Saturday, 27 October 2012

In Which Herman Is Frenchified

You may remember that some months ago I be given the starter and recipe for a Herman German Friendship cake. (See here for that post.) Not to be outdone I do persevere in experimenting with the recipe for the cake: soya milk instead of dairy in the starter, less sugar in the starter, less baking powder and less sugar in the cake, sour cherries, white chocolate, prunes, apricots, crystallised ginger.... you name it, I poke it in. The cake always tastes good but I never never have found the right baking time and temperature. It has nice sourdoughish holes in it but it always ends up solid and undercooked in the middle.

Some things in the recipe don't seem to conform with the principles of sourdough baking.... which The Old Man do frequently educate me in.... The original recipe uses baking powder in addition to the "starter" and allows no time for proving. So what is the point of the sourdough starter?

During all of this frantic Herman experimenting time... my sugar-restricted-soyamilk-instead-of-dairy "starter" be getting feistier and feistier. Instead of smelling of alcohol it starts to smell of yeast. And it do start to bubble away with vigour. So I decide that my next "cake" will be a kugelhopf and I will be brave and rely on the starter alone to raise the cake.

Looking around the internet for some guidance I do find a very helpful site - "Sourdough Companion". And there I do find, instead of a kugelhopf, a recipe for sourdough brioche. I do nerve myself up and commence the long.... very long... process for to make this French beauty... with my startled and somewhat altered Herman the German starter jollop. And here is the result.

OK. Not in dainty French shape or in buns... I's too much of a beginner to fully master the shaping process so I just about manage eventually to tiff the dough into loaf tins. I bake them at around 200C for ten minutes then down to around 185C for 30-35 minutes. Here is the original recipe from "Graham" at Sourdough Companion.

I have never baked or eaten brioche before. But whatever this is.... it be nice.
Ooh-la-la! Sugar-free Herman enjoys things French.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Mrs D Still Listening To "Foreign Bodies"

Mrs D be listening to Mark Lawson's eurocrime series "Foreign Bodies" on BBC Radio 4 with great enjoyment and much nodding of approval. She likes to say that she do read the eurocrime for the social and political content also. (Har! Har!) Whatever, she do enjoy Mr Lawson being able to express what she cannot. Although she do admit that she haven't read half the writers he have talked about so far.

A reminder for those able to tune in to BBC Radio 4 that there is an omnibus edition of this week's series coming up on Friday evening 26th Oct at 21.00.

.... and as part of the overall season.... a series of Saturday afternoon plays based on the Swedish crime writers Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall character of Martin Beck starts this week on Saturday 27th Oct at 14.30. with "Roseanna".

Monday, 22 October 2012

Mrs D Admits Her Ignorance

We do listen today to the first episode of  Mark Lawson's series of 15 minute programmes on European crime fiction on BBC Radio4 called "Foreign Bodies" as mentioned in my previous post. This episode looks at Christie's "Poirot" and Simenon's "Maigret".

Now I did make that Mrs D stand in the corner wearing a dunce's cap. For she tells me that despite reading a lot of crime fiction and sometimes writing about it.... she have never (pregnant pause) read a Poirot or a Simenon. (Gasp!) I tell her she be admitting ignorance then.

But she remains defiant, I do hear her muttering into the corner that she does not want to read Agatha Christie. After some silence, I do hear her say that maybe she should read some Simenon.

Ha-ha. I think so too.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Mark Lawson's European History Through European Crime Stories

The very estimable broadcaster Mark Lawson is to be doing a series of short programmes on BBC Radio4. As of Mon Oct 22 at 1.45pm they will broadcast daily for 15 episodes. The series is called "Foreign Bodies"  in which... and I quote.... "Mark Lawson shows how crimes reflect Europe's times" by taking a look at some of the most celebrated detectives in European crime fiction.

I and Mrs D will be followin' it all closely: on the radio, recorded, or from the BBC website. We shall be there.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Old Man Explores Literary Genres

Discussin' the Man Booker Prize, The Old Man be talking about the Will Self book "Umbrella"....

".....It's Stream-of-Consciousness?...
.... Stream-of-Consequences?...

It's The Old Man's "overactive thesaurus" thingy again, innit.
Room for thought.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Animated Discussions: Google Celebrates Winsor McCay

Today you can catch Google's elaborate Doodle-Tribute to cartoonist and early animator Winsor McCay. Their animated tribute is a notable thing in itself. I'd like to acknowledge not only McCay's early foray into animation but to his surreal and elegant comic and illustration style .... what I do like immensely.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Listening To The Radio: The Flower Fields of Cornwall

Sorry, but I am a bit remiss in the Blog department at the moment. Not helped by continuous mists, rain, fog and the gloom that do accompany it all. Today, for the moment, the sun do shine. So it be all hands to the pumps for the washing to get it out there to dry (no tumble dryer here).

And that do lead to burying the dead rat I do find in the pathway... Yes you did read that right. Dead rat. Rural life. And probl'y despatched by a neighbours' cat...

Then I do clear up the layers of "Cornish palm" leaves lying about from the last few days of bad weather.... What with washing up, mopping the floor.... here I am. Well what I really mean to say is... that I come in from my rat-burying duties to find I am missing a programme on BBC Radio4 about "The Flower Fields of Cornwall". Very interesting it be too. (So I must go along to the website and catch up on the whole thing.) Because in part it is talking about the tiny patchwork fields that were made at the very edge of the land above the sea. You can still see a few (and some are allotments) over at Mousehole where they were recording. But I remember, in my youthy days in Carbis Bay, my friend and I would walk the lower footpath towards St. Ives. And I did wonder about these tiny sloping patches directly above the rocky shore, hedged and somehow looking deliberate. I did see the remnants of cultivated violet crops there, no longer tended and picked, but still growing... the dark purple, large flowered and fragrant variety that would be sold in little bunches. So,  I am really pleased to find out that I was not mistaken and that these must have been the remnants of  "quillets", the name given to these tiny strip fields.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Animated Discussions: David Elwell & Gareth Hughes: Gloam

Re-blogging a post and video from Animated Review. Animated Review: David Elwell & Gareth Hughes: Gloam: In this atmospheric short from David Elwell & Gareth Hughes we see a wonderfully animated CG character wandering a dark forest alone....."

So this is a spur of the moment share.... because..... I did just consider this "dark forest"  thingy in the the 12 year old Judderman ad. And then too Mrs D have just read John Connolly's "The Wrath of Angels" set in Maine and therefore rabbiting on to me about the mythy, supernatural, age-old thing about forests.... Brothers Grimm, Twin Peaks, ya-da-ya-da....

So Animated Review have happened to pick out "Gloam" - a little short from David Elwell and Gareth Hughes about something in the Dark Woods. Have a look-see.

Friday, 5 October 2012

A Night Out With The "Wah! Wah! Girls"

So I did see "Wah!Wah!Girls" at the Hall for Cornwall last night. Finishes tomorrow, Saturday 6th October, mind. And I did enjoy it. The Old Man was a bit more picky about it. But... picky is what he does. Cast be good and the older leads very much so. I did very much enjoy Rina Fatania's irrepressible "Bindi". The sets are ingenious, relying on photographs on gauze and frame-worked movable pieces of set like a "25 Bus". And also of course I do like bright colours, lights, glitter, music and dance and the occasional bit of puppetwork. Well. I would wouldn't I. A modern story by playwright Tanika Gupta with music by Niraj Chag and directed by KneeHigh's Emma Rice. All very fine by me though it has to be said the show's reviews have been a bit patchy.

But going out for the evening be a bit difficult in rural Cornwall. On a night of driving rain and gusty winds... a twenty-five mile car trip.... No high heels and high fashion, I'm afraid. But not sure if The Old Man can get into his high heels anymore. So we do climb out the car in walking boots and parkas! Well... The Old Man do flash his leather jacket but it do get wet.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Animated Discussions: The Dark European World of the Quay Brothers

Have spoken about the Quay Brothers before and their stop motion animations that create an almost microscopically scaled world of a surreal dark imagination. Almost too elegant? I don't know, but a fan I be. Anyway MOMA in New York has opened a retrospective of their filmwork including the later live action films such "Institute Benjamenta".
I think that... as often happens...the feel of their work influenced other stuff including advertising. I be trying to think of an advert from the early 2000s that did remind me of that dark world. It advertised some kind of drink. Turns out that I be thinking of an advert directed by Enda McCallion for a defunct Schnapps-based alcopop called Metz... and it featured a character called the Judderman. (You can watch it here and a clip about its making.) Watching the advert again I see it is nothing like I remembered.... and not even animation really!  What a strange thing my mind be. Maybe some apologies to Quay Brothers...... Though... Judderman was a good ad.