Moulders Lane

Category: Recommended Blogs

Jane Austen: Brown Butter Bread Pudding Tarts

You might be asking, “Who has leftover cake?” and to that I say: good point.

Another delightful discovery – a beautifully presented blog by an American writer, who deftly combines the most delicious recipes with a company of famous authors and their tastes in food. The well written, gently humorous style reminds me of Miss Darcy’s Library or The Baker’s Daughter Blog: a very pleasant way to while away a late winter’s evening.

Paper and Salt

Jane Austen - Devizes Cheesecake

Even when you love to cook, there are those times when it would be nice to have just a little help: when you promised to make something for the office potluck but forgot to go shopping; when that dinner party you’re hosting sneaks up on you; when your in-laws you dearly want to impress are in town and all you have in the pantry are the three jars of peanut butter you bought before Hurricane Sandy.

Wouldn’t it be easier to live in Jane Austen’s world, where you could hand off such tasks to a very capable cook? Remember poor Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice, who, when asking which of the Bennets had prepared the meal, “was set right by Mrs. Bennet, who assured him with some asperity… that her daughters had nothing to do in the kitchen.”

Like Elizabeth Bennet, Austen wouldn’t be caught dead with a roasting pan—but…

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Carpool Karaoke – the Coffee Break Cheer-up

YouTube is probably the no 1 internet site for leading you down primrose byways – you start off, earnestly, to see if that interview you want a quote from has been posted online and before you know it you’re looking at pictures of kittens with captions. I’ve never actually made it to the kitten stage but I have lost a lot of writing time this way, following rabbit hole suggestions to that point where you suddenly realise you’re watching a video someone’s made about their camper van. The bonus is inadvertently finding some other bits and pieces along the way; and one of these discoveries is a very happy find: the Carpool Karaoke segment of James Corden’s American late night chat show. This has proved an ideal switch off for when things aren’t going well and you sit down with a cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit to take a break. They’re the perfect mini cheer up – compressing good humoured banter, silliness and singing into an eight to fifteen minute clip that gives you a little window of joy in what can seem like an increasingly drab world.

The basic premise is extremely simple – Corden needs someone to carshare with him so he can use a priority lane in negotiating the Los Angeles traffic on his way to work. He calls up a friend to help out and they chat about what they’ve been up to, while singing along to songs on the radio throughout the journey.

Except that the ‘friends’ are the likes of Elton John, Jennifer Lopez and Madonna, and the songs on the ‘radio’ they’re singing along to are a compilation of their greatest hits.

The result is every bit as entertaining as you could wish for, with energetic seat dancing, unexpected insights, ridiculous jokes, some very funny moments and, of course, some great singalongs.  (Corden takes this to a whole other level in the Gwen Stefani clip when George Clooney and Julia Roberts hop in, discuss favourite lines in (their) films and join in, wholeheartedly bellowing along to a Queen chorus: ‘We are the cham-pions!!!!’)

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A Wodehouse Gallumifray

Following a link at Honoria’s site, I found this selection of Wodehouse book reviews from The Aroma of Books with some well-chosen quotes that had me screeching aloud in sudden laughter, proving, once more, that there really is no other like him.

I think we should be campaigning for a sticker on any future editions: WARNING ! Reading this book in public can lead to Severe Embarrassment.

Thank goodness only the Aged P. was around to hear me sounding like a macaw that had just had its toe trodden on …

Food, Glorious Food

I have been laid low with a flu-y cold for over a week now with a corresponding lack of interest in life, or even food, but earlier tonight started to wonder what you were all up to.

Wandering round in a desultory manner I found the intriguingly named The Hungry Mouse tucked away on someone’s blogroll and discovered a truly amazing site that made me realize I was starving, in seconds.

There doesn’t seem to be a way of re-blogging any of the posts so you’re going to have to rely on an illness-hampered description but I urge you to go over there and look round.

It’s basically a ton of recipes for gorgeous American food that explains everything with great clarity and, here’s the nub, has fantastic close up photographs of each step by step so you cannot possibly go wrong. It knocks Jamie Oliver into a cocked hat and I’m so hungry after looking through just a few of them, I’m off to review our store cupboards to see if I can make any of the dishes in the photographs.

 

Try Writing

A piece on why we write from Stuart M. Perkins over at Storyshucker, a delightful blog that’s the complete embodiment of the writer’s mantra: every encounter, every experience we have, whether good, bad or indifferent – it’s all copy.

 

Storyshucker

“Thousands of people who write believe they are better than thousands of others. They believe they will pen the next great American novel but their writing is dull and full of grammatical errors. Why do they write anything intended to be read by the public? Why do they write?”

I read those lines and was impelled to respond. The blogger’s entire post was arrogant and sarcastic, but those lines were the cherries on top. After I acknowledged that he can post what he likes on his own blog, I then asked if rather than squelch ambitions with a negative message about imperfection, he could instead applaud people for their attempts, for our attempts because I am one of the imperfect. But, we still try.

I don’t necessarily like being serious because, well, it’s not funny. I love a little arrogance and sarcasm as much as anyone, maybe more than…

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Doing Corn!

A discovery from the blogging stratosphere, this is a truly delightful collection of tales from the American South; a ‘book’ to keep by your bedside (with over 34,000 guaranteed pre-sales, why this chap hasn’t already got a publishing deal I do not know) or to turn to when you’re feeling fed up with your life and the world around you.

They’d also make a very nice feel-good film – and heaven knows we could do with some of those these days – in fact you could easily get three separate films out of the ‘Bus Whisperer’ stories, the Nannie/family stories and the Mary Dell stories.

I simply couldn’t pick a favourite so I’m starting you off at the beginning. Kick back on the porch and enjoy …

Storyshucker

A few years ago I reminisced with coworkers about childhood experiences we longed to relive. One said “Oh, I want to do Italy again! The sights and sounds!” Another said “I want to do Paris again! The shopping!” When asked what summertime fun I wanted to have again I whispered “I want to do corn…!”

Nannie, my grandmother, had a huge garden on her farm which was summer’s focus for my family and my extended family. We anticipated nothing more than CORN. Excitement began when Daddy hooked the planter to the tractor. Weeks later, we pulled suckers in the hot cornfield. “Straighten the stalks up as you go.” Daddy said, wiping his face with a handkerchief. As time passed, Nannie checked corn by pulling shucks back just enough to stick a fingernail into a juice kernel. “If we’d get rain it would go on and make.” Mama predicted. “You could…

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Reading emancipates

This is a lovely post from a newcomer to Blogosphere on the transforming powers of good books and what reading means to her. A would-be author (writing in her third language) she’s also a fully paid up member of our Wodehouse League of Nations so has my vote already.

I really like what she’s trying to do with her blog: it’s commentary rather than review, her viewpoint is an interesting one, and, particularly on those books I’m familiar with, she picks up on some unusual angles of thought.

It’s only a few months in and she’s still working out her voice (I see much of my early blogging beginnings here) but I think this is definitely one to keep an eye on.

I was brought up in an Indian middle class home where studies took precedence over everything else. And I am not talking figuratively here. Playing hopscotch, listening to a song, learning to dance, painting, and reading non-curriculum books, were all considered extra-curricular activities that you could pursue only when you were tired of cramming books, class notes, self-notes, and after you have narrated everything to an elder person. I was trained to eat quickly to save my precious study time.

But I also realize that my parents, their parents, and so on, were brought up in an extremely challenging environment. Three meals a day was never taken for-granted by my dad during his first 16 years on earth. So, I do not blame or argue with my parents, elders, society, or community about their beliefs.

But this post is not about them. It is about my third parent – a parent who had been brought…

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Herding Cats

A joyful discovery courtesy of Litlove at Tales from the Reading Room: an outstandingly well written and witty blog on the perversities of life, inanimate objects – and, of course, cats.

I recommend starting at the very beginning and just working your way through, so you don’t miss anything.

Baker's Daughter Blog

First problem – I can’t find the cat. She’s gone off on one of her expeditions next door to retrieve dead leaves. We have leaves in our own garden, of course, but the ones next door are better: they are as long as she is, vaguely tropical looking, and obviously very cumbersome. She likes to go for the oxen-pulling-plough effect, holding one end of the leaf in her mouth and letting the other drag on the ground beside her.

I need the cat because I have the perfect idea for a header image for my blog: I’ll put a pile of books on the floor, encourage the cat to inspect them, then take a photo. I can just see it stretching across the top of the page: a jaunty stack of books on the periphery, the spines an artful combination of faded moroccos, gilt-embossed leather, and bold primary colours. A…

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I Heart New York

This is rapidly becoming one of my favourite blogs – astute, acerbic and always very funny.

The Random Book Review

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I swear this is the last time I’m going to read unverified chick-lit (i.e. by authors I don’t already know and like). I stumbled onto Lindsey Kelk and this I Heart series when I was in need of a bit of escapism, and chick-lit fulfils the requirement perfectly (coz the worst thing that can happen here is a breakup), so I decided to give it a try. Lot of spoilers, so if you are still going to give the book a try despite the cheesy title, I suggest you come back later.

There’s a certain amount of disbelief suspension that has to be done when reading chick-lit. For example, the girl is almost always either ditzy/crazy and almost always in a lower paying and more peaceful job than the hero, who is invariably moneyed and handsome, and everything is always all right in the end (if it’s not, it’s not…

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Wodehouse and the conduct of old boys

To the continued weariness of his fans, Wodehouse has recently been appropriated, once again, as a shorthand for Establishment privilege. Our always charming hostess, Honoria Plum, has written this excellent and astute defence: a masterpiece of restrained, articulate indignation – and one of her very best pieces.