Of Peaches and Upside Down Cakes

I seem to be talking about food a lot.

But to be fair, I’m on vacation and when I’m on vacation, I tend to cook and bake a lot more than when I work. It’s definitely a combination of having the time and not spending money on transport (ergo, spending that saved-up money on ingredients!).

This week, my household got bombarded with peaches. After relishing in it with some Fourth of July jello, we still wound up with too many peaches and not enough motivation to want to eat them all the time. I love my fair share of fruits, but even I can’t bring myself to stuff my face with peaches.

Up until I decided I’d bake it into a cake.

So this is what I did.

Peach Upside Down Cake

Confession, I’ve never done an upside down cake before. Well, most of the time I don’t do repeats of what I bake unless it’s one of the more popular bakes (like salted caramel or Irish car-bomb cupcakes…or toffee). But this was the first time that I’ve worked with fruit in my baking period, so it was interesting.

I got the recipe from Flavorite and didn’t really deviate from the recipe except for the sugar. One thing I will note is that I didn’t have brown sugar on hand, so I ended up using granulated sugar instead. The only thing I would have changed was the amount of batter and the lack of crispness at the top. There was too little batter to the amount of peaches I used, and the top was sweet, but had a weird peachy-gooey texture I wasn’t a fan of.

But at that point I’m just being nitpicky, because the cake pretty much disappeared within the day. So I guess it was more than just “really good”?

(At some point I’ll go back to doing book reviews, I swear!)

Mystery Blogger Award

I haven’t done one of these in a while, but since I do have a backlog of posts to get through, I figured now was a good time to do this! Christina at The Bookshelf Corner was kind enough to tag me for this, which is pretty cool! The Mystery Blogger Award was created by Okoto Enigma.

The Rules

1. Put the award logo/image in your post.
2. List all the rules.
3. Thank whoever nominated you and leave a link to their blog.
4. Tell your readers three things about yourself.
5. Nominate 10-20 people and notify them **
6. Link back to the creator of the award.
7. Ask nominees any 5 questions of your choice, with a weird or funny question.
8. Share the link to your best/favourite post of yours.

** Make note that I’m kind of a rule-breaker, so…

These Three Things

  1. I love traveling and would go around the world if I could.
  2. I have an eclectic search history, but I suppose that goes under the territory of writing a steampunk novel.
  3. I have decided that this year, my Halloween costume will be No-Face.

The Answers

  • What are you currently reading?

Several things, because why not. Portal of a Thousand Worlds by Dave Duncan, which I’ve put on temporary hold because of the other things I want to finish. Like Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor, which is a little painful to read because KAROU AND AKIVA GET BACK TOGETHER ALREADY PLSTHX. Oh, and Arabian Nights, selected tales translated by Richard Francis Burton. I’m also going to re-read The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh soon.

  • What has been your favorite book read so far of 2017 and why?

Ugh. God. This is such a loaded question. I loved a lot of the books I’d read this year. I suppose it’ll have to be A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. Because hell yes to that book.

  • What new book(s) are you looking forward to being released later this year (if applicable)?

The downside with having gone to BookCon is that I’m now aware of SO MANY books that are coming out and want each and every one of them! The Because You Love to Hate Me anthology just came out today, which I want. I’d love to finally get a copy of Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo. All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater looks really good, and because it’s Marissa Meyer, I also want Renegades.

  • If your bookshelf could talk, what would it say? (the weird-ish question)

“Reorganize me already!” Yeah, I’m due for fixing my bookshelf up again…

  • What book series would you like to see turned into a TV series or movie?

A whole lot. I’d love to see Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson on screen. The Shades of Magic series by Schwab, the Lunar Chronicles by M. Meyer would totally be an animated series and I’d watch the hell out of that. I also wouldn’t mind watching a live action serial of anything Patricia Briggs came up with. Mostly because werewolves.

Favorite Post

Uh. I suppose shoutout to my Food and Fandom page because it’s always my favorite post when I talk about food?

