Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bit of a Blether

OMG not enough room in kitchen for supplies. So many eggs. And butter. Icing sugar. Granulated sugar. Heavy cream. Chocolate... Callebaut this time, the 51%... eep! National Theatre out earlier than expected but still, 10 p.m. and I need to sleep.. lack of sleep = return of old nemesis. Powerpoint! OMG signage! Cupcakes... okay, all day Saturday. Laundry must be done tomorrow night. While finishing Powerpoint. OMG 400" of bronzey ribbon. That's lunchtime. Fuck. 120 cupcakes on Saturday? Yes.. baking. Then ganache. Then frosting. Small kitchen... ARGH! Shouldn't have eaten fries. Why??? Ok. powerpoint, laundry, cupcakes, signage, update web stuff. WORK. Oh yes, that too. Fuck. BUY RIBBON! Ok, now I have to sleep, so - you know... MAKE LIST!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Come on Eileen

A pretty, hand-painted vase from last birthday (thanks M!) and daisies. That and some great 80s music... a wonderful way to wind down the weekend, just in time to get to work early tomorrow to solve some problems there. Wahhh!

This Year's Big Cake Project - Update

Where are we with this year's Big Cake Project?

Well, first off, for those of you who don't know, it's always in honour of William Morris's birthday (1834 - 96). This link will show you previous year's efforts.

Secondly, this year's big cake project isn't a big cake at all. It's 99 little cakes... 99 triple chocolate cupcakes each featuring one of three elements pulled from three William Morris wallpaper patterns: Marigold, Acanthus and Willow (a blog favourite, and it was a cake all on its own in 2010.)

Each cupcake is made of devil's foodcake, topped with ganache and swirled with chocolate frosting. On top of that will be the little Morris-inspired sugar tile. Each will sit in a little box made of paper printed with a shrunk rendition of its wallpaper inspiration. My co-cake-creator Laura has been brilliant at sourcing and resizing and testing a box pattern. They take a long time to create but are very satifsying. Each box is lined on the bottom to give sturdiness and to soak up any cakey butteryness that soaks through the cupcake paper holders.

Below you see us working on boxes, Laura flooding the willow leaf outlines (more finessing and detail work will come later this week), the outlines of the marigolds and acanthus leaves, and finally trying to figure out how to display all these cupcakes. We're thinking of blocking them all together (as opposed to mingling them). It will be a more bold design.

Stay tuned!

Eat and Drink

A very busy weekend had a momentary pause as I dined with good friends at Mangia e Bevi. Always delicious and relaxed. Shared salads to begin with and prosecco followed by such yummy pizzas.

And I didn't get a photograph of the bacetti... but here they are when they appeared before on my blog. And it was so sweet that the owner treated us to them. Mille grazie a tutti!

Date and Almond Rolls

So healthy and tasty. Available at Metro (in Toronto), and surely elsewhere!

And yes, as I've been told, they look a little like something you might find in a litter box... but I got over that, so you can too. Hee hee.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hot Dog!

This made me weak with laughter... but the woman founded Jazzercise and is a multi-millionnaire.I bet she's laughing too.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Few More

The Keating Channel Under Cherry Street

Cherry Street crosses the Keating Channel, in which I've seen some very impressive water fowl. Last May I saw a swan fly over the bridge just in front of me. It remains a golden moment. I'm not sure if this was the same swan, but it was pretty saucy.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Aging and the Up Series

The Up series, originally assisted on, and now directed by Michael Apted is a superb documentary project following the lives of a group of British people from the age of 7 to, now, 56. Every seven years the documentary crew checks in with them. They're ordinary people living their lives, and - even as they express on this latest edition of 56 Up, that none of the viewers can really get a sense of them - we do. I feel I know them, at least somewhat. I care about them. It's moving to see them getting older and go through the rites of passage of marriage, children, parental death, illness... It's a brilliant and moving episodic visit and I urge you to see it.

I have read of people writing letters to themselves as children. It's an interesting thought. Would those letters be better served written for actual children? Maybe heavily edited versions. Most of it would come across as weird, old-person, finger-wagging and whining. I recall my dad telling me how time would fly. Pffff... I couldn't believe him. When I was four, I remember my mother telling me I'd have to wait for an hour for us to go somewhere. An hour! I was horrified. That was forever. I distinctly remember the interaction, the feeling inside me.

An hour!

What would I say to Little G now, if she was disposed to listen and comprehend?

Oh Little G, you have no idea. An hour is so short and so precious. You will waste many and cherish some. Life will disappoint you in many ways but be more amazing and wonderful than you can ever imagine. The world will be crueler, but the earth will be more breathtakingly beautiful than you suspected. You'll change in ways that will astound you, but remain the same in others. You'll be aware of your mortality way too young, but your strength will amaze you. You will take things too seriously... try not to. And know that only when you're over 40 will you realize that what you really want is what you wanted when you were seven, but convinced yourself for years you didn't. And never EVER visit a chiropractor. That alone is the one thing I would hope you remember. It would make all the difference. I could go on, but you're only four and are not listening and let's not bore the others. Now, go back to playing with your nesting dolls.

