Monday, February 3, 2014

Let's talk randomness, herb tips and 'Girls,'

Ok I've been away all weekend at an absolutely amazing hen-do (not mine btw) which I would describe for you but 'what happens on a hen......' Therefore any hope of baking this weekend was out the window and today with less than 10hrs sleep since Friday the brain no function so good! I had initially planned to give a full review but that is looking less than likely so instead I'm gonna do a fun little update, like a mash up between a monthly favourites and a mini rant review.

So let's start with some things I've been loving recently and in the spirit of organization I will categorize them.

Savoury Food - Soup

With the January blues and cold being combined with torrential rain here there is a genuine need for comfort food. Soup is reportedly one of the most comforting foods; because it's a liquid it gets to the stomach immediately, providing warmth from the inside and an immediate sense of nourishment and fullness. It's satisfying and healthy but making your own is the key because shop bought shop is often full of preservatives and unnecessary cream.

Sweet Food - Broderick's Bars

There's a bit of a story here (not necessarily a good one but hey). A number of years ago I was at a market when I spotted a stall for something called Broderick's Bars. Well I spotted the name eventually, the first thing i spotted was the huge plate of samples sported by a popular looking young sales man. The samples were sizable chunks of different tray bakes, including tiffin, rocky road, caramel slice and brownie. The brownie won me over, it was perfectly chewy and fudgy with a thin crisp chocolate top. It was delicious and after several samples more than what's socially appropriate  I reached to my wallet to make a purchase or five. Then........devastation my wallet was bare!! I asked if they could accept cards and was informed they could not. Not only was I unlikely to be able to sample any more but I would be embarrassing myself in front of the attractive salesman (not one of the Brodericks brothers, I should note). The market was closing and there was no time to go get cash so I had to walk away. However to save face I promised to look out for them in the upcoming local shop launch and to buy some whenever I could.
Little did I know how predictive a statement this was. Now I take every opportunity to get these delicious, delicious bars. The options are similar to those available in other companies and in cafes all over the country and the flavours are not adventurous. However what they appeared to have done is decide on simple flavours but do them to the best of their ability. They are consistently scrumptious and unrivalled in my humble opinion and if you get a chance you should try them

Food TV - Scandimania

Right now I am thoroughly enjoying this show. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall travels around scandanavia discovering the flavours and customs. I have a deep love of Sweden, this is a new love, born out of exposure to the landscape within the context of the amazing books by John Avjide Lindqvist (writer of Let the Right One In and many other amazing books). He captures slices of Swedish life and customs thoroughout his books and I fell for it immediately. Coming from Ireland, a country that is used to being exposed to the elements (granted different elements), I can respect and understand the elements of comfort and warmth prevalent in their food and drink. Like many people my interest in Sweden has only been increased since the release of various Swedish media and introduction of efficient Swedish shops.

Tip - Tiger (a Danish, I've been reliably informed, shop, prevelant throughout Europe) is an amazing place to get herbs and spices. Today I picked up a bag of cinnamon sticks for £1 and there is an impressive range of herbs also.

Non-Food TV - Girls

I have been asked by several people, at several points 'Oh do you like HBO's Girls??' and my answer has always been a speedy and emphatic 'No, I hate that show,' but I will be honest with you. I had never watched a full episode. It should be noted that this was not for lack of trying but the cringe factor was too much.

So last week I decided to give this show a proper shot and then organize my thoughts on it once and for all. The outcome: I still don't really like it but I see that it has some merits.

My central problem with this show is simple; the way Lena Dunham writes. It was the same problem I had with 'Tiny Furniture.' She nods at complex problems and real issues affecting 20-something year olds in our society. But never seems to take them any further than a dip of the toe in the pool. I can see that she is trying to provide social commentary while creating a unique style by incorporating the inner thoughts of all her characters into the dialogue. However the problem with this is two-fold. People's inner thoughts are often more self-involved then they would care to admit and therefore the characters in 'Girls,' all appear to be incredibly childish and self-involved. In fact in many scenes it appears that two characters are just spouting inner monologue out loud but neither hears the other. The second issue is one of sub-text and subtlety. When everyone lacks a brain-mouth filter then it would appear that everything is out on the table, leaving little or nothing to the imagination. This destroys any sense of sub-text and leaves the whole experience feeling very shallow for me.

It has been claimed that Lena Dunham is 'a voice of her generation, or of a generation.' This may be the case, I would feel that it is more likely to be of a younger slightly less mature generation than the one she represents in this show. However in my humble opinion the characters in 'Girls,' may be relatable at moments and are entertaining in the way that they wear their flaws on their sleeves but in essence lack the subtle complexity and depth that is essential to great characters and evident in every 20 something year old that I have ever known.

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