Writing: Part 2 The Return

This is the second part in a series of my writing works-in-progress. This one begins with ‘The Port’ which I wrote about ten months ago. It belongs somewhere in the fantasy genre. I had a few ideas with this and ended up writing this part up late at night earlier this week. It was a good way to unwind.

As an aside, I recently decided to make ‘having an appreciation of spirits’ a longer term goal of mine.

My thoughts are each bottled spirit is the result of science and research into flavours and process, and is a measure of skill and effort. One of the objectives underpinning each bottle, like many things I’d suggest, is to be known as a product of fine quality and great enjoyment. There are also plenty of bottleshops. These beverages must be enjoyable. 

Ergo, drinking hard liquors could make for a tasty and fun pasttime. It could prove very expensive too—which is why I’ve made this a longer-term goal and I’ll stick with a spend limit of under $60 per bottle, if even that, which to me seems reasonable enough.

I want to own the bottles of the beverages I try. Just because. While I could sample different drinks before buying, I am happy to browse reviews and to then decide on something to purchase. I feel like by-the-bottle ownership and collection is an observable hallmark of this being more of a hobby, as opposed to not—and what it isn’t includes a lot of things, like being the start of an unhealthy drinking habit. I’ll (hopefully) keep this to one bottle at a time, lest I pass out… from realising I’ve blown my wage on booze. 

All things considered, if it means trying exciting flavours and if it perhaps helps take the edge off things on occasion, this could very well be worth it. And I will at least have a better appreciation of the beverages than I do at present. 

Getting Part 2 on paper I can say was aided by two shots of Captain Morgan rum. 🥃 #suddenlyinspired. 

Read previous: Part 1: The Port

***

Part 2: The Return

Manicured fingers holding a pin began to pick at the locks on the suitcase positioned at the centre of the stage.

There was a loud pop as the suitcase sprang open.

Immediately a cloud of thick smoke released into the air, bringing with it the overpowering smell of bergamot and patchouli. The incense was contrasting and brash, but not unpleasant. It transported the audience. Dessenmire had brought the shop of a fortune-teller to the Port. They were about to be treated.

‘She’s one of the magic acts! I bet you she’s a witch!’ an excited girl with piercing blue eyes and messy bronze hair squealed excitedly, as several of the crowd looked to the back row with disapproval.

‘Tell us something we don’t know,’ grunted the boy seated next to her feigning a yawn.

‘Kurt, it’s the first time Flora’s been out in ages. It is the first time I’ve been out in ages,’ muttered the man beside him with slight annoyance. He had the young girl on his lap, and with the poor seating they had managed to scarp, Leven Vruikton was sweating and regretting his choice of an overcoat. Kurt Galling’s usual snide remarks were the last thing he needed.

‘Look who’s making all this noise. I’m trying to enjoy the show,’ huffed Kurt, holding his algae-green jumper up pretending to create a wall between their seats.

Leven sighed. Kurt was in his late teens. He had to know that his childishness was quickly getting old.

Grateful that he had suggested only three of them go today and that the rest of the In-Charge on Consociate Thirty of the Starlock had listened, Leven’s mind wandered. Leaving the ship in Moraen’s hands was not ideal but he needed a break. One day at the Port would not be the end of the world.

‘Flora, I think you’re right,’ he whispered softly in the girl’s ear. ‘There’s usually a magic act in the top hundred. Make that a few, usually. I haven’t seen one in the longest time.’ 

She answered his kind eyes with a broad grin and pinched his arm playfully.

‘I knew it! I knew it!’ she said wriggling.

‘Careful, Winters. My leg!’ He winced as the heel of her pink Mary-Jane sandal dug into his thigh.

He hadn’t expected her to notice. ‘Lev, I’m sorry,’ she said climbing off him. Flora managed to give him a clumsy hug, before promptly returning to his lap, making an effort to dangle her legs to one side. Her tiny hands were cold. He patted her head and pulled his red scarf around her. Flora Wintershire was like a daughter to him. 

The smoke had disbursed leaving behind a fine haze. Dessenmire’s back was now to the crowd, and the suitcase out of view. She raised her arms as the stage dimmed. Her split-back yellow dress accentuated thin flaxen hair, and made privy a fragile frame and ghost-white skin. The sound of haunting panpipes began to play as she began to twirl her hands chanting melodious words in a foreign tongue.

