dianeduane: (New DD Av)
"[Bilbo] had a horrible thought that the cakes might run short, and then he -- as the host: he knew his duty and stuck to it, however painful -- he might have to go without. "'Come along in, and have some tea!' he managed to say after taking a deep breath. "'A little beer would suit me better, if it is all the same to you, my good sir,' said Balin with the white beard. 'But I don't mind some cake -- seed-cake, if you have any.' "'Lots!' Bilbo found himself answering, to his surprise; and he found himself scuttling off , too, to the cellar to fill a pint beer-mug, and then to a pantry to fetch two beautiful round seed-cakes which he had baked that afternoon for his after-supper morsel." And there you have it. Clue-finder and web-cutter, friend of bears and guest of eagles, Ringwinner, Luckwearer, Barrel-rider: Bilbo Baggins bakes, too. Here is the all-round Hero in potentia, waiting for the Call... but with one eye on the oven timer. (And the appetite obviously heroic, as well. Only a hobbit would consider two whole seedcakes "a morsel".) ...It's been hanging about in British children's literature for a while now, the seed cake. The appearance in The Hobbit is hardly the first one: seed cake turns up as comfort food often enough, sometimes in strange disguises (the reference in Winnie the Pooh to "crustimoney proseedcake" is one of these). I woke up this morning (completely irrationally) with the yen for it and went to check what recipes were to be found. There are quite a few out there in the Webby part of the world at the moment: apparently the cake is having a mini-renaissance due to people rereading The Hobbit in the wake of the film, or in prep for it. Now, we've had a recipe for something similar over at European Cuisines for a while now, but it's more along toward the Irish-influenced "tea bread" end of the spectrum due to the chopped candied fruit in it. So I checked the classic recipe from Beeton, had a look at Delia and Nigel Slater, and then wandered about a little bit more (discovering along the line that we're out of baking parchment [makes a note on the kitchen chalkboard]) and assessed a few others.Read more... )
dianeduane: (New DD Av)

(aka, Double Chocolate Courvoisier Torte with Brandied Buttercream Filling and Two Icings [Brandied Nutella Frosting and Cream Cheese & White Chocolate Ganache Glaze])

(...Fic first. Recipe after.)

Mycroft... knows that power, especially when it leans so close to the absolute, must be constantly tested to prove that its foundations are sound. Its bearer's weak points must be laid bare, examined, reinforced, then stress-tested again. And for Mycroft, cake is a weak point. It would be irrational to deny it.

So when it comes time for him to do the quarterly assessment of his strengths and his ability to manage his weaknesses, not just any cake will do. He requires something truly dangerous, a veritable Moriarty among cakes... so that his mettle can be tested, and proven not wanting, at the highest possible level. And finding the worthy antagonist for such tests has occasionally proven as much fun as the test itself...

Read more... )


May. 26th, 2007 09:21 am
dianeduane: (Default)
This ad apparently premiered in the UK the day before my birthday, and the minute I saw it, I fell in love with it.

The love falls roughly into three parts: (a) The basic conceit of the ad. (b) The nuts and bolts of the production (i.e., trying to figure out how much of the construction really happened and how much only seemed to). [Update: it all happened. See below.] (c) Some of the little details (the licorice windshield wipers and fan belt, the gelatin brakelights, the royal-icing detailing, the guy pouring golden syrup into a gingerbread crankcase...).

Altogether a yummy piece of work, and the ad agency should be proud of itself / themselves.

The basic ingredients:

10kg white chocolate chunks | 20kg raisins | 3kg orange peel strips
25kg dried apricot | 12.5kg raspberry jam | 5kg cocoa powder
100kg wheat flour | 180 fresh eggs | 100kg caster sugar | 90kg brown sugar paste
50kg icing sugar | 40kg black sugar paste | 20kg glacier cherries
50kg white sugar paste | 30kg brown almonds | 42kg chocolate fudge

EDIT: There is "making of..." info here at one of the Skoda UK websites.

Also, see these news stories (or check them out if you have trouble getting the above URL to load:

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