Food, because... well.. FOOD

Clockwise from top left: cupcake experiment (devil's foodcake cakelet topped with callebaut ganache and then frosting); wontons in beautiful broth at Lee Chen (Yonge and Bloor); treats at Soma after a birthday dinner for my mother (and before the theatre), the Madagascar truffles are still the best; and finally an at-home salad, which is always changing, never boring.

Below? Possibly my new lunch box is too big. Possibly. The salad that ate Toronto. Or rather I ate it. Over two lunch hours. That's curry tofu on top.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Trees, Sun, Sky = Perfect

The clocks shifted and I woke to a welcoming Sunday. The walk went longer than I had intended, 10 kilometres in all, along the Martin Goodman Trail. The sky was blustery at first, then calm and grey, bathing everything in a misty monochrome. It turned a vivid blue later and the sun felt good on my upturned face. Like a pit pony emerging from the mine, I sat in its direct rays, upon a large flat rock, for a long time.

As usual there was beauty to be found in the grey, in the blue, in the vibrant red dogwood and its furry branches. And, yes, a tree was hugged. For those of you who haven't tried it, I can't guarantee you will experience the same sensation as I do. But what I feel is a connection to the world, and a powerful presence that drains me of anxiety and makes me feel safe. Perhaps it's God or perhaps it's Gaia or perhaps the spirit of that particular tree, or perhaps I'm just mad... in which case, I'm happy to be so.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Comments Word Verification Back On, and Smeared with Chocolate

I'd turned it off because it sucks, but what sucks more is having endless spam comments. Sigh.

On a happier note - chocolate! Yeah. Watch this space. There's LOTS OF CHOCOLATE HAPPENING.

Monday, March 4, 2013

How did I Miss Your Fifth Birthday?!

But I did.... well, Happy Sixth Birthday, little blog! I've enjoyed it so much... here's to the next six. And thank you to the readers (more than I would have expected, and so far ranging in our beautiful world) and especially the commenters (very rare, very valued).

Here's to the next six!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Just me Waffling on About Stuff

My mind has been racing with, for my soul anyway, a few too many theatrical offerings. One of the great gifts of art, as I've said before, is to take you to unexpected places, surprising thoughts, moving revelations, and previously unasked questions. But when it gets too densely packed in, there isn't the room and the time to ponder what has been seen and felt. I need that space and time.

I'm resisting the gluttony our society offers in its many different forms, one of them being over stimulation from entertainment. It is, in its way, another form of addiction or, at least, indulgence for the sake of distraction. I turn on my tv less, and there are only four tickets on the pinboard for future events.

As the challenging months of January and February are passed and my senses perk up in the knowledge that with March underway, and spring is not far behind, I feel the urge to leave behind the dark and wondrous theatre auditoriums, and be outside, absorbing the greatest art of all, our natural world. Spring sap will be working its magic in me as well as my beloved trees. It's time to turn my energies to the physical connection I have with the rest of the world, to my own creativity, and to love.

But... I also need to catch up in this space on some of the great performances I've seen recently. There's been at least one game-changer.

Now I just have to write my thoughts down... dagnabit.

Frozen Pond

I went for a walk along the Martin Goodman Trail today, and got the photographs below. Water appeals to me in any form, even frozen.

Then I came home and changed the width setting of my blog, so I can show larger photos. What do you think? Any issues?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Don't Miss it Tonight!

"My ear felt fresh to the touch, rough, cool, juicy like a leaf."

Opening last night, closing tonight, Against the Grain's run of Kafka, Kurtág and Janáček is short and sweet. AGT likes to use a new and unexpected setting for each production, and this one is no less magical than last year's setting for The Turn of the Screw (one of the best experiences I had all season).

This current production takes place in a magically transformed yoga studio (thanks to designer Michael Gianfrancesco) near the Distillery District. Led by director Joel Ivany and Christopher Mokrzewski, the first half consists of Kafka-Fragments, opus 24, Kurtág's setting of Kafka's fragmentary words, in a virtuoso performance by Jacqueline Woodley, soprano and Kerry DuWors on violin. During intermission, the seating gets moved around, and the second half consists of The Diary of One Who Disappeared, superbly and sexily performed by Colin Ainsworth, tenor, and Lauren Segal, mezzo-soprano, with three supporting singers.

You may recognize that this is a superb line of of established talent. If you don't, don't worry. This is an unexpected evening, one which challenged me (the Kurtág, which I'd never heard of) and ravished me (the Janáček). You don't have to know anything or dress any particular way. The production company itself is young, friendly, energetic and immensely talented. If you have no plans tonight, I really recommend you do something for yourself and get yourself there. (It's not far from Mangia e Bevi or the Distillery if you're looking to eat out as well).

"There are countless hiding places, but only one salvation; but then again, there are as many paths to salvation as there are hiding places."

(Note, as for the libretto of The Diary of One Who Disappeared, according to Wikipedia, "the author of the text was anonymous and remained unknown till the end of 20th century. The true identity of the author of the Diary was revealed by Dr. Jan Mikeska in 1998, some eighty years after the verses were published. The originator of the poems was Wallachian writer Ozef Kalda.)