hello there, birthday girl,
did you have an utterly splendid day, eating, getting hamam-ed and just chillin’ out, yo? i certainly hope so. i also believe that we should instate a rule where we cannot facetime the three days before posting, because i feel everything will simply be a repetition of what i already told you via the phone yesterday evening, but so be it.
autumn has fallen upon us, and whilst i’m enjoying the excuse it gives me for staying in, all huddled up with tea after tea after tea, listening to christmas crooners whilst a) reading a book, b) playing boardgames or c) binge-watching a show, i’m nevertheless struggling with the eternal darkness that comes with this time of year. (remember when we were taught the phrases “doom” and “gloom”?). and in summary, that’s mainly what i have been doing as of recently, interspersed with some choir singing, and not nearly enough swedish learning.
the highlight of my fortnight, however, most certainly was meeting the ghost from christmas past, namely my progymnasium-best-friend cora. we hadn’t seen one another in more than half a decade (how are we so old that that can easily be the case?!). five minutes into having met up, it felt as though absolutely no time had passed at all, and the rest of the afternoon was spent reminiscing and updating. the reason for our meeting up was in fact a time capsule i found by chance in our friendship book, and as it so happened, it was about to be ten years old and therefore legal to open. (yes, legal. pretty intense stuff) the capsule contained five wishes each, aimed at what our 15 year old selves wanted for our 25 year old selves to have achieved. most of mine became true, at least for the most part (including my “having a boyfriend who loves my and whom i love” (yay) and “finally doing something for my body” (kickboxing was very, very hard last night. i can hardly type) and cora’s “publishing a book” and “working in research”), whereas some others didn’t quite become a reality as of yet (cora wanted to be “happily married” and i was hoping for “nicer handwriting” (although i would say it has improved)). all in all, a truly lovely encounter, which was way, way, way overdue.
in terms of the task you gave me, i have in fact completed it two-fold. the first i was going to do anyway, which is why i didn’t count it. i made my first ever sourdough bread. it took its sweet time, but lord was the investment worth it. i made both the started and the dough in my bread maker, and baked it off in the oven. the result was a crispy fluffy delectable loaf, which we devoured with soft goat’s cheese and homemade chilli jam (which, currently, is both literally and figuratively my jam. i put it onto and into everything). two of marco’s statements on the matter: “moosh, it is the tits” and “fuck me, that’s good”. so it’s safe to say, project number one was a success.
the second project didn’t take place until the next week, when two of marco’s best friends, josh and robin, were staying over. i decided i wanted to bake them something treat-y, and additionally, something i had never baked before. choux pastry is always a big deal on the bake off, and not something i’ve dabbled in much. in fact, i believe the, uhm, “profiteroles” i made back for famelicose were the second ever time i’d tried my luck with the choux of pastries. the decision was made: i was going to bake éclairs. i looked for inspiration within the last bake off season, and stumbled upon a recipe by stacey (oooooh, i should have known). during an episode of the bake off, stacey had made some (non-pink, surprisingly) banoffee-profiteroles, which i was going to adapt to banana-free éclairs. i used one of queen mary berry’s recipes to cross-reference, and off went my first attempt. and oh, what a miserable attempt it was. half of the batch came out completely flat, sticky inside and utterly unfillable, whereas the second wasn’t quite as bad, but still ultimately an eggy, sad, split mess in the grand scheme of things. but i wasn’t to be defeated. oh no. so off i went scouring the internet for a more suitable (and functional) recipe. i found a rather lengthy blogpost, detailing all the things one could do wrong in the process of making éclairs. and shock, horror, it turns out i had committed most of these culinary sins. and thus began my second attempt, with strong bread flour instead of all purpose, with a star-tip nozzle instead of a simply round one (to prevent tearing), and a powdered sugar sprinkle instead of an egg-wash (to avoid the éclairs getting too weighed down (which was definitely one of the biggest issues in my first try) and still allowing them to brown nicely). and oh my, the results couldn’t have been more different. the second batch dried out perfectly, so i could fill it with chocolate whipped cream, and browned beautifully, bravely standing up to my chocolate glaze drizzled with toffee sauce. the éclairs lives didn’t last long, as the boys devoured most of them that very night (to be fair, we stayed up until 2 a.m. and played games, so there was plenty of time to do so), and the rest the next morning. so, in the unlikely event of your ever needing a recipe for éclairs, i’m your lady.
as for your task: at this point you should hopefully have received my birthday present. my task for you goes as follows: i want you to learn to identify five trees you didn’t know yet, which you see on a daily basis, may it be on your way to work, out of your window, in the woods you go for a walk in. i also ask you to take a photo of each, so i can learn, too. splendid.
i hope your day was spectacular, and i shall speak to you very soon.
why hello dearest,
brava on the bakes! the sourdough bread looks and sounds absolutely delish and whilst the éclairs might not be exactly my thing, i think it’s safe to say they look pretty good, too. onwards! receiving a package from you this past tuesday was ever so lovely and it reminded me of just how much i love getting mail (anything that’s not a bill or advertising, that is). so, for your new task, i would like you to sit down, write a handwritten letter and send it on its way. not my way, necessarily, although of course i wouldn’t be opposed to that either. go on, make someone smile, snail mail is powerful that way.