The Nominations

  • Totally throwing Meg @ La Foi Aveugle under the bus for this one specifically.
  • And YOU. Or anyone else who’d like to respond to these possibly riveting questions. XD

The Questions

  1. What book are you adamant on reading this year, if nothing else?
  2. If you had to listen to an audiobook instead of read a book, who would your dream voice narrator be?
  3. What actor/actress would you see playing your fictional crush, provided the book becomes a movie/show?
  4. Which of your favorite fictional characters would make excellent space pirates? And it does NOT count if they’re already space pirates.
  5. Dragon or unicorn?

Food and Fandom: Beauty’s Rose Apple Tarts

Oh baking. How I’ve missed thee! The idea actually came to mind because in under two weeks, my friend Meg and I will be releasing our first ever episode of Fableulous Retellings Podcast. Our first theme, surprise surprise, is the tale of Beauty and the Beast!

I had a few options regarding this story, and likely I will do a couple more between podcast episodes. To start it off, though, I was a bit inspired by the whole rose concept. In the original story–and most of the retellings afterward–Beauty often asks for a rose for her father to bring back from his trip. For the most part, he does, and for some reason, the Beast is none too happy with this poor old man pilfering from his rosebushes. I guess beasts don’t suffer thieves, either!

In any case, the rose is important, as is the garden, and even Disney got up on that in their version of BatB.

SO. Onto my baked good.

I thought about trying a rose-flavored macaron but I would have been at a loss, because I haven’t actually learned to make macarons! (All in good time…). So I browsed and I realized, oooh, an apple tart sounds yum!

Rose Apple Tarts

The original recipe I got from Preppy Kitchen, though I will admit that other than the apple seasoning, I didn’t really follow the rest of the ingredients. I couldn’t remember where I got the pastry shell recipe, however, but I do recall using powdered/confectionery sugar instead of regular sugar, just for a sweeter taste. And with tarts, you want something on the sweet side to balance out the sour that’ll be coming from the baked fruit.

The other thing I would say about making and shaping this tart shell is that it would be a good idea to have kidney beans or beads to keep the tart’s shell in place. I had neither, so it was much harder to stuff the apples in and shape them as roses afterward. The other suggestion is not to blind bake the shell and put the apples in immediately. Blind baking wasn’t really necessary for me, especially since I wasn’t making a huge tart shell, but little itty bitty ones.

I used my mini cupcake pan for such an occasion.

I also don’t have a tart pan, so this was definitely me improvising by using one of my cookie cutters to cut out pieces of dough and placing it in my cupcake pan. They shaped up rather well!

Probably the hardest part, however, was slicing the apples in very, very thin layers. In retrospect, I should have used the potato peeler, because slicing things very thinly with a knife took way too long. And most of the slices were still not thin enough! Maybe I just need a bit more practice.

Not that anyone’s complaining. Most of these tarts disappeared the moment they came out of the oven.

Mini Reviews: Sisters, The Jane Austen Handbook

Playing more catch-up games in terms of reviews! The first book is a graphic novel I assigned to my English Language Arts class for the summer. I figure, if I’m assigning something, I better have read it or will read it by the time school begins again. So I purchased myself a copy and read it in an hour. The second was something I’d gotten in London just to remind me that there IS a Jane Austen Centre and by the stars, I’m totally going back there at some point.

Have you read either of these books? What did you think?

Wrap Up: May and June 2017

This is going to double up as both a May and June wrap-up post because I completely procrastinated writing up a May 2017 wrap-up. Which is weird, because a lot of things did happen in May and it wasn’t as if I was out of pictures or anything. June was just as busy, from BookCon to Mystery Room to end-of-the-school-year summer shenanigans. Fun stuff!

This will be a little more abridged than usual, and I’ll focus on all the pics! Also because writing is nonexistent, lol!

Books Read

You’d think I’d have double the amount of books read, but that doesn’t seem to be the case! I tried at least!

