badness, goodness

I’m turning ingredients into food!

how could it possibly be that bright orange color? did i forget to add the unicorn shit?

I’ve never really tried to cook anything ambitious, so imagine my surprise when I made a soup from scratch the other day and it turned out crazy delicious.  It’s a butternut squash, corn and lemongrass soup, and it’s not difficult (assuming you have something that can puree soft vegetables).  Sister’s really big on healthy food right now, and she loves vegetables (apparently, who knew?), so she went nuts on this soup, which pleased me to no end.  It’s also really pretty, and super healthy.  My first soup made from scratch: Win!

After this one success, I thought to myself, “Self, you can cook anything!  Let’s make something else!”  At which point I started to fail.

Goal: make a delicious pumpkin-themed drink for my pumpkin carving Halloween party next month.  I landed on something called Pumpkin Cider. (see picture)

Actual outcome: brown, slimy, over-flavored, alcoholic muck I was reticent to pour down the drain for fear of angering it. (see picture)

I got all the ingredients together, and read the comments on the website (one person actually complained about it being too thick, but didn’t seem to follow the recipe).  I followed all the instructions, except for the one that said to add the spiced rum after the whole concoction had simmered on the stove for 20 minutes.  That batch quickly turned the consistency of snot, and was unceremoniously thrown out.  I added everything in the right order the second time, and the result was… totally overwhelmingly unpleasant.  It was a combination of things I love (pumpkin flavor, spiced rum, home made whipped cream, pumpkin pie spice, apple cider) that combined to create some kind of diarrhea-colored dream-killer.

Naturally I had boyfriend try it first.  He said something very kind and diplomatic like, “…I wasn’t expecting that flavor.  Let me try it again.”  Then he stopped trying it and said, “It doesn’t know what it wants to be.”  I could not agree more.  Epic Halloween drink fail.

win!

Then I got kinda depressed.  I really wanted this to work out.  I really want a cute little treat for my friends when they come to carve pumpkins and play spooky games!  The pouting went on for a good 24 hours, but I wasn’t about to give up because FUCK THAT.  I LOVE Halloween.  I was going to create something delicious for my friends for my favorite holiday, and they were going to love it, dammit.

So I tried again, this time with something called Liquid Pumpkin Pie.  It used a milk base and significantly less canned pumpkin, which was already a good sign that my ineptitude as a cook would not be manifested a second time in the form of some kind of brown sludge and disappointment.

To my utter surprise, it turned out fantastic. (see picture)  Boyfriend tried it, and nodded furiously with huge eyes, then asked for a mug of it to drink while playing WoW (pandas, ugh).  It even remotely resembled the recipe photo.  Success!

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goodness, manfolk

Scotland, I am in love

Boyfriend and I arrived in Edinburgh today, and fell in love instantly.  Everything looks old, the accents are hilarious and fun, and we haven’t even been to the city center yet.  It’s been a drizzly evening, the cobblestones are jet black and shining under the streetlights.  The buildings are a grayish brown brick or stone, and everything else is green.  It’s just gorgeous.

kitty dreams of the outside world

But I’m ahead of myself.  Breakfast this morning at the Harrington Hotel in Dublin ended with the waitress calling over her shoulder to us, “Be happy!”  So that was adorable.

We booked it out of there, and made the bus and the plane to Edinburgh in plenty of time.  I looked out the window while we took off, and nudged Boyfriend to wave and say with me, “Goodbye, Ireland!  Bye, Dublin!”  I asked him if he ever did that when his planes took off.  He said, “Yeah, in my head,” and managed to leave out “like a normal person, you hilarious weirdo.”  What a sweetheart.

We took a bus and walked about a mile to our bed and breakfast, St. Bernard’s Guesthouse.  We decided against paying for a cold breakfast and bought some croissants, honey, tea, and cranberry juice.

We wandered a couple of blocks over to find some pre-dinner food (we hadn’t had anything since breakfast except for Worcestershire sauce flavored chips, and some bacon flavored… crispy things.  We couldn’t decide if they were tasty or gross).

Quick side note on airports in Ireland and Scotland:
I’ve never seen so few people, nor so many easy to understand signs and well-organized layouts in airports, at home or abroad.  Kids go running around, playing while the parents read and chat.  The people were so friendly, unlike the TSA people at LAX who are in a constant state of fuck-off.  When I commented on this to a teller, he said, “Well no one’s after us.  They’re just passin’ through to get to someone else!”  Well said, sir.

Anyway, pre-dinner food.  We wandered around and couldn’t find any place that served dinner before 6 except a place called Pizza Express, that sounds like shit but turned out to be a pretty upscale place, and served delicious pizza.  Mine had a fried egg on it, and we split a cider.  Amazing.

We headed back to the B&B to plan out our day tomorrow, and work up an appetite for second-dinner, which we decided had to have meat pie.  We found a delicious steak pie with blue cheese in it at The Stockbrige Tap just down the block from us, coupled with a Black Isle Stout (dark but brighter than Guinness).  We got to listen to the locals chatting in surprisingly comprehensible local accents, and had a nice walk home in the chill air.

There’s a small park just outside the B&B where someone was hosting a large party today until late into the evening.  It says light so late here (the lights come on around 10) that it’s easy to stay out later than you ordinarily would.

I’m super excited about tomorrow!  We’re taking a bus to the city center to save time and energy to visit the Undergound, a statue of a dog, a famous pub, and a museum.  I’ve been too excited to sleep for a few nights because of the cool stuff we’ve had planned for this trip.

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