Monday, January 19, 2009

Chocolate Brownies

Yesterday the Crimson Crumblies Chapter of the Red hat Society all met at our Queen Mel's house for tea. The purpose of the meeting was actually to have a discussion of some of the things we would like to do in 2009 and a start was made at this. We also discussed the fact that two of our number have recently appeared on television. Queen Mel is currently appearing in adverts of a women's magazine called "Yours" and member Kay has appeared in a programme tracing back her family history to her ancester who was the daughter of The Prince of Wales, later to become King George IV and Mrs Fitzherbert.

For the tea Queen Mel asked us to bring some cake to have with it. I made some Brownies, which received some nice comments. I posted the recipe for them in 2005. Here it is again.

Chocolate Brownies
The recipe originally comes from Helge Rubinstein's book "The Chocolate Book"

4oz Chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
2oz unsalted butter
3oz plain flour
good pinch baking powder
good pinch salt
2 eggs
6oz sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2oz walnuts, roughly chopped

1. Set the oven at Gas Mark 4, 180 C. Grease an 8inch (20cm) square baking tin.
2. Melt the chocolate gently. When cooled a little add the butter cut into small pieces. Stir until the butter has melted and blend with the chocolate.
3. Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt.
4. Beat the eggs together with the salt and vanilla until fluffy and blend in the chocolate and butter mixture.
5. Fold in the flour and then the walnuts.
6. Pour into the baking tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted just comes out clean.
7. Allow to cool, then cut into squares - they will turn fudgy as they cool.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Book Meme

I came across this Book Meme the other day and just couldn't resist it.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Underline those you intend to read.
3) Italicise the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - J D Salinger
19. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell

42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50. Atonement - Ian McEwan (No, but I’ve seen the film – that’s enough for me!)
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73.The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo


Monday, January 05, 2009

Happy New Year everyone.

For the Husband and I the actual New Year was quiet – just the two of us, in fact. Both the Stepdaughter and Stepson were spending the evening with their own friends – which was as it should be, given that they are 26 and 22 respectively and have their own lives.

Since then we’ve been waiting for the bitter cold weather to go as it has been too cold to leave the house for any length of time. The cold weather shows no sign of dissipating – we woke this morning to snow that has shown no sign of disappearing all day.

I’ve not mentioned though that we are having a quiet time. Because we are not. Before Christmas the Husband taught two evenings of his music classes on Hollywood musicals of the 30s and 40s, playing song and dance numbers to demonstrate the best of each period. Tomorrow evening he is doing Hollywood Musicals of the 50s and is busy going through all the DVDs of Musicals of the period that we own to work out what to include and what, reluctantly, to exclude. We have a lot of Musicals on DVD. So plugged into our television are currently two DVD players, one DVD recorder and two video players – so we now have cables all over the carpet we are trying not to fall over.

I love the film musicals of the period and have a passion for the music. So whenever he plays – over and over again – songs and dance numbers from the Bandwagon, Silk Stockings, GiGi, Annie Get Your Gun, Calamity Jane, 7 Brides for 7 Brothers and High Society I love listening and watching them. However, into every life a little rain must fall and some of the films from the period, especially Singing in the Rain and An American in Paris, I am less than enthusiastic about or perhaps it is just the one “Actor” in them. Gene Kelly has never been a favourite of mine. He is a good dancer, I fully admit, but I’ve never thought his voice the strongest and his acting, well let’s face it, his overacting, is terrible. I’ve always preferred Fred Astaire whose dancing, singing and sheer professionalism in every film he has appeared in to my mind far exceeds Gene Kelly’s.

Tomorrow evening the Husband undertakes his class. And then he returns all of the electronics back to their usual places. Tonight, of course, we pack up all the Christmas decorations away for another 11 months. And then the household returns to normal for the new year.