All eyes fixated on the living doll. Her song and dance was haunting. 

‘She’s so beautiful,’ Flora gasped. 

‘She is, isn’t she?’ replied Leven with a slight smile. He felt his mind being distracted. He pinched himself. ‘Do you see her wrist? Look closely.’

‘What is it?’ 

In a swift motion he swung the girl easily on to his shoulders, ‘There. Five pearls in a crescent shape, that’s it. The sign of Ith’sazar. Hers is blue. I wonder.’ 

‘What’s a crescent?’ 

‘The half-moon of our skies,’ he said signalling for them both to shush. She mimicked his action.

**

With each lyric, Dessenmire seemed to be describing something of beauty and purity. Gentleness and an angelic quality carried through her words.

Her voice grew stronger. 

From the suitcase, the blackness of a shadow erupted and a three-foot tar-black figure took form, skyrocketing to the ceiling, as if being freed from a prison. Several terrified screams filled the room.

‘Now, now, people,’ came the unsure voice of a startled Riktor Silkbatton.

‘Let Miss Dessenmire continue,’ he warned, motioning to the man in the purple suit before returning to his normal speaking voice.

‘Quickly, tissues for Miss Rosenne. Mr Dofter, would you, please? Must I ask you! The lady has been frightened. Quickly!’

He nodded at Dessenmire to continue.

‘What was that?’ Kurt had inched closer. His eyes were wide. Leven couldn’t help but stifle a smirk at the boy’s sudden change in attitude. Flora had buried her face in Leven’s arm. 

**

Riktor’s businesslike manner seemed to reassure the frightened faces in the crowd. The blackness continued to rise as she continued her song. The shadow grew larger still as Dessenmire moved away from the suitcase, revealing that it was empty.

Floating above the suitcase, was a black shadow with physical form. It was alive, moving to its own rhythm.

‘Pron el’n neth ver’ie’, Dessenmire said in a controlled voice.

The darkness changed form. The unmistakable form of a man. A beast. Then it shrunk and seemed to become the shadow a woman. 

‘A’sha, fi ney. Return,’ she spoke.

The room was plunged into blackness for a split second. It returned to brightness. Candles, coloured deep purples and firey reds, appeared where the shadow had been. The playing of circus music interrupted the silence.

**

Dessenmire took a bow to thunderous applause. The noise of a crowd in awe overtook the room. Amidst the noise, Dessenmire could hear questions flying: who and how, was she an enchantress. Enthusiastic voices were trying to figure out what they had witnessed. The Chairman stood for a second before departing the box.

‘Brilliant, Miss Dessenmire,’ Riktor said, briefly taking her hand. He led her off stage and waved for the resident porter to follow behind them with the suitcase. 

He strode back towards the microphone, ‘Judges. Scoring please. As usual, hand back to me at the conclusion of the event. With that, we break!’ 

He swung around singing as if an opera countertenor, ‘My hands, eyes, and the rest of me, are currently busy. Jadler, I will be handing over to you. Jaddd-lerr.’

‘Yes, boss, ne’er a problem,’ the lanky gentleman in a matching maroon suit lazily spat out a half-chewed toothpick and shook Riktor’s shoulder, ‘Off you pop, lad.’

Riktor straightened his tie grinning. Noticing the room emptying, he stepped down into the backroom.

‘Did they like it, Riks?’ Dessenmire took the boy’s arm gently. Without the glaring lights, she was different. Plainer, much more like the woman he remembered her to be. Her eyes were the same, asking a million things. The innocent way she spoke hadn’t changed. He felt she always valued his opinion much more than her own. 

Riktor looked taken aback for a moment. ‘Riks,’ his eyes danced as he paused, ‘That’s the first time anyone’s called me that in the longest time!’ 

She noticed his hand shaking.

L’Ouvelle prompted, ‘Well, how did I do?’ 

He regained his composure. ‘What can I say, whatever that was, you had me scared there. What was that?

Where exactly did that come from? 

You have us all spellbound. 

I’m not meant to say this, but there’s no point pretending otherwise: Holsteins will want to see you. Haakon will have heard.’ 

