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Friday, July 10, 2009
I brought this evil dessert along to the rowing club pot-luck supper yesterday. It's the single simplest and most impressive uncooked dessert that I know. The basis is ganoche which is heated cream with chocolate whipped in.
For 7 inch pan:
10 oz dark chocolate
1 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp liqueur (optional)
2 tsp grated zest of orange/lemon (optional)
1 cup cookie crumbs or nuts (e.g. ground almonds)
2 oz - half stick - butter
Prep time: about half hour plus time to set in fridge - 2-4 hours.
Use a 7 inch spring form cake pan to allow the dessert to be removed easily (but you can make this in any container as long as you line the pan with silicone paper or something like that). This dessert is very sticky at room temperature, but handles well once frozen. If you are taking it to a party you can cut it up when frozen and either serve frozen or thawed.
Make a crust with your favorite cookie crumbs mixed with melted butter (1 cups crumbs to half stick of butter). Or use half ground almonds instead of the cookie crumbs. Mix the crumbs and the melted butter and press into the bottom of the pan.
Heat cream to just about boiling. Remove from heat break the chocolate into pieces and addto the cream to melt. Stir well until smooth. Sir in the zest and liqueur. Pour over the crust. Leave to set in the fridge. Remove from pan and decorate as you like.
Stored well wrapped in a freezer, seems to keep well for 6-10 months. I find that if I make several at one time and keep them for special occasions it saves on mess and work.
I find taking the cake out of the pan painting it with orange marmalade and then sticking on sliced almonds looks nice. Add a few curls of chocolate or dried apricots or frozen raspberries...
At room temperature you can shape the dessert, so even if you have an accident, drop it off the plate onto the kitchen counter like we did on one memorable occasion, it can be repaired. Orange slices, mandarin segments, whipped cream...
- You can build up layers of different flavoured ganoche, once the first has set. Adding a can of sweetened or unsweetened chestnut purée to the ganoche makes a nice contrasting colour. Or use different chocolates; better quality chocolate is expensive but worth it; milk or white chocolate can look stunning as layers.
- If you are covering the cake with nuts then just pour on the different layers and allow to set. Gently swirl them if you are not covering the with nuts so that the swirls show a nice effect.
- Different fruit toppings or swirl in something like gently crushed raspberries from Dentz farm. M-mm!
- Different liqueurs: orange is great. There's a really nice inexpensive orange flavoured drink from the LCBO called Monsard Orange & Brandy. This won't break your budget at $24, and it's nice to drink as well. Forget that over-priced French stuff...although remember "Absinthe makes the tart grow fonder.*"
Depending on the depth of the pan you can make this tart as deep as you like. Hmm...a deep tart...sounds like we could craft some kind of joke around that as well.
* - Stolen joke alert!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
24 December 2008
A Special Message from Santa
My Dearest Elizabeth,
I have thought long and deeply about the gift you want so much: a poodle. Not just any poodle, but a black poodle. I know that you have tried your best all this year and that you have been a very, very, good girl. Your mommy and daddy say you are a wonderful daughter!
Elizabeth, I am truly sorry, but Santa cannot give pets to anyone! My job is to give toys to good girls and boys - but a dog is not a toy! A dog it is a living, breathing animal that requires a lot of time, money, hard work and constant care and exercise.
Every Christmas there are dogs and cats given to children by their parents. Sometimes the children cannot care for them and the poor puppies and kittens have to go to the Animal Shelter: homeless! It makes them very, very sad!
If the time comes and your parents think that it is right for you and your family to have a pet, then you can talk to them about it. Until then you must be patient.
If you want to keep Santa's magic, please keep this message a secret from everyone except your mommy and daddy. Let me know what you think about it, you can write to me anytime, not just at Christmas.
I will be sure to bring you a special gift instead!
Give your little brother a hug from me!
With much love,
Sunday, February 15, 2009
On or around Oct 1, 2008, in my usual got-to-be-first geeky way, I added a couple of cell-phone numbers (Don's and mine) to this list, as soon as it opened for business. The transaction was completely on-line...add number, then another number. I also added another friend's home phone number. The security was so lax I could add any number I wanted. In retrospect I should have added the numbers of the CRTC privacy point person but we can't all be prescient.
Everything was fine for a couple of months. Then this story came from the CBC. People were receiving more calls on their phones than before. The CRTC said that it was "under investigation."
Then in January 2009, this report from Yahoo news Canada - the CRTC basically admitting that they had sold the list, the do-not call list, repeatedly, for $50 to telemarketers. It could then be downloaded.
Now as we all know, telemarketers are honest, decent types, who really don't want to bother you at suppertime.* Clearly they didn't really have a use for this list (of people they shouldn't call, right?) so perhaps through the magic of the internet, the list was, possibly a little bit sort of, passed on and downloaded by a person in the United States. Nothing technically illegal is done.
One doesn't need to be Inspector Maigret to work out what happens next, and what happens next is entirely legal in the strict sense of the word. Don and I started getting automated calls from machines in the United States. Every day. We have never, ever got nuisance calls before. We only use these phone to call one another (very rarely handing out the numbers to anyone). These calls now warned us of dire happenings because our car warranty is running out or some such guff. That this phone spam is automated is even more annoying (as we cannot ask to be taken off the calling list and they cannot pretend to do so).
Some research shows that these calls come from the most shady side of the outbound telemarketing world, probably run by organized crime. So Canadians who previously had anonymous cell-phone numbers are now being targeted by this traffic. Uurgh.
(I suppose it's only fair. For many years, boiler rooms run out of Canada were targeting U.S. citizens for stock purchasing scams. It took a lot of cross-jurisdictional wrangling to get that stopped effectively.)
So I got fed up and wrote to my Member of Parliament:
Perhaps something will come of this. Perhaps pigs will fly.
* IMO telemarketers are pond-slime, second only to email spammers in their evil ways and deserve to be eliminated (see previous spam-related entries). That's right...I'm a pacifist - but we're only talking about eliminating pond-slime so no harm done.
Friday, January 23, 2009
- 19% Posh watches practically being given away. This is up from 12% from last quarter.
- 19% Discount pharmaceuticals, including offers of drug trials for viagra and queries about having "heartaches." (Headaches, heartburn or lovelorn? Perhaps all three). Dramatic decline from 56%.
- 11% Penis enhancements and help for your (always female) partner. More than doubled in size! That's more like it!
- 10% Why do you need Adobe software? (Because I'm a pathetic web programmer...) Cheap "genuine" software, with reference to financial crisis as excuse for piracy, presumably. Avast! New category, shipmates! I think MS and Adobe better cut their prices dramatically ;-)
- 9% We ship worldwide: Hot deals/Member services/Status accessories and attributes/eBay/Payment accepted/Safety information. Unimaginative. C'mon guys you can do better than this!
- 4% Appeals to update your firewall, O.S. etc. Also a new category. Also lame.
- 4% Diets endorsed by Oprah...you'd have thought that wouldn't be a recommendation worth having, but I guess she's tried a few. Up from 1% last quarter.
- 3% Your check is (still) waiting (is that Czech or cheque?) and other bogus sales confirmations. Also up from 1% last time.
- 3% Dating sites, with transparently lewd come-ons...eew!
- 2% Activate your Internet TV/Watch movies on your PC. New category.
- 2% Gambling - who put the bling in gambling? Perhaps no-one, it's down from 6% last time.
- 1% This is why you are fat. What little me? I've always been told I was robust! New.
- 1% Appeals to laziness (Why work? Why get out of bed?) Why indeed. New.
- 1% From "Doctor" Berry; "Clearance: Save up to 75%.-Choose Real Taste™" (which is a Pizza Pizza slogan). Clearance pizza as a cheap medication? Yay! New.
- 1% Unspecified financial help to fix what ails ya. Well this isn't the flood of financial crisis help offers that I predicted but it's up.
- spam sucks
- stolen joke alert
- actionscript 2
- silly songs
- Windows command line
- Windows desktop
- Flash CS3
- user interface
- batch files
- special characters