Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Dear Researcher...

Dear Researcher,
Please allow me to describe a creature to you, a machine designed to do your bidding; Programmed to obey your every demand without rebuttal or a murmur of complaint. It is a classic model, cased in burnished metal that glistens under the fluorescent lights of your office. This skin is tough enough to withstand the barrage of shots hurtled its way, suffering at most, a microscopic dent.  And it is flawed enough to avoid reflecting back the treatment to which it has become subject. She, for that is her appearance, has the appearance of being forever ignorant of the abuse and accusations with which you so liberally tarnish her, but you only see one setting. You’re only greeted with the smiles and politeness that go hand-in-hand with the tasks she performs. You cannot see the endeavours to avoid retaliation or simply ignore the task at hand. Or note the well-shod feet that tiptoe by so careful not to offend. You may deny it, but this creature is intelligent, ne’er surviving if this were not the case. She knows when not to speak, and hold her tongue, when to teach, and when it’s simpler to complete the task herself on your behalf. Her work is not to benefit herself, but aims to ease your load and simplify your job. And when her job is done, you think nothing more of packing her away and returning her to the dingy office where silently she waits again to do your bidding. Please allow me to describe a woman, to you an admin assistant.
Kind Regards, 

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Mastering Macarons - Attempt One

Travelling around France in 2008 I bought a macaron cookbook.
Two actually. 
Both full of pictures, both full of delicious recipes, both in French. 
But I bought them none the less, because I loved the macarons I'd been sampling throughout France and because I wanted to be able to continue sampling these amazing desserts when I went home, to a city where macarons were mistaken for macaroons.

Then in 2009, before Perth acquired an obsession with these French desserts and before everyone wanted to learn to make them, we took up the challenge, Claire Madeleine and I. As I have since learnt, macarons are difficult to make regardless, but on this occasion, we were cooking from a French recipe, with only Google to translate it for us. We followed the recipe to the letter, though it would have been easier if each of us had been a multi-armed Hindu goddess in our manipulation of the spatula, mixture, mixing bowl and piping bag. Somehow we managed, with the oven soon filled with trays of promising macarons.

They were passable. In the oven they looked pretty enough, but the cooking time wasn't nearly enough resulting in sticky collapsed rounds that needed to be prised off the baking paper.

However, with a liberal scoop of chocolate icecream, or dollop of lemon curd they tasted delicious, and with careful positioning could be made to look delectable... in a rustic sense.

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