His voice grew quieter, ‘Also, there’s a lot I don’t know about you.’ Riktor leaned in, placed a hand on her shoulder and procured her a jacket in the other. 

‘Everyone knows you’re the witch, after that performance. A witch at the Port, that’s quite unbelievable.’ 

He looked her dead in the eye, ‘Twenty-one years it’s been. I’m not sure I believe it.’ 

She took that as a cue to kiss his cheek: ‘I am back Riks’. Caramel and tiger orchid filled his nose. He couldn’t help but blush. 

‘Tomorrow, how about I meet you at Wesley’s, the pub down near the riverside? Stage one will continue during the day and I’m going to bored out of my wits. There are no magic acts. I will need something to perk me up a bit. Wesley’s, I have heard, does fine burnt marshmallow pies.’

She nodded, amused, ‘Burnt marshmallow, really.’

‘Really,’ Riktor laughed. 

**

Alone in the cabin Leven was pacing. He was glad he had managed the three of them to the inn. Not many places accepted foreign tender, Qos coins especially. The pudgy woman who had served him had raised an eyebrow but said nothing. Flora had been shaken by the shadow. Referring to it as ‘the monster’, she had complained it was out to get her and refused to leave Leven’s side. Hot chocolate with extra chocolate seemed to have worked and she had quickly fallen asleep. 

Kurt had retired to his room after attending the pub foot rub, an advertised bonus for staying at the inn. He had remarked at being thoroughly impressed with the result. Kurt had explained that the foot rub consisted of a burly man filing his feet before applying a sweet-smelling apple oil. He had happily paraded his new callous-free feet and surprised Leven with an apology for their tiff earlier. His jolly spirits had Leven wondering if the explanation had been entirely truthful.

They were ahead of schedule by a day. No one would be expecting them back until evening tomorrow. 

The In-Charge turned a blind eye to most things short of a disaster. The captain, whose views seemed always to take precedence amongst the six of them, had been especially moody. 

Leven scoffed at the idea of Flora’s father deciding to take an interest in his daughter, envisaging the captain jumping​ at the opportunity to suggest that Flora had been put in danger. Raul Wintershire would have them grounded on the Starlock. Raul was good at being a captain. Experienced, knowledgeable​, and generous with his time on matters relating to the ship. Other matters, Raul kept to himself. Leven could never distill what exactly the captain did in his offtime, observing only that he disappeared on and off at odd hours. Whatever it was, his plans rarely included Flora.

Moraen would no doubt be spending the majority of his time below deck, scoping out potential swinging voters, and making the most of their absence. Leven had tried his best to stay out of the politics and games, but there was no denying that they were important. He had resigned to the idea that he would be roped in more than he already was for the sake of appeasing the Consociate and keeping his position.

He reassured himself of his decision to delay a return to the Starlock: it would avoid needless dialogue. Whispers of Dessenmire would find their way to the ship. They didn’t need to hear it from him.

The shadow stayed on Leven’s thoughts. Tension was wearing on the stony-faced appearance he had been keeping up. 

Where had the shadow come from? What he had witnessed was not from this world. It did not matter if it had all been a trick. Dessenmire was real. Whatever creature she had brought to the Port was neither human nor animal. What of the stories he had heard? There was more truth to tales of the sea than people believed. Long-winded as they were, the warblings of Warlin, elders aboard the ship, had given him glimpses into lives lived before him. He had listened to ancient lives of another world. Stories of things unbounded, unexplainable by the laws of this world. Happenings that had fed his curiosity and more recently forced his attention.

The mark of Ith’sazar had been lost on the commonfolk of the Port. Dessenmire had not cared to hide whatever link she had with them. If the Ith’sa were back, that meant there were others. Witherey as they were known among seafarers were not to be trusted. They were different. Human, but a different breed. The spells and the creatures they liked to create had wreaked havoc before. 

He watched the glowing embers in the fireplace. His thoughts drifted, unable to settle. His past, his present, his future. The uncertainty was never-ending.

He swirled the drink in his glass. He felt a war brewing.

***

© enchirist
August 2018

Baking: Choc-Mint Slice

I have a confession​ to make: I messed up. I got my dates all mixed up. I’ve gone and done something that’s almost criminal. 