Beauty by Robin McKinley || A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas || Fables, Vol. 20, Camelot by Bill Willingham || The Jane Austen Handbook: Proper Life Skills from Regency England by Margaret C. Sullivan || Fables, Vol. 19, Snow White by Bill Willingham || Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

Books Reading

Portal of a Thousand Worlds by Dave Duncan || Skinwalker by Faith Hunter || Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

Movies and Television

Glazing over these, but some very good movies I watched in May and June! A Monster Calls was as sad as I expected it to be, though to be honest I hadn’t cried up until the stupid effing end. I highly recommend Big Fish & Begonia, which is a movie created by Studio Mir, also those responsible for animating the latter seasons of The Legend of Korra. You can tell, because the animation is AMAZING. I need not tell you how badass Wonder Woman was. Almost everyone and their mother loved the movie. My mother included.

I finished Into the Badlands and feel just a little bit emptier inside. Which is probably why I started rewatching Death Note (the anime, mmkthanks). Also, started the second season of Better Call Saul. Can’t wait to see what he and Mike are up to!

A Monster Calls || London Has Fallen || Big Fish & Begonia || Lucky Number Slevin || Wonder Woman || American Gods || Into the Badlands || Death Note || Better Call Saul

Video Games

I will admit I didn’t do much video gaming between late May and early June, so I was pretty much stuck with the same one for ages. Then…school was out and I went straight to finishing Final Fantasy XV and finally purchasing myself a copy of Mass Effect: Andromeda.

Final Fantasy XV – The ending was both epic and anger-inducing. I was annoyed at how sad the ending made me feel. Screw you, Square-Enix!

Heavy Rain – Honestly, I started this game because I get a kick out of the beginning. It was really just something to play while I segued to…

Mass Effect: Andromeda – Well, it isn’t the original Mass Effect trilogy, let me tell you. And yes, it has mixed reviews and did badly in light of it all because of the fact that it couldn’t hold a candle to its predecessors. Big whoop. Did people forget how tedious ME1 was?! Honestly, ME: Andromeda feels like ME1, in that there’s a lot of introduction to be had, and so far, the game plot is going slow. I’m also a little annoyed that my Pathfinder is way too nice. Honestly, WHERE ARE THE MEAN CHOICES?! Why can’t I friggin’ punch the reporters?! That said, I am loving that they brought back the Mako–I mean…well, they brought the Nomad in. And um, turians. Yes. I love turians. Vetra is MY GIRL. I may want to romance her if Jaal or Liam fall through…

Fooding

Yes, yes. There was a lot of food involved throughout the past two months. So much food. Most of them weren’t even baked by me. Oh, no. All the baking happened near the end of the month, when I actually had free time to think about what I wanted to bake! All the same, I practically ate my way through New York (and New Jersey) in May and June.

Lychee and raspberry crepe || Fish n’ chips || Hummus || Chicken kebab || Homemade ramen || Bacon poutine || Popbar || Cannoli

Chocolate “spaghetti” || Tsunami at Dallas BBQ || Chocolate chip cookies || Mac n’ cheese || Farmer’s market pizza || Assorted dips || Matcha froyo || French toast with bananas and coffee ice cream

Rose apple tarts || Duck bao || Chocolate cupcake with salted caramel frosting || Twisted potato with cajun and sweet and sour seasoning || Gongjee Village meal || Shepherd’s pie || Pineapple juice with agave || Unicorn taiyaki

Miscellany

Let’s talk about podcasts for a moment here.

My friend Meg @ La Foi Aveugle went into a podcasting venture some months back, and she was kind enough to invite me to two of her episodes (which aired at the end of may, beginning of June) of her first podcast, Judging Book Covers. As part of my being in the episode, I got to choose a book to make the host and a second guest read, and in turn, the second guest will choose a book to make me read. We ended up with Silk by Caitlin Kiernan for one episode and Boneshaker by Cherie Priest in another. Guess which one I’d picked? Hehe.

Speaking of podcasts, the same Meg also came up to me to ask if I’d be interested in doing a fairy tale retelling podcast. OF COURSE I SAID YES. So Fableulous Retellings Podcast was born! Here we will be talking about various retellings of the original versions of fairy tales. Our first fairy tale is “La Belle et la Bete,” or “Beauty and the Beast.” Our website is still a work in progress, but you can like and follow us on Facebook for updates. First episode to come out Tuesday, July 18!