Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Show and tell - Rosemary Olive Oil Cake

As a last day before I zip my mouth shut and start dieting tomorrow (yes, women are always on diets...), I thought I'd celebrate and make a cake I'd been curious to try out for some time.

It's a Rosemary Olive Oil Cake, with chocolate chips.... and as odd as those ingredients sound, it went down pretty well with the guinee pigs.. erm i mean the "family". Everyone really liked it - except me. Typical right?

It's not that it tasted bad... I guess it wasn't sweet enough, but I think it's an aquired taste. I must say, though, that the chocolate binded everything really well, and really complimented the other flavours.

If you're wanting to try something different, go ahead... get bakin'!

Rosemary Olive Oil Cake

Dry ingredients:
3/4 cup / 3 oz / 80g spelt flour (i only used the rgular type)
1 1/2 cups / 7.5 oz / 210 g all-purpose flour
3/4 cup / 4 oz / 115g sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:
3 eggs
1 cup / 240 ml olive oil
3/4 cup / 180 ml whole milk
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped (i used the dried kind, from my spice rack)
5 ounces / 140 g bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao), chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (I used regular chocolate chips)
2 tablespoons sugar for top crunch

Preheat the oven to 350F / 175C. Rub a 9 1/2-inch (24 cm) fluted tart pan (aka pie dish) with olive oil. Alternately, I used a loaf pan.
You can line it with parchment paper. I just used some olive oil

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, (teh recipes says to pour any bits of grain or other ingredients left in the sifter back into the bowl). Set this first mix aside.

In another large bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly. Add the olive oil, milk and rosemary and whisk again. Using a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry, gently mixing just until combined. Stir in 2/3 of the chocolate. Pour the batter into the pan, spreading it evenly and smoothing the top. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate and run a fork along the length of the chocolate so that the batter envelops it just a bit. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar.

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is domed, golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
My cake, in the alternate pan, took closer to 55 minutes.


Friday, 24 September 2010

Random Friday Postings

It's occurred to me that I've been rather "absent" from my blog lately and this apologetic post is my way of trying to make amends (as if you've missed me anyways, right?)

I guess Tumblr has somewhat taken up my spare time, which I really wish I had more of.

I've set my self so many "personal projects" over the past year, that I've almost lost count, and I really completed started any.. let alone completed them!
I still have to finish editing and my photos from my USA 2009 summer Roadtrip, and then choose the pics to enlarge and hang on our walls at home. I also have yet to make a video and photography book with said selected photos. There is just not enough time in the day!

Sadly, a working girl's allowance of free time is simply too small... add on top of this living with someone else.... and you betcha that your free "you" time is further cut short.
I know I am partially to blame, if i don't invest more time and interest in my own personal projects, if I choose to postpone them or procrastinate. I also know that sometimes me like maybe other working girls, use the "chores" as an excuse or justification for that fact that we didn't get around to doing something.

I'd really like to get back to dedicating more of my time to my main interest, photography.
I've let myself get caught up in the daily routine and turned my back on a passion I really should indulge in and help thrive.
Meantime, something I have done is finished setting up my Tumblr photography blog, personalized banner with photo 'n' all!!

Monday, 20 September 2010

It's a tight fit!!

In my jeans, that is!! Everything's way too snug (and I'm being nice over here!!)

It's that time of year when, with summer drawing to an end and you're heading full swing into Autumn, you sort of tally up your latest achievements.... and epic fails.

- Achievement - sorting out the spare room.
- Fail - cutting back on my daily calorie intake!

Fat on Alex: 1 - Diet: 0

It's not like I don't know what I should be doing, what to cut back on and where to draw the line. I do... oh how I do!
The problem is my brain. Brain you say? don't you mean the size of your mouth? Umm.. well yeah, that too. But let's face it, dieting is an attitude! It's about wrapping your head around the concept that you really don't need all that stuff that daily enters your piehole!

I always say that you can really only start dieting when you've reached the point of no return, when you look at yourself in the mirror and are so horrified at what's starting back at you, that you don't even recognize yourself. It's that moment when even your "fat pants" start to scream for help!

Well my friends, this is is. We have soooo reached that point, it's not even funny.
When your tummy resembles Jello-O, and your butt sticks so far out that you start to resemble the letter "d" when seen from the side, you know you really need to do something about it!

And so I bring you.... needle and thread. Yeah... to sew my mouth shut!

Now all chant with me:

"God grant me the serenity to accept the
fact that my butt size needs to change;
courage to keep my piehole shut when I can;
and wisdom to know that further down the line

it'll make a big difference!"