I let July 21 pass without the moment of reverence it deserved.

I missed National Lamington Day. I know. It is with an unopened pack of dessicated coconut against my heart that I say ‘Lamington proponents of the day, I acknowledge your right to get the pitchforks out’.

Early last week (I lie: coming on two now) I was up late researching Lamington recipes of all types—traditional, filled, flavoured, banana bread Lamingtons even. I feel like that last one might fail the bona fide Lamington test if there were such a thing. An unAustralian Lamington or a very Australian Lamington? I wonder what Captain Cook would have thought. Would he have shipped the banana bread Lamington pairing? I have a feeling he might just have flagged both as delicious.

Lamingtons had, by all accounts, been in mind. I had sorted through all the must-know tips for sorting National​ Lamington Day (I was amazed: there are articles on this). I had the date set in my mind. During the week, I had done a Woolies shop for Lamington supplies, and had even remembered to bring my reusable Woolworths Macro Jute bag like a good little Woolies customer. I had bought my two types of coconut for the pantry: shredded and dessicated. Yes, they are different, and no, that wasn’t impressed upon my mind until said research into Lamingtons. I had got a new half-kilo butter block for the fridge. I had stocktaked my chocolate stash to ensure the adequacy of supplies: two full tins of dutch cocoa powder, one of Nestlé’s cooking cocoa, and three blocks of chocolate. Ostensibly satisfactory to most minds, but I always get a niggling feeling that more I could do with.

Then things got in the way. Enthusiasm waned. Lost in a sea of distractions, the arbitrary passing of time, somewhere between four sunrises and sunsets, Lamington Day dropped off my radar. 

Four days later I instead did up a choc-mint slice.

Because I felt like mint. 

I’ve resolved to postpone Lamingtons until such time that I can do them justice. Lamington Day Atonement Day is in the pipeline. Lamingtons on hold…

Here’s the recipe for the choc-mint slice

Ingredients:
150g butter
1 egg
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 cup plain flour
1/3 cup SR flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup desiccated coconut, plus extra

Mix butter and sugar. Mix through egg. Add extracts, cocoa powder and stir through flours. Bake in a lined slice tin at 150°C for 20-30min until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool while preparing icing.

Icing:
2 cups icing sugar 
50 g butter
2 tbps water
1-2 tsp peppermint extract
1 drop green food colouring

Cream butter and sugar. Add water and extract. Add colour. Mix well.

Spread on top of cooled slice. I didn’t let mine cool, they were just out of the oven and onto the board—definitely made it fiddly to ice and cut. 

Ever since discovering Nestlé’s Peppermint Crisps this year, I’ve been digging minty flavours. It’s like it flicked on a switch allowing me to appreciate mint-flavoured things rather than have them remind me of toothpaste. 

These mint slices are light as, and very easy to eat your way through. They won’t do your wallet in. 

For an absolutely mint version of these, I’d add:
• to the topping, a sprinkling of crushed Nestlé Peppermint Crisps and chopped up Nestlé Mint Patties. Replace the icing with melted dark chocolate. Add a tablespoon or two of peppermint schnapps to keep things cool as a cucumber.
• to the base, a good chunk of a block of melted Lindt Dark Intense Mint from their Excellence range. This stuff is velvety and simply mint.

I am going to have to do the decadent version of these. I’ll add it to the list of things I’ve mint to do but haven’t.

Sicilian Toastie and Margherita Pizza, The Italian Corner, William Street

I spend way too much on lunch.

Every day I consider going on a diet of Vegemite sangers and Robert Timm’s instant coffee. I also promptly tergiversate on the idea when faced with lunch break and ever-present possibility of happiness being just around the corner.

I also spend way too much on coffees.

I once had a particularly bad streak of buying coffee each morning. I then decided, pledging to make better decisions, that I should probably put a stop to the daylight robberies. 

The first day without my morning coffee, I gained a full appreciation of this quote, commonly but mistakenly attributed to Michael​ Jordan: ‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.’ It was 100% a difficult morning. Sans magical concoction, the withdrawal symptoms began. Said symptoms were notoriously mild, in the scheme of things and given the substance in question: I ate a Cherry Ripe—an unwise choice of appetite suppressant that at best satisfied the wrong craving—following which, I made up a sachet of Moccona’s Peppermint Choc Bliss—which, admittedly, proved to be a substitute relative in deliciousness and enjoyment.

