Cake! Cake!

Oh hi, did that title catch your attention?



How about these photos?

Ok maybe not the second one. Not so pretty huh. But I tell you it was Good. Yeah capital ‘G’ there. It’s a Black Forest cake from a bakery in my neighbourhood, and although they used strawberries instead of cherries, those layers of chocolate cake were yummy! Moist, not too sweet, dense but not too dense. And while I’m not a fan of cream, the layers of cream were just right. Thankfully, as it was the end to a big meaty meal of steak!

The picture on top though, while it looks pretty, wasn’t that great. Tiramisu, but not rich or coffee-tasting enough! That ended our Saturday dinner at an Italian restaurant – I had linguine vongole.

It was a weekend of eating (is any weekend not one of eating??) as the husband celebrated his birthday!

I would not be a book blogger if I didn’t talk about books so here’s what I’m currently reading.

Adoring The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. I’ve been interested in reading more mystery books lately. And this has been such a treat. Here I have to sheepishly admit that I’ve never ever (ever!) read any Sherlock Holmes. I was given a copy as a Christmas present as a kid (can’t remember which though) and glanced through it and thought it the most boring thing ever. And never considered revisiting that view since. But now I’m going to give it another try. A proper try. The only question – where do I start?

I’m also continuing to read The Good Soldier and Monsters of Men, which has me once again going, “noooo! What the hell?” and various other not-so-niceties.

What were you up to this past weekend and what are you currently reading?

Butter factory

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Saturday was about the buttery things to be baked for our guests for tea.

Butter cake. recipe here – although mine is adapted slightly.
Vanilla and oat shortbread. This recipe is from the Rachel Allen cookbook, which my mum gave to me, but I’ve also found the recipe here. I would reduce the sugar and add in some salt if I were you. The oats give it a nice texture!

But not everything was for the sweet tooth! There were vegetable samosas. Erm from the Costco freezer section but still very good (and all I had to do was bake them) and that coriander dip that comes with it! Mmmmm….

I did manage to read a little. Some pages of Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier. You know, I always thought it was a war novel. Guess I was taking the title too literally. Apparently Ford had originally titled it ‘The Saddest Story’, which is how it opens:

“This is the saddest story I have ever heard.”

I’m only about 10% through, according to the Kindle app. But am quite enjoying myself so far. Perhaps it’s because it’s a nice change from what else I’ve been reading. Of violence, of dystopia, of Noise, and oh such manipulation! I’ll tell you more when I get to actually writing a review. I’m done with book two, The Ask and the Answer but am hesitating to reach out and open book three, Monsters of Me . Do I not want it to end? Or am I afraid that it won’t live up to the first book?

Ness (his editor?) sure knows how to pick a title. I think I’ve been wanting to read these books because of said titles. I mean, The Knife of Never Letting Go? I didn’t even need to know what it was about to put it on my TBR list. But yeah that is me – I like to not really know the premise of a book. I’ll never be one of those readers who turn to the last page to find out what happens. I like to be surprised. I like to have my expectations blown sky high.

What about you? How much of a book’s plot do you like to know beforehand? Which books have surprised you recently?

It came, it went

Erm what? It’s Monday already?
Ok not technically since I’m writing this on Sunday night, but it’ll probably post tomorrow. It’s 9:15 pm, wee reader is asleep in his room and all is quiet. For now. Unfortunately, we’ve been having one of those weeks. Perhaps it’s a combination of growth spurt, teething and eczema that’s been leading him to wake and cry. Or cry with his eyes closed. Or wake and fidget throughout the night.
Perhaps that’s why this weekend has seemed just incredibly short!

But I am glad for the small things. Like these bookish bits:
Somehow during those (oh so short) two days that constitute the weekend, I managed to read The Terror. And I will write about it in another post because more people ought to read it! Otherwise, I continue to plough through my e-book version of Mansfield Park, reading it in bed and on my daily 30-40 minute morning walk with wee reader in the stroller. And have just begun Conspiracy of Kings (?) and am glad to note that indeed it have not read this one yet (I picked it up at my last library visit – and couldn’t quite remember).

Gluttony-related bits:
I made my favourite walnut bread on Thursday. Favourite because it’s pretty easy and only requires two risings of about 4 hours in total. And it’s got walnuts! one loaf is gone already.
In anticipation of the week ahead, I made a freezer bag ready for the crockpot. It involved cleaning and chopping up some chicken thighs, leeks, garlic, carrots and popping the parts into a ziplock and into the freezer. I’ll add the potatoes towards the end. And probably some chicken stock and/or canned tomatoes and various herbs and seasonings.
Met friends for some yummy 小笼包 (xiaolongbao). We devoured three types of steamed dumplings (the typical porky soupy ones, a batch with crab roe and the last were shrimp and loofah), green onion pancake, beef roll, red bean pancake and Shanghai-style fried rice. And apparently that wasn’t enough so a quick stop was made for some banh mi and rice paper rolls (mmmmm…). Unfortunately I forgot to take photos as usual. But it was all pretty good.
Met other friends for a not-yummy lunch at a pseudo-Italian place (not my choice of restaurant!). Disappointingly bland shrimp and spinach capellini. Calamari and fresh bread were tasty enough. We were there for the company more than anything else as one friend was visiting from Singapore – so it was great to hear news and updates.

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Unfortunately the top split!
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