoF: pre-shower
CO: work