God Save the Queen

1 Aug

After a long, long day of writing yesterday–I need to take better care of my notes so this takes less than seven hours next time–I spent today cleaning the house, coloring my roots, running a couple of errands and otherwise plotting my next test.  This of course is going to be Honeypie’s Fruit Swirl Brownies (see related post and here), and while I have the utmost respect for a bakery that’ll publish its recipes in the paper–that’s balls, people–I do have to test it out for myself.  And, eventually, do it better.  Because that’s the kind of bastard I am.

The ingredients that Honeypie’s recipe requires are pretty pricey, though, so by “plotting my next test,” what I mean is that I’m plotting the purchase of those ingredients versus my upcoming paydays.  I know you know what I’m talking about it here.

But I’m honestly looking forward to seeing how these expensive hippie ingredients behave, and if I can achieve the same results with with my own hands and a noncommercial oven.  I’m looking less forward, however, to visiting the store that carries these ingredients because I think the place has more hippies per square foot than “Canada.” And you know, we Gen Xers have no patience for people who dream.

But enough about my troglodyte sensibilities.  I stopped in at a Barnes & Noble to have some tea and read magazines I won’t buy, and I came across a food magazine published by the BBC.  A quarterly of summer recipes, or something like that.  But it was the subtitle that caught my eye: “130 recipes you can trust.”  Oh, really?  I thought.  We’ll have to see about that.  I know London restaurants are allegedly stupendous, but since the end of Two Fat Ladies, I don’t think England’s exported any chefs of value to motivated home cooks and bakers.  I mean, Gordon Ramsey?  Jamie Oliver?  What a couple of insects.

Not that either of those two lent their very irritating but still considerable expertise to anything in this particular publication.  The very vast majority of the recipes appeared to be salads (really, England? Recipes for salads?), so it took a lot of flipping to find the baked goods among them.  And seriously, it took me only about 10 seconds to find problems.  No, less.  Here’s a sampling:

  • A cookie crust made with butter and honey, but no oven.  Just how is that supposed to cohere and solidify?  Or come out of the pan?
  • No emphasis on just how chilled a pastry’s liquids and fats really need to be, and just how fast you need to work
  • Lemon curd for pie with no finishing temperature–just some visual cues.  Do you know how many new bakers will fuck this up?  All of them
  • Cake ingredients mixed together all at once, rather than using the staggered mixing process
  • Sending a cake outdoors with a temperature-sensitive icing.  I don’t even know what to say to this
  • A cheesecake made with only two eggs and again, the ingredients mixed all at once
  • A recipe for… a bowl of fruit

You know, I knew England’s new coalition government would be more useless than the last, but the government does in fact run the BBC, so I think David Cameron should do something about this.  Or better yet, Paul McCartney, if he’s finished fondling Barack Obama’s earlobes.


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