Wednesday, 15 September 2010

I'm a Tumblr kinda girl!

As if I didn't have enough social networks and media to keep up with... I thought I'd add one more to the list of blogs and whatnots....

Hence I bring you... AlexTakesPh[o]tos.
It's pretty much a gallery of some of my best photography, so if you enjoy viewing good photos.... go there! Hehehe.

Friday, 10 September 2010

That's how I roll

They're back!
The secret lovers are back!
After the summer break and vacation period, the two lovers who secretly rendez-vous on a subway platform are back to their old habits; secretly meeting under ground while the world above ground idly sleeps.
As the rest of the city goes about its ways, slowly waking and preparing to start its day, two individuals furtively set up their "backstage" romance one of Rome's damp, dark under ground subway stations.

Disclaimer - Ya know, just to be on the safe side!
This if course is a projection of my immagination. I have no idea really if these two people are indeed lovers, spouses, relatives or possibly just simply friends.

I simply see them every day when I get off the train, sitting there at the platform, just like you would if you were waiting for the train but when it does arrive, and I get off, they don't get on.
And as my mind started to wander, I fantasized and made up a story. That's how I roll.

Monday, 6 September 2010

This time, with frosting!

"Hey Ma'... Look! No hands!" Heheheh
Guess what? I did it again... and this time, with icing too! Baby blue, to be precice.
Aren't they cute?
Sure, they're no picture-perfect works of art.... but they sure tasted awesome!

And, I got compliments too!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Autumn Colours

It's funny how Autumn creeps up on you, when you're still enjoying your summer, unwantingly afraid of it ending.... holding on to those last few days of August.
And before you know it, Mother Nature is way ahead of you... gently hinting that the season has already started to change.

This is an all too familiar scene in the US, where the leaves delight us with the many shades of greens, browns, and golden orange. In Rome, however, this is something we're not very used to (in fact the photo you see above was taken on my brief trip to Paris a couple of weeks ago).
The leaves on our trees tend to simply dry up, the colours fade and then just fall off.
And while that dried up leaf slowly plummets to the ground, it captures its last breathe of life, enjoying one final adventure, as it rides the gust of wind that will eventually bring it to its final resting place, the ground.

autumn ˜ autunno

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Paris - day 1

Tuesday August 17th 2010

Day 1 of our 3 day Paris visit.

The BeeEff and I woke to find a so so day, in terms of sunshine, with a rather brisk air (considering the 30+ degrees celcius we left behind in Rome!).

Seeing as our friend Lino was in Paris also for a short vacation, we decided to meet up for breakfast at... wait for this.... Starbucks!!
I know, I know.. most of you will frown - how can you be in Paris and not try the "local stuff"?To my defence let me just say, don't forget that good food and the European breakfast isn't new to us. We too get croissants and of course Italy is the coffee haven... so to us Starbucks is a treat! (How ironic, huh?) LOL

After our indulgence of calories, we took a stroll through Rue Montorgueil, headed towards Les Halles and Marais.
We stopped off to take pics of anything and everything... even this cute little church (LOL) which I later discovered to be Eglise Saint-Eustache.

We passed the Forum des Halles and this cute merry-go-round (which i've noticed are quite popular in Paris, seeing as I spotted a few others in several different places) that even had a pink pig!

We then headed slightly east, into Marais, passing the most quaint alleys and fabulous colourful doors, designer clothing stores and home decor shops.
We then arrived behind le Centre Pompidou, where we stopped to see some funny art installations in a fountain (most likely by some famous artisits, but i was too lazy to ask or check on the guidebook!).
We stopped off for a drink at a bar in the more colourful part of Marais, where I again tested my new zoom lens and afterwards my friend parted ways with us.

While Lino was off to meet some friends, G. and I headed towards the Hotel de Ville, and then onto the two small islands Yes, islands), in the direction of the Notre Dame.
What can I say, that hasn't already been said or that you can't imagine yourselves... its structure was impressive. This huge gothic church simply dominates the square and the whole area, with its bell tower shadowing in all its glory.
Of course the gargoyles at the top remind me of so many photos I've seen... and also of a scene from the movie Ghostbusters!

We continued back on to the main land, where we arrived in Saint-Michel, where there are many Turkish, Marroccan and Greek restaurants.
After a small shopping detour, we decided to head back to the hotel to quickly change, before meeting up with Lino and opther friends.
We hung out a bit at the bar, then the three of us (my other friend Stan, G. and myself) slowly walked towards Place de Vosges looking for a place to eat.
After dinner, a brief stroll then back to the hotel to bed!

What a great first day!