stop and smell the rosés

My mother used to make the best icing. Like many of her tried and true recipes, it came from the Joy of Cooking (to this day my first and only cooking bible), and called for confectioner’s sugar, butter, vanilla and cream (and of course food colouring). There were two things that made it so special; the first was that it was only ever made to top birthday cakes (there are 8 in my family, so many opportunities in a year). The second was it was hard icing, unlike the soft butter cream icings that everyone else seemed to prefer. It was the hours-long (!) wait in the fridge between the time the cake got iced and the time it got served, which made it harden. And then when you ate it, the first bite or two of cake was framed with a stiff sugary crust, but then the third bite (assuming you could slow down and make the slice last more than 30 seconds) was when the icing would start to soften and even melt in your mouth if you let it linger on your tongue. That’s what made it sublime.

Vanilla beans, vanilla extract, vanilla flavoured icing. I come by this memory honestly!

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it’s business time

This is how my life looks everyday.

This is my other house.

You may think that I’m only sharing the things that make this look fun and easy.  I take pictures when I’m amused and/or amazed (it doesn’t take much, as you can tell).  My posts are typically guided by what pictures I’ve taken during the week, as I like to be able to show you what I’m talking about. Although frankly, even the things that are bothersome or frustrating in the moment are at least a little bit funny, looking back at them through the lens of a little time.  And wine.  I promise you’re hearing those stories (the tram, the mosquitos, and the heat!) even if they’re lighthearted and perhaps watered down by the time I write about it.  That said, I don’t want you to think that everything here is sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, so this time around I’ll only talk about serious academic stuff and all the downsides of living in Bordeaux… Read More