DISCLAIMER- blog: standard student behaviour. woops. please humour me, by forgiving me for occasionally projecting the (generally inane/mundane) ponderings from my brain into a pretty font. it's just that blogging's quite relaxing. like sudoku, but with letters.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Out into nothing

An odd thing struck me at, ooh, about 13,500 feet above Seville. As a self-confessed pudding enthusiast, I wish I could say that I was inspired at this point, by the dusty curvature whistling towards my trainers, to bake some kind of spherical, earthen Heston Blumenthal creation. Or perhaps the correct food blogger response (to the initially feared, but actually giggle-fit-inducing, sky-plummetting situation i found myself in) would be to empathise with the fateful sinking of souffles everywhere. Amongst the ruffling silence and gravity getting all carried away, my mind should have been gloriously awash with the smells and flavours of dinner-times past, flashing before my eyes....
Nope. Somehow, all I wanted was 1 x can Diet Coke, fresh from the shop fridge, with all those beads of condensation on the outside, as if it had been making such a (successful) effort to be delicious it had actually begun to perspire. Such drinks might be tins of effervescent murk, chemical-ridden enough to polish a coin to a sheen, but if anyone thinks they can tell me Coca Cola don't know how to market themselves, then I would like to bloody hear it.

'Cafe Cloud 9' -Vendors of the glory drink

Sunday, July 18, 2010

You like to think that you're immune to the stuff, oh yeah...

It's fair to say intention is 'honourable'. Except, more often than not, the word is meant in a sidling, Mark Antony way. Despite good intentions, it seems more at home describing the expensive dud firework, the post-Christmas diet, the "We should really do lunch sometime", than anything the dictionary would have you believe. Intention and reality: flippantly dreaming younger brother, dropping far-fetched plans quicker than he can pluck them out of the air, lazes near bluntly discerning older sister, her eyebrows smirkingly doubtful of his frivolities over her spectacles.

If today had gone according to plan, you would currently be perusing evidence of my obsession with GCBMB (Glam Crap Beyond My Budget). For this, read: caligraphy-fine seams, caramel-soft drapes, soirees of sartorial gems fresh and crisp pinned over ambitiously proportioned mannequins. Hours must have passed as I squinted for signs of GCBMB (sleek, slender bags with people to match, the tell-tale iridescent smoke of burning Platinum AmEx's, etc). Not a prima donna Labradoodle in sight.

Until... a distant pink placard caught the light. Peering over my sunnies, it hit me. Cosy reality was welcoming me home. Like a peckish prodigal daughter, I coyly scuttled over, wondering why I had ever strayed. Surely GCBMB could also stand for Gorgeous Cookery ...Baking ...Marvellously..... oh whatever, gimmee the cake.

"Tease", self-proclaimed 'Rock&Roll Bakery of Lisbon', turned out to be more bad-ass 'My Little Pony' than AC/DC, but it was undoubtedly a Nirvana... (I know. Can't be trusted with puns.). Black velveteen skull wallpaper, neon-glass tiered platters, pop-rock radio and faux-WWII "Keep Calm and Eat a Cupcake" poster : highly commended kitsch glitz.

The Aardvark picked a "Kiss Me on the Raspberry" (apparently in Portugal "Rock&Roll" loosely translates as demanding, yet confusingly vague, sluttiness?) cupcake, cooing over the miniature pick'n'mix treats lodged amongst Panda Pop blue frosting. As The Duck scowled testosterone at the 'manly' butterfly cake I suggested ("ooh look, there's a dinky little football on that one!!"), I confessed to my tastebuds- while window-shopping above my station is always relished, and my fascination with ogling snooty boutiques will be a life-long passion, I might as well face it: I'm addicted to... cake. There, I said it. (Oh don't kid yourself Robert Palmer, Valentines Day ain't got nothing on Victoria Sponge).

My slice was every crumb a rockstar, and a diva at that. Basking on lavish napkin layers, in a be-ribboned box, plus an actual fork escort- it found its every need pandered to. Eying the Prestige Pud, i began to feel that the borders defining who was the boss of whom were becoming concerningly hazy. Before things got dramatic, I asserted my authority. Nom nom nom.

And it was word perfect. Lunch didn't even get a look in. I mean, look at the size of the thing. The Aardvark's managed to face-plant the napkins enroute: a streaked blue daub told the story of its gooey demise. Sweet but short-lived, out with a bang ; a rock'n'roll hero till the end.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Mission Improbable

While the Duck settles in front of the Spain vs. Germany match for the foreseeable future, unblinking over the rim of a Guiness, at a green screen filled with effeminate hairstyles and pain thresholds, I enjoy the sensation of not melting. 40 degrees is one of those things that's always more fun in retrospect, or in the possesion of strawberry daquaris/coastline/a wind tunnel. As I find myself with a freshly solidified brain, and nothing but waiting for the Granada-Madrid nightbus and a gormlessly sport-struck Duck in front of me, I thought I'd do some catching up.

Olhao, Costa de la Luz. Apre beach, the Aardvark and I embarked on a challenge. It's nothing new- up and down the country, all around the globe, anyone with enough time, money and venues attempts it- the contradictory contest in which the harder you try, the harder you lose. The Pub Crawl. Except we didn't have pubs, and as fond as we both are of fun-by-the-pint, it was time for a change. And so the Pastelaria Crawl was born.
Rules: three venues, three 'players', a different cake each in every venue. (Due to the 40 degreesness, the "Hell no H20" rule does not apply.)

1: Cafe Bijou

I coasted through my 'Moxgado', a coconut-rolled marmalade snowball, in minutes. The Aardvark ambitiously started as she meant to go on- a bulbous choux-bun grimly weighed down her napkin, not unlike the glistening contents of a surgeons kidney dish. Its marshmallow centre swelling a jaundice yellow, an optimistic Aardvark peeringly observed it as "like an eclair?". I pictured this particular dessert provoked just moments before purchase, a little bun with a bigger temper- "You don't want to make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry...".The Duck, gamely prepared to swap his doubles for danishes, embarked on layer after layer of ...what's in it? "...niceness.". I suppose that's what counts. A few minutes later, as the clock ticked round to Cafe 2, the Duck's pace was flagging. Marble icing glistened in defiance. "I can ... barely breathe".

2: Olhao Doco
The Duck lurked at the table while the Aardvark and I picked our poison. "I can't ... why do you DO this to yourself?!". This reminded us of the pub vs. pasteleria comparison- why is excess easier out of a glass that off a plate? The calorie binging, highs and lows and chance of a queezy aftermath drew parallel after parallel. On that note, I offered the Duck a biscuit- "it basically counts as a shot". Unamused, he stalked off to buy a paper.

The Aardvark's fruit slice turned out to be the cream pie's glamourous cousin- a slick rosy gloss daintly graced the fatty brick below. As deep as it was long, my 'Bolo do Noz' clearly favoured the "Less is more!? Don't be such a pussy" school of thought. The Aardvark enthused about the nutritional benefits of walnuts as I doubtfully nursed the syrupy glut, but, to my dismay, I left a few spongey boulders uneaten, and set off for Cafe 3 in shame. Definatly should have gone for one of those cookies iced like a prawn.

3: Cafe del Lightweight Embarrasmento
Our pot of green tea numbed the sugar-shakes, as the Duck raised "I told you so" eyebrows over The Times. The Aardvark tried to tame violent hiccup fits: "Not just normal hiccups- the hiccups of regret". Who knew sleepy village pastries packed such a punch? Only the crosstrainer can save us now. Our Fitness First, who art in the multiplex...
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