Sunday, April 29, 2012

Don't trust the B in apartment 23 Review (some mild language)

This show is also titled 'Apartment 23' in some places. I discovered this show in the most unlikely of places. I was scanning channels the day that I posted about having a lazy day and saw James Van Der Beek on the E! network, unlikely as I rarely learn anything from there. He was talking about some new show where he plays himself, except himself as a bastard. I changed after that, as I said I was flicking, but the idea had peaked my interest. I googled the show and watched the promo and that was it....... I'm hooked.

The basic premise of the show follows a small town twenty something year old girl (June) who is moving to a new city to start her dream job and her dream life when her world comes crashing down around her and during this time she moves in with the B**** in apartment 23(Chloe).
The B is played by Krysten Ritter, previous roles in 'Breaking Bad,'  'Killing Bono,' 'Gilmore Girls,' and 'Veronica Mars,' to name but a few. I have to say although many of her characters share similarities (arty, rich, acting ditzy but being intelligent), I have always liked what I have seen from her work. June is played by Dreama Walker, who if I'm honest I've never seen before but you plays the role of the innocent coming-of-ager very well, in my opinion. James Van Der Beek, as previously mentioned, plays himself as a male B and Chloe's best friend. This leads to hilarious scenes playing on his fame. For example in episode one while talking to Chloe on the phone we hear the title track from Dawson's creak starting in the background. Chloe immediately responds by asking if he has a girl over and if that girl is asking him to wear a flannel shirt while we see a scantily clad lady standing on the stairs holding a typical Dawson style shirt.

Throughout the episodes we see the interesting dynamics in the relationships between June, the eternal optimist, Chloe, the morally corrupt party girl and James, the actor who is struggling to break free from his previous roles while also bleeding it for every bit of attention and meaningless sex that it can provide him. We see snippets of the hearts beneath our bad characters being played against the heart on her sleeve approach to life taken by June and this creates for amusing comedy.

To be fair, this is not some cerebral thriller/drama that will keep you glued to the set and it definitely fits the type of show that could be missed for a week and still enjoyed without catching up. That said however, I really enjoyed the episodes and the comedy so far, it's witty, it's topical and it's random as all hell! All in all I really enjoyed this show and I would recommend it.

Going back to my lazy post, I mentioned that I had a crazy week coming up. That week has past more or less successfully. It involved a whole ton of baking and working and the result of this will be posted on Wednesday this week, please check it out as it is a recipe that I have worked on for almost 2 months.

(All photos property of the ABC network and used to review the show only.)

Friday, April 20, 2012

It's been a lazy week, and in truly lazy style I'm now posting two days late. There are days sometimes when you can't manage to do anything, where laziness prevails and chores get put on the long finger. I have had a week like that. It is true that these days, or weeks, often coincide with times when there is a big job coming up, particularly one that is intimidating. It can feel like this is a bad thing, it can feel like everyone else is out achieving things and you're not.... but actually I think lazy days exist solely to create some equilibrium in life. It's your subconscious saying rest now, work better later. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that it's ok to sit around in pyjamas every single day and watch television. However when it does happen on a rare day off, why isn't that ok?
This is gonna sound all lifetime, daytime tv special but I think lazy should be appreciated for what it is when it can happen, because the rest of the time we are all running around like there is no tomorrow, doing a million things at once and getting insufficient appreciation for those efforts. This is my appreciation of my hard work!

And what's a lazy afternoon without a snack? Preferably one that you would (perhaps should) feel bad about but in the spirit of the day is the perfect treat, whoopie pies!
I'll be honest this was my first real attempt at whoopie pies and there may have been a few unexpected aspects that, how do I say this, detracted from the perfection that I had aimed for. Either way they taste delicious and although the aesthetics need work, they really work for the day that's in it. So in light of the trial and error process these are called whoopsie pies! Also they match my bootie slippers, so that's a bonus =)

Whoopsie Pies!
Red Velvet Whoopsie Pies with cream-cheese frosting

300g Flour
25g Good Cocao Powder
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda (I accidentally used only one)
175g white sugar
125g room temperature butter
1 egg white and 2 egg yolks
250ml Buttermilk (or ordinary milk with 2tsp lemon juice)
1 tsp distilled vinegar
1 tsp Vanilla essence
16ml Red food colouring

Cream-cheese frosting

200g Cream Cheese
200g Mascarpone Cheese
250g Icing Sugar
1.5 tsp Vanilla essence (NOT FLAVOUR)

Preheat oven to 190C then beat together your butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and beat until light. Add the eggs and mix only until incorporated. Add the red food colouring and vinegar to the buttermilk  and then whisk together the dry ingredients. Add in batches of thirds, alternating between the milk mix and the dry ingredients. Again beat only enough to incorporate everything.

Line a baking sheet and drop tablespoon sized amounts onto it spaced well apart (mistake I made). Bake for 10-15minutes, remove and cool.

Beat together your cream and mascarpone cheese, add the vanilla and then slowly whisk in the icing sugar. Whisk until completely smooth. The icing should be quite thick.

Pipe the icing onto the bottom of one little cake and then sandwich with another one. All you have left to do is relax and bite into the deliciousness.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mini Carrot Cakes - a way to someone's heart?

It was my boyfriends mother's birthday recently. It has become something of tradition now for me to make cake for his parents on their birthdays and other random occasions. Carrot cake is a particular favourite of his mum's so last year I made her a log cake of it. This year to change it up I think cupcakes are in order. The Barefoot Contessa said that carrot cake is merely a transportation device for icing. I believe she had a point there. What is carrot cake without the icing?! Cupcakes are the perfect method to get the most icing with the cake and needless to say they went down a treat (the ones that the bf didn't eat first anyway!)

Carrot Cupcakes

200 g Grated carrots
100g chopped roasted walnuts (optional)
150g Cake Flour
50g Wholemeal Flour
1 tsp Mixed Spice
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp baking powder
75g Stevia or caster sugar
75g brown caster sugar
75g Melted Butter
2 egg yolks and 1 whole egg
50ml whole milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
zest of one orange 

100g Cream Cheese
400g Icing Sugar
Whole Roasted Walnuts for decoration

Preheat oven to  190C/Gas mark 5 and prepare your cupcake tin, either butter and flour or use paper liners. Sieve together the flours, baking powder, salt and spices. Add the grated carrot and walnuts and mix until everything is fully incorporated. Add the sugar. Beat together the butter, milk, eggs and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix only until everything is combined. Scoop into the cupcake tin and bake for 20mins or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Beat your cream cheese until it looks fluffy and then add the icing sugar until it looks firm. This is a delicate process and the mixture must be well beaten so that it is not grainy.

Let your cupcakes cool fully and then ice them whatever way you like. Top with a toasted walnut half and present!

So.........that went well......but I'm back with a bang!

At the start of the year I said that I would try to post more regularly and......yeah....that didn't happen =/ Finishing this doctorat...