Taking things out of context, the sporting origin of this quote has me wondering about the existence of possible deeper meanings behind it. Dope, just unintended double-entendre. 

Here’s what I had for lunch on Thursday and Friday this week. I decided I’d frequent the new, well fairly new, place The Italian Corner.

I went for the Sicilian Toastie, ‘prosciutto, fresh tomato, bocconcini’, $7.50 and the Margherita Pizza ‘mozarella, semi-mature cheese, fresh basil’, also $7.50. How good do they look?

The toastie had a lot going for it. 

It had melty, stringy cheesiness, which I ate all the while mindful of the ease with which I might grow a cheese beard. It had saltiness from the prosciutto and freshness from the self-described ‘fresh’ tomato. It had sufficient crustiness and grillege, an imaginary word which here seems proper and conducive to communicating the requisite grilledness this toasty exhibited. As my one-thirty pm late lunch, it was a well-primed and served lunchbox of happiness.

The pizza, too, was a satisfactory option. The pizza featured a non-floury base of mid-range thickness, with a profusely gooey cheese sitting amidst a moderate backing of tomato sauce that had the slightest detection of onion. It was a stroll through the park on a day with the sun shining and the smell of spring in the air. The limited topping of spinach acted as a garnish on the already-satisactory pizza. I enjoyed it.

Which reigns supreme: the toastie or the pizza? I conclude the result of this cheesy conundrum a confused ‘currently inconclusive’. A determination will demand further visitations.

As an observation, pizzas, coffees and ice-cream earn you a punch on the loyalty card. No love for the toastie.

Taste verdict Classic lunchtime fare. I’m a great fan of cheesy things.

⭐⭐⭐

Discovery in the Blogosphere: the Liebster Award

A slightly different post, but I had fun with this so maybe more like this in future. Three-ish days ago I got a super nice comment from a fellow blogger who tagged me in this. Here goes!

The Liebster Award is all about welcoming new bloggers and learning something about the blogger behind the blog. Here are the rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Display the award on your post.
  3. Write a small post about what makes you passionate about blogging
  4. Provide 10 random facts about yourself
  5. Answer the questions given to you
  6. Nominate 5-11 other blogs for this award
  7. Ask them creative and unique questions of your own
  8. List the rules and inform your nominees of the award

1, 2, 8. Shoutout and thanks to How to be an okay person for the tag! 

3. I’ve a lot to say on this one, and I’ll expand on this prompt. Bear with me, or skip to the end.

I love the idea of creating original content and my blog is one outlet for creativity. I crave more of that creative aspect in my life. I want to write my truth as I am now, as I am at this point of my life. 

My blogs through the years have been things I’ve started, then failed on consistency, and then abandoned. There was always a reason these blogs of the past decade were not good enough.

My blogging has always been a personal outlet. From time to time, I go back to writings of the past—thoughts, stray observations, short stories. 

I used to read back at some of my thought posts with some level of disdain—mainly because the writing of past me lacks authenticity. I know because at that time it was impossible to be myself. Even on my own personal blog that I’d created for myself to read, which is ridiculous. I was scared future me would judge my actual thoughts at that time. It is a cruel irony: the very thing I was scared of writing is the very thing I regret. I know this because that was me then.

I look back now through lens of acceptance. I suppose growing up teaches you that you don’t need to constantly validate (or invalidate) your thoughts against or based on some construct of what they should be. Thoughts just are. In hindsight, I see how this aspect controlled who I was to the world. My identity. My projected identity and hugely the way I interacted with the world. I cannot stress how important it is not to compromise on identity. 

Who you are to you is critical. Who you are to make you happy is critical. If you cannot be authentic with yourself, then how can you ever feel free in any sense? Being true to yourself. Being the authentic version of you is where happiness starts and ends. 

It was the beginning of 2016 that I started to write down my thoughts with some consistency. I was curious to know what I might think of myself in years to come. It’s one thing to remember a time of your life; it’s another thing to be able to read about it from you. I also wanted to improve the fluency of my writing, and to get better at writing you need to write—about anything.

