Sunday, 25 March 2012

5. Learn How To Make A Baked Alaska

Baked Alaska was one of those '70's desserts that we all loved but would never admit to now!

I wanted to learn how to make one - my youngest sister said it was easy ... she would show me how to on my 53rd birthday.

Well that day came and went (and so did my 54th) and still no Baked Alaska lessons were forth-coming. So when an ideal opportunity arose (in the form of my brothers 50th) and the chance to mess up someone else's kitchen we leaped at it.

When we had finished stuffing our faces with curries my sister-in-law jumped up to clear a small area, not covered by pots and pans, for us to work in. My brother switched on the cooker and away we went.

Here is my youngest sister getting out the flan base ... all the while giving me (me her older sister) instructions - revenge for being bottom in the pecking order?

It seems I am not to be just a mere observer now I am taking over. Separate egg whites and whisk ...

... to stiff white peaks ... add sugar, the vital ingredient we forgot to bring along, luckily my sister-in-law had some but it wasn't Castor and I don't think we added enough but maybe that was just me. It was at this point (I think) that my sister-in-law noticed that birthday boy had in fact just switched on the grill not the oven. So what now? Wait ... for the oven to heat up.

Fast forward - except I'm sure the oven wasn't hot enough. Add ice-cream to the flan - quickly you don't want it to melt ... see how fast I am working?

Pour over the meringue mixture which I think is now no longer as stiff as it once was. Put it in the oven for 5 minutes.

Who is wobbling the most? This is all melting too quickly ...

And now the brandy won't light ... but heck it was edible and now I know how not to make one I'll be better next time!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

10. Read Every Booker Prize Winner

Well I decided there had to be some sort of intellectual challenge stuck in here somewhere. I'm not writing reviews as such - that's all been dealt with on my main blog!

1977. Staying On - Paul Scott (read in October 2011) One of my favourite books ever. Well deserved winner!

1984. Hotel Du Lac - Anita Brookner (read in December 2011) An enjoyable read but I'm not sure if it should be a Booker Prize Winner.

1995. Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha - Roddy Doyle (read in May 2012)

2001. True History Of The Kelly Gang - Peter Carey (read in March 2012) Well written and interesting.

2002. The Life of Pi - Yann Martell (read in February 2013) A wonderful book - a little heavy going sometimes but I thouroughly enjoyed it.

2008. The White Tiger - Aravind Adigo (read in May 2012) What a great read. Another well deserved winner.

2009. Wolf Hall - Hillary Mantel (read in November 2012) Brilliant! It was a struggle to start with but a visit to the National Portrait Gallery bought the book to life and the second half was enthralling.

2011. The Sense of an Ending - Julian Barnes (read in April 2012) A very moving and absorbing book. Well deserved winner!

Winner of the LOST Booker Prize (awarded for a book written in 1970 - the rules for the prize giving changed that year which meant no novel written in 1970 could be nominated
2010. Troubles - J.G. Farrell (read in April 2012) A view of the Irish Struggle for Independence from a different angle.