25 February 2010

Telephone box library?

I was reading this article in Fine Books & Collections (February 2010) about how the residents of Westbury Village, Somerset solved their book problems when the city council decided that their mobile library van wasn't cost effective. They bought an old telephone box from British Telecom and fitted it with shelves and 100 books. It's a pretty nifty idea. I hope that people never stop reading books. Check out the whole article.

20 February 2010

Souffles and Custards

I would be remiss if I didn't update soon. It appears that it has been quite a while since I have written.

Some number of weeks ago I tried my hand at a Chocolate-Banana Fool. The OED explains a fool as "A dish composed of fruit stewed, crushed, and mixed with milk, cream, or custard." The word was first used in this sense in the late 1500s and was spelled with an e (foole). So essentially, a chocolate-banana fool is a sort of chocolate-banana custard. It was quite delicious, though the I think that next time I'll use a little less chocolate because it didn't mix into my custard as smoothly as I would have liked and so was a little grainy. but the semi-sweet chocolate definitely was a good sweetness.

After the fool, I tried a Cheese Souffle. Now, I have always heard the souffles are quite difficult to make, and that anything much of a loud sound will make them fall. I don't know about the loud noise (though I suspect that's merely and old wives' tale) but I do know that souffles aren't really that hard to make. You mix the ingredients, whip the egg whites, fold them together, and bake. They are delicious. I've tried to describe what exactly a souffle is to a number of people, and I have yet to come up with a very good explanation. It's sort of like a cake, only spongy-er, and a cheese souffle is kind of like cheesy scrambled eggs, but not. They are extremely light, and moist, and delish.

The week after I made this cheese souffle, I decided that one good souffle deserved another so I made "Hot Berry Souffles with a Mixed-berry Coulis," you know I like coulis. Instead of making these souffles in a big souffle dish like the cheese souffle, these I made in individual ramekins, so they were delightfully easy and individually portioned. The berry souffles were a nice light shade of purple, and were light, and fruity, and a great dessert. The best desserts are the ones where you can eat just a little and feel satisifed, and this was just that way. The coulis on top looked nice, and gave the souffle just the right sauce to eat it with. I included a picture of them right after they came out of the oven. They are amazingly tall, and fell quickly. but they were good--if I'm allowed to say that.

Earlier this week, I had the responsibility of providing treats for our weekly staff meeting, and so I made a Lemon Cream Tart. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture, so I have nothing to show for my work. Tarts are surprisingly easy to make, and quite tasty. The dough for the crust reminded me of the smell of cookie dough, (though the dough didn't taste like it. In fact it wasn't yummy at all). The lemon cream part was reminiscent of the filling that lemon meringue pies. I'll have to make it again sometime so that there can be a picture.