Come mid-2017, I decided to extend my blogging to creative areas beyond that personal space. 

This year, and particularly from May onwards, I’ve looked to exploring content in ways I haven’t before. Original content that is real, that represents exactly that, is content that makes me happy. 

4. If I have to isolate ten facts about myself, how can they be random facts? I will try to honour randomness. 

One – I was born with ten toes.
Two – The last meal I had was a Four ‘n’ Twenty beer flavoured pie.
Three – I would be a tomato sauce goes in the fridge not the cupboard person if I ate tomato sauce on a more regular basis.
Four – As stated in my profile, I am an under-100 year old.
Five – I wear glasses on occasion.
Seven – Based on this list, I clearly can’t count.
Six – Midnight is when my thoughts are clearest.
Eight – I love wrapping presents.
Nine – I do not have a shortcrust pastry recipe yet on my site.
Ten – The sky is usually blue wherever I am. Coincidence?

5. 10 Questions 
1) What would the official soundtrack of your life be?
This is a hard one it would be a very eclectic mix of things making up the soundtrack. Here are a few things that would be on my multi-CD soundtrack:
Sun

– some pop/prog-rock: Genesis
– some pop: Richard Marx, Miley, 1D and their individual spin-offs haha, Linkin Park, Evanescence, Elton John
– some classical: Jacqui Evancho, Martina McBride, Celtic Woman, Martina Prior
– some popera: Il Volo, Collabro
– some Norwegian stuff: Sveinung Hølmebakk, Sigvart Dagsland
– some random bits and pieces: Joker Xue, Samantha Barks, Westlife, Susan Boyle, Deuter.

2) Describe the ideal superhero in the real world.
The ideal superhero would be a fund that takes my super and multiplies it! My ideal superhero is a hero who is someone who does what a superhero is supposed to do: save the day. Be there. Be the hero. And be super at it.

3) What would the motto and the crest of your family be?
I would go for a dragon or lion’s head or maybe a unicorn. A beast of sorts. The motto would need to be simple. I would be okay with getting forever lols from something like ‘beast mode 4 lyf’.

4) What is your most/least favourite English word?
I can’t decide! The worst would be a least favourite person’s name. 😎 The most…I can’t decide.

5) If you had the chance to turn back time, how different would the decisions in your life be, knowing what you now know?
Knowing what I know now in the past, my life would be very different. My decisions would be very different. I would have more belief in my decisions.

6) Describe your most prominent memory anytime it rained?
Not my most prominent moment but an abstract moment that held significance. 

She stood in the shower and turned up the hot water. The running of the hot water against her skin was immediately calming. The wind had been howling all day and the rain had been heavy. On and off, hail and drizzles. Wintery and terrible. It was heavy rain again. Tomorrow’s forecast, too.

The dips in the streets would fill with little pools of water. Cars would look extra clean. Cheeks would be dewy. The trains would be holding free umbrella day.

There would be the inevitable dripping of water from the hole in the ceiling, to the bed post, to her pillow tonight if the rain continued. The roof knew where best to spring a leak. It was great at playing raindrop dominoes. 

The rain had been making it difficult to go anywhere this week. Water everywhere. If only it would drown out her thoughts.

The hot water against her felt like relief. The shampoo, apple infused, had been a good choice. It lathered well and the scent was pleasant. 

The long shower came to a reluctant end. Feeling fresher, she hopped into bed and pulled the covers close. What a day. What a week.

Droplets began to pelt the pillowcase. 

The rain outside had stopped.

It looked like the cloud had moved inside.

7) What one mythical creature would you like to turn into and why?
I’d turn into a fairy because every fairy’s story has to come with a fairy tale ending.

8) Who is one person, dead or alive, you would love to spend 24 hours with?
The who they are includes their kindness, their care, the joy they bring, and their expressive eyes which speak more than words can ever say.

9) If you could have a tattoo (or another one, if you’ve already gotten some), what would it be and why?
I would get a tattoo of a rainbow unicorn. A reminder that there is bliss to be had if you look hard enough.

