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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a prime(u)r on bordeaux wines

this guy is my hero

this guy is my style icon

I see him standing in front of the Cahors booth, burgundy-trouser-clad and scarf elegantly draped, modish black-framed glasses resting on top of his head, holding back his chin-length salt-n-pepa locks. He casually swirls the wine around in his mouth, gesticulating with glass in hand, and nodding emphatically at his friend (presumably) in appreciation for what he is tasting. And then I see it; a liquid Arc de Triomphe that leaps from his lips and dives into the spit bucket on the floor one foot away from the tip of his pointed shoe, with barely an errant splash; clothing, countenance and dignity intact. I am immediately and intensely jealous. Read More