10) How much chocolate is too much chocolate?
Never enough. Can you ever have too much chocolate? I eat chocolate everyday.

6. I tag these blogs for the Liebster Award because they have cool content (and look forward to their replies to my list of questions below, should they decide to participate😎).

TrkingmomoeCooking for HumansRewarded with WordsThank you GB Bake OffChef Keith, Simple Gourmet CookingVegan BajanRachael HakimJourney from a Polish KitchenThe Hungry Food MonstersMaking a Long Story ShortOh Yes They Did

7. My questions
1) How would you describe yourself?
2) What’s the most extreme thing you have done?
3) If you could spend a day with someone who would that someone be?
4) What is one piece of advice you’d give on a 21st birthday?
5) What/who is on your playlist?
6) Describe a moment that made you happy.
7) Describe your favourite breakfast, lunch, dinner, and/or dessert?
8) How’s your day looking tomorrow?
9) If you could gain one superpower what would you choose and why?
10) Answer a question that’s not on this list that you’d like to answer or that would make this more fun!

No expectations, but I’d love to read yours back if you (or any bloggers/commenters old, new, and inbetween) do participate.

😊
Cheerio

– enchirist

Baking: No-bake Lemon and Coconut Slice

Slices are something I want to get into, and this one I had been wanting to try for some time. 

I feel like having a slice and coffee during a coffee break is the less fanciful, less pretentious option compared to having cake and coffee. 

Maybe it’s my overactive imagination. 

If you have coffee and a slice, more often than not I feel the coffee is the main event and the slice is merely a nice accompaniment. It is pretty standard fare, a non-event, to add a slice to an order of coffee. 

With coffee and cake, I think this raises the bar on the type of coffee break being had. At the very least I feel it connotes something more, something less ordinary than just coffee and a slice does. 

Cake is laden with more than just calories. 

‘Cake’ is more loaded with potential meanings than ‘slice’. 

Cake with a morning coffee is easier to judge. 

Cake implies countless things. From celebration, to decadence, to gluttony, but also, to why—having a bad day? In need of a sugar hit? Cake in the morning? Sugar-much?

There’s the matter of determining whether the drawcard, the reason for the coffee break, was more the coffee or more the cake. The ratio for the underlying reasons is a grey area. Was it a coffee break, or a cake break disguised as a coffee break?

In all fairness, I don’t ever think getting a slice could ever inspire as much excitement or interest as cake does. To have cake, is to treat. Birthdays are cakedays not slicedays for a reason.

Still, in good company, if you scoot off to grab coffee but come back with cake too, tell me that you won’t be seen any differently than had you come back with a slice. 

But, like I said, I have a good imagination.

Slice and cake: different and unique and delicious in every way. I do get pretty cut up about these things. 

I must say I’m really pleased with how this midnight no-bake slice turned out!

Here’s the Recipe

Base
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
125g butter, softened
1 1/2 cup shredded coconut
Grated rind of 1 lemon
3/4 of 400g pack of plain digestive biscuits, crushed (McVities are my fav. They also crush very easily: no food processor needed, just whack them in a bag to crush.)

Combine butter and sweetened condensed milk well. Microwave to ensure combined, under a minute should do. Add biscuits and mix well. Add coconut and lemon rind. Combine very well. Spoon mixture evenly into a lined slice tin. Press down firmly with back of a glass until all compacted. Refrigerate while preparing icing. 

Icing
1 3/4 cups icing sugar, sifted
3-4 tbsp lemon juice, depending
40g butter, softened
1/4 cup coconut + excess coconut for topping

Combine icing sugar and butter. Cream as far as possible. Add in lemon juice, more if needed. Mix well. The mix should be fairly stiff, playdough like. Add in coconut and mix well.

With a spatula, spread icing over the base and compact. Once completely spread, sprinkle over a generous amount of coconut to completely cover the icing and press down. Refrigerate for an hour, or until set hard before cutting.

My midnight baking brain decided I’d take the photo opportunity to advertise McKenzie’s. 🤦

I had my slices in the fridge for about four hours after. This did wonders to fully set them so they firmed up. For a more citrusy ‘fresher’ taste I’d double the lemon rind. I might do when I next make these. 

They’re sweet; have them with coffee or tea